- The Washington Times - Tuesday, March 6, 2007

Sometimes homeowners simply can’t part with a cherished table or beloved armoire even if the pieces don’t match their home’s revamped interior.

Such disparate furniture shouldn’t be tossed. It may be just what the room needs. Mixing up interior styles lets people hang on to precious material while shaking up otherwise staid designs.

The approach isn’t foolproof. A homeowner might have to add a dash of color to unify the elements, and occasionally a piece simply won’t fit in no matter how clever the approach.

Typically, though, a designer or an ambitious homeowner can make it work.

Tammy Zitz, owner of Sassy Spaces in Fredericksburg, Va., says part of mixing up styles is keeping design costs down.

“It’s amazing how you can transform a room just by using what [clients] have,” Mrs. Zitz says.

The movement also is prying people away from established looks that handcuff their creativity.

“It used to be about decorating a room based on a certain look, a Pottery Barn look,” Mrs. Zitz says. “Everybody thought it had to be set up like that.” Now, nonconformity is called “eclectic,” she says.

“It’s very in,” Mrs. Zitz says. “You’re seeing it more and more in decorating in general.”

Many of Mrs. Zitz’s clients live in homes with modern flourishes, but they routinely include pieces that break that aesthetic mold.

“Placement is really what makes a room,” she says.

Angelo Surmelis, professional designer and host of HGTV’s “24 Hour Design,” says mixing styles is “the best way to add personality to a room.”

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