What’s Your Design Style?
This is a question I get asked often. As a designer I feel like I cannot be limited to a style and you have to be able to adapt to the clients style or the overall style of the home. This is always my response when I get asked this question! Now, if you ask me ‘what style I do most often’ I feel like I have Modern Farmhouse in the bag, but I also think this is due to the trends and the builders I have worked with. If that is the builders niche then they are going to draw certain type of clientele that is also drawn to that style.
If you walk into my personal house I think you are also going to get a mix of styles. I live in a 1968 ranch style home that had many great features when we purchased it nearly 5 years ago. We were lucky that during the 2009 crash in the economy a finish carpenter lived in the house. He did several updates, such as kitchen cabinets (in a natural hickory) and LOTS of beautiful white wood work throughout the house. The entry has slate floors that continue into the fireplace and we have natural maple floors throughout most the house (minus the kids spaces and bathrooms). These items took me to a bit of a farmhouse feel. We have done two bathroom remodels since moving into the house, one in which we decided to continue the look of hickory cabinets, dark tile floor with white tile walls in the shower which wrap most the walls in the bathroom. We added white shiplap in a few areas; natural wood accents throughout adorned with greenery and some metal details. I also have modern touches such as gray and caramel leather furnishings and a geometric accent wall in my kids playroom. As you can see, I don’t think you have to be defined by one style. You just need to make sure the flow is there.
Lets talk about some of the most common design styles we see in homes today. Many of them overlap so I will talk about what makes two styles different below.
Transitional style is one of the most widely used styles around the world. Transitional style is that happy medium between traditional and contemporary. You might have more of a transitional style if you feel like traditional is too formal and stuffy but contemporary is out of your comfort zone. Transitional is the perfect mix of traditional elegance but with more contemporary lines and textiles. Its important with this style to keep accessories to a minimum and allow your furnishing and textiles to define the feel of the space.
The most pleasing aspect of the transitional design style is the mix of masculine and feminine. Curved furniture and finishes like wood, rattan, and metals are common elements. The combination of two very different styles creates an interesting and welcoming home design suited for any room in your home.
Traditional design style has been around for centuries. Traditional design draws its inspiration from 18th & 19th Century England and France. Rooms are typically adorned with dark furnishings adorned with ornate carvings. Typically the furnishings will be accompanied by luxurious fabrics such as silk, velvet and ornate patterns whether it be on the furnishing its self or accompanied in elements such as window treatments. Likewise, traditional décor will bring in a hint of glam with crystal chandeliers and patterns such as damask, florals, stripes and plaid.
Often times people confuse modern and contemporary design. While they do have many similarities modern design refers to a specific time period while contemporary design is ever-evolving. A modern interior is a mix of Scandinavian, mid-century modern, and post-modern design. Providing our current definition of modern. A modern interior typically has furniture with clean lines and smooth, sleek surfaces. In particular metal, chrome, and glass are favorite choices among designers. However, with modern interiors, décor is kept minimal. They tend to ditch the knick-knacks and use art as the main décor. It’s common to see bold colorful accents in art and furniture in a mostly neutral space.
Contemporary interiors are ever evolving. Contemporary design is defined by anything in the current moment meaning it will continue to evolve throughout the 21st century. This interior design style borrows from various time periods which creates an environment fit to last a lifetime.
Contemporary design is simple and sleek. It uses eye catching wall accents such as moldings and paneling in combination with open layouts to create an interesting and distinct space. Furnishings typically have clean lines and open leg details to give a light and airy feeling. Materials such as metal and glass are typically used because of their light reflecting qualities. Neutral color palettes are the most common for contemporary design with textured fabrics to create interest.
Contemporary design and minimalist design have a lot of the same qualities. Both have clean lines and simple finishes. However, the minimalist decorating style concentrates on the principle that less is more. In the end, minimalist design loves empty space. Minimalist Design uses the bare essentials to define a space with a neutral color palette and pops of color to accent. Patterns are nowhere to be found and texture is a necessity. Because of the less is more philosophy you’ll find functional furniture is the most essential design element. Storage is also important in minimalist interior design. For this reason, furniture often doubles as hidden storage. For example, a coffee table that lifts up to reveal storage is one of the many creative solutions minimal interiors use.
Mid-Century design is a classic of the 50’s and 60’s that will remain timeless. During this time the design industry was trying to break out of its traditional barriers and dive into the modern era. As a testament to this style’s timeless quality, there are still so many popular mid-century modern furniture pieces that are still used in our homes today. Iconic furniture such as the Eames lounger, the egg chair, or the wishbone chair came from this era and are still making it into homes today.
Mid-century modern homes have a breezy and seamless flow. They’ve always encouraged indoor-outdoor living. For this reason, sliding doors and picture windows are left to emphasize the connection to nature. Rich woods such as teak, rosewood, and walnut are regularly used. In addition, accents of mustard yellow, chartreuse, or avocado are used for a pop of color. The mid-century revival we’re seeing in today’s design industry makes this popular interior design style more achievable than ever.
Modern (& traditional) Farmhouse Design
If you know farmhouse you probably learned it from watching Joanna Gaines do her thing on HGTV (and now her very own network). Traditional farmhouse interior design style prioritizes practicality, simplicity, and rustic charm. While farmhouse style tends to reflect the aesthetics of rural architecture, it also embraces modern comforts, creating a look that feels both cozy and stylish. Modern farmhouse interiors have many characteristics of what we know as traditional farmhouse design. On the other hand, things become more simplified and clean without losing their character. Shiplap isn’t going anywhere and we still want to see barn doors galore. Modern updates like wide plank floors, open concept living, and sleek lighting are a few common identifiers of the modern farmhouse decorating style.
Farmhouse design style in general mixes metals such as golds, black and nickel and contrast is your friend. Think black and white! It’s essential to have raw wood elements and greenery that can be found in every room. Farmhouse interiors are always neutral in color and when you want a pop you must pull from nature using natural wood tones, sage greens, subtle navy or warm caramel colors.
Craftsman design style is not as prominent as it once was but it is important to define as many homes that were built at the turn of the 19th century help define this style. Many of these homes are bungalow-style and are known for their natural materials, cozy interiors, and wide porches. Upon entering these homes you will typically enter straight into the living room adorned with a fireplace and built-in bookcase. These homes always have a separate dining space with walls typically adorned in wainscoting or beadboard on the walls.
Many craftsman homes adhere to a simple color palette consisting of grays, whites, or earthy tones such as greens and beiges. Craftsman homes had a focus on natural materials, so you will often see hardwood flooring throughout these homes, even today. You may also find beautiful wooden details stained in deep reddish brown hues. Often times furnishings are in these same wooden tones with clean lines.
The above is just a handful of design styles which I chose specifically as I feel like they are the ones we use most often today. Stay tuned for next weeks blog post to learn about more unique styles such as Boho, Coastal, Southwestern, Rustic and Scandinavian just to name a few.
Do you know what your design style is? If you don’t here is a fun quiz from HGTV that may help you figure it out!