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Decorating Decoded – What’s Your Style?

What does your home and style say about you?

 

by Tabitha Dietrich - August 26, 2015

As an interior decorator, I’m always asking clients “What is your decorating style?” Most people, believe it or not, are not sure how to answer that question. But why?

There are literally hundreds of “styles” in which to decorate your home. Here are some examples: Arts & Crafts, Cottage, Rustic, Coastal, Baroque, Victorian, Mediterranean and the list goes on and on. No wonder people are confused. I even took some online quizzes to see what they determined my style to be and I got traditional, polished casual, mountain lodge and French country. While I like elements from all of these particular styles, I also like abstract paintings and modern glass sculpture, so how do they fit in?

Although the list and names of all the decorating styles continues to grow and change, there are basically 3 foundational styles to decorating your home. They are traditional, modern and eclectic.
Like all things, decorating styles have evolved to meet our changing needs and lifestyles and new technology has provided the means to produce new products to fill them.

Traditional design is best described as classic and timeless. It’s rooted in history and is not trendy. It never goes out of fashion which makes it the most popular design style by far. It tends to be more formal with its use of symmetry, defined spaces and use of heavy ornate wooden furniture. So, even if you would describe your style as Old World, Shabby Chic, English country or even Asian – you’re still fundamentally traditional.

The modern style, often mistakenly called contemporary, came after the Industrial Revolution and refers to a period of time – specifically the 1920’s into the early 1970’s. Walls came down giving way to the open floor plan. Furniture became sculptural and was made out of metal and Lucite thanks to mass production. Interiors were described as sleek and stark. Minimalism and function were in and decoration without function was considered clutter. Buildings were angular with windows becoming entire walls of glass to see the world outside. So why is this not contemporary?

Well, contemporary style shares these elements, but remember, contemporary by definition means “what’s happening currently”. The use of sustainable products is now an important component of contemporary design but it is ever-changing. It frequently blends modern with traditional, which is also being called transitional style right now. So in 20 years, contemporary style will have evolved into something else and transitional style could be the moniker for what is happening in design right now. But it is this blending of styles that makes it eclectic. Which brings me to what I consider the 3rd fundamental style of decorating – eclectic.

Eclectic design is a mixture of colors, textures, time periods, styles and trends. Because it does not adhere to any one style, it is never rigid. It’s perfect for people who like a lot of different things. But be careful! There is a science to creating an eclectic space. It only works when the basic principles of design are used to unify the look and make it cohesive. Otherwise you could wind up with a chaotic hodge-podge of “things”. But when it’s done well, it is the best way to create your own personal style and isn’t that what your home should be?

Credits:

Writing: N/A

 

Produced by Vogt Media

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