What is your design style?
Decorating a new home or undertaking a renovation? A blank canvas can be overwhelming if you can’t figure out the design direction, but home decorating should always be fun and not a hassle. Below, we highlight six popular and trendy design styles to help you narrow down what suits you best.
Traditional design has been a popular home design choice for centuries. It is easily distinguished by its use of classic materials, curved and soft lines, antique furnishings and intricate details. Traditional decor utilizes symmetry to create balance and comfort, and a conservative colour palette that promises a warm and inviting welcome. Traditional decor is certainly a dignified design style with timeless appeal.
Contemporary design signifies what is new, current and popular. This decor style focuses on clean and strong lines, simplicity and smooth forms. Less is definitely more with contemporary design: accessories are minimal and floors are unadorned. The decor leans heavily on a minimalist lifestyle, creating a beautiful space with little fuss and complications. Two key elements of contemporary design are the emphasis on natural light and open spaces. However, this style is certainly not mundane as it uses furniture with striking profiles as well as small pops of colours to create high impact.
Transitional design is the middle ground between traditional and contemporary design. Simple furnishings with clean lines form pleasing silhouettes, and textures are used as an alternative to colour to create visual interest. The colour scheme is usually monochromatic, which works wonders to seamlessly blend the two styles for elegance and harmony. Transitional design is becoming a popular choice because it uses the best aspects of traditional and contemporary decor to create a style that is both classic and current.
Modern / Mid-Century Modern
Modern design is commonly used interchangeably with contemporary design but the two are not equal. Unlike contemporary design, which is steeped in what is current, modern design ironically emerged in the early 20th century and is in fact referred to as Midcentury Modern. The essence of this design style is a practical relationship between material and function. Modern decor encourages a harmonious flow with inside and outdoor living via a fusion of organic and man-made materials. These materials include wood, concrete, metal and glass. Modern decor incorporates these materials for a low key yet beautiful and graceful look. Iconic furniture of midcentury modern designers, such as Charles and Ray Eames, Arne Jacobsen, Alva Aalto, George Nelson and Hans Wegner, set the stage for a defining look.
One of the best things about coastal design is that it brings the beauty of the seaside into your home wherever the location. A great misconception about coastal design is that it is all about the literal meaning of the word ‘coast’. However, coastal design is more about creating a light, bright and breezy living atmosphere. This style uses plenty of windows, clear glass and skylights to bring in natural light but a smart lighting arrangement can also achieve a similar effect. White, blues and greens along with neutral colours are used to mimic the natural ambience of the coast. Open spaces, casual and comfortable furniture, natural materials such as wood, jute and straw, and a selection of seaside accessories are staples of coastal design.
Eclectic design is a little bit of everything and therefore, the possibilities are endless. It is certainly a bold design choice and not for the faint of heart as eclectic decor incorporates a healthy dose of drama and whimsy. Eclectic design mixes and matches the old and new, the understated and the glitzy, and everything in between. However, there is a method to this and each piece will still need to work together under the principles of good design for a cohesive look. Whatever the mix, eclectic design always makes for an interesting living space.
The above design styles are only some of the most popular interior decor styles. There are many more. There are even subcategories in each of the main styles that branch out into more singular preferences, such as minimalism which stemmed from contemporary design. Interior design can also be categorized by location and culture; such styles include Mediterranean, Moroccan, Japanese, Spanish and Tuscan. Whatever your style preferences, there is a design style to match. The most important part is knowing what you like and dislike, and then the rest will fall in place.
Six steps for decorating small spaces
Small spaces can be challenging to decorate – but done right, they can feel comfortable, practical, and sophisticated. Read on for some great suggestions on how to transform the smaller spaces in your home.
1. Enhance the light
Light is a natural way of increasing the sense of space in an area – so if you have any natural light source, make the most of it. Keep window areas uncluttered to allow the maximum amount of light through – and add mirrors on opposing walls to fill the space with a greater sense of depth. If you lack natural light, then work with adding light in a creative way – a string of hanging lights over a mirror can be a great way of casting a soft glow across your space.
