Our Designer’s Failproof Secrets For Mixing Artwork Like a Pro (And Their Go-To Combos)

Time Several Hours

Budget $ $$$

Skill Level

WORDS BY Kelsey Clark

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Published on March 23, 2022

We’d like to start out this article with a simple question: why is it so incredibly difficult to mix art styles? From selecting the artwork itself to the layout, measurements, frame styles, matted versus full-bleed, art sizing, and more, there is so much room for error when it comes to mixing artwork in a visually compelling way.

So, we tapped our Havenly design team to break down their tried-and-true tricks for mixing art styles to perfection – every single time. From pared-back modern to colorful bohemian, they’re showing off real-life client designs alongside a hand-selected a collection of pieces for five different signature looks.

But no matter what your chosen style, one overarching theme runs throughout all five: contrasting balance. Always include a mix of different art styles in your collection, from traditional painted portrait to abstract, minimalist line art.

Ahead, find Havenly’s designer-curated art sets for modern purists, eclectic maximalists, colorful bohemians, charming traditionalists, and coastal minimalists:

1. Neutral Modern

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If your home primarily prescribes to a modern aesthetic, mixing graphic, high-contrast art is the perfect complement. Stick to a neutral color palette and select a mixture of framed photographs, soft line drawings, and bold abstracts to create an interesting, well-balanced gallery wall.

Last Tuesday Art Print // Close by Christophe Louis // Parasols on the Amalfi Coast

2. Bold & Eclectic

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If your style leans bold and eclectic, start with one eye-catching, off-the-wall piece you absolutely love, and build your art set around it. Let this piece set the tone for color palette, sizing, and general aesthetic. Accent it with more simple, understated pieces to create balance, and mix and match different frames.

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Cloudy Hill // “Man Smashing Cake on Other Mans Face” // Peep Hole

3. Colorful Exuberance

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If your style leans playful, vibrant, and a touch bohemian, mix art styles that follow suit. Start with the most bold, colorful piece in your collection, and use smaller pieces to pick up on individual colors in the main work. Mix and match geometric, abstract, linear, curved, matted, and full-bleed works for eye-catching contrast, and tie the look together with simple frames.

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Painted Geo // Once Upon A Time // The Space in Between 39

4. Traditional Charm

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Fans of traditional, classic design will surely appreciate a pensive portrait. Select two to three portrait works in varying styles (sketch, photography, abstract, etc.) and layer in bold, graphic pieces to accent the look. Don’t forget to vary black and white pieces with more color-packed options. Add in a few gilded, vintage-inspired frames for good measure.

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Portrait of a Woman // Green Hat //  D. H. LAWRENCE

5. Coastal Cool

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We’ve expressed our dislike of themed decor in the past, but we’d argue that loosely thematic art collections are an exception. If you subscribe to the coastal cool look, you can’t go wrong with a layered ensemble of palm tree prints, ocean landscapes, and beach scenes. Just be sure to work within a consistent color palette while mixing and matching styles — pair an abstract painting with a realistic photograph or a close-up shot of tropical greenery with an aerial shot of your favorite beach (check out Gray Malin!).

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Pattern In The Sky // Just One More Wave Art Print //  Iconic Lifeguard Tower

Want expert advice on your actual space, straight from an interior designer? Start with our style quiz to work with a design pro one-on-one. 

Words by Kelsey Clark