One of the most doubting task for anyone starting to decorate an interior is to figure out what style you are after. Dreaded question for many, the 'style' question prevents a lot of people from hiring an interior designer as they would not even know where to begin to define it. In this short series of posts, we will try to explain, as simply as possible what the different styles are to help you define your own.
First of all, there are MANY styles. That is one of the factors that makes the whole process of figuring it out so overwhelming - plus, you may be attracted by more than one style which makes it even more complicated. Fear not: we are here to help you navigate all styles so by the end of this series, you will be able to articulate what you like in each style you are attracted to and why.
To get things started, we have gathered the most obvious styles together so you can see what is the relationship between them.
Traditional: inspired by old European styles (Victorian, Louis XV, etc), the Traditional style features very detailed and ornate work - especially on dark wood, large and comfortable furnishings with a plethora of accessories. Back in the days, abundance was a sign of wealth and one's interior was the best place to show it off: color palettes were complex, fabrics were pricey, with velvet and silk, intricate patterns, expensive rugs and flamboyant chandeliers. The layout is also pretty tight to facilitate multiple conversations at a time and accommodate a lot of people.
French Country: ironically called 'rustique' in French, it gathers ornamental wooden furnishing as well as the Traditional style, but with clearer and rawer finishes (while keeping some of the pretty ornaments). It is also more forgiving with the years going by and furniture being a bit worn can totally find their place in a French Country interior. With a general farmhouse feel, this style favors solid and at times 'heavy' elements, such as linens and drapery, or furnishings. The color palette is often more earthy with yellows, reds, beiges.
Rustic: this style was difficult to place as it is often paired up with modern furnishing nowadays - while it used to be paired up with traditional furnishings. Either way, it is the typical style of a cabin, where raw wood and stone get balanced out by the warmth and coziness of comfy throws and well-placed accessories. The recent trend to pair it with modern style helps brighten up its rather dark palette.
Coastal: also called Nautical style (or Hamptons), this style's main feature is a blue and white color palette - furnishing is often on the traditional side with many accessories related to the sea.
Modern: emerged in the early 20th century, the modern style refers to an interior searching for simplicity and functionality everywhere (as machines were starting making their way into our homes) with simple, clean and crisp lines. Wood is no longer the main material for furniture and metal, glass and steel start to find their way in, mixing well with a very subdued color palette of white and grays. The layout is also more opened and airy compared to the Traditional approach.
Minimalist: taking the simplicity of the Modern style one step further, with even fewer accessories and an even sleeker color palette.
Scandinavian: made popular by Ikea, Scandinavian designers have actually played a big role in design since the very beginning. The Scandinavian style can be defined as similar to Modern: sleek, functional and simple with a more systematic use of wood - a common and necessary material in Northern Europe, adding warmth and coziness.
Mid-Century: we kept this one here for its long name: Mid-Century Modern, while it is a far more opulent than the Modern style. The Mid-century style came about (as its name indicates) in the 50's and 60's, 'correcting' what the Modern style was overdoing: oranges, browns and more poppy colors started making their way inside and more rounded shapes found their place in design stores - while keeping the airy and open layout of the Modern style. To place it in context: WW2 was over, the economy was on the rise and television becoming more and more common so while design used to be a niche, it became more accessible and affordable to the majority - and that majority was craving for colors to get out of the gloomy years. Mid-Century Modern also became very popular again recently with the revival of 'vintage' elements of decor.
That is it for today! In an upcoming post, we will cover a few more styles that are less obvious to pair up so stay tuned and let us know of any questions!