Juxtaposition

April 25, 2016

By Tab Byrum

The juxtaposition of elements is one of my favorite things in design, the official definition of Juxtaposition is “the fact of two things being seen or placed close together with contrasting effect”. For me, personally, Juxtaposition allows me to mix things together that wouldn’t normally go together and allows me to use more of the things I’ve collected over the years. Juxtaposition can be very easily accomplished, simply by hanging a piece of modern art in a room of traditional furniture and accessories, or the complete opposite by hanging a traditional painting in a room full of contemporary furnishings.

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The art of juxtaposition is very much about the tension created by mixing things up, now don’t get me wrong because I loathe tension between people but I celebrate it in decorating. One easy way to create Juxtaposition is to use one or more antique pieces in an otherwise very modern room, or as seen in the above photo this very modern orange chair and ottoman and gray pouf in a room that’s very traditional in feel, especially with the very traditional fireplace mantel. The room has also been painted a more contemporary color and a modern rug on the floor. I love the idea of painting a room a very contemporary neutral color or all white but then injecting an antique sofa or a pair of chairs or an antique light fixture to create that tension in a room. Today we’re going to begin a few days looking at Juxtaposition and using it as a basis for decorating a room, then later this week we’ll look at mixing modern art and antiques as well as mixing different furniture and fabric styles, Enjoy!!! (above image via)

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As far as grand rooms that use Juxtaposition this is one of my favorites. The room itself is obviously very old world with the crown moldings, draperies, a large antique bookcase, crystal chandelier and the traditional fireplace mantel, but things have been totally shaken up with a low sitting tufted contemporary sofa. A modern coffee table has been placed in front of the sofa as well as two modern chairs and the floor looks to be done in contemporary material. This room is full of tension but it all works beautifully, remember that color is one way to get everything to work together. (image via)

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I love this office set up that was featured in Architectural Digest, an antique writing desk takes center stage between contemporary bookcases. The bookcases are filled with old books and magazines, the desk sits beneath an antique Federalist mirror and the desk holds old books and a bust in addition to a contemporary lamp and vase. The calming color of the walls and draperies along with the rug helps this to all work together. (image via)

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This is one of my favorite images I found for this post, a beautiful antique dining table in an ultra-modern kitchen. The table is VERY traditional in both form and color but works great in this all white room, I think the dark color of the backsplash tiles helps it all to work together. (image via)

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Here we have a very traditional drop down desk, in front of the desk is contemporary Ghost Chair and a small clear lamp sitting on the top left corner of the desk. They’ve also mixed modern pottery in front of the antique pictures along with modern photos down below. (image via)

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This antique wooden piece is beautiful in this mod kitchen, it makes a beautiful island and acts as an anchor in the room. The fact that the floors are wood helps tie it all together and I love that bar stool peeking out. (image via)

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Lighting is another great way to bring a taste of modern to a traditional room or vice versa,  here we have a modern light fixture descending  down into a very traditional entryway and circular staircase. (image via)

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Most things in this a traditional in shape and design except for the lamp in the back, the bench and the black and white photos on the right, it all works beautifully. (image via)

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In this room the things that stand out to me are the very traditional cane backed chair in the center, the rest of the room is contemporary with the statue lamp and purple vases. The pillow in the chair picks up the purple of the vases. (image via)

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This room is a great mixture of old and new. The contemporary take on Mid-Century chairs around the table, glass placemats on the table, modern artwork and a modern take on floral wallpaper. To all the modern they’ve mixed a traditional table and hutch, old silver and pottery pieces and a very traditional crystal light fixture. (image via)

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This room screams Paris apartment to me. I love the fireplace area with the old world mantel and antique gold mirror, notice the contemporary pottery featured on the mantel. The rug and furniture are all very contemporary but it all works very well, love the blue. (image via)

Check back later this morning as we begin looking at an artist and his amazing floral creations, they’re anything but ordinary, and tomorrow we’ll look at mixing old and new furniture and fabrics.

All words are my own.

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