I’ve always taken an interest in home design styles. Years before I took a test in middle school that said I should be an interior designer, I’d sketch different rooms in my imaginary house, complete with dimensions.
I work in government now so unfortunately, I didn’t end up pursuing that passion, though there’s always been a corner of my mind that lights up when I watch HGTV, walk into a Sherman Williams store, or even see a Home Depot commercial. That’s because to me decorating has always been much more than just about painting color or hanging a mirror. Designing and decorating a house – or in my case apartment – means turning a house into a home.
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Home is Where the Heart Is
And home is where I’m most comfortable. It’s where I can be creative and It’s where I rest. Home is where I study and grow and where I learn to cook. It’s where I make things. It’s where I feel safe.
With so much riding on home, it only makes sense that we create a space where we can feel the most comfortable, inspired, and content. And yes, sometimes that does involve a new paint color or hanging a mirror. But because we are all so different, our design styles are going to differ as much as our personalities. The key is not to make your place look like someone else’s, or even like it came out of a magazine. It’s to make it feel like home to you.
Making Our Home
My husband and I recently moved into a new apartment in Washington, D.C, and like most newlyweds, are learning to blend our two styles. My bedroom in my previous apartment was a mix of shabby chic meets French country meets 12-year-old girl. If I had to sum up his style I’d say it was…masculine. Needless to say, these two styles don’t exactly mesh well but we’re learning to find a new style that appeals to us both.
Sometimes I’m not sure of what my home design “style” is, though I’m quick to decide what I like and don’t like. Maybe you can relate. You like bits and pieces of things but don’t feel like you have a style yet. Well hopefully by the end of this article you will have a better understanding of what your style is, and start implementing some of those elements in your homes.
While I’d love to offer a comprehensive list of all the home design styles out there, that would be an insurmountable task that I am just not willing to take on. If it interests you though, I’m sure someone, somewhere has done it. For our purposes, I’ve chosen what I view as the Top 8 most popular home design styles out there today. And you can trust me because I watch a heck of a lot of HGTV.
8 Home Design Styles to Turn Your House into a Home
Farmhouse/ Rustic Chic.
Every watch Fixer Upper with Chip and Joanna Gaines? Almost every house, including their farmhouse that makes frequent appearances on the show, is decorated in Farmhouse Rustic Chic. It’s light and airy and mixes old rustic looking pieces with the occasional modern element. Here you’re likely to find chicken-wire, chalkboards, farm tables, and comfy couches. I think her designs are absolutely beautiful and I certainly wouldn’t complain if my house looked that way. And farm tables? Two thumbs up. For more inspiration, make sure to grab Joanna Gaines’ “Homebody” book on creating a home you love!
Photo was taken from here.
Up until recently traditionally used to be heavy and ornate, but thankfully the modernized tradition is quite beautiful. Whenever I think of traditional or American Classic I think of Pottery Barn, which nails my style on the head. It’s like the Colonial Houses of interior design – beautiful, comfortable, and always in style.
Shabby Chic/French Country/Glam
To be fair, these are three separate design styles, although they share so many of the same elements I feel it is fair to put them into one for our purposes.
French provincial (not mentioned above) is the French country’s richer, snobbier, gaudier cousin. Both can still be fancy though and require legs (legs!) on their furniture. French country, however, is very similar to shabby chic with its mix of patterns, distressed wood, and ruffles. After I am done with this I am going to go pick up this distressed flower jug for my living room!
French country and glam are similar in their use of mirrored objects (anything is fair game) chandeliers, and tufted furniture. I think these styles are very pretty and I tend to be drawn to all three of these them, although I can do without chandeliers and paint chipping off my furniture.
I’m not a big fan of mid-century modern, but all the cool kids are really into it now. I’ve never really been cool though so it doesn’t surprise me I don’t like it. Thanks to shows like Mad Men it is also gaining in popularity. If you consider yourself to be fashion-forward, artsy, or have love affair with the ’50s, this is probably the style for you. Here is a quote from Josh Holdeman from Sotheby’s: “Midcentury pieces are simply well-designed objects, with a timeless look. [Midcentury modern designs] sit very well in contemporary homes and interiors—they still feel fresh today, they still feel modern. I’m actually digging this mid-century modern plant stand so maybe there is hope for me yet.
