Episode 361: Stumped By Design Styles and Mixing Metals

Share This On Social

I just love January besides the cold but I’m spending lots of time thinking about the future and planning, getting motivated to actually make things happen. One of my favorite things to every quarter is go meet up with my business friends and take a workshop together at Strategic Coach and I get even more aligned and more excited about all the things I’m going to do. It’s also a really nice break to stop and connect with other business owners who are running completely different businesses.

The exciting thing is a lot of times people surround themselves by say interior design organizations or interior design Facebook groups. I definitely belong to a ton of interior design Facebook groups and love to speak with other people in my industry but I get the freshest ideas by learning from entrepreneurs who are in totally different industries. I just get so inspired by learning from other journeys and by hearing what other people are experts in. 

Without further ado, let me get to the questions that are in my mailbag. 

This episode, we discuss…

[6:15] Figuring out your design style (Marcie) 

[14:57] How to properly mix metals (Jean) 


[6:15] Figuring out your design style (Marcie) 



I’m struggling to nail down my style due to the current necessity to keep much of the furniture I already own. My feeling word is Cozy, but I prefer to blend two design styles. My original intent was Boho Modern when we moved in, but in trying to decide on the finishing touches I’m finding I have a lot of transitional feeling pieces that I can’t replace.

Is my space actually Modern Farmhouse which was a design choice for me at one point in time? I’m afraid I went too far forward with the Boho style before realizing that my furniture really doesn’t fit with it! Any suggestions as to what style you see there and how to create a Cozy Modern …something with what I have? (Have to keep the modern for my hubby. I’m more flexible.) Your help is very much appreciated as I’m at a loss in my own home!



I’m scrolling through your pictures and pretty much every piece of furniture that I see is transitional. You have rolled arms sofas that are brown. You have two very big bulky recliners that have a transitional look for sure. Your dining chairs have a very curved slatted almost stickly furniture style vibe because they are so wood oriented but the curves kind of lend it towards that transitional style. You have a white bookcase in the back that has beadboard behind and looks very Pottery Barn. 

The one thing that I would say before we start figuring out the style is that there’s just a lot of furniture cramped into this small space. For me that is an issue. Next to the door you have a small black storage unit. Next to that bookcase I just talked about, it looks like it might be from Pottery Barn with either beadboard or shiplap in the back. Then you have a black trunk and on the other side of the door, you have a wooden piece of furniture. 

There’s just a lot densely packed into this room which deeply concerns me because then you have three bookcases, there’s just a lot going on. My first question would be to you what can we eliminate rather than saying Betsy, I need to keep everything. I would take a critical look around this space because to me, it appears that some of these pieces are not doing much work. They’re not actually contributing to storage, and they’re making it look visually cluttered. I would reduce as much as possible. I think you’re right to lock in on the fact that you have a deeply transitional space. 

Your rug is an updated Persian style. I’m not seeing anything boho in here. I don’t see boho. I don’t really see modern farmhouse. I think you are at a true crossroads. You have stuff that’s a little bit all over the place and there’s a lot of stuff all over the place. I would start by eliminating as much as possible and then trying to find the through line in what is actually left over because I don’t think you have a solid sense of style, nor do you have a clear color palette, nor do I see an inspiration piece.

I am concerned that we are keeping a lot of different pieces that do not currently have any sort of thru line. I would be more worried about getting that through line, then I would be about incorporating a modern style. If you need to keep a lot of these pieces modern is not the way it’s gonna go. I only see one piece that looks modern, and that’s the TV stand, which is black with silver hardware and frosted glass fronts on the drawers.

Other than that, I’m not seeing the modern and I think you’d have to scrap a lot of this to embrace that as your style word. And the thing is, you said you’re only keeping the modern word for your husband. Just don’t tell him your two word phrase. He may not know if this is modern or not. Don’t share that with him. 

Everybody has different associations and connotations with words and maybe your husband thinks that this rolled arm sofa in this brown kind of tan fabric is modern. Don’t tell him that it’s not, don’t correct him. 

I think it is a huge mistake to share your two word phrase with your clients or with your spouse in this case. That is not something they need to know. They need to know whether they like the piece or they don’t like the piece. They need to know whether they like your vision or they don’t like your vision. They need to weigh in on your budget but they do not need to know your two word phrase.

[14:57] How to properly mix metals (Jean) 


Hi! I’m a fan of mixed metals. I recently purchased this artwork from Wayfair, I love it! My question is, what other metals do I use? For instance, can I go with something brass or nickel like this one I like from West Elm, or should I scrap that completely and look for something black or a color, similar to this chandelier from Pottery Barn. Help! 



You have a two tone metal piece that combines both warm metal brass and cool metal nickel. When you introduce both metals into a space, you can decide if you want to use one metal for the other items, or both metals for the other items. 

Typically, if I’m going to combine metals in a room, I pick one piece that’s prominently located that combines both metals, whether it’s the chandelier, or in this case, a beautiful wall hanging. It needs to be big and it needs to be conspicuous in the space so that everyone can understand what I’m doing.

Now, you’re probably saying to yourself, Betsy, you don’t like combining warm and cool metals. You’re exactly right. I hate combining warm and cool metals. For me, they don’t typically go together but if you found a piece that you love that incorporates both, my rules are made to be broken. Once you learn them, you’re going to have a very hard time finding another piece that combines warm and cool metals, because there’s just not that much selection out there. 

People have been listening to me and they’re not creating stuff that combines these metals but if you happen to find it, lean in. In this case, for the rest of the items, whether it’s a light fixture, table lamp, the legs on your dining chairs, you can choose brass, or the nickel. I would try to find one other piece that combines both. Like I said, That’s a tall order but I think that it will make this feel more intentional and make the room feel much more cohesive. 







Become a Premium Member:


Submit Your Questions:






Uploft Interior Design Academy:



Related Post


Your Design