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Filling your rooms with a well-rounded mix goes well beyond a clever combination of compatible styles. There are other decisions that come into play, such as the material and color selections for your home that create varied layers of visual interest for your interiors.

For instance, when a formal dining room features an abundance of dark wood furniture, it runs the risk of falling flat when everything blends together, especially if the floors share the same material in a similar shade.

Contrast can be added with upholstered chairs, some painted pieces or a colorful rug. From above, a crystal chandelier strikes a lighter note as does a pendant light fixture with a fabric drum shade.

In the dining area of a kitchen, like the one shown here by Terry Ellis of Room Service Interior Design in Troy, an array of colors and materials along with textures and tones makes the space come to life. Stone details are juxtaposed with a mix of woods, while a distinctive iron and glass chandelier hangs above the table.

Draperies soften the surroundings and add some pattern to the mix. Containers filled with hydrangeas and a tray of apples bring a pop of color to the mostly neutral environment.

Gray walls provide a soothing backdrop for the blend of dark stained wood on the kitchen cabinets, distressed natural wood on the dining table and smooth white painted wood on the columns.

As I look around my own home in the living room where I often work on my laptop, I see a mix of materials that was never planned, but pleases me. What separates one object from the next may be subtle, like a gold folding screen that holds its own next to a sectional in a similar shade because they’re different in other ways. One is vertical and made from metal and the other is a horizontal upholstered piece.

Leather elements play well against the wood furniture that has been painted black for added drama.

Even a wicker dress form differs from a rattan basket when placed side by side due to the fact that their woven patterns and colors vary just enough to make each piece unique.

Since there are few patterns in the room, the ones that do exist become more noticeable when presented in accent pillows, accessories and rugs.

Posters and paintings as well as other artwork done in bolder tones, such as yellow and black, provide a sharp contrast against the off-white walls.

Color combinations don’t have to be bold to make a statement. For instance, the black and gold shades that made their way into my living room over the years have an impact without being too trendy or specific that I might grow tired of them over time.

In the end, blending a variety of design elements in a room can be compared to an interesting cast of characters in a compelling novel, TV series or film. There’s a dialogue among disparate objects when you mix materials, price points, styles, color and textures that often leads to an unpredictable and more enjoyable outcome.

Jeanine Matlow is a Metro Detroit interior decorator turned freelance writer specializing in stories about interior design. You can reach her at jeaninematlow@earthlink.net

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