When it comes to one’s decor style, people often know what they like, but don’t necessarily have the words to express it.
The following are my interpretations of different styles to help you understand the basics. This is not a lesson in design, as I am no scholar. These are just some broad stroke labels to help you decipher what style you vibe towards. You do not have to have just one style… in fact, I think it’s best when you combine two or more, as that is how you create personal style.
For the sake of simplicity, I’ve broken these styles into three topic headings: Comfort, Cool and Classic.
There can be some un-stylish connotations when talking about a family friendly room, but that doesn’t have to be the case. The mistake is getting bland, nondescript pieces and thinking a brightly colored pillow is all that is needed to give the room its style.
Contemporary furniture is oversized and sturdy. This is where you hang out. Kids and pets allowed.
The key words are comfort and community, but it needs to manifest in lush, sharable furniture. And no clutter. Clutter is what makes a room go from chic to sad. Good storage is key. THE VISUAL EMBODIMENT: An oversized ottoman that you can kick your feet up on.
Similar to Family Friendly in how it uses its furnishings. This is just Family Friendly’s more outdoorsy sibling. Design-wise, this is about bringing the outside in. Natural materials over metal and plastic. Ratan and wicker. Nautical and earth tones. Slip covered everything. Comfortable, easy, well-worn. But also simple, elegant and personalized. THE VISUAL EMBODIMENT: Navy & White stripe Sunbrella fabric.
MID CENTURY MODERN:
“Contemporary” is now. “Modern” is 20th century, be it due to the industrial revolution or due to the new thoughts in art and design after WWII.
Natural materials impeccably executed to create artistic statements.
Teak wood. muted colors. Minimal. This is my no-fail look when working with people who are hesitant of what a “decorated” room will be, because it’s so easy to point to style examples on screen that prove its cool-factor. The trick here is to find the comfort in what can sometimes be a form over function look. Newer pieces that harken back to the time often give added comfort while maintaining the iconic style. The other trick is to not let a space feel like a movie or TV set. THE VISUAL EMBODIMENT: This Eames Lounge Chair and Ottoman, which as far as I’m concerned is the perfect lounge chair.
The positive connotations here are about seeing ahead to what will have staying power. The negatives would be hard, harsh spaces with no personality. The trick is to find the balance. It’s the removal of frill and pattern in leu of lux but unadorned accessories. Everything is monochromatic and simple. No clutter or even the suggestion of hidden clutter. THE VISUAL EMBODIMENT: This slate colored metal squared off dresser.
HOLLYWOOD REGENCY/ART DECO/ GLAM:
Bunching all of these together, but if you live for the word fabulous, these styles are for you. This is over-the-top chic. Nothing cluttered, but plenty to look at. Fur and chrome. Satin and chandeliers. Lacquer and animal prints everywhere. Expensive. Art Deco design.
There can be classic furnishings, but nothing should feel old or antiquated.
There is a modern look to this space, though it harkens back to time when Hollywood told the world what was stylish. THE VISUAL EMBODIMENT: These lux silver velvet chairs attributed to famed interior decorator Billy Haines.
Sophistication with a sense of humor. Regal and styled but with an edge. Heavily embroidered fabrics. Ornately carved chairs upholstered in equally ornate prints. Patterns on patterns. Bold juxtaposition. Wallpaper abounds. The more traditional version (or what I think of as Southern Country) has more of a traditional feel and maybe less whimsey. I think the whimsey is what makes this look so appealing. That said, there is a true art to making multiple patterns not only work together, but seem traditionally elegant and classic at the same time. THE VISUAL EMBODIMENT: This strong but classic acid colored wallpaper.
The Bohemian look is English Country’s well-travelled cousin. Similar to the colorful, multiple prints of English country, but more Eastern in its approach. Paisleys and fringe. Saris and batiks. And color, lots of color. Draping. Sexy. Cozy. This is the opposite of minimal. THE VISUAL EMBODIMENT: This Indian hand-blocked bedding .
Similar to bohemian, the eclectic space is a mash-up of the world traveler. But here, it’s a free for all. Everywhere the eye lands is a story. Lot’s of accessories and trinkets and objet d’art. Everything is about the juxtaposition.
It’s a ceramic elephant lamp beside an African wood-carved bowl holding rocks gathered from mountain top, all on an antique Chinoiserie lacquered table.
The good version of this makes you want to be invited to a party here and never leave. THE VISUAL EMBODIMENT: Anything that you pick up to figure out what it is.
CITY CHIC/MANHATTAN CHIC/PARISIAN CHIC:
I am putting this last, because the magic here is that to me, it encompasses a bit of every style mentioned above. This is the well curated home. There may be a mid century chair next to an ornately upholstered settee. There may be an abundance of art on on one wall, and the simplest vase sitting alone on a long hand-forged table. There may be heavy velvet drapes or maybe no window treatment at all (assuming the windows stand alone in their beauty). There are artifacts from travels and there is room to grow.
The furniture is both comfortable and endlessly special.
Everything has it’s place, and the space is lacking for nothing. This is part hotel living in its muted color scheme, and its pared down accessories. It is part home comfort in its welcoming vibe. This is where you curl up with your coffee and read the paper. This is where you entertain. This is where you relax after a long day. Great attention on the bones of the room. For me, this is what I look to achieve every time I work on a space. THE VISUAL EMBODIMENT: Neatly stacked art books with something interesting on top.
Which describes your decor style?
Xo.Alec Holland Design, Beach house, Billy Haines, Bohemian, Classic Hollywood Regency, Comfort, Design styles, English Country, Family Friendly, Industrial, Interior Design Styles, Manhattan Style, MCM, Mid Century, Minimalist, Parisian Chic, Smarter Alec, Steampunk, Thoughts and Tips, what's your design style?, Zen