From the October/November 2019 Issue  

The Art of Mixing High & Low Décor with Thom Filicia

Writer Meg Fox

Finding the Right Balance

Acclaimed interior designer, author, furniture designer and television personality Thom Filicia, whose newest television endeavor is a design show on Bravo with Carson Kressley — “Get a Room with Carson & Thom” — dishes with Design NJ on the factors that contribute to a well-rounded, personal design aesthetic.

“It has to be authentic to the architecture, the location and lifestyle of how you live,” Filicia says.

“It’s important to have a personalized mix of elements: raw mixed with refined, rare with everyday, and sophisticated yet approachable. It’s all about balance and finding the unique combination that speaks to where you’ve been, where you are and where you’re going.”

Balancing that layered mix makes the design more dimensional, he says. “It’s the way we live now … truffles on French fries or a simple pair of jeans and T-shirt with a great pair of shoes … we see the mix of high and low in everything around us.”

When to splurge, where to save? “I think it’s important to first invest in the anchor pieces of any space. For the living room it’s the sofa, for the dining room it’s the dining table, for the bedroom it’s the bed. Therefore, whatever your budget is, you can start with a solid foundation and then mix in pieces that complement and elevate the aesthetic without breaking the bank.”

His go-to sources for unique or budget-friendly finds? “There are so many resources these days,” Filicia says. “I love to go to the antiques markets like Round Top in Texas or Brimfield in Massachusetts. You can also find antiques at estate sales or even get great pricing on designer pieces on websites such as Chairish and Sotheby’s Home. And don’t underestimate flea markets and garage sales for uncovering unique finds. With a little creativity and elbow grease, you can breathe life into a forgotten coffee table or lamp. However, it’s also fun to allow yourself those special pieces that you aspire to attain as well as the shopping experiences those environments provide.”

Thom’s Tips on Mixing High & Low

1 | Artwork is a great place to mix high and low, allowing one-of-a-kind paintings to live with family photos or sculptural elements that you love. Framing some of your favorite book pages (especially in kids’ rooms) is a great way to introduce affordable artwork that speaks to what you love.

2 |  Investing in your anchor pieces for each space gives you the foundation to mix in elements from all levels to create a space that feels layered, dynamic and authentic to who you are and how you live. Blending a beautiful sofa with playful pillows that get switched out from season to season or a very simplified wood coffee table or cluster of poufs is a great way to mix high and low.

3 |  In the dining room, mix and match chairs. Combine beautiful upholstered head chairs with a fun, more utilitarian side chair, such as a cool modern acrylic design. It’s a great way to blend high and low while adding a lot of personality to your dining experience.

4 |  For the bedroom, splurge on your sleep. You spend so much time in bed — it’s important to invest in that experience. Get a fabulous bed and good-quality sheeting and pillows, but save on simple bedside tables that look good even though they don’t have all of the bells and whistles. Tables without drawers tend to be less expensive, and you can use a beautiful basket or simple tray to keep bedside necessities organized. Also, a simple hanging light fixture mounted next to your bed can help keep your bedside table clear.

5 |  A layered approach to lighting is important. Taking a vintage lamp and swapping out the shade for a beautiful linen or custom shade — or plastic cord for a cloth cord — is a great way to blend high and low to create something that feels special and personalized. You also can add up-lights behind your furniture and install dimmer switches. This will elevate the ambience of your interior without breaking the bank.

6 | The kitchen is a great place to blend high and low. Splurge on countertops and appliances that get a lot of use and need to perform, but save on your backsplash. The backsplash could be a beautiful vinyl wall covering, which you can even cover with a piece of glass behind the stove. Open shelving or simple wire-mesh cabinet fronts are another great place to save and add an interesting element.

More About the Designer

Thom Filicia is the founder and principal of Thom Filicia Inc. in New York City. He is also the creative mind and driving force behind the Thom Filicia Home Collection, which includes furniture, rugs, textiles, artwork, curtain hardware, trimmings, wall covering, bedding, pillows and broadloom for the retail and hospitality markets. Filicia also operates a to-the-trade showroom called Sedgwick & Brattle in the New York Design Center. For more,