How to Use Contemporary Furniture as a Base for Other Decorating Styles

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As you look back through your life, can you even begin to count how many interior design styles you've gone through? There were the character-based and dramatic styles of your youth and teenage years, the trendy styles of your post-college years, and various themes, styles and colors throughout your adulthood.

You've probably noticed that nearly every trend has something in common. At the time, it seems like that trend is the most elegant and sophisticated style ever, and one that you will love for years to come. But, invariably, you begin to not love it so much. When you do finally redecorate, you find that the trendy furniture that you loved so much just a few years earlier isn't going to work with your new style. So out goes the overstuffed sofa, the papasan chair, or the distressed country-style TV cabinet. What could have been investment pieces are now at the second-hand shop or decorating the first apartment of a young relative.

Contemporary furniture carries with it a very interesting ability. When used in a contemporary room, contemporary furniture makes a big statement. It is a dramatic focal point of the room. On the other hand, when contemporary furniture is used in rooms of other styles it does just the opposite. It blends in seamlessly.

Let's look, for example, at the biggest, most dramatic contemporary furniture piece out there. The red, leather sofa.

Now imagine that somehow, somewhere down the line, your tastes change from a preference for contemporary design to American Country style. You've fallen head over heels in love with it. You want your house dripping with old kitchenware, advertising art, pictures of farm scenes and flowered fabric.

Two styles couldn't be further from each other if they tried. So... what do you do with that red, leather contemporary sofa?

First, drape a crocheted afghan over the back of one arm of the sofa. Don't cover the arm up, just drape it there. Arrange several country-style pillows at the corners. Maybe one pillow has a bit of red in the flowers to pick up the color. Then put a white tatted doily on each arm of the sofa. Now your sofa looks perfect next to the white eyelet curtains and the old wooden rocking chair. Using bits of red throughout your home will also help solidify the red leather sofa into your design and make it look like a purposeful decorating decision rather than something you're making due with.

Most other home decorating styles are even easier to combine with contemporary furniture. It's easy to soften their sleek, modern lines to reflect more casual or trendy styles, or incorporate their strong shapes into more historical styles.

Begin to look at your large pieces of furniture as investment pieces. By using contemporary design for your main furniture style, you can easily move from one design style to the next by changing just a few things rather than having to replace your furniture every few years.
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