For a printer friendly version of this blog, click here.
Choosing a style can be easy. If you already have some furniture that is of a certain style and you love it, then there you have it. Although consideration could be given to choosing an Eclectic style by combining what you have with one other style.
TRADITIONAL: is classic and enduring. I think when decorating in this style, you want to create the feel of Traditional without the heaviness. Themes within this style are Romanesque, Gothic, Renaissance, Tudor, Baroque, Rococo, Neo-Classical, Empire, the English styles of William & Mary, Georgian, Queen Anne, Regency, Biedermeier and Victorian. American styles include Federal, American Georgian, Colonial and Shaker. It might be a good idea to do a little research just to see what all these are. At least it can’t hurt! Although you might be getting a little cross-eyed by now! Persevere, you’ll be happy you did! Once you see some photos it will be quite easy to determine what you like.
Atmosphere: Formal/Semi-Formal, use of shiny smooth surfaces, formal is more elegant and graceful, whereas semi-formal is heavier.
Colour Schemes: jewel tones (can be tinted or shaded, as per your trusty colour wheel) black and white or a neutral beige.
Walls, Flooring: Paint, wallpaper and borders, moldings, wainscoting, strip or parquet wood floors, carpet, Oriental/Persian/Indian/French rugs.
Furniture: Antiques or reproductions, ornate hard woods, wrought iron, brass, wicker and glass
Lighting: crystal, porcelain, silver or brass bases for table lamps; chandeliers for ceilings and wall sconces. Lamp shades in fabric, glass or glazed cardboard.
Window Coverings: Draperies with swags, valances and cornices.
Fabrics: formal choices would be silk, damask, brocade, velvet, leather (shiny or matte.)
Textures: formal, smooth, shiny, fine and cool, hard surfaces, informal, rougher, matte, warm, coarser and softer surfaces.
Accessories: Framed ornate pictures/mirrors, displays or collections, clocks, vases, urns.
Plants, books, tapestries.
COUNTRY: is informal, comfortable, functional and durable using a mixture of old and new. Think English Country, French Country, Mediterranean/Spanish Country, Shaker, Colonial & Canadian Country.
Atmosphere: informal has matte or dull finishes, medium to rough textures.
Colour Schemes: toned or use earthy colours, bright blue and yellow with white.
Walls, Flooring: painted plastered walls, wood walls, stenciling, medium to dark brown plank wooden floors, brick, stone or quarry tiles laid in a pattern, Oriental rugs or berber carpets, braided or rag rugs. Fireplaces of stone, brick or wood.
Furniture: Wood, overstuffed upholstery, slipcovers, chintz, turned legs and bun feet, drop leaf tables or refractory tables, chests, cupboards, wardrobes, china cabinets, wing back chairs.
Lighting: Subtle, ceramic or metal bases, fabric or cardboard shades, wrought iron & brass chandeliers, iron wall sconces.
Window Coverings: wooden shutters, or draperies hung from tabs or rings on wooden or wrought iron poles, or can be more elaborate with balloon, café, Priscilla window treatments.
Fabrics: Cotton, wool, leather, chintz, linen, lace, checks, stripes, florals, folk motifs.
Textures: rougher, dull/matte, soft, coarse and warm surfaces.
Accessories: handcrafts, wicker baskets, dried flowers.
MODERN: Less is more, sleek, sparse, simple & functional.
Atmosphere: Formal, classical, functional, open floor plans, shiny, smooth to rough textures.
Colour Scheme: monochromatic or neutral.
Walls, Flooring: painted, no moldings, subtle faux finishes, abstract wallpaper, strip wooden floors, smooth wall to wall carpet, slate, tiles, marble, granite, lino or vinyl.
Furniture: wood, glass, chrome, clean lines, built in units, modular pieces.
Fabric: Natural: cotton, silk, linen, wool, leather, plain/muted fabrics or bold, geometric, abstract primitive designs.
Textures: formal, smooth, shiny, matte, hard, cool, and rougher surfaces
Lighting: dramatic, chrome, glass table lamps, recessed, track.
Window Coverings: horizontal and vertical blinds, Roman shades, casual swags, draperies.
Accessories: a small amount of large plants, fresh flowers plain or unframed mirrors/prints, sculptures, white metals.
ECLECTIC: a combination of 2 of the above styles that can be formal or informal and makes for an interesting space. Once of the styles must be dominate. You want to achieve harmony, not sameness, mix not match, a balance but not symmetry. This style allows a more personal attitude toward decorating. You can include inherited pieces, a variety of pieces that you like, reflect the past and present. However you must stay with the chosen combination and not end up with a mash-up.
Use a Combination of:
Traditional and Country
Traditional and Modern/Contemporary
Country and Modern/Contemporary
Choose the atmosphere you wish, whether it’s to be formal or informal, selecting styles that have similar shapes and proportion will make a more unified interior.