Solutions: Opposites go together in home decor

Jeanine Matlow

The fact that opposites attract doesn’t only apply to humans. In many ways, the same theory holds true for our home interiors. For anyone who wants to add some visual drama, creating the right contrast may be just what you need.

For starters, black and white works like a charm. This winning combination not only adds some graphic punch to any setting, it also complements whatever color palette you have in your home. Whether you choose to introduce the classic pairing in the form of photos, fabric or furniture, the look is bound to be a big hit.

Assorted shapes also lend distinction to a space. For instance, you might introduce a round table along with an orb chandelier to a dining room in order to soften the hard edges of the walls. This concept would also work well in the kitchen where cookie jars and other canisters can break up the straight lines of the cabinetry.

Silver and gold add a little bling wherever they go. While some don’t believe in combining the two, these popular finishes have a lot to contribute when they work as a team.

You might even take the two a step further with decorative elements that feature a bit of both silver and gold for a touch of glam. Candleholders, sculpture, wall art and mirrors are among the enticing varieties out there.

Different textures create contrast when you layer rough against smooth for a visual boost that adds interest to any room. Try topping a sisal rug with a softer shag style or dress a wool sofa with silk pillows to lend dimension to your interiors.

Striking the right balance of patterns and solids will perk up your tired surroundings. Whether you want to play up a particular neutral or tone down something that’s a bit too bold, the instant connection between the two makes this mixture easy to achieve.

A variety of styles helps to personalize a space, especially when you place your favorite looks, like traditional and modern, side by side. For a more subtle distinction, make sure the elements share something in common, such as color or shape.

When arranged together, plain and fancy pieces have a way of starting an interesting dialogue while telling the unique story that makes your house your home. This could be something as simple as a woven basket or wooden crate filled with vivid pillows that pop against the natural color and texture of the container.

On a similar note, a well-blended mix of old and new rarely disappoints, whether you opt for genuine relics or quality reproductions with an aged look and feel that become even more noticeable next to something shiny such as metal or bronze. The juxtaposition is what catches your eye when pieces from different time periods unite under one roof.

If I had to pick a personal favorite, it would be the combination of high-end and low-end finds shown together. Whenever disparate objects keep each other company, the end result will surely be intriguing.

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