2. Multitask your furniture
Multitasking furniture is a brilliantly effective way of saving space in a practical way, and now it’s easier to find stylish solutions that serve more than one purpose. Folding sofa beds provide extra sleeping space for guests, which can easily be tucked away when not needed, while coffee tables with hidden storage can keep clutter conveniently at bay.
3. Work vertically
If you’re lacking in space across the area, working in layers can add a surprising amount of extra room. Taller bookcases or shelving with added compartments can be used effectively to add storage without filling up the room. You can get even more creative with wall space, by adding folding furniture that collapses easily into the wall – such as a fold-out bed or table.
4. Use consistent colour themes
Keeping your use of colour continuous through the home and minimising artwork on walls helps to keep a sense of spaciousness and airiness. Choose lighter, neutral hues rather than imposing darker shades or bright colours – if you’d like to work in a little more colour, then opt for lively accessories in vivid tones, such as a floor rug or small cushions.
5. Minimise clutter
It might seem obvious, but if you’re decorating a smaller space, then you want to add as little as possible to it. Avoid going overboard on extra accessories or artwork, as they can soon make a space feel cramped and overly busy. Instead, highlight the room with one or two subtle items, that can stand out. Aim to keep any visible surfaces as clear as possible, to create a calmer, uncluttered space.
6. Make use of little nooks
Tiny nooks, window spaces and forgotten corners can all make useful and practical extra spaces in even the smallest of rooms. A small nook can easily be transformed into a personal workspace with the addition of a desk surface and some extra shelving.
Four reasons why you should choose an interior designer
Working with an interior designer is sometimes seen as a costly, difficult and time-consuming venture to embark upon.
Visions of designers with strong aesthetic opinions, who might encourage you to increase your budget and persuading you into their concept of what looks attractive abound. But this need not be the case.
In reality – working with an interior designer is one of the best ways of creating the home of your dreams. Working with their expertise and advice, you’ll be surprised at how enjoyable and easy it is to redesign your home – transforming it into something truly special.
Read on for just 4 of the great reasons why you should consider choosing an interior designer for your next project:
Advice and guidance
Most interior designers have worked with all kinds of spaces – from tiny apartments to enormous homes, offices, penthouses and everything in between.
That means you benefit from their knowledge and experience. If you’ve got something in mind but you’re not sure if it will work or not – they’ll be able to give their expert input on how to make it work for you.
And it’s not just the big projects that a designer can help you on. They can also give you pointers on everything from the style of furniture you choose – to colour schemes and even accessories and artwork for the walls.
Even if you feel that your design skills are ample for your project, the fact is – any major renovation or decoration project is going to be time-intensive.
Which means that you can expect to spend an enormous amount of time overseeing things, instead of getting on with your work and life.
An interior designer does more than simply look at design. They can also manage projects, ensuring that they run smoothly, tackling any problems that arise, and keep a close eye on timescale and budget for you.
While hiring a designer may cost more than doing the design yourself – in the long run, an interior designer can actually end up saving you money.
They’ll help you avoid costly mistakes, to start with. Buying more paint than you need, impulse buying furnishing or accessories that don’t really work for your home, choosing the wrong kind of fixtures…these little things soon add up on your budget, and an experienced interior designer can help you avoid them. On top of this – they can also help you plan out your budget, and even advise on where to purchase things to save money.
But as well as helping you save money, an interior designer can help you to increase the value of your home – by styling it in a contemporary and attractive way, that will be most appealing to potential buyers.
Working with an expert in any field has one great advantage that you simply can’t get if you do it yourself – access to great contacts.
Along with their years of experience, an interior designer is likely to know several architects, decorators, plumbers, electricians and more. They’ll already have a good rapport with them – and may be able to work out a better deal than you might have got otherwise. Plus you’ve got the assurance that they’ll choose someone who is capable of doing the job well.
What do you think? Is it worth getting an interior designer? Have you worked with one?
Let us know!