One of the current trends is ‘Mixing the old and the new’. Glossy interior magazines and blogs are full of beautifully quirky homes that celebrate mis-matched furniture and styles. Naturally these homes have made an eclectic mix work – and they’ve made it look really simple. However, you’ll probably discover that it’s not quite so straightforward. Most of us acquire pieces of furniture over the years and it’s rare that you’ll ever go out and replace all your furniture at once. There is always a risk that you will end up with something more akin to a junk shop look: probably not the look you were aiming for!

So we’ve established that it’s fairly likely your house already contains a mixture of furniture and furnishing styles. The result can sometimes look more eccentric than eclectic. And as buying furniture can sometimes be an expensive proposition, you need to sit down and think before you make a major purchase, if that’s what you’ve decided to do. Of course, you may be out one day and see something that you fall in love with and you decide that you’ll just have to ‘make it work’ with the rest of your furniture, or perhaps you’ve inherited a beautiful dresser. But if you’re buying something new (or old) take a few minutes to think. Will that table really fit in to your dining area, or hall, or bedroom? If you buy that teal velvet sofa, are you going to have to redecorate the sitting room?

First steps

Create your canvas. Neutral or plain walls and floors are the easiest to work with and you can always decide on a colour scheme later. Busy walls and different styles of furniture are not easy to pull off. If you do already have wallpaper up, or a strong colour scheme, just make sure you keep the rest of the room quite simple.

Less is more.

Do you really need all that furniture? ‘New and old’ looks great when it’s not cluttered. A few key pieces of furniture or accessories will look better than a multitude of objects. Lots of different furniture in a room is heading towards the dreaded junk shop look. Can you perhaps justify getting rid of some things and donating them to a furniture recycling scheme?

Shelving on the wall will take up less space than a set of shelves that sit on the floor and a slim-line console tablethat sits snugly against a wall could replace a coffee table. And while we’re on the subject of less is more, perhaps this is the time to have a clear out of smaller items to help you create that pared-back look. You don’t have to throw things away: perhaps pack them away in the loft or shed.

Stick to the classics.

Clean lines and simple shapes will always look good, no matter what the fashion trends are. If you love something, buy it of course, but steer clear of things that are too ‘of a fashion’ if you want it to last. Equally, buy the best quality you can afford, particularly for the larger pieces such as sofas. If you’re buying something new, do your research first, the internet has completely changed the way we shop. If you want to go down the second-hand route, charity shops, furniture recycling projects, Gumtree, Ebay are all good sources.

And lastly, don’t panic.

Mixing the old and the new is what most of us do, and the chances are that you’re already doing a pretty good job without even realising it. This is a trend that is attainable and practical for everyone.