Jasmine Sims looking at interior design magazines

Moving House Tips: The Case for Mixing New and Old Décor

Moving House Tips: The Case for Mixing New and Old Décor

True enough: being an interior designer is more than just finding cute pieces of furniture and accessories for your client’s home. It involves considering many more details, such as functional use, floor plan layouts, materials, and color analysis - what I call the art of interior design. There’s also a science to interior design - we ensure the scale of your home furnishings fits the size and dimensions of your home.

But the most meaningful yet invisible value of interior design is translating emotional considerations into home design and aesthetics. With my signature Envisioned Home Service, I spend the first 4 phases getting to know more about my clients and their pain points, habits, and wellbeing, with the end goal of designing homes that positively contribute to their lives. In my experience, one significant way emotional considerations play a role in new home design is determining what clients keep as they’re moving from one home to another. It’s almost inevitable that I meet clients who want a designer to help them incorporate and retain “old” (familiar) pieces while caring for the new home aesthetic. 

In this blog post - the first of a two-part series - I’m talking about when you should (and should not) mix new and old pieces. 

Reasons for (and against) mixing old and new pieces in your home design

I must admit: my heart sings when I meet a client who has no preconceived design ideas and can operate from a blank slate (i.e. no existing furnishings to consider in the design). It makes me so excited to design from scratch because I can maximize my signature process to create a fully bespoke home design without many constraints. Realistically, though, that’s about 10% of all projects - a rare occurrence. There is typically something that I need to incorporate from the client’s previous home (or storage) into their new design. This makes my heart sing for a different reason: I love a good challenge. It’s especially fun when a client has, let’s say, an uber-modern style and needs to incorporate the most traditional, ornate piece I have ever seen. Challenge accepted! 

Let’s talk about the valid reasons you’ll want to incorporate old pieces into your new home.

Valid reasons for mixing new and old in a home

1. Heirloom pieces

This one should be obvious. As an interior designer, I encourage my clients to incorporate their great aunt’s china cabinet (as an example), even if it may stick out like a sore thumb in their sleek and modern high-rise condo. Your home design should tell a story, and heirloom pieces are the perfect statement pieces. If you’ve inherited a treasured piece of furniture and artifact from a cherished family member and it doesn’t match your style, this is the perfect opportunity to engage with an interior designer who can help you ensure this piece fits your place and style as cohesively as possible.

2. Investment pieces

You eyed that beautiful bed from Restoration Hardware for years, and finally took the leap and purchased it. This is a perfect piece to keep in your new home for two reasons: 1) Investment pieces typically represent more than just their price tag. They can also represent the journey, discipline, and hard work it took to finally afford something you’ve longed for. It is often a physical manifestation of achievement and pride, which is always a positive feeling to have about your home. 2) If you’ve spent $5K+ on a bed and labored over the decision for months (or years), it’s very likely that it represents your true design style. In most cases, it’s going to be very easy for an interior design studio to design a space that incorporates this item seamlessly without sacrificing any aesthetic integrity.

3. Loved pieces

When I purchased my first house, I bought a 9’x12’ rug on Amazon for $100. It was not particularly the fanciest, high-quality rug I’ve had, but I just loved it. Up until recently, I had this rug in prominent places in my home and just recently replaced it with a higher-quality rug. I just LOVED that rug. And that was a good enough reason to keep it. Loved pieces bring a good aura and vibe into a home.

So, when shouldn’t you incorporate an existing piece of furniture or decor into your new home? I counsel my clients to answer the following questions objectively.

  1. Is it really a family heirloom or something that feels like it should be kept because “grandma loved it”? If no one else in the family is clamoring to have this item, consider if the sentimental value is actually real and worth it.
  2. Is it an investment piece or was it just expensive? So, you watched a “Day in the Life” TikTok from your favorite influencer and were so swept up in how their day was your perfect day and subsequently decided to buy the same bed they have. There’s no shame in that – that is the intent of influencer marketing, and it’s effective. However, it may not be your style or fit your envisioned home aesthetic and you feel stuck. As a designer, I counsel my clients to understand their root motivations for buying the piece they love to hate and determine if that’s reason enough to live with a suboptimal piece of furniture over the long run. We may end up designing your space with that piece, but with the intention to swap it out over time. Or, you may choose to sell it. Options exist to overcome this mental hurdle. 
  3. Is it a loved piece or are you just comfortable with it? That rug I bought from Amazon years ago? It had run its course. I knew this was the case because: 1) My design style had changed over the course of 6-7 years (which happens) and 2) I tried to put it in several different rooms to no avail. If you have a piece like this, it’s time to pull out the Marie Kondo playbook. Thank the item for its time and contribution to your life. Release yourself from the pressure of keeping this item, particularly as you’ve recognized that your life (and style) has evolved.

How an interior designer can help

An interior designer can help you sift through your emotions and serve as your objective partner to help you get to the home that is optimally designed just for you. We are skilled at coming up with creative solutions that help you incorporate your heirloom, investment, and loved pieces into your new space.

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.

DIYing your design? Check out our second blog post in this series for practical tips to incorporate familiar pieces into your new home design.

To get started, book your free 30-minute discovery call today!

What our

Clients are saying

“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!”

Jessica, Charlotte NC

“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!”

Frank, Durham, NC

“Working with Jasmine was amazing. Everything from design to implementation was spot on. My style as we discussed was brought to life.”

Donald, Charlotte NC

“I literally sleep better having beautiful design surrounding me. Thank you Jasmine for your amazing vision and deliberate execution!”

Ray, Washington DC

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