March 2014

Decorating Styles Simplified

Did you know that there is a simple way to think about decorating styles? Although there are hundreds of styles out there, most can be neatly grouped into four major categories. These are:

  1. 1.The Casual Style
  2. 2.The Traditional Style
  3. 3.The Formal Style
  4. 4.The Modern Style

Knowing which style appeals to you most can help you when you shop for home products or when you work with your designer. You can even mix the styles brilliantly within the same space. The trick is to choose most of your elements from one major style, and to add or accent that style with elements from another category. Just make sure you have something that ties it all together, such as color or the historic era represented.

The Casual Style is homey and comfortable. Furnishings are oversized. Everyday items are used for accessories, such as birdhouses, jars, baskets, and books. Wood finishes are mostly light and medium toned, and wood is sometimes painted. There is a lot of mixing of fabrics and patterns. The overall mood is one of feeling at home.

The Formal Style is elegant and stately. Furniture is often tall and stained in dark, polished finishes. Heavy trimmings adorn window treatments and upholstered pieces. Accessories use materials such as crystal, marble, and porcelain, and they frequently show up in pairs to create balance. Antiques and fine reproductions work well in these spaces. The overall feeling is one of grandness.

The Traditional Style is a perfect blend of the casual and the formal styles. It reflects understated elegance. Furnishings have classic lines and simple detail. There is often a mix of dark wood finishes with medium-toned pieces. Jacquard fabrics are used on upholstery and window treatments. Leather is common, as well. Accents include brass and porcelain items, painted plates, leather bound books, and timeless pieces. The overall feeling is one of classic sophistication.

The Modern Style is urban, fresh, and slick. Clean lines are used as a design tool to distinguish items from their background. Space is deliberately placed around items so they appear to be “on display.” Furniture upholstery is neutral in color, and fabrics are pulled tight. Pops of color and pattern are used sparingly for effect. Accessories are few – but always artistic in nature. The overall feeling is clean, sophisticated, and edgy.

Choose your favorite style as a base for your design, and accent your space with items from a different style, remembering to tie it all together with a common element.

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