Traditional Interior Design


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Traditional style embodies timeless furnishings, classic symmetry, elegant patterns and rich colors. Some might feel it is too formal, but that couldn’t be further from the truth. Traditional homes have a warm, welcoming style that showcases the best of the past.


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Traditional design elements originate from a wide variety of places and periods. Popular influences are historic styles of the 18th and 19th centuries including neoclassical, French provincial, British colonial, Georgian, regency, federal, baroque and rococo.

A traditional room can be best described as formal yet comfortable. Beautiful millwork and molding featuring egg-and-dart or dentil detail, handcrafted furniture and classic lines characterize this conventional decorating style. Gracious furnishings, elegant fabrics and timeless accessories make traditional style so easy—to create and experience.


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Traditional style is logical and symmetrical. Everything from structural design and room arrangement to placement of accessories and art is all about balance and order. While symmetry is a hallmark of traditional style, it is more than acceptable to occasionally stray from this exacting design standard to create a more relaxed and livable space.

One of the most common types of traditional furniture placement consists of seating pieces positioned across from one another. For example, two sofas or a sofa and pair of armchairs can be placed face-to-face to encourage conversation. The room’s focal point would be situated on either end of the grouping. This arrangement is great for entertaining, reading, watching television or enjoying a roaring fire. Enhance the room’s symmetry by using identical decorative pillows, one on either side of the sofa and in each armchair.

When shopping for lamps and side tables, always buy in pairs. On its own, a single lamp can look forlorn and lost. Identical lamps perched on matching side tables flanking a sofa provides even illumination. A pair of matching accent chairs on either side of a library table creates a sensible seating area.

Symmetry even extends to the placement of artwork. Centering artwork horizontally and vertically around or on either side of a center point will maintain equilibrium. Use identical frames and consistent spacing to reinforce repetition—another important characteristic of symmetry. You can add visual interest while maintaining symmetry by mixing artwork styles, sizes and mediums.

Color and Pattern

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Go with subtle and serene colors in traditional rooms. The best way to achieve this is to choose colors from the middle range of a paint chip. Stay true to the style by staying away from extremes—colors should be easy on the eyes with nothing too weak or too saturated.

Avoid using different wall colors from room to room. Make each room a shade darker or lighter along the same paint chip. This method keeps colors consistent without jarring contrasts. Pleasing color palettes for traditional rooms range from jewel-tone primary colors that look stunning with rich wood tones to nature-inspired color schemes that are elegant, warm and appealing.

Stripes, plaids, damasks, florals and toiles all work in traditional spaces. Believe it or not, a combination of prints can even coexist in the same room. You can use several patterns but they should all be compatible with regard to color, style and scale. If your first choice is a large floral, you can easily add progressively smaller patterns such as checks and paisleys to the mix.

Wood Furniture and Accents

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Whether it’s a matched set of cherry dining chairs or rich walnut wainscoting, dark wood tones are fundamental to this enduring style. Chippendale, Sheraton, Louis XV and Queen Anne are among the furniture styles at the forefront of traditional design.

Traditional wood furniture features turned legs, curved backs, bun feet, bobbin frames and ornamental carving creating shadow and movement that straight lines just can’t equal. Wood furniture pieces can be painted or stained, but purists always opt for authentic wood tones over modern affectations. Natural wood offers just the right touch of visual warmth and sophistication that is so central to the style.

Window Treatments

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Traditional style is all about understated window treatments. Floor-to-ceiling curtain creations frame windows in luxurious fabrics like elegant Dupioni silk, warm velvet or crisp linen. Curtain panels are fairly tailored with pinch pleats and unadorned save for the occasional tassel tieback. For added interest, curtain panels can be layered over privacy sheers, natural woven shades or even shutters.


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Traditional rugs never look dated. They are the timeless classics of the design world. Although you are probably familiar with traditional rug styles such as Persian and Oriental, you should also consider European designs like Aubusson, Savonnerie and Anatolian. These centuries-old motifs work with almost anything to create a beautiful backdrop and anchor for traditional furnishings.

Accessories and Artwork

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Accessorize traditional rooms with a few carefully chosen items consisting of refined and graceful lines and scant ornamentation. Concentrate on symmetrical and simple arrangements to keep things free of clutter. If you have collections, edit and rotate items on a seasonal basis. Keep your collectibles such as figurines, books and decorative boxes in a group or evenly dispersed throughout the space.