A lot of those pieces haven’t been bettered. They still stand the test of time.”
I beg to differ but to each their own.
This style makes me really, really happy. Think different shades of blues, maybe a splash of seafoam perhaps different colored stripes. It can be bold or subtle – there is a lot of diversity. There is also a lot of white and driftwood and pieces of evidence of the sea, lake, or ocean.
I grew up on Lake Ontario so that’s probably why I have such a love for coastal style, but there is also just something beautiful and calming about it. Years ago Pottery Barn had a whole coastal collection I was so in love with I’ve kept the magazine for 12 years now. In it, there was a French provincial dresser (with legs!) painted blue with white seahorses and ships’ wheels. Thanks to Google I found it so you can be in awe of its beauty too.
I still dream about that dresser and decorating my whole house one day in Coastal décor. Until then, I’ll dream about this must-have coastal wall clock. How cute is that?!
Again, not my cup of tea but people seem to love it. Those that are into modern art or love in-your-face colors will be drawn to this style. It’s a mix-and-match style that allows you to pair elements that don’t match and still work.
Picture a really modern NYC loft and you will probably be envisioning industrial. Surprisingly, I take a liking to it sometimes. Restoration Hardware offers a lot of industrial furniture that I think mixed with some softer, more traditional pieces can balance a room nicely. Think wood mixed with metal on a brick wall. Add a candle, plant, and water feature and the feng shui folks would give you a stamp of approval.
Last but not least, transitional.
If traditional and contemporary home décor styles got married, this would be their baby. It’s the home décor that everyone can agree on because you can pick the best pieces of whatever era/style/color you like best – and match it with the opposite. It’s like that rustic cabin in the woods that offers all today’s modern amenities. And perhaps the best part is that you can swap out items as you will and still keep the overall look.
My Home Design Style:
1. Classic. It’s the same for the clothes I wear. I tend to steer clear of anything ultra-trendy because I feel it will go out of style next week. That and classic looked good yesterday, looks today and will look good tomorrow. Case in point: the classic trench coat. 2. Uncluttered. That might seem like an odd way to describe my design style but I seriously hate clutter – whether at home, at my desk at work, or in my mind. It is just not conducive, at least for me, to creative and clear thinking. Not surprisingly, I also hate knick-knacks. Candles are about as knick-knacky I get and that’s probably because I know once I burn them I can throw them away. If something is not useful, or I don’t really enjoy looking at it, chances are I won’t display it This is probably why I am a minimalist.
3. Light, natural colors. Too many strong colors in a room make me feel like I’m standing in the middle of Times Square, and if you know anything about me, standing in the middle of Times Square makes me feel like I am having a seizure.
I also like natural colors. Sometimes my husband likes to tease me that horrible dark heavy colors can be natural colors too, but my definition of natural colors would be anything that could be found in a garden or is neutral enough to work with many other colors.
4. Legs. Yes, you read that correctly: legs. I have an obsession with furniture with legs. I like legs on my dressers, tables, nightstands, and couches. To me, the legs on the furniture give it personality! I also prefer my furniture legs to have a design or curve to them. That and legs on furniture mean there is no room to hide your junk underneath. See point #2.
5. And the last word I would choose to describe my style would be comfortable. I don’t think people intentionally set out to find uncomfortable furniture and yet it still makes its way into our homes and apartments. All modern furniture looks uncomfortable to me. However, plush, squishy, soft, round…these are the words I would use to describe comfortable furniture.
Hopefully, you learned a thing or two about today’s most popular home designs, as well as your own personal style. Again, style is subjective but it’s also a reflection of you. So go ahead, grab some paint, buy a new chair, hang a mirror, and make your home/tiny house/apartment/yurt reflect more of you. Because as Dorothy reminded us, there’s no place like home.
Also, you might enjoy 4 ways I decorate on a BUDGET!