You don’t have to be a fashion expert to select the perfect shoes for your outfit. It’s the same with your home interiors. Knowing your personal style helps you choose the right wall colors, fixtures and furniture. You can confidently create a cohesive look in your home and successfully blend two or more styles together.
What is your signature style? Here’s a guide to four distinct design styles and the furnishings, textures, color palettes and accessories that define each. One of these is your foundation for making the right choices in your home.
The New Traditional
A marble bust doubles as a bookend on a shelf. Classic artwork framed in heavy gilded wood accents a room that feels carefully balanced, from the matching furniture to the coordinating tones in the walls, floors, drapes and upholstery. When everything works together as a whole to create a calm, formal space, the room has traditional styling. Today’s traditional is not your Grandmother’s style. It has evolved and to become timeless, elegant and orderly, with classic shapes and unfussy details. Rooms feature finely crafted furniture in richly stained wood softened by an overstuffed sofa, soft accent pillows and elegant curtains in fabrics like silks, brocades or satin.
Walls in new traditional rooms are usually beige, ivory or cream often complemented with rich woodworking details, wainscoting or an accent wall in a rich color. Splashes of bold color can also be found in artwork and accessories.
Add a traditional touch to your home with:
• Kitchen island and cabinets made to look like built-in furniture
• Classic accessories – artwork with a timeless feel, mirrors, grand chandeliers
• Sturdy timeless furniture with graceful lines – Sheraton, Chippendale, Queen Anne
• Items paired in twos for symmetry
• Key pieces placed strategically around the room in pairs, centered on a wall or in the exact middle of the room
• Center artwork on the walls or tables
Mid Century Modern
Do you love the simplicity of modern art, contemporary patterns and minimalist design? Are you inspired by the décor you see on Mad Men and the happy style of designer Jonathan Adler? If so, mid century modern is your style.
Mid century modern was the height of fashion from the 1930s to the 1960s, when Scandinavian designers and architects were very influential. There aren’t a lot of rules in mid century modern style, just pared-down forms, minimalist design and seamless flow.
To create a mid century modern interior, choose fresh, fun and contemporary furniture with clean lines and no adornment. Look for lacquered finishes in a mix of woods, geometric and abstract patterns and pop-art inspired accessories.
Give your home mid century modern flair with:
• Wall art in pop-art’s primary colors or posters of works by modern artists including Andy Warhol, Jackson Pollack and Roy Lichtenstein
• Bare windows or skylights
• Furniture in clean lines and blonde wood resembling works by the Mad Men of mid century modern furniture: George Nelson, Charles and Ray Eames, Eero Saarinen
• Modernistic statement lighting: Sputnik chandeliers, bubble lights, arco floor lights
• Area rugs in bold geometrics, solid or multicolored shag patterns
If you love scouring flea markets for vintage finds and you have a knack for assembling a jumble of items into a pleasing package, bohemian chic may be your style.
Often resembling Moroccan style with its bright colors and patterns, bohemian chic is a layered look, a combination of new and vintage with a freedom and uniqueness that is all about creating warmth and interest.
Bohemian furniture pieces are unique. They either stand out on their own, or are made to stand out with a creative paint job. Victorian sofas work well, but you can also take a regular couch and throw on an elaborate tapestry.
Dress your rooms in bohemian chic style with:
• Accessories from around the world: aged photos, ornate boxes, vintage perfume bottles
• Things that sparkle: glass beads, shiny light fixtures and things that give off a warm glow
• Add texture with wood, fur, plants and leather
• Display flea market art in a gallery effect
• Use pops of color: indigo, turquoise, hot pink, red, orange
Do you love the old-world aesthetic of 18th century French furniture, but also embrace the warmth of exposed brickwork and stone floors? Rustic French style effortlessly blends elegance with simplicity to create stunning yet cozy interiors.
To achieve this look, use soft muted shades and rich details in gold, bronze and gilt. Choose antique or heirloom furniture, layered window treatments and abundant fresh flowers to provide an inviting and comfortable mix that provides balance and warmth.