Hang large pieces of art or mirrors over the mantel or the sofa. For smaller artwork, follow the rule of eye level and hang art in pairs or create a grid layout with similar pieces in matching frames. Add candlesticks, a chandelier and fresh flowers to complete a traditional vignette.

Not all traditional dining rooms are overly fussy and formal, but most do feature customary tableware and accessories like crystal glasses, candles, silver, fine china and stunning centerpieces. Keep your tablescapes relaxed and down-to-earth by mixing neutral ironstone or creamware pieces with elaborately patterned china.

Old World Design

Old World

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The trademark of Old World style is its comfortable, aged appearance that is reminiscent of European manor homes, estates and villas. Details like hand troweled plaster walls, exposed stone surfaces and rugged wood beams are the basis of Old World style. Add to that oversized furniture pieces, lots of texture and rich color and you have the formula for a stately style that’s not afraid to show its age.

Old World
Old World style is a European hybrid encompassing a range of design standards dating back to the Medieval and Renaissance periods. Its influences come from different countries and regions, but most designers treat it as a mixture of Tudor, Spanish Colonial, Tuscan, Mediterranean and French chateau. Whatever its true origins, Old World is one of those styles you know when you see it—easily identifiable by its time-worn finishes, arched windows and doorways, barrel vault ceilings, fabulous textures and a tapestry of rich colors reminiscent of stately European manors and villas.

If you want a style that creates a flawless combination of reserved and rustic, then Old World is perfect look for your home. Rough elements such as wooden beams, aged plaster, limestone and wrought iron blend beautifully with luxurious textiles such as velvet, silk damask, needlework and brocade. Furnishings are weathered yet retain their aristocratic countenance. Rooms are formal but manage to maintain a welcoming ambiance.

Color Palette

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Old World colors run deep, dark, rich and noble. Imagine aged shades of indigo, raw umber, gold, Prussian green, bisque, ochre and Venetian red—straight out of a Rembrandt painting. Employ a variety of finishes from dark-stained woods to painted, worn and weathered techniques that replicate centuries of wear.


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The hallmarks of Old World furniture are attention to detail and handcrafted design. Furniture pieces include a variety of classic European styles from Gothic to Baroque. One thing they all have in common is their weight and stature. The oversized wood furniture is either ornately carved or basic and rough-hewn.

Seating features distressed leather and exquisite fabric upholstery with hand hammered hardware accents. Look for dining tables with crossbar supports or chunky pedestals. Bookcases and cabinets are imposing pieces with carved detail such as fluted pilasters, acanthus leaf accents and crown and base moldings.


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Old World fabrics include richly decorated brocades and damasks, sumptuous velvets and elaborate tapestries. Heavy, elegant and ornate drapery panels create warmth and visual interest hung from substantial wrought iron or turned wood curtain rods. Upholstery, tablecloths, bedding and curtain panels are accented with a variety of decorative embellishments like tassels, French gimp, bullion fringe and braided trim.

Floors and Walls

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Choose natural materials to create an Old World mood. Travertine, limestone, tumbled marble or salvaged wood planks are good options. A more economical option would be laminate flooring that mimics rough-hewn wood or dark, large-scale ceramic or porcelain tile that looks like stone.

Warm up those hard surface floors with period appropriate area rugs. Look for rugs that have that faded, Old World appeal. Oriental, Aubusson and Persian rugs suit the style perfectly. Even though antique carpets are extremely cost prohibitive, modern manufacturing processes give new rugs that distressed, muted look found in age-old floor coverings.

Go all-in with the Old World look by installing wood paneling, painting, faux finishing or texturing your walls. Picture walls of antiquity with their worn, chipped textures and uneven surfaces. Color washing can give walls a subtle hint of warm, earthy color by mixing glaze and water with pigments of rust, tan, gold or ochre. Create a plaster finish on drywall by applying joint compound with a trowel. The results are rustic yet refined.


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Wrought iron candelabra and decorative wall grilles add a romantic, Spanish colonial feel. Oversized vases, urns and hand painted pottery make an Old World room come to life. Paintings in ornately carved frames depicting rural European scenes, portraiture, floral and religious art add a sense of authenticity. Take advantage of large bookcases by filling them with a variety of old books, decorative boxes and period artifacts.


