There are no rules in Interior Decorating that say the new and the old cannot be combined into a unified whole. No room should suffer from the misconception that everything in it should be the same style, period, and color or fabric type. When you decorate a room in this way, it may be technically perfect, but it will also be extremely boring. In order to give you room the style and pizzazz that it needs to be interesting and unique, you have to interject a few surprises; that will create a room that says, “Sit up and take notice of me!”

Don’t Be Boring! Spice it Up!

Any decorating style can benefit by the inclusion of even one piece or accessory that is totally different and out of the ordinary. A completely modern, sleek and neutral decorating scheme can achieve a whole new level of appeal with the addition of a single bright focal point. Try an elaborately carved red lacquer oriental chest; now that adds a serious “wow factor!” Or for another example, let’s say you have a room full of antiques. It could be Victorian, Regency or anything that is very old. If you insert into the room, a modern art sculpture placed atop an antique table; you now have a focus that draws the eye and makes the viewer want to know what else they can discover, if they just look a little farther.

Recycle For Something New.

Never throw out Grandma’s old telephone table. Give it a coat of shiny enamel in a bright and cheery color. Then place it in the entry hall under a mirror with a potted orchid to accent. Those heavy old suitcases from the days before they were all made of cloth and plastic make great eye catching accents. A graduated stack of them by a comfy armchair makes a fabulous side table. They look fabulous old and distressed, but if you like a little color, they can be spray painted.


If you have an old fireplace in your living room (here you would probably live in an old house), and it doesn’t work any longer. It certainly doesn’t fit your more contemporary style. There are several solutions to bring the old fireplace into the new room without a major construction project. Tile it with glass tiles, a mosaic of broken mirror pieces, or even shells; just whatever appeals to you that is decorative. Paint the firebox black, put a mirror in the back (you will most likely have to get one custom cut); then add a candle tree or various height chunky candles in front of the mirror. It’s almost like having the fireplace work, but without the heat. The mirror behind the candles will throw off beautiful reflections of the flames.

There is no doubt that the new and the old can be married in any room. This marriage makes a statement about your style and the value you place on the past and present.