Give Rooms Intrigue Using a 'Clash Course'

The unexpected ignites design for me. Whenever someone walks into an area, I want hearts to conquer, eyes to roam along with the mind to participate. The things we surround ourselves should make us feel alive and inspired, and one of the best ways to inject this power in your area is by introducing pressure.

Creating stress is reached by placing opposites in the exact same area, and it is integral to smart, interesting design. Light and dark, soft and tough — these are foundational elements, but it is the great tongue-in-cheek pressure between “nasty” and “beautiful” in interiors that is the epitome of sudden. Needless to say, what “ugly” or “beautiful” involves is entirely subjective.

It is about bringing in a “wart” to your area — something that shouldn’t be there but ends up making the entire space work.

Lankford Design Group

This kitchen is an ideal illustration of the type of tension made when opposites attract to create genuinely eclectic spaces. Antique cabinets and practical stainless steel workspaces are united under the elaborate chandelier.

sarah & bendrix

If committing to big pieces of furniture seems daunting, kitschy art — some with dark themes, such as this print of a skull (top right) — works to provide a space a mysterious charm that would be missing in the event the art all fell within the exact same motif as the rest of the room.

Jamie Laubhan-Oliver

Accessories are undoubtedly the best method to add some strangeness to a beautiful space. Creating tension doesn’t mean introducing something unattractive — it means ensuring the design doesn’t operate in the exact same direction. This oversized and jagged piece keeps the brain busy and engaged.

Design Within Reach

So you have purchased a giant oil painting in the estate sale and brought it home into your contemporary, neutral and balanced living room. Kick the principles aside and hang it high and off-center to maintain eyes moving.

Smith & Vansant Architects PC

Imagine this kitchen. With this odd piece, we get an idea about the men and women who reside here. It is the mischievous sparkle in an otherwise well-mannered kid’s eyes.

Over-the-top vintage neon fights perfectly together with the sleek, natural nature of this credenza below.


The Lindsey Adelman chandelier itself is a work of tension. The smooth, round globes juxtaposed against the dark, stiff stalks produce a superb balance. Hung within an austere table and bench with picture yet conventional wing seats, this chamber whispers, screams, sleeps and dances all at one time.

Jenn Hannotte / Hannotte Interiors

In my own kitchen I’ve hung a skull found in my parents’ farm and placed a cheap religious print located in the basement on the shelf over. They are incongruous, but they make me grin daily.

Have you found a spot to incorporate a “wart” in your own house? Inform us about it below!

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