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Lighting creates warmth that can’t be achieved with furnishings alone. As with accessories, most Old World lighting fixtures are crafted from metals and wrought iron. Scrolls and curves are common lighting designs. Sconces, lanterns and chandeliers dominate Old World lighting. No style defines Old World lighting more than hoop or multi-ring chandeliers. This style dates back to Medieval times and continues to inspire today.

Modern Design


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Modern style has been around for close to a century and is still a favorite among those who appreciate sophisticated and minimal design. One thing that makes modern style timeless is the overriding principle that form follows function. In other words, the foundation of modern design is practicality over style.

Modernism began in the 1880s as a philosophical movement to advance progressive and spontaneous thought, which was at odds with the structured beliefs carried over from the Age of Enlightenment. Soon the movement began to affect all aspects of life including art, music, literature, architecture and interior design. Modern interior style began at the turn of the 20th century and peaked in the early 1960s.

Modern interior design grew in several directions, making it difficult to define as a singular style. Simply stated, it refers to the impact of the modern art movement on home interiors. Several key characteristics weave themselves through all modern designu2014minimal spaces, the use of plastics, metals and woods, geometric and organic shapes and bold accent color.

Art Deco
Art Deco style, adopted by architects and designers worldwide, grew out of the stylized Art Nouveau movement. The optimistic and frivolous Roaring Twenties introduced the world to jazz, flappers, radio, mechanized industry, skyscrapers, modern travelu2026and Art Deco. Born during the heyday of the 1920s, it survived the Depression and lasted until the beginning of World War II.

Art Decou2019s luxurious whites, gleaming metallics, dramatic monochromatic schemes and tropical colors varied greatly based on geographic location. At the same time interior color was coming into its own thanks to advances in paint and fabric manufacturing. Art Deco style architecture and furniture featured symmetry, parallel lines, grand curves and a streamlined profile with smooth, sleek surfaces.

Geometric patterns could be seen in everything from textiles to metalwork and art glass. Poplar designs included harlequin, fan motifs, herringbone and chevron. Newly invented Bakelite plastic was used in home accessories and furniture as an inexpensive alternative to natural materials like ebony, marble and tortoiseshell.

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Bauhaus style began as a school of art, architecture and design. Walter Gropius, the father of Bauhaus, founded the German school as the First World War was nearing an end. His mantra of form following function emerged from the Arts and Crafts movement, which was hitting its stride at the same time. As with Art Deco, new materials, developments in manufacturing and mass production of furniture played a big role in creating Bauhaus interior style.

Bauhaus was all about classical shape minus ornamentation. It was an extremely efficient, functional and lean style. Another core Bauhaus concept was keeping material and design real. This is evident in the furniture design of the time. An iconic example is the Barcelona chairu2014epitomizing truth in materials and design with its sleek tubular steel frame and leather upholstery.

Curtains or blinds, like walls were typically white and had no embellishments. Minimal window treatments allowed abundant natural light to illuminate open spaces. Colorful and graphic abstracts graced the walls, pillows and area rugs. Although accessories were based on organic forms and natural textures, they were made with the latest materials and technologies. Wood and stone accents were sometimes used to temper the modern feel.

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A buildingu2019s bonesu2014structural beams, weathered wood, concrete floors, brick walls, HVAC ducts, electrical lines and plumbing pipes serve as the foundation of industrial design. This style really took off when abandoned factories and warehouses of the late 19th and early 20th centuries were converted into residential lofts in the 1990s. The raw architecture and open concept spaces are still highly coveted among urban dwellers.

Whether you live in a loft or not, you can incorporate these industrial design elements into your home. The popularity of this deconstructed style lies in its total lack of pretense and high regard for reclaimed objects. The blue-collar quality of industrial style is easily relatable.

This interior style shuns large expanses of bright, bold color. It instead opts for a mix of neutral tones to warm up cold, industrial elements. Shades of taupe look great with pops of white or black and amp up the modern vibe. Industrial pendant lighting and tripod floor lamps help light lofty spaces.

Transform ordinary drywall by installing weathered brick veneer. Large-scale wall art or gallery groupings fill expansive walls. Counteract hard surfaces with modern upholstered seating. Polished concrete and salvaged wood are ideal flooring finishes for the industrial look. Use metals, woods and recycled glass for tables and counter surfaces.

