When two people with different home decorating styles decide to live together, it’s usually a challenge to meld the two styles. Whether roommates or spouses, it can be hard to blend wildly differing styles. A reader recently wrote to share this exact dilemma.
Combine Asian and Tuscan Decor Styles
A reader wrote: “I am a student of architecture and design, and was wanting to get your opinion on how to mix two styles that are not neccessarily complementary. I am trying to design a house that mixes both Tuscan and Asian Styles, also trying to incorporate aspects of Feng Shui. Thanks for any suggestions.” -R
If this is a project for a class, the instructor sure made it tough! Mixing Tuscan and Asian styles can certainly be a challenge since on the surface they have little in common. The best way to mix 2 disparate styles is to find an element in common and use that to create continuity. That element might be color, a shape or furniture profile, or a design motif like circles or ‘x’s. The Feng Shui aspect is easier since it’s often a less visible element and more about how the furnishings are placed in the space to maximize light and energy flow.
Traditionally Asian style is presented as clean simple lines, sparse furnishings, red/gold/black as colors, lacquer furnishings and of course Asian motifs like dragons, foo dogs, Chinese characters, etc. Tuscan on the other hand is represented as heavier, chunky furnishings, gold/red/brown/earth colors, open beams, rounded overstuffed profiles, motifs like grapes or rolling Tuscan hill scenery. Where is the common ground?
The color palette seems similar – work with golds and reds but rather than the brighter Asian red, tone it down to a rustier color. If the Tuscan is apparent in the existing architecture, then introduce Asian by using slimmer profile furnishings in solid colors rather than the paisleys or patterns Tuscan might use. In each room choose a dominant theme – living/dining/kitchen = Tuscan with slight Asian touches (maybe bookends, a table with a slight Asian flare to the legs etc) and if the master bedroom = Asian then use more black but have just a few nods to Tuscan – a nubby throw and accent chair in an unexpected fabric. You would want to keep a balance between the rooms, but balance doesn’t mean 50/50 in every room. It means you should find the one or two elements that will be consistent throughout the home (color & motif) and repeat them in varying levels from room to room.
In the Asian style room above, you could switch out the chairs to upholstered pieces but with straight, slim profiles and keep the slightly Asian chest. Or keep the chairs (their legs are chunky enough), change the seat cushions to a nubby fabric and change out the chest to something bulkier and carved, slightly more Tuscan. The current lamp and pots/twigs could work in either style.
If you were to start with this gently Tuscan styled bedroom, you could introduce a little Asian in the room by keeping the furniture and changing the colors of the bedding to something dominantly red and then change out the art and add a couple of Asian themed accessories. The trick is to keep both ‘themes’ gentle rather than overt. A hint of a curve or slightly more or less bulky than a fully realized theme treatment would take some planning, but could be accomplished.
What are Your Suggestions?
How would you blend these two radically different styles? Do you have to blend your style with someone in your home? How did you work that out? There are HGTV shows dedicated to just this problem (most recently the winner from last year’s design show Secrets of a Stylist) so I know there are lots of you out there……