In this photo, the kitchen that adjoins the dining area is mostly white. More white furniture might have been an obvious choice, but mixing in the darker furniture pieces shown here brings a very different sort of design element, creating visual excitement. • The Queen Anne legs of the stained wood dining table might have taken the furniture into yet another finite direction, but by adding the black-painted, Windsor spindle-backed arm chairs, the mix of periods and colors creates a harmonious feel. The addition of a whimsical chandelier over the table completes the concept of "we weren't afraid to go out on a limb" design. • When mixing decor elements like this, it is important to pay attention to scale. An undersized table would have looked out of place in the room, and the spindles in the tall backs of the chairs create a textural interest in an otherwise wide open part of the room. The whole setting also combines elements of formal with informal, and furnishes the room in a manner appropriate to the home and the owner's lifestyle. • When mixing woods together, you will probably have more success by completely mismatching colors rather than using colors that are almost the same. Consider painted woods with stain, or very light and very dark stained woods together. Those combinations will look more intentional and will likely win you design points.
Scott Scherschel and Chip Vogel are designers with Interior Spaces Inc. If you have a design question for Interior Spaces, email your question with a picture to firstname.lastname@example.org. A solution could be used in a future article.