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Mid-Century Modern
Mid-century modern style is a representation of advancements in modern design, architecture and urban planning from the 1930s through the mid-1960s. After World War II, suburban tract homes sprung up across America featuring picture windows, spacious floor plans and easy access to the outdoors.

This new residential architecture inspired the furnishings and interior design of mid-century modern style. Simple lines, organic curves and contrasting materials characterize this design movement. Furniture pieces were low profile and showcased the beauty of natural wood and metals.

Graphic patterns and a varied palette of nontraditional colors such as turquoise, orange, citrus, pink, mustard and avocado completed new furniture materials like fiberglass, Lucite, Plexiglass, plywood, chrome and stainless. Popular accessories included starburst wall clocks, Sputnik chandeliers, shag rugs, ceramic animal statuary and large porcelain lamp vases.

Danish modern furniture from the post war period is immediately recognizable for its simple construction, leggy profile and sleek lines. From teakwood tables and tufted sofas to stackable chairs and storage consoles, this furniture style is most closely associated with mid-century modern interior design.

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Ethnic Design


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Ethnic style is known by a number of different monikersu2014world decor, global design, and tribal chic, just to name a few. It crosses continents effortlessly and is influenced by some of the most exotic destinations in the world. While many tend to lump u201cethnicu201d into a singular style, each culture should be appreciated for its unique history and traditions.

Tribal African
Sub-Saharan Africa is incredibly diverse with an abundance of traditional designs, colors and textiles. The part of the continent that lies south of the Sahara Desert offers a wide variety of decorating choices that tap into the regionu2019s rich tribal cultures and unsurpassed natural resources. From Botswana to Tanzania to Ghana, thereu2019s a wealth of tradition, color and materials from which to draw.

It is difficult to categorize tribal African style and with so many choices, it can be equally difficult to narrow down your options. A good place to start is with fabrics and furnishings that have a close association to flora and fauna. Graphic animal prints are always a great option paired with the color palette of native vegetation. Never underestimate the role of indigenous fabrics in ethnic style. They are not only striking; they also provide insight into tribal art and history.

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For the purpose of interior design, Asian style includes elements from both Japan, China and to a lesser degree, Southeast Asian countries such as Thailand and Indonesia. Whichever region you choose, balance is one of the main design principles you will encounter time and time again when planning your Asian-style room. You not only need to create physical balance with furnishings, you also must create visual balance through color, texture and light.

Natural plants and Asian floral arrangements inject a space with texture and artistry. Shoji-style window shades provide privacy and rice paper lamps give rooms a soft glow. Add depth and rich color by introducing a lacquered chest, table or cabinet into the design. Antique wooden benches, beds and screens impart a sense of history to your interpretation of Asian style. While we often associate bold colors like red, yellow, gold and black with Chinese style, organic hues such as brown, cream, green, tan and gray are also common colors in Asian design, especially in Japanese interiors.

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India is a country rich in style, color and texture. Indian culture is vibrant, colorful, rooted in ancient tradition and has provided inspiration for interior designers for centuries. India is home to some of the most exquisite textiles in the world and its du00e9cor is brimming with detailu2014from intricately embroidered silk curtains to carved mahogany and ivory inlay tables.

Color is everywhere in India. The vivid colors of traditional embroidered saris and the rich hues of spice markets can infuse a room with energy and life. Dark woods like ebony, teak and rosewood are crafted into rustic, oversized furniture pieces. Find balance by pairing a heavy coffee table with an upholstered bench sofa. Create a cozy grouping by adding low seating and colorful accent pillows.

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Latin American
The festive colors, patterns and textures of Latin America are perfect for creating a casual and fun mood in any room. The overall aesthetic includes textured rugs, serape prints and rustic, hand carved wooden furniture. Picture a Spanish colonial dining room dressed in native textiles in shades of bright blue, green and red. Add pieces of Mexican dinnerware to your dining room and kitchen or Central American pottery adorned with a lovely floral motif. Neutral artisan floor tiles anchor the space while soft yellow and terra cotta accents round out this cheerful color palette.

