We’ve all been there: you’ve moved into a new home, and there’s one piece of furniture that just doesn’t seem to make itself, well, at home. You’ve probably moved it around within a room and into different rooms, thought about repurposing its use, or even contemplated whether a refinishing job would do the trick. Then it becomes a challenge - and when it becomes a problem to solve, we mentally make the assumption that we MUST figure out what to do with this piece within the home, rather than questioning IF we should still keep it. If this sounds like an experience you’ve had or want to prevent as you move into your new home - keep reading.
As an interior designer, I have partnered with several clients who had existing pieces that they wanted incorporated into their new home’s design. On a few occasions, we’ve been successful in doing that without any issues. There have also been a few occasions where the best solution is to not incorporate the piece at all. However, for the most part, most of these scenarios have fallen in the middle of this spectrum - we were ultimately able to incorporate the piece, but with a little finesse.
In this post, I share with you five practical tips I use, as an interior designer, to incorporate existing pieces into a client’s new home. If you want to read about the reasons for (and against) incorporating existing pieces into your new home, check out our previous post. I would recommend reading that post before diving into this one.
Throughout my interior design process, I get to know a lot about my clients - what drives them, their hobbies and interests, and their needs from their home to live for their life now. I also use my 2-hour in-home Design Consultation to see their home and how they live, and take an inventory of the existing items they want to keep. This process allows me to (among many other things) assess their current home furnishings against the qualities of their envisioned home.
If you’re DIYing your design, you can do this too with a little visioning exercise.
Picture your dream home - one designed custom to your exact liking. Most of us gravitate towards thinking about the architecture of our dream home, but answer this: what do your furnishings look like? Are you envisioning the pieces you currently own, or are you envisioning pieces that you’ve seen but don’t own? Furthermore, do the furnishings you imagine in your dream home actually align with the aesthetic of the home’s architecture?
Use your answers to these questions to decide what you keep based on how it fits with the aesthetic of your envisioned home.
If you’ve worked on tip #1, you likely have some pieces you want to keep that don’t quite fit in your envisioned home aesthetic but don’t outright offend the design aesthetic either. These are tricky items to incorporate. To do so, I would recommend deciding on two design styles (one dominant and one secondary) that will drive most of the decisions in your home. Then, find similarities and contrasts between these styles. My recommendation here is to amplify the similarities in your home design (particularly the ones that fit your dominant style best) and minimize the contrasts.
For example, if you’re looking to mix mid-century modern (your secondary style) with today’s definition of modern design (your dominant style), you might want to take advantage of the more minimalist design approach that both styles offer, but you might want to amp up the presence of clean, sleek lines that define modern more than mid-century (with its tendency for rounded, curved edges). Then in this scenario, revisit your existing furnishings to see what works best. If you’re unable to make the item work between your dominant and secondary design styles, it might be time to question if it belongs in your envisioned home.
Do you have trouble pinpointing your design style? Check out my design styles board on Pinterest, where I have pinned inspiration images from other Pinterest creators (as well as my own) and organized them based on design style.
When it comes to pulling a cohesive design together (especially when your furnishings are of different styles), the final styling and accessories save the day. Take advantage of layering your accessories, lighting, and artwork to play up (or down) a look. If you’re going minimalist, you might want fewer but more high-quality and interesting accessories. If you’re going for, say, a bohemian look, add more fabric and textiles to the mix. These are the finer details that people will notice more than the curvature of a piece in a mostly modern room.
In my previous post, I talked about a rug I ordered from Amazon that I loved and kept over the years. How did I keep the rug for so many years as my style evolved? Color. You see, my design style had evolved, but the colors I used in my home really hadn’t. I love using blue in my home. Because I’m so into color theory and the impact color has on emotions, this part of my design style has not changed. I will probably always use blue in my home design. So as a result, I was able to get away with keeping this rug for so long because its color scheme (cream and blue) always found its way into my home in some form or another.
Using common threads in home design solves a lot of “design problems.” When you have several existing pieces you want to keep, but they are at risk of conflicting with the overall home aesthetic, finding a common theme (color, wood material, etc.) can help you incorporate these pieces with relative ease.
Okay, your grandmother’s ornate china cabinet just doesn’t fit with your modern, industrial condo aesthetic, but you can’t part with it. So much of my post has been about harmonizing, and in this case, you may actually want to take the opposite approach.
Make it a feature piece. When you unencumber yourself from the pressure of having a perfectly designed home, you realize that the imperfections you’ve intentionally included reflect who you are and what’s important to you.
Working through these tips when you are in the midst of a life transition can be a lot. When I am working with a client, I make it a point to take the home design decision burden off of my clients so that they can worry about the many other aspects of their life change or adjustment.
At Sims + Co Design, we help people going through major life changes start fresh with a holistic interior design package that covers everything from 3D design development and floor plans to furniture selection and project management.
Ready to live in a beautifully functional home that creates a sense of calm in your busy life? Covering all of North Carolina and beyond, our interior designers are ready to help you optimize your space with the perfect design to meet your unique needs.
To get started, book your free 30-minute discovery call today!
“I moved into a new house and had no idea how to decorate my bedroom. Jasmine was there to help me with every step of the process. She made sure to understand my preferences with color schemes and aesthetics, and she provided me with multiple options to choose from. Whenever I had questions, she was always communicative and I never felt uncomfortable reaching out to her.
Now I have an amazing space that I love. Thank you, Jasmine!”
“Jasmine helped take out so much confusion and overwhelm in planning out a move into my new townhome. She is thorough, efficient and a pleasure to work with! It was my first time working with an interior designer, and I'm grateful I found Jasmine. Trust her process and you will not be disappointed!”
“Working with Jasmine was amazing. Everything from design to implementation was spot on. My style as we discussed was brought to life.”
“I literally sleep better having beautiful design surrounding me. Thank you Jasmine for your amazing vision and deliberate execution!”
The rich text element allows you to create and format headings, paragraphs, blockquotes, images, and video all in one place instead of having to add and format them individually. Just double-click and easily create content.