Do you like many different design styles? Does your home look busy with different looks in one space? Hodge podge can leave some of your rooms looking crossed eyed! Today I’m sharing these FIVE EASY STEPS for avoiding hodge podge and that will empower you to beautifully style your spaces!

#1. Narrow Down Your Design Style

Oxford’s English Dictionary defines Hodge Podge as “a confused mixture.” When it comes to home decorating we want to keep things in visual harmony. We definitely want to avoid a “confused” setting of different design styles.

That’s why narrowing things down to a primary design style is essential. So just how do we do that?

Photo by Josh Hemsley on Unsplash

I would suggest looking at home decor magazines or thrift store interior design books or watching youtube videos on home decor.  Pay attention to any patterns in elements and settings that consistently catch your eye or make you feel happy inside. There is likely a common theme in what speaks to you.

Now, it is very likely that you may be attracted to more than one home decor style. Perhaps your taste crosses over several styles like mine does. Or maybe you like Transitional decor which is a style that combines both traditional and modern elements.

It’s wonderful to have an appreciation for different looks and design styles, but for the purpose of this styling exercise we are going to establish one primary style and if have one, a secondary style. Adding in a secondary style will be manageable and can actually work quite nicely.

BOHO STYLE, Photo by Alyssa Strohmann on Unsplash

#2. Create A Base

Now that we’ve decided on our primary and perhaps, secondary design styles, we move on to the next step, creating a base.

Our base will serve as the foundation for the design in the space. This means walls, flooring, paint palette, window treatments and such background elements which will set the stage for your decor.  Check out how the base or backdrop in this next picture sets the room up for a lovely casual French design style.

Your base should reflect your primary design style and will anchor the room.  Think of what characteristics define your primary style. 

If you like modern you may want polished cement floors and sleek dark accent walls, modern door knobs and no frilly curtains. If farmhouse is your thing your walls may have some type of texture like beadboard or shiplap painted in soothing colors. Rustic wood floors, shaker style cabinets and wood elements will help establish your farmhouse foundation.

Our Dining Nook

If you’re into a bohemian vibe you may start with white walls for a clean canvas and earthy wood floors or a large neutral colored area rug with a funky black pattern.

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#3. Introducing Elements That Harmonize

Now that we have set our stage we can begin having some fun with our decor. As we layer on furnishings, decorative area rugs, wall decor and accessories, we can continue with the aesthetic of our primary design style. We can also add in some of our secondary style. Sticking to two styles keeps thing in harmony. When you introduce more than two styles it can get trickier to keep the decor from competing with each other.


In our mud room, I gave my base a feminine and farmhouse feel with a pretty floral wallpaper, gray and pink tones on the wall cabinets, and woven baskets for wall decor.

For a ritzy touch I hung a stylish chandelier with lots of sparkle. In this space farmhouse is the primary style and glam is the secondary.

Remember that you can have different primary and secondary styles in the various rooms of your home, but be mindful of changing styles up too drastically. You want to maintain visual flow throughout the home.


#4. Create A Healthy Contrast

Tip #4 speaks to creating a healthy contrast with those decor elements we introduce with Tip #3.

I love creating contrast and taking risks through my decor. I often use light fixtures, wall art, or metal accessories to add a modern or sophisticated touch to the farmhouse aesthetic in our home.

In our guest bathroom a modern abstract chandelier with tiered crystals creates a vibrant contrast against the French Farmhouse inspired backdrop.

Although I did take some risks mixing patterns in the small space, I was able to pull off bringing in a bold light because the base in this space is in farmhouse-synch with soft striped wall paper, a bucket sink, farmhouse style wall sconces and a distressed wooden mirror. Instead of competing with multiple styles, the burst of color and elegance from the light creates a lovely contrast.

Guest Bathroom

In this video I share several examples of rooms that have been styled using a healthy contrast concept. I go over some of the elements that made things work cohesively. Take a look to understand how easy it is to build the aesthetic in a room so that it looks like a magazine picture!

#5. Do The Feel Test

For the final and my favorite tip we do what I call, the FEEL test. I believe home decorating is 20% logic and 80% visceral. The more you tap into your creative spirit, (we all have it), the better you become at feeling out the rhythm of your decor. 

It takes practice and trial and error. I often make tweaks a few days after I’ve “lived” in the newly styled space. Sometimes it’s good to sit on things a while.

Our Kitchen

Be open to what others think. It can simply be your family or close friends who may provide helpful feedback.  In my case my kids are brutally honest! But that helps me know if I’m on the right track with a new look or if something is a little off.

Sometimes it’s the slightest modification in a room such as moving a furniture piece to another placement. Or switching out the order of your throw pillows. Or simply adding some height to coffee table decor using books or magazines.

But all in all you should trust YOU and what feels right. Following guidelines such as the ones I set forth can help, but the main thing is tapping into what flows and harmonizes aesthetically in a space. Getting the knack of when less is more and more is more.

When I’m styling a space I look like a madwoman. I rearrange over and over and over again. Everything has to feel just right. For me, even the smallest candle needs to shine in its place.


If you’re second or third guessing the placement of something, chances are it would look better in another spot or may not need to be used at all. Trust your design instinct my friends! I’ll be back soon with more home decorating tutorials. Be sure to SUBSCRIBE so you can catch the next one!

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