Water Cooler: Hone in on your interior design style

Water Cooler: Hone in on your interior design style

If you want your home design to feel cohesive and intentional, it can be helpful to hone in on a specific design style as a guide for your decor choices. Learning a bit about each style will help you decide which one is for you.

Traditional interior design is for lovers of antique and old world items, such as classic wingback chairs, curved and intricate wood details on furniture and a color palette made of dark, rich colors like deep reds, greens and browns paired with beige, white or cream. This design style takes cues from the 18th and 19th centuries and has a lot of European influence. Patterns are typically intricate and floral, but it is important that they match. Furnishings will usually be made of dark wood and other natural materials and ideally the wood tones will match. Furniture arrangements are typically symmetrical. Overall the style relies on a well-furnished look with intricate details in accessories, trim and paintings, but everything must be orderly and cohesive.

Farmhouse style has a bit of variation depending if you prefer classic farmhouse or modern farmhouse. Classic farmhouse sticks primarily to rustic furnishings that emphasize simplicity and utility, such as panelled walls, exposed wood beams, simple or open, wood cupboards, farmhouse sinks, incorporation of folk art, antique wares and traditional patterns.

Modern farmhouse incorporates modern furnishings and typically uses rustic, farmhouse elements as statement pieces. This might look like a kitchen with gloss-finished cupboards and sleek appliances, but with an antique, wood cart as the island, finished with distressed or original paint. Common accent pieces include restored sliding barn doors and exposed beams.

The style is very clean but sticks with simple, natural decor and adds a cozy, family feel with rustic touches.

Bohemian style sticks with the natural elements but ditches the Americana feel. It instead incorporates elements heavily influenced by Middle Eastern, South Asian, Latin American, Native American and other cultures. Items like Persian rugs, faux fur blankets, American Southwest, Puebloan and Central American patterns, floor seating and woven baskets. Furnishings tend to be mixed, light toned wood and glass with mid-century modern touches. Rooms are typically decorated with a lot of plants, bright pops of color and mixed patterns.

Industry design embraces modernity, utility and strong lines. The color pallete typically incorporates gray, white, black and neutral. The furnishings have strong, clean architecture making heavy use of metal legs and surfaces. Wood touches are incorporated, and can be either distressed or clean. The lighting elements often use bulbs inspired by vintage designs like the Edison bulb and stick with tungsten temperature.

Minimalist style highlights function and clean design. Everything in the home must typically have a function and decorative elements are limited and intentional. Bright colors are avoided and many furnishings are white. Materials mix both natural elements and glossy, manufactured surfaces. It sometimes incorporates Asian design influence with sliding doors, clean wood lines and soft, lantern lighting.

Scandinavian is another clean look that avoids clutter but is softer and cozier than minimalism. This style emphasizes simple living and bringing the outdoors in with simple, natural furnishings. Colors tend to stay light and desaturated. The space should feel airy but also comforting.

Mid-century modern relies heavily on the interior design of the 1950s and ‘60s, but often opts out of kitschy patterns and knick-knacks. Specific designers are highlighted such as Charles and Ray Eames or architect Frank Lloyd Wright. Lines are clean, but not harsh. Furnishings are raised off the ground with legs, typically metal or wood. Glass table tops are common.

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