HOW TO: Find Your Style
Most of us have a unique, personal style that is a blend of one or more design styles. Use the definitions and photos below as a starting point to understand what you like and what you don’t.
Traditional design brings the warmth & elegance of the past into the present and is perhaps the most popular style in America today.
Graceful, curving lines are very common. Furniture is often constructed of dark wood and finely crafted detail, think Queen Anne style table legs. Important architectural detail in traditional design includes fine moldings. Adding decorative features, like crown molding and chair railing, is a great way to anchor the style.
Traditional style can be adapted to a more eclectic and up-to-date feel by mixing in some fabrics and accessory items of other styles. This should be coordinated, but not necessarily strictly matched, to the rest of the scheme. It’s the secret to keeping this time honored style looking fresh.
Clean-lined is often how contemporary interior design is described, and for good reason. This modern approach focuses first and foremost on function and avoids the excessive ornamentation evident in many other styles.
Choose clean-lined, modern furnishings and accessories. Avoid furniture with curved legs, for example, which suggests a more traditional style.
Texture is a very important element in contemporary interior design style. Texture provides the perfect complement to the sleek, smooth surfaces of wood, metal and glass that tend to dominate this setting.
Contemporary design doesn’t have to be harsh or cold. When contemporary interior design is well planned it can promote a sense of serenity and non-fussy simplicity.
ARTS & CRAFTS
Arts & Crafts Style brings together clean lines & fine craftsmanship. This style revolves around finely crafted furniture and interior features – usually of wood. Look for wooden furniture featuring a series of square, vertical slats and simple construction.
Arts and Crafts interior elements feature prominent straight lines and a lack of excessive embellishment seen in some other traditional and classic styles. The careful craftsmanship of materials often provides a hint of native culture, particularly in the Mission Style variation which gives a nod to Spanish influence.
In the United States, a variation of this style that became popular through the years is called Mission Style. This style is versatile enough to work within a traditional or transitional environment.
TUSCAN / OLD WORLD
Tuscan / Old World design recalls the good life of a golden age. The interior design evokes the sun-kissed fields and vineyards of Italy. It’s a warm, old world look that makes you feel instantly at home.
This style ranges from quite rustic to splendidly refined. You get to choose how to represent it.
The inclusion of natural elements plays a key role. A stone fireplace or accent feature can provide a perfect focal point. Hardwood or stone tile floors complement the look. Using wood beams overhead further establishes the atmosphere.
Color-Golden crèmes, browns, olive green tones and wine hues are always good choices to evoke the sunny pastoral surroundings.
Transitional style combines current contemporary design with more traditional architectural or decorative principles. This contemporary sub-style is well suited to those who like the look of more formal or classically designed furniture, but find traditional too fussy or even claustrophobic.
The Transitional style color palette is generally earth-toned; furniture profiles have lines that are soothing, either slightly rounded or gently tapered; and fabrics are textured with comfort and functionality in mind.
Transitional is a perfect style for those who feel modern might be too “cold” and traditional might be too “busy.” The clean, flowing lines typical of transitional cabinetry and furniture have a calming presence that is thoroughly contemporary.
When deciding on the English country style, the first decision should be which type of English country home you’re looking for. An English manor house, for example, will have a different look from a country cottage, although both will have certain style elements in common.
It’s a comfy style with a hint of understated wealth that blends furnishings from many eras for a classic look that includes wood with a rich patina. A room should be warm and welcoming without being too messy or casual, “pleasantly cluttered” would be an accurate description. Floors tend to be dark, using browns or red, while walls will make use of patterns – particularly florals, which are used on drapes, cushions and table coverings.
French Country utilizes warm-toned woods with cool accent colors, mismatched patters and materials and asymmetrical balance.
Nothing should appear new in the space: distressed furniture style pieces, mullion doors, and heavily carved decorative moldings complete this ornate, yet unfitted design style.