Okay, so you’re moving into your new home, and the time has come for you to decide exactly how you are going to treat the interior. I recently came out of an apartment that had a very “man cave” look to it…. movie posters on the walls, the computer in the living room, movie soundtrack albums framed in the dining area, etc. But when I bought my house, I rapidly determined that I wanted something different, a little more traditional, a little more elegant, if you will.
There are a number of approaches you can take when planning for the interior design:
Contemporary – this style usually appears fairly harsh and cold due to hard angles and stark color schemes (a lot of black, gray, and white). However, if properly tempered with the right amount of colored accents, it can actually become rather warm and inviting.
Traditional – this remains the most popular of all interior designs, with curved furniture made from dark wood and upholstered with coordinating fabrics, along with chandeliers, glass, and porcelain lighting utilizing a variety of shades.
Asian – just what it sounds like, this theme incorporates Chinese and Japanese influences that create an impression of peace and serenity.
Classical – this style uses a lot of yellows, greens, ad differing hues of grey and pink to achieve its color palette. You’ll also find a lot of columns, busts, and urns, mostly inspired by Greek or Roman architecture.
Country – this author’s favorite style, country flavored homes are usually quite warm and inviting, namely due to the use of natural, hand crafted, and time worn materials. The colors are inspired by the surrounding landscape, along with a plethora of floral or checkered patterns. Wrought iron and stone are also used in the construction and/or decoration process, as well as distressed wood and pottery.
Tropical – for the homeowner who wants to feel like every day is “getting away from it all”, this style incorporates a color scheme featuring beige and softer shades of brown, alongside furniture made from distressed wood, rattan, or bamboo. Teak furniture is also popular, but requires significant care to properly maintain. Cotton, linen, and silk make up the fabric base for this decorative style.
Rustic – this is the first cousin to the Country style, with high beamed ceilings, stone fireplaces, and tin lampshades. The overall impact is to create a warm and cozy environment.
Tuscan or Mediterranean – this is just what it sounds like, a decorative style based on design elements found in Mediterranean villages, with hardwood floors, stone fireplaces, and high wood beams.
There are several factors to take into consideration when planning your room design, namely lighting, colors, patterns, and furniture.
The more natural light you have in a room, the more open and airy it is going to feel and appear. Rooms tend to appear larger when there are fewer shadows present.
By the same token, darker colors tend to make a room feel smaller and more closed in, while lighter colors make it appear larger and more spacious. Same goes for various textures, with smooth surfaces reflecting light in such a way as to create the illusion of space and size, and rougher textures and patterns creating a more intimate feel.
When it comes to furniture, it becomes much like trying to define art…you’ll know it when you see it. You may skip over two dozen different pieces before deciding on the one that will work most effectively in your home. As a general rule, keep larger pieces of furniture against walls to preserve space. The one exception may be your sofa, which in most cases should be in the center of the room it occupies.
Choose pieces that stand off the floor on legs are made of materials that reflect light or let light through. An example is a glass center table for the living room or a glass dining table for the kitchen.
You can also find pieces at your local furniture store that will work well in your home, however, many times looking through a used furniture or antique store may provide you with options that can bring a unique flair to your decorating. Well-worn or naturally distressed pieces add character to your design, and of course many of these older pieces are no longer generally available. Take the time to go through your local mom ‘n pop outlet before making your final decisions.