Group furniture to encourage intimate conversation, keeping the main pieces comfortable in look and feel, capturing the spirit and weathered elegance of a French country garden.
Dress your rooms in rustic French style with:
• Large couch with velvety cushions and pillows
• Wood framed furniture painted white or gold
• Wrought iron furniture
• Wicker and metal chairs used indoors
• Faded antique or sisal rug
• Wicker trays
• Rattan or aluminum frame chairs
Next Steps: Working with an Interior Designer
Now that you’ve determined your signature style, what is the next step? If you don’t feel comfortable taking on the designing task yourself, you can hire an interior designer.
Your home is distinctive; it’s a reflection of your personality and your lifestyle and hiring a professional to help you design the perfect space allows you to focus on enjoying it. We spoke with the experts at the American Society of Interior Designers (ASID) for the Carolinas to get some tips.
How do homeowners hire the right designer?
Have an idea of what you’d like your space to look like and use inspiration from magazines and design websites to get your message across to the designer. If you mesh well personally, chances are, the designer will know just how to infuse your personality into the home design. Other tips:
• Is the professional accredited as an interior designer?
• Does the designer have experience in the type of project you are doing?
• Has he/she demonstrated creativity, talent and resourcefulness in their portfolio?
• Is the designer attentive, responsive and do they communicate well with you?
• Be sure the designer has a record of reliability and good work habits.
What should homeowners expect to pay for an interior design project?
Designers, like other professionals, are different from one another in their combinations of talents, skills, knowledge, experience, personalities, specialty areas and reputations. Here, ASID outlines the common methods or combined methods for residential designers, tailored to fit the client’s needs:
• Fixed fee (or flat fee) — The designer identifies a specific sum to cover costs, exclusive of reimbursement for expenses. One total fee applies to the complete range of services, from conceptual development through layouts, specifications and final installation.
• Hourly fee — Compensation is based on actual time expended by the designer on a project or specific service.
• Cost plus — A designer purchases materials, furnishings and services at cost and sells to the client at the designer’s cost plus a specified percentage agreed to with the client to compensate for the designer’s time and effort.
ASID offers this final word about cost: How you choose to furnish your interior and how you work with your designer will have tremendous impact on the final cost of the project. Items such as antiques or custom-made furniture, and modifications that involve altering or moving load-bearing walls or beams will significantly increase the cost of your project, as will requesting changes mid-project or making excessive demands on the designer’s time. The more research and planning you do before you start, the more you will be able to help keep costs down during the project.
Be sure to also check other local associations such as the American Institute of Architects. Many architectural firms have in-house interior designers as well.
Alexander Grey 919-977-3492 www.alexandergreydesign.com
The Ambiente Collection 919-572-2870 ambientefurniture.com
American Institute of Architects 919-463-0333 www.aiatriangle.org
American Society of Interior Designers 828-668-2743 www.asidcarolinas.org
Amish Oak & Cherry 828-261-4776 www.amishoakandcherry.com
Area Modern Home and Lighting 919-908-8755 www.areamod.com
Beyond Blue Interiors 919-896-6630 www.beyondblueinteriors.com
Carolina Shutter & Blinds 919-833-9550 www.carolinashutterandblinds.com
Colorful Concepts Interior Designs 919-846-8281 www.colorfulconceptsinteriordesign.com
Eatmans Carpets & Interiors 919-782-6010 www.eatmansinc.com
Form & Function 919-831-2838 www.formandfunction-raleigh.com
Green Front Interiors & Rugs 919-754-9754 www.greenfront.com
Hunt & Gather at High Park Village 919-834-9989 www.huntandgathernc.com/bernard
Keith Lloyd Designs 919-818-7735
Nowell & Co. 252-237-3881
Riverview Galleries 919-477-0481 www.furniturestorenc.com
Stark 704-588-8842 www.starkcarpet.com
The Comfortable Couch Company 704-892-6680 www.cococohome.com
The Louver Shop 919-973-6209 www.louvershop.com
The Persian Carpet 919-489-8362 www.persiancarpet.com
Whitley Furniture Galleries 919-269-7447 www.whitleygalleries.com