Not all Latin American accessories feature bold colors. Consider items with traditional patterns and graphic prints in dusky tones of red and turquoise accented with warm colors found in the high desert. An elegant and sophisticated Latin American look is created with minimal furnishings and subtle color, punctuated with a large artisan furniture piece as the roomu2019s focal point.

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Moroccan style is rich with Moorish influence from Iberia, Malta and Sicily. It is a hot, parched country situated between the Sahara Desert, Atlantic Ocean and Mediterranean Sea. Its people specialize in intricate motifs, which are featured on their rugs, woodwork, tiles and pottery. Deeply hued fabrics are deferential to the ancient designs and traditions of one of the worldu2019s oldest cultures.

The sheer number of elaborate patterns in a single room might seem overwhelming to the Western eye. Conversely, a floor covered in ornate Zellige tiles and offset by lofty cream walls, creates an elegant countenance. Add traditional low, modular benches and round tables surrounded by ottomans, floor cushions or poufs to provide additional seating. Colorful Kilim rugs, pierced metal lanterns, oversized urns and mosaic-framed mirrors create the ultimate Moroccan getaway.

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Country Decor


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Country style is a throwback to simpler times and features the best of both worlds, like modern conveniences along with homespun charm. Think about incorporating country style to give your home an enduring look that is anything but old-fashioned.

While country is a broad style that varies based on geographic location, it always includes aged furniture pieces, vintage fabrics and homey accessories. Casual and cozy best describe this decorating style whether youu2019re referring to a historic villa in Italy, a farmhouse in the south of France or a ranch in Texas. Even if your house is brand new, country design can transform it into a warm and comforting sanctuary away from the stresses of daily life. No matter which version of country style you choose, simplicity is the key.

Contemporary Country
Country style is often mistaken for a nostalgic memory of lacey curtains, oak furniture, blue and white gingham and an abundance of apples and geese. Luckily, contemporary country banishes those mental images with its clean lines and neutral color scheme. Mix lightly worn woods, painted surfaces and metals to create space that embraces current trends while acknowledging the past.

Shaker style furniture and simple upholstered pieces play to the contemporary vibe while retaining a handcrafted feel. Keep accessories to a minimum. Authentic creamware and white ironstone pieces play nicely with contemporary dinnerware. Add a few storage baskets and a natural sisal area rug to complete the look.

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Early American Country
This country style harkens back to the beginnings of the republic. It draws from the agrarian way of life, natural resources and handmade furniture and textiles of the time. Early colonists brought furnishings from England, which also influenced the design aesthetic of early American country style.

Brighten a room by replicating a historic colonial color palette consisting of saturated hues such as barn red, deep green, Wedgwood blue, gray, rust and straw yellow set against neutral walls. Anchor a seating area or dining room with a painted canvas floorcloth or braided cloth rug.

Fill your home with period furniture such as Queen Anne, Chippendale, Windsor or Hepplewhite. If you canu2019t afford real antiques, there are plenty of affordable reproductions available. Embellish soft goods with period cross-stitch and crewelwork designs. Colonial quilts make colorful wall hangings and are the perfect foils for this country decorating style.

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English Country
Picture a thatched cottage in the Cotswolds and you have conjured up the essence of English country style. The look and attitude are a deliberate combination of antique furniture pieces, handpicked accessories and botanical colors. Current trends need not apply hereu2014patina, worn Persian rugs and faded florals are the basis for this country style.

To create a proper British mood, paint the walls in a creamy magnolia white. Wainscoting is a touch that also lends credibility to the illusion. If neutral paint is not your cup of tea, consider a subtle cabbage rose floral or delicately striped wallpaper in deep mauve, green, yellow and periwinkle blueu2014hues reminiscent of an English country garden.

Overstuffed upholstered furniture looks lovely in formal chintz or more relaxed in rumpled linen slipcovers. Other appropriate fabrics include tweed, cashmere, chenille and cotton in florals, paisleys, damasks and ginghams. Window treatments might consist of decorative lace or lined curtain panels to keep the chill out.

Vintage estate sale finds work brilliantly with family heirlooms. Show off those cherished collectibles in edited collections on trays, tables, hutches and bookcases throughout the house. Oil paintings of still lifes and scenes of the English countryside are the obvious choice to adorn the walls.

