Archive for the 'Styles' Category

04
May
10

The Hunt for the Perfect Kitchen

It took me a while to figure out what I wanted to write about again, but after some time, I’ve decided that it’s back to styles.  However, I don’t intend it to be just any style or systematically going through all styles, as was done in previous posts.  I would like to spend some time figuring out what my style is so that I can then build room-by-room on that.  Then, once the style has been identified, we can work on how to make a room in that style including painting techniques, accents, and decorations.  Ultimately, then, this blog will be dedicated to primarily one style, therefore serving the purpose of how to decorate accordingly.

To begin, let’s start with kitchens.  The kitchen is perhaps my favorite room in the house.  This is probably because in my past, many joyous events, both significant and “normal” have occurred in this room.  Therefore, I believe that narrowing my style down in this room first will serve as a pilot throughout the rest of the house I hope someday to have.  So let’s get started, shall we?

This is perhaps one of my favorite kitchens ever!  I believe I posted the above picture in a previous post; this would be because this style is considered MODERN FRENCH COUNTRY.  If that is the case, then by all means, sign me up for this one!  I love the beamed ceilings and distressed wooden cabinets.  The use of both white and brown woods is quite charming, especially with the surprising splash of an unusual color.

This picture introduces brick into the style, which again, I find delightful.  Stone or brick used as an interior design feature is quite wonderful.  Also notice the archways in the background.


In my opinion, this kitchen is very warm and inviting.  Though it is by all means a well-designed and well-constructed kitchen, it appears welcoming to all who enter.  It is not ostentatious, but offers a sophisticated coziness.  I guess we’ll be doing more research along these lines!

Advertisements
25
Feb
10

Spanish

This post includes some pictures of Spanish and Mexican styles.  I am very much aware that Spanish and Mexican are about as similar as American and British, which is to say there may be ancestry, but there are still significant differences.  The Spanish style is influenced by the Mediterranean and is inspired by coastal colors: blues, greens, browns, and whites primarily.  Terracotta reds and oranges also have a place given the wide use of tiles.

The hanging tapestry, authentic pillows, and breezy color palette are used as subtle touches of Mediterranean and Spanish influences.

Use a neutral color palette, as shown in the picture above, to highlight the architectural features of the room.  I love the asymmetrical, yet symmetrical curtains on the windows.

Notice the decorate wrought iron accents in the room above.  This element in particular serves a hacienda-type atmosphere.

Vibrant tiles, as in the shower shown above, add a Mexican flair to the room.  Notice the stone wall art and the blue, white, and yellow sink.  All these features work together to create a sophisticated, Mexican-style bathroom!  Stone, ceramics, pottery, and wrought iron are typical artistic expressions for both Spanish and Mexican style rooms.

Thanks to http://www.hgtv.com/decorating/spice-up-your-casa-spanish-style/pictures/index.html and http://interiordesign.lovetoknow.com/Spanish_Interior_Design for their input for this post!

24
Feb
10

Tuscan

Similar to the french country and cottage styles, the tuscan style also is inspired by elements of nature.  It bears similarity to the french country style in that it uses wrought iron, stone, and rustic elements, however, there are differences that make it a unique style.  One of the primary elements that sets this style apart is S I M P L I C I T Y.

As one website put it, “From ancient Roman times, people moved to the beautiful hills of central Italy to remove themselves from city life, escape the intrigue of politics, and embrace the idealized culture of the country. They enjoyed the beauty of nature and incorporated the elements into their villas. These same elements are what makes Tuscan style decorating so appealing for our homes today.”  (about.com)

Common colors are Siena yellow, blues, terracotta, and brick.  Unlike the french country style that is conducive to a wide array of colors, this style is not quite so compatible.  Though any style can be modified, the true tuscan style caters to a limited set of colors.  The colors should be muted and appear weathered to create a timeless beauty.  One common color technique is stark white walls to contrast with the dark wood beams in the ceiling and furniture.

This style also features stucco, or similarly textured, walls to create the Italian country aura.  The floors are typically made of wide timber planks, tile, brick, or rough stones.  Terracotta tiling is perhaps one of the primary flooring options.

