2024 Home Design Will Be All About Mixing Decades

Homeowners are turning away from minimalist, showroom looks in favor of a mix of blended eras and aesthetics.

Traditional living room

Dustin Dorr

Perhaps it’s perfectly curated showroom looks or minimalist aesthetics that we've lost interest in, but one thing is certain, home design in the year ahead will be all about the mix, particularly when it comes to blending eras and aesthetics. “We’ve been seeing vintage decor become more and more popular in the last year, and I expect the trend to continue in 2024,” says Gideon Mendelson, founder and creative director of Mendelson Group. “Because of this, people are incorporating vintage pieces into their modern or traditional homes for an eclectic aesthetic, utilizing furniture from different decades.”

Peter Spalding, cofounder and chief creative officer of Daniel House Club, says one of the draws of mixing design decades is that it delivers a look that appears to have been cultivated over a long period of time—a stark contrast to the trends of years past that suggested everything arrived at once and from the same showroom floor.

Jennifer Verruto, founder and CEO of Blythe Interiors, says this draw toward more eclectic, collected items creates a truly authentic space and one that will never go out of style. “There’s a comfort there that people are craving,” says Spalding. “And it’s not just the furniture itself that needs to be comfortable, it’s that the place needs to provide the comforting sense of permanence which our outside world just cannot.”

living room with black wall and red rug and green couch

Annie Schlechter

1. Find the Right Mix

When mixing decades, avoid grouping one style together, says Verruto. “For example, if you place all your antiques on one shelf, it’s going to look like your grandmother’s house,” she explains. “That’s why it’s important to integrate existing pieces, mixing old and new for a curated look.”

One way to do that is by moving things around to find the right mix. In Verruto’s home, she placed a shell-inlay sideboard adjacent to a 1920s Japanese tea card, and a modern planter next to an 1800s Inuit basket. The designer urges clients to not only vary styles but textures as well. That can mean pairing the modern, clean lines of a particular furniture piece with vintage rugs or fabrics that are full of texture.

2. Make Simple Swaps

Spalding says part of the appeal of this trend is that it allows people to select pieces that won’t all date at once. “Maybe in a few years, you’ll be out of love with your Georgian breakfront, but your Poulsen pendants are still doing it for you,” he says. “So the breakfront moves to a back bedroom and you pair something new with the lighting.” With this strategy and mindset, you avoid starting over each time your style preferences evolve. Spalding says it can create a much richer, layered look over time.

cloth and kind living room with velvet chairs and black fireplace surround

Robert Peterson

3. Mix Old and New

“Mixing in found, refurbished items with new, modern pieces is one of our favorite ways to create a charming and curated-looking home,” says Verruto. “Old pieces given new life or mixed in with current finds are a great way to create a unique and timeless look.” It might be tempting, but avoid picking up every free or steeply discounted piece you find in vintage stores or even on the side of the road, instead holding out for pieces you love. Verruto says items like 1970s case goods, art, and upholstery are also fun to throw into the mix.

4. Focus on Sustainability

Whether you’re refurbishing an older piece or simply scouring antique stores for new-to-you finds, there’s a sustainable aspect of this trend that can’t be denied. “The most practical reason I’m thrilled to see this trend gain popularity is that there is a ton of old furniture out there waiting to be rehoused,” says Spalding. “The most environmentally conscious thing we can do as designers is use stuff that already exists instead of producing more.” Find local tradespeople who can help reimagine old pieces and give them new life. It can create a true treasure-trove feel within your home.

midcentury modern dining room

Anthony Masterson

5. Wait for the Right Pieces

One thing is certain when it comes to mixing decades, eras, and aesthetics: This isn’t anything goes. “There are some decades that really don’t speak to each other well, or at least strains within those periods that are too desperate to chat,” says Spalding. “It’s a good idea to create a set of adjectives or a short story to describe the overall feel you’re trying to cultivate.” From there, you can consider whether or not each piece you’re adding to your home supports your overall design story. If not, Spalding says to give it time and wait for the right piece to come along.

To ensure the right blend, Verruto utilizes the 80-20 rule, meaning there’s a base style (80%) with other items sprinkled in (20%). For Mendelson, these miscellaneous items, particularly ones that are harder to harmonize with the overarching style of the space, often find their home in more subtle ways. “If there is a piece of decor that may not fit with the rest of your space, I recommend mixing it in without being the focal point of the room,” suggests Mendelson. “You can layer it within other decor or put it in the corner of a room.”

6. Play with New Lighting

One thing to remember is that of-the-moment items can (and should) still have a place in your home, even if you are focusing on blending years of style influence. Spalding says this can be especially true when it comes to art and lighting. “New lighting makes old stuff feel fresh and art of all ages can mix happily in one space,” he shares. “It’s great to pair an old sketch with a new work by a friend or current artist.”

7. Understand the History

“If you’re really committed, it’s worth studying which decades informed others,” says Spalding. For instance, the '70s drew much inspiration from the '40s, whereas Victorian pieces truly had global inspiration. Spalding finds the term decades to be far too narrow of a focus as it’s really the culmination of thousands of years’ worth of style influence. “Knowing this history helps us understand what works together well.”

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