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Farmhouse Country
The origin of farmhouse country springs from pre-turn of the 20th century rural life replete with beadboard paneling, clapboard siding, wrap-around porches and white picket fences. The floorplan of original farmhouses consisted of communal rooms in the front with the kitchen and bedrooms housed in the back or upstairs.

Todayu2019s farmhouse design aesthetic is as much a way of life as it is a decorating style. It thrives on simplicity and DIY spirit. Flea markets, tag sales and thrift store finds play right into the upcycling and renovation component of this humble design approach.

Farmhouse country is versatile, making it easy to incorporate bits from other styles. Worn finishes and quilts add a rustic twist. Throw in a crystal chandelier for a dose of whimsy. Metal and wood furniture pieces can take things in a decidedly industrial direction.

Intersperse white painted furniture with aged wood finishes and calming neutrals into the overall design. Use light blues, greens and buttery yellows for subtle contrast. Open shelving, butcherblock countertops and an apron sink create the heart of the classic farmhouse home. Donu2019t forget an oversized table and ladderback chairs to host harvest dinners.

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French Country
Romance is the key ingredient in French country style. Bright white or color-washed walls in subtle hues such as swiss cream, pale blue or buttery yellow against a rough pine floor create the ideal backdrop for wispy unbleached muslin curtain panels and crumpled soft gray velvet upholstery. Curvaceous bergu00e8re chairs and carved armoires in white wash or natural pine further underscore the French country look.

Another way to inject the spirit of French country into your home is to make use of festive Provenu00e7al textiles. Although the fabrics known as u201cles indiennesu201d originated in India, these vibrant cotton table linens adorned with olive branches, sunflowers and lemons have become synonymous with countryside home in the south of France.

Just as typical of French country are other local textiles fashioned into bed linens, decorative pillows and throws. Quilted coverlets in saturated red, yellow or blue floral toile de jouy, buffalo check bedskirts and rooster throw pillows reinforce the theme of French pastoral life. Whether you choose subtle French country or its sunny Mediterranean adaptation, youu2019ll revel in pure joie de vivre.

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Scandinavian Country
Scandinavian country style borrows from Sweden, Denmark, Finland and Norway. Recognized for understated design, use of subtle color and painted decorative detail, Scandinavian country is a celebration of the unspoiled and hospitable land of its origin.

Winters in Scandinavian countries are long and dreary, which is why Scandinavian country design capitalizes on light color and finishes. In fact, most of the wood furniture is left in its natural state or painted white. In a nutshell, Scandinavian country style consists of muted pastel colors, tons of white and cream, painted furniture, clean design and simple lighting.

The style might be considered rather austere when compared with other country styles. It is not highly ornamented and features slender, leggy furniture and large mirrors to reflect light. Bleached floorboards, wall stenciling and hand painted decoration are used extensively. Short of the occasional delicate floral print, gingham is the most popular pattern seen in textiles and upholstery. Natural fabrics such as raw silk, linen and cotton are favored upholstery materials.

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Tuscan Country
Tuscan country style is passionate mixture of texture and color. Tuscan character is rustic and imbued with tactile surfaces and natural elements. Rough plastered walls washed in sun-drenched hues and rugged flooring of stone, terra cotta or wood plank take their cues from the warm and sunny Mediterranean climate.

If you are trying to recreate this look in your home, youu2019ll be pleased to find a wide selection of paint colors and techniques that mimic the weathered walls of a rustic villa. Keep furnishings and accessories to a minimum. Tuscan country is a very prudent style. Rooms are fairly sparse and limited to essential furniture pieces.

Furnish a Tuscan country dining room with an antique trestle table, a mix of wood and rush chairs along with a weathered storage hutch. Simple accessories like pastoral artwork, Italian pottery, olive baskets and candles add authentic flavor to Tuscan country rooms.

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Cottage Style


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Cottage style requires a different mindset and a bit of reprogramming. It is a style that highlights the imperfection of flea market treasures, thrift store gems and furniture without pedigree. Cottages themselves tend to be small, unassuming and full of charm, which also describes the styleu2019s overall design aesthetic.

What is cottage style? It encompasses a number of different design influences, which makes it difficult to pin down. Basically, cottage style is all about found treasures, handmade objects and carefully curated furniture pieces that reflect personal style. Itu2019s a mixture of old with new, color with texture, and form with function.

