Style Clash: Functional Finesse Meets Dark and Dramatic


What happens when one style meets another? Is it catastrophe waiting to happen or is there hope for harmony?

That’s why we created Style Clash. Some design styles are more flexible; others force us to stretch outside our comfort zone. Each week we will offer tips for mixing competing styles successfully.

What do we mean by “successful”, you ask? If nothing seems strange, jarring or just plain ugly, then I’m all for it regardless of time period, colorway or material. I call it a successful Style Clash.

For our second installment in the Series we will meet Mid-Century Modern with Gothic and see where we land.


If you watch the TV series ‘Mad Men’ then you recognize Don Draper reading the newspaper in his handsome and functional Mid-Century Modern style office (top image). The decor is simple, straight-forward and 1950s to a tee.

Very few accessories and lots of glass and natural materials are key to this design style. Notice the stone flooring and wall, as well as the wood mantle and ceiling beam (image above). The furniture is lean and compact, made of wood or metal with sturdy, svelte legs; upholstery is anything but ornate (image below).


Some surmise that Mid-Century leans toward minimal, but shag rugs and pops of red-orange, bright yellow and olive green hardly say serene or plain.


In comparison, Gothic Style (image above and below) falls from a far more plush and passionate planet. It is dark and dramatic. Ornate decoration, deep, rich colors, dark woods and opulent fabrics create a mood unfit for the shy or timid. A glamorous chandelier falling from the center of a Gothic room is practically a requirement.


Combining these opposing styles may be impossible to imagine, but that’s why we are here. Style Clash turns the unimagined into a design marriage made in heaven.


The clever mixing of Mid-Century and Gothic (image above, images below) results in refined, edgy and come-in-and-stay-a-while rooms. The dark walls and richly textured velvet upholstery say Gothic to the core, while svelte wood furniture and metal legged modern chairs are born straight from Mid-Century.


The fireplace becomes sleek in a marble finish; the chandelier remains a major focus in each room, but less ornate and glam. If I had to define the style, I’d call it dark and dramatic with refined finesse.



Meet me here next week as we continue to cruise the spectrum of interior design styles, two at a time. Ciao for now!

Images: The Mid-Century Modernist, Daily Mail UK, Gramercy Park Hotel, Graham Atkins-Hughes

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