Have you ever been in a store and saw a great piece of artwork or other home décor item but then said, “Well, it doesn’t match any of my things?”
When it comes to furnishing your home, a number of factors come into play. You might consider the elements within the layout of the home that might lend themselves to a certain style. For example, you may have raw-wood accent beams that might inspire a more rustic design. You can also furnish rooms based on your personality, the function of the room and the environment you’d like to create.
When you determine your style, you can make smarter decisions with your bigger furniture purchases and add stylish elements to complement the entire look.
If you aren’t sure what your preference is or how you’d classify it, here are a few pointers to help you understand several popular styles and how to incorporate them.
Traditional design is inspired by antique styles before 1900, according to Justin Riordan, the founder of Portland-based Spade and Archer Design Agency.
This style is the most formal and often characterized by dark wood, floral or damask designs. You’ll find tufting, spiral legs on tables, rolled arms on chairs and strong pieces that aren’t flimsy.
The color palette is deep in color, such as merlot, navy, dark green, gray or taupe. You can paint the room after you select your furniture, knowing colors that are rich in hue will complement the anchor pieces in your room best.
To add traditional elements to your room, Riordan said, “You would want to make sure to eliminate all modernist or minimalist items in the room.” He also suggested finding antique pieces in lieu of more modern pieces.
- Hesse Manual Recliner $280
- Adeline End Table $94
- Antique Copper 2 Bottle Wine Chiller $80
- Turned Polyresin Floor Lamp with Natural Linen Shade – Antique Brown $80
- Caitlin White Throw Blanket for Couch/Sofa/Bed, Luxury Super Soft Microplush Velvet – Burgundy $12
This style is quite the opposite of traditional.
You’ll notice a sleek look, often with wood floors, plenty of windows, tables featuring clean lines and furniture that showcases geometric shapes.
The color palette range is typically a mix of dark and cool. Think gray, white and black as a classic backdrop, using bright colors in fun décor accents for that pop of personality.
“Contemporary is things that are popular right now that have never been popular before,” Riordan cautioned. “The chances of these thing staying popular for any length of time is very slim.”
- Allison Burgundy Area Rug $35
- Thummepalli 27” Table Lamp $143
- Apex Standing Sculpture $60
- Osto Small Oval Rotatable Coffee Table Glossy White $143
- Syre Sleeper Sofa $440
Farmhouse decorating has become popular in the home décor world due in part to the success of the Gaines’ family and their show, “Fixer Upper.” Think shiplap, farmhouse sinks, loads of charm and anything in the Hearth & Hand collection at Target.
A few key elements of farmhouse décor are barnboard details, wide plank floors, iron accents and cute, vintage-inspired details.
When thinking about colors and finishes, think warm and natural. It’s okay to go gray but choose a warmer gray, unlike the grays you might find in minimal or contemporary design. Wood, matte black and brass finishes go particularly well with a farmhouse motif.
- Throw Pillow Striped $20
- Stoneware Debossed Dinner Plate Set of 4 $25
- Arielle Arm Chair $160
- Wonderly Pedestal Butterfly Leaf Dining Table $430
- Tuscan Terra Cotta Vases $30 to $199
This style is a little blast from the past. Mid-century modern refers to styles and design philosophies from 1945 to 1965. A time when designers were intentional about scaling back to create space and functionality.
“Mid-century modern design is all about efficiency,” according to John Linden, lead designer at MirrorCoop. “The designers from that era wanted to create things that could make people’s lives easier by reducing clutter and opening up space.”
Mid-century modern design often showcases different materials (like metal and wood), little embellishment, rounded edges and clean lines. Color-wise, think of neutrals and retro jewel tones like burnt orange, teal and olive green.
One of the most popular designs from this period is the Eames lounge chair. It can instantly give a room a mid-century feel. Careful though – Riordan suggested using them singularly saying, “[An Eames lounge chair] does not do well in pairs. If you really need a pair, think the Wassily chair or Barcelona chair.”
- Color Block Lumbar Pillow $20
- Defreitas 18-Light Chandelier $83
- Amherst Mid Century Modern Two-Tone Coffee Table $143
- Mid-Century Metal Wall Décor Gold 36×30″ $55
- Eames Lounge Chair $5,295
Yep, you guessed it. Transitional interior design transitions from a more traditional design to contemporary. It merges the two by creating traditional looks with current materials. The result is something trendy but still timeless.
Transitional pieces utilize clean lines and soft curves. It’s not particularly showy, using few accessories and letting the texture, lines and bold art piece speak for themselves.
“Transitional pieces are very important to pull spaces together, think of them as background singers,” Riordan said. “You are glad they are there, but they strive to not pull focus from the star.”
To create this look, you could use a traditional piece of furniture, like a tufted armchair, but pair it with something more modern like a metal accent table.
“Look for lines, colors, textures, shapes and structures that do not draw attention,” Riordan suggested.
- Tensed 9-Light Globe Chandelier $302
- Vienna Twilight Accent Chair $267
- Vandale Adjustable Full/Queen Headboard $429
- Hague End Table With Storage $104
- Samira Shag Ivory/Gray Area Rug $32
A far cry from any other style of home décor, bohemian design is unique, eye-catching and often uses rich, warm tones.
Natural pieces, like houseplants, wooden furniture and rattan are key elements of the bohemian style. Colorful fabrics and bold patterns draw the eye immediately, and they don’t have to match. It’s more important that colors complement each other, rather than match. For example, you could decorate a room with jewel tones or all warm tones. Mixed-matched shades and patterns are encouraged with bohemian décor.
While some of the other styles focus on clean lines and simplicity, bohemian design showcases intricate details, like hand-carved wood, beading and macramé.
- Velvet Tufted Stitch Quilt $49
- Handcarved Albaron Three-Drawer Dresser $998
- Newburyport Beige/Orange Area Rug $53
- Black Rattan Teardrop Table Lamp $50 (no longer sold)
- Sketched Floral Medallion Tapestry $49
Last, but not least, is minimal home design.
The main thing to remember here is that less is more. Minimal design cuts out anything unnecessary and black, white and neutrals tones are used more often.
Abra Landau, design expert at Fashion Furniture, said the “less is more” concept doesn’t have to mean boring. “It means getting rid of superfluous items that do nothing except drag down your space with disorganization and clutter,” said Landau, “Minimalism is about prioritizing only the things you really need.”
When describing pieces to look for, Landau added, “Minimalist furniture is simple in style while maintaining functionality, with sharp and streamlined lines.”
- Andes Sofa $1,039 – $1,799
- Extended Shoe Rack $80
- Texture Color Block Lumbar Pillow $20
- Entenza Wire Geometric Table Lamp $30
- Square by Adam Schwoeppe Metal Clock $79
There are plenty of resources out there to help you get ideas for the style, colors and feeling you want to create in each room. Besides going to a furniture showroom, you can peruse home design magazines, search for inspiration on your favorite social media sites and more! You can also enlist the help of a home furnishing professional who can assist you in making choices you will enjoy waking up to each morning.
What’s your home’s style? Have you ever considered changing it?
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