Thereu2019s nothing cozier and more comforting than a cottage style room. The best part is you have several options to choose from depending on your own personal style. With so many choices, itu2019s no surprise that cottage style decorating is a perennial favorite. Whether you yearn for a coastal retreat, a woodsy vacation cabin or a little urban bungalow, cottage-style is brimming with a casual details, fresh accessories and a fun vibe you can easily recreate in your home.

Coastal Cottage
Coastal cottage is relatively simple to createu2014it all starts with simple furnishings and colors of the sand and sea. Think about the casual, airy and inviting spaces from your last seaside vacation. If you havenu2019t been to the shore lately, take inspiration from beachy photos and artwork.

Neutral or pastel wall colors are the first layer of a coastal cottage space. Next, select furniture with clean lines and familiar forms. A comfy sectional or seating group consisting of a sofa and accent chairs covered in cotton twill will look fabulous against sandy beige walls with white wainscoting and warm wood flooring. An oversize whitewashed bookcase and a few pieces of weathered wood furniture build on the coastal feel.

Introduce the colors of the sea through artwork and accessories. Bring in nature in the form of shells, driftwood and coral. Decorative pillows in the soft colors of sea glass bring the look full circle. Seagrass rugs, wicker baskets and gauzy white curtains make ideal accessories for your coastal cottage home.

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Rustic Cottage
Where else but a rustic cottage can you get away with wood covering every surface? Walls, floors, ceilings, furnitureu2014itu2019s all part of rustic cottage style. Grab some of the outdoors and bring it inside. Items like wooden shutters and vintage advertising signs come alive indoors to create that signature lodge-like feel. Donu2019t worry if you live in the mountainsu2014rustic cottage style looks equally fitting in the suburbs or a flat in the heart of the city.

Stay true to the rustic aesthetic by including elements from nature. Natural stone on the floors or fireplace, tree stump tables and rough-hewn ceiling beams echo the countryside. Warm up the walls with deep color, fun log wallpaper or opt for white to keep the look light and fresh. A cozy featherbed layered with sheets, a down comforter and quilt create the perfect spot to while away the hours on a cold winter day.

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Vintage Cottage
The vintage look is the one most people associate with cottage style. It is similar in nature to shabby chic, without the fussy details and frills. If flea markets, thrift stores and garage sales hold a special place in your heart, then this version of cottage style is right up your alley.

Consider wall colors that work with a variety of florals, stripes and checks. Remember, this styleu2019s trademark is its deliberate mix of pattern and color, so youu2019ll want your spaces to look as coordinated as possible. Check out antique malls and flea markets for vintage fabrics. Old tablecloths can easily be transformed into stylish throw pillows. On occasion, you can even find vintage curtain panels that will pull your design together.

A cushy overstuffed sofa fitted with neutral slipcover looks right at home in a vintage cottage room. Use accent chairs and pillows as the primary sources of color in the space. A mix of wood and painted furniture pieces keeps the look unpredictable. Vintage pottery, lamps and artwork make cost effective accessories, are relatively easy to find and add the perfect finishing touch to your vintage cottage room.

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Contemporary Style


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This term is probably the most misunderstood in the world of interior design. Contemporary, unlike the other types of design is not really a definitive style. It is often used synonymously with modern, which is tied to a definite period in history and is a design movement with specific rules. Correctly used, contemporary style actually means of the momentu2014so it is constantly changing over time.
link to Contemporary subpost

Contemporary design is all about whatu2019s hot right now. If you want to get more specific, it could be defined as a departure from traditional decorating principles. Contemporary is considered a fluid style that would rather break the rules than make them. In fact, contemporary design even draws from other periods in history, borrowing elements from a variety of styles to create its unique look.

Contemporary style emphasizes lines and angles, as does modern design. And like modern design, contemporary interiors rely heavily on minimal furnishings, open spaces and natural light. While these similarities contribute to the confusion between the two styles, contemporary is more comfortable and welcoming than its modern counterpart.

While it may be difficult to pin down contemporary design, we can isolate a few general traits that differentiate it from other styles. Contemporary style is identified by its simplicity. While it leans toward linear design and minimal ornamentation, that doesnu2019t mean you canu2019t create a sense of warmth through natural fabrics, pops of subtle color and curvy shapes. A good rule of thumb for creating contemporary spaces is to go with a neutral color scheme, casual feel and nature inspired accessories.

