Michael Ferzoco is the principle of Eleven interiors and a contributor to my blog. The post below is a wonderful take on mixing different design elements to create soul.
I was recently asked by a client why I’m not proposing to use the same materials throughout a project. “Ugh… not again”, I thought. This question rears its ugly head more often than I care to admit. As is the case with many people, this client was afraid of mixing different wood grains and finishes on furniture, floors, built-ins etc. in any one room. I’ve had people question the use of different metal finishes on faucets and light fixtures. Many people believe that the finishes should be the same… that they should “match”. I hear things like, “But that doesn’t really match what we’re doing in the other bathroom” or “the wood on the coffee table doesn’t match the wood on the side table” or, my favorite “shouldn’t the bedside tables match?” My answer is always the same…. we never match anything. The magic is in how we mix materials and finishes together to create a space that has soul.
Yes, it’s okay to have zebra wood bedside tables next to a dark walnut headboard and platform bed all of which sits opposite a built-in cabinet that’s has a grey-wash-on-rift cut oak. Go right ahead and place a vintage chrome finished cocktail table with a glass top in the middle of your living room… the same room that has antique brass sconces on the wall and gun metal black hand-forged hardware on a credenza with a raw steel base. Of course it’s acceptable – very chic, actually – to use polished nickel faucets with bronze finish towel bars along with patina lighting fixtures in the bathroom.
Every room in your home should have a mix of various woods, various metals, glass, stone…. in some manner of combination… not that you have to use all of these elements in one space! Choose which elements are appropriate for which space and then branch out within that element and employ it in different ways. If you don’t take the risk of mixing the elements and the finishes, then you risk looking like you have no more insight to interior style than someone who purchases the 8 piece living room set (the phrase makes me cringe) at Bob’s Furniture. Trust me, I’m not wrong about this….
And when creating a successful space, it’s important to remember that you can continue to add pieces as long as you continue to edit along the way. The space will feel harmonious when the mix of furniture and accessories, in all their various finishes, are cohesively working together to create a thoughtfully orchestrated room with soul. It takes time and effort. It can be a bit of trial and error. But the results are well worth it.