Stone, in its natural form, is a common feature of the tuscan style, as depicted in the picture above.  Tuscans respect the past and do not think that it should be removed and discarded, rather, they should be proudly displayed.  Woods that are commonly used include oak, chestnut, or cherry.  Wood with a shiny or glossy finish does not fit well with this style, just as it would be also out of place in a french country style.

Use rough wooden beams in the ceiling.  The furniture has straight, clean lines.  Wooden items typically are hand-worked.  Wrought iron adds a charming element to this style, as it does to the french country style.  Don’t paint furniture, which is different than the cottage-style we studied a couple weeks ago.

A fireplace in a tuscan-style kitchen would be ideal, but that is typically not a luxury available to most.  Use hard, dark wood for the pantry and shelves.  Kitchen counters are typically made of granite, travertine, or tile.  Some say that a wooden family dining table is mandatory in a tuscan kitchen.

This style is quite appealing to me, probably most of all the ones studied so far.  Though I wouldn’t mind using elements of it in my own home, I don’t think I would go all-out Tuscan.  The simplicity is really quite appealing, but the general color schemes are different than my preferences at this time.  Let’s keep looking!

Much of this information was extracted from http://experience-tuscany.thriftytuscany.com/the-colors-and-materials-of-a-tuscan-home-indoors/2984, but http://www.lifeinitaly.com/decor/decorating/tuscan-colors.asp was the primary source of tuscan style interior decorating!

22
Feb
10

French Country

After my week-long blog vacation, I’m back and with a renewed passion!  We’ll continue where we left off with decorating styles.  From contemporary to romantic, modern to cottage, we have covered a wide range of styles already, but we have only barely scratched the surface.  Additionally, it is my personal goal to find the style, or mix thereof, that exemplifies my tastes and preferences; we have not yet made progress on accomplishing this goal.  So, let us begin again with French Country!

A central element of this style is the use of natural materials, such as plastered walls, beamed ceilings, wood details, stone fireplace, etc.

Armoires are an essential piece of furniture for this style.  Furniture usually has a dull, low-sheen finish as in the worn look of the furniture above.

Toile, shown in the pictures above, is a central fabric.  Note, however, that there is not a strict set of colors for this style; it is conducive to a wide array of color schemes.  The two fabric samples above are completely different color schemes, but both can be used to create the warm, charming atmosphere that accompanies this style.  Common colors used are bright golds, rust, splashes of blue, and lavender purple.

Key words of this style are: old, charming, rustic, worn, warm.  But, as depicted by this picture above, it doesn’t have to be without class or quality.  The use of neutral colors in the picture above is sophisticated and this sophistication is made suddenly charming by not only the accents and features throughout the room, but by the splash of teal on the shutters.

Here’s a cozier french country style kitchen to contrast the one above it.  Note that almost all the pictures of rooms so far displayed have beamed ceilings and light color woods (darker woods used only as accents).

Common accents of this style are roosters & chickens, wrought iron, whimsical curves, pails, baskets, and other such items.  Notice the watering can on the shelf above and the style and texture of the blue wall.

Here’s a room that utilizes yellow as a primary color in the color scheme.  Notice the stone of the fireplace, as mentioned earlier, and the toile-like fabric on the chair.

I love the use of the nature pictures in this photo and soft green wanes coating.  Notice the copper pot sitting in the stone fireplace to add a rustic feel to an otherwise formal room.  The yellow flowers on the table are simply classic.  I don’t believe that this is a true french country style dining room, but it does hold elements of the style that are notable.

The information from this post is attributable primarily to http://interiordec.about.com/b/2010/02/08/french-countryside-in-your-very-own-home.htm and http://www.bhg.com/decorating/decorating-style/country-french/country-french-decorating-ideas/.  Visit for yourself for more links related to this style!

11
Feb
10

Romantic

I will be the first to admit that the romantic style is quite repulsive to the very core of my being.  But, as with the contemporary or modern styles of interior design, we need to acknowledge its existence and give it some stage time regardless of my personal opinion!

