What is my style?

Jessica Young

Is it OK to feature different art forms (i.e. an etching, acrylic or photograph) in one room? Can the subject matter vary from piece to piece in a given area of the home?

“Everything right now is juxtaposed. It’s absolutely intriguing to mix it up,” said Kathleen Newhouse, chief executive officer of Park Place Interiors. “As long as there’s a focal point that commands and centers interest and gives people a sense of order.”

Maintaining a sense of harmony within a room is important, and Newhouse suggests finding a common denominator among furniture, accessories and art and visually highlighting that theme.

“You need a unifying agent, like color, that can play off of the fabrics or print in the room to tie all of the elements together,” she added. “The key is not about matching but developing enough repetition to integrate things while including enough contrast to avoid boredom or overkill.”

If you have an affinity for Mediterranean art and hang a picturesque piece of white-washed homes with cerulean roofs in Mykonos, don’t feel obligated to repeat the subject matter for the sake of consistency.

“You don’t want to overdo it by hitting people over the head with your theme,” said Newhouse, a member of the American Society of Interior Designers.

What about mixing and matching stylistically with different genres?

Tim DeWine, co-owner of Expression Gallery of Fine Art, doesn’t think you need to or should worry about it.

“Unquestionably, you can do a realistic and abstract piece in the same room. It creates tension and adds drama to the area,” he said.

“It’s been done for hundreds of years. ... A home from the 1700s might have an Asian flair and some medieval touches,” DeWine added. “To me, that adds character because the most important thing is to find a piece of art that speaks to you. If you’re dismissing something because it doesn’t pull enough blue, you aren’t looking at it in the right way.”

How do I find the right frame? And is it acceptable to have frames of various materials in close proximity?

According to Laura Zender, owner of Laura Zender Designs, you should always match the frame to the art.

“I would say try to stick with one or two families, though,” she said.

“A couple of metallic shades like a brushed nickel and oil-rubbed bronze with a dark wood or something. Don’t go too hodgepodge with the materials.”