Opposites Attract… Even in Design

Opposites Attract… Even in Design

Opposites Attract… Even in Design


When it comes to falling in love, you often fall for the person you least expect. As Homepolish's Angela Belt writes, the same holds true in design: sometimes the least likely combinations work best.

Sometimes in the mind of a designer there are two completely opposite ideas or furnishings that collide. Some strange part of their brain goes off and says, “YES! That would work!” It’s the veritable odd couple. At first the two ideas don’t seem like they would go together, but in execution, it’s a match made in heaven. Ok, not real heaven… a heaven born of painstaking planning and careful space layout. But it’s as close as you get to heaven on earth. See our tips on how to make opposites attract below.



1. Mix it Up

When it comes to planning out a space (be it living rooms or dining areas), placing the same chairs together is a safe choice for many room settings. They always look good together, and it’s very LOW risk. After all, symmetry and similarity are two of the oldest principles in interior design. But if you want to shake it up, combine chairs (perhaps from the same design era but with totally different looks) and swoon at the resulting grouping. The size and scale don’t even necessarily have to be the same. Just look at designer Savannah Metcalf’s San Francisco living room. It’s design bliss when an Eames lounge chair and the Knoll Bertoia diamond chair come together. The same holds in this Chicago home, featuring a smattering of farmhouse-style chairs.



2. Dark Meets Light

Now this can be a tricky one in design. Right now, the safe bet in design is to go with white walls and bring in all the color through the furniture and accessories. It’s a very art gallery-esque vibe. Playing with paint color transitions from dark to light is a design juggling act. When executed properly, the contrast can make you fall in love with both rooms. It’ll be a design love triangle… between you and two rooms. And it’s totally acceptable.



3. Complimentary Colors

In design and art, there’s this thing called a color wheel. Colors that are opposite of each other on the wheel (I’m look at you, blue and orange) look fabulous together. Case in point, this Brooklyn room setting. The orange wallpaper is such a showstopper in the room, and by matching the space with the blue rug, your eye naturally bounces from one to the other. Just imagine if that rug were red and the orange wallpaper was still there. It would be a design cat fight. The bright and punchy orange with the cool blue balance each other out, even though they both have complicated geometries.



4. High and Low

You know how sometimes you meet someone, and they’re totally dreamy, but they are approximately the height of a basketball player, and you think to yourself… “I’m only 5’3” though…” But then the chemistry clicks and the rest is history? Ok, that never happens… or at least almost never. Well, it is more likely to happen in design, especially when you’re working with a loft space. Low furniture can still work in a space with skyscraper-height walls. Hats off to Homepolish’s Jae Joo who took advantage of the height in this Brooklyn loft with custom bookshelves but stayed true to the modern design scheme with the low sofa. Despite the vast difference in height, the design is still flawless.



5. Black and White

The two colors that are probably used the most in fashion and design are black and white. And for good reason. They’re a color combo for the ages; they always look chic, and it’s all about balance. It’s the epitome of opposites attracting.


SO, in conclusion, “It takes two to make a thing go rrriigghht it!” The next time you say there is no way that chair goes with that rug, try it. Take a risk! Take a chance on the “smart, fat girl.” Wait, sorry, wrong reference. We’re trying to talk about design. Together, two unexpected design choices just might be kismet.