Photo by Roberto Nickson on Unsplash

By Tiffany Edison

Much of my work as an interior designer involves pushing people out of their comfort zones and trusting the process. And believe me, when it comes to the art of decorating, opposites attract.  

This may seem contrary to those who believe that every item in a home must “match,” but it’s certainly more interesting to mix things up a bit! For example, juxtaposing an elegant antique bureau with a piece of modern art provides balance and offers something interesting for one to contemplate. I call this the “Hmm Effect.” It provides those who enter your home something to ponder — what do the items chosen say about you?

The good news is that you don’t have to be a designer — or even have to hire one — if you are willing to experiment and trust your gut. The first step is taking inventory of the items you already own. I find it best to start with the large furnishings in your home, such as your dining room table, sofa, etc. and work your way down to the smaller items, such as rugs, art, and even your everyday dishes. What do you love? What do you dislike? This is where trusting your gut comes into play. Commit to those items that bring you the most joy, and cut ties with those that don’t. This process will provide you with a foundation to work from as you transform the interior of your home into a unique reflection of yourself.

You may find out along the way that you may need to purchase some new items, and here’s where the opportunity to mix things up presents itself. Now that you have taken stock of what you own and what you actually need, you can begin the art of “styling” your home. If your taste is decidedly traditional, then perhaps it’s time to mix in some quirky pieces to play against the more formal items that you already own. On the same note, if you’re decidedly modern in your taste, it may be time to add an elegant Louis XIV chair to your collection of pop art hanging in the foyer. Take a chance!

The idea that opposites attract works on many levels in the world of decorating. Every shiny, reflective item that you bring into a room demands a matte, unpolished contradiction. Balance is achieved in this way, and allows the room to feel more comforting on a subconscious level. The same is true of pairing things that are “high” (or more valuable) with things that are “low” (and don’t break the bank). Here, too, balance is attained, along with the end result of an extremely comfortable space.  

My wish for you by the end of your home transformation is that you feel grounded and content in your new surroundings. It’s not exactly a news flash that beautiful spaces make people feel better. Think of it as a gift to yourself.


Tiffany Edison has been an interior designer since 2002 and specializes in both
residential and commercial projects.  She holds a Master of Social Work degree
(ACSW) and utilizes interpersonal relationship skills on a daily basis with her client
base, largely comprised of Ann Arbor, and Metro Detroit residents.  She has a
wonderfully large blended family residing in the city and enjoys the comforts of home.
When she’s not fully immersed in client projects, you can find her active on the golf
course, a favorite pastime.