The primary buzz word of this style is femininity.  You can add masculinity to the room, so as to make sure your husband still feels manly while lounging on the couch, by introducing straight lines in fabric patterns and curtains, for example.  Similar to the cottage style, use pastel colors for your color scheme.  However, unlike cottage, there are quite a bit more frills and curves in this style.

This style is also quite ornate, bordering on gaudy, if one is not careful.

Overstuffed furniture and fabrics fit nicely into the romantic style.  The ruffled bed skirts add flair.  I love the four-poster bed frames in this picture.

This style also lends itself to luscious valences and drapes.  It can be quite sophisticated if done properly.

Perhaps the most dangerous element of this style is that if done improperly, it can prove disastrous.  What could have been a sophisticated, upscale living room could easily become a museum of the living room your great-grandmother had.  The margin of error allowed in this style is quite small compared to the cottage style.

09
Feb
10

Cottage

A cottage style does not take much work to be inviting and welcoming, unlike the contemporary style previously exhibited.  A cottage style has graceful lines with a colorful, comfortable appeal.  Typical fabric options include chintz, toile, floral, or plain fabric. For those on a budget, this style is great since slip covers have a natural place in this style (notice the two chairs in the picture above).

This style is characterized by old, timeless pieces of furniture and time-worn paint.  Window treatments need to be light and breezy.  Use pale colors instead of bold or dark ones.

Common “buzz” words of this style are: feminine, floral, cozy, pastel, distressed.  In the picture above, I love the texture of the walls!

Use furniture with a distressed look.  And remember: graceful lines, as in the chair above.

Floral items are an excellent addition to a cottage-style room.  The bouquets above are in metal tin vases, but it is quite fitting for the room.  Notice the pictures on the wall: all are of flowers.  See part of the wicker chair?  Wicker furniture also goes well with this style.

The cabinets of this kitchen are of the lightest tint of blue.  Even though the hardwood floor is darker, it does not take away from the general character of the cottage style.  The chandelier also adds body to this room.

When it comes to the cottage style, there are numerous variations, including shabby chic cottage, vintage cottage, french cottage, etc., etc. and there are endless resources on this particular style, since it is so popular.  It’s perhaps the most functional style as it is fitting anywhere (beach, country, woods, etc.) and works quite well under a budget (no sleek leather couches necessary).

For an excellent resource to kick-off your cottage-style decorating scheme, visit http://www.cottagestyledecoratingguide.com/cottagestylefurniture.php for more ideas and suggestions!  Or just google “Cottage Style Decorating.”  A whole slew of resources are available at your fingertips!

08
Feb
10

Contemporary

The contemporary style features soft, rounded lines.  Neutral colors are used, such as gray, black, and brown in the picture below, with spurts of color (purple cala lilies on the coffee table).

This picture above has spurts of green with the same clean lines and neutral colors.

The picture above has a twinge of traditional, but the couch is decidedly contemporary.  The orange pillows provide the spurt of color on the neutral background.  Notice the clean cut lines of the side tables.

One danger of the contemporary style is that the hard lines could become severe and unwelcoming.  Utilize natural sunlight and a variety of texture to mitigate this potential negative side effect.

This picture above shows how lines and textures are used, instead of color, to give body to a contemporary style, while still keeping it contemporary.  There are hardly any colors in this kitchen and the lines are certainly crisp and clean.  The lighting and texture (baskets in island, texture-appearing lights) give body to this otherwise boxy room.

Here’s another very contemporary-style kitchen.

This contemporary bedroom has the clean lines typical of this style.  The spark of color comes from the multi-colors velvet pillows on the bed.  Notice, particularly in this picture, what is not there.  There is no patterned comforter, no multitude of lush, froofy pillows.  Simple. Clean. Neutral.

This contemporary living space has more color than other contemporary styles, but it does not betray its style.  Though the clean line are still here, notice the circles in the rug.  Curves are typically quite scarce in a contemporary style, but the black and white colors make it work.  The painting is reminiscent of the shelving that it promotes and ties in the two red chairs.

That will do us for now.  But if you want to see more pictures of contemporary rooms, visit http://www.homeandfamilynetwork.com/decorating/room.html and see this excellent slideshow for yourself!