In contemporary interiors, empty space is also considered part of the design. In other words, contemporary design values negative space as much as it does whatu2019s in it. Although, a large space with too few furnishings can make a room feel too cold and impersonal. In an expansive room with soaring ceilings, choose furnishings, art and accessories that fit the overall scale of the space.

Color and Fabrics
Neutral colors like white, taupe, beige, brown, cream, black and gray create the foundation of contemporary design. Consider monochromatic or tone-on-tone color palettes to create the quintessential contemporary space. Choose neutral shades with interesting undertones, such as gray with blue, creamy pink or beige with a hint of ochre. Focus pops of color on an accent wall, artwork, area rugs or an upholstered chair.

Natural fabrics like linen, silk, wood and cotton add texture, warmth and visual interest to open floor plans, which are common in contemporary homes. Solid fabrics are preferable, but you can still bring in pattern through geometric and abstract prints in the form of decorative pillows, rugs or a throw.

Furnishings should reinforce the clean lines and smooth surfaces inherent in contemporary design. Avoid furniture with ornate carving or over-ornamentation. Keep profiles slim but substantial. Brighten things up by using light wood tones and stains in shades like blond maple or natural birch.

Glass and metallic surfaces also keep the mood light. Stainless steel, nickel and chrome are popular, but polished and brushed brass, gold and copper achieve the same effect while adding visual warmth. Stay away from loose slipcovers and skirted seating. Upholstered furniture should look tailored and free of fuss.

Lighting and Flooring
Lighting design is of utmost importance in a contemporary interior. Table and floor lamps make an artistic statement with angles, arches and straight lines. Metallic finishes contrast with natural linen or burlap shades. Recessed and track fixtures are used for task and accent lighting. Simple chandeliers and pendants will help diminish the height of a tall ceiling.

Flooring options in contemporary design favor hard surfaces versus wall-to-wall carpeting. Natural stone tile, dramatic dark wood planks or stained concrete ground a contemporary space much the same as area rugs and carpet. However, in colder climates, throw rugs may be a necessity. Avoid traditional styles like Orientals or overly feminine florals. Natural fiber rugs such as seagrass, jute or sisal give contemporary rooms a relaxed, inviting look and feel.

Green and Adaptive Design
Eco-friendly design elements and materials are popular in contemporary home design. Flooring such as sustainable bamboo or recycled glass countertops are ideal choices for contemporary architecture. Soaring windows and skylights help cut down on electricity usage. Solar panels and other energy-saving features are the perfect complement to contemporary design.

Increasingly common in contemporary homes are adaptive features that evolve with a familyu2019s needs. Moveable walls and partitions, pocket doors, first floor master suites, wider halls and doorways, easy access showers and finished basements give homeowners the opportunity to occupy a single residence for a lifetime. Adaptive design is well suited for young families, accommodates multi-generational housing needs and allows homeowners to age in place.

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Arts and Crafts Style

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The appeal of Arts and Crafts style is its simple design and straightforward values. The movement was a reaction to the overly ornate and industrialized excesses of the Victorian Era. Arts and Crafts style is based on natural materials, hand-made quality and pride of craftsmanship.

Arts and Crafts
Arts and Crafts is not only a specific interior design style, it also refers to the overall design movement, which began in England during the 1860s and is attributed to artist William Morris. Arts and Crafts crossed the Atlantic around the turn of the 20th century with American furniture maker Gustav Stickley at the helm and remained popular well into the 1940s and beyondu2014thanks to the design contributions of renowned architect Frank Lloyd Wright.

The movement encompassed art, interior design, architecture and a philosophy that embraced a simpler time. The Arts and Crafts aesthetic varied by region, but each showcased handcrafted objects, functional and affordable decor, warm, earthy colors, locally sourced materials and homes that blurred the line between architecture and nature.

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Craftsman style was the American offshoot of the British Arts and Crafts movement. The style was adopted and honed by California brothers and architects Charles and Henry Greene. This radical shift in design, referred to as Western Stick style, was publicized in magazines such as Gustav Stickleyu2019s, The Craftsman.

The modest style took hold and quickly spread from coast-to-coast. Craftsman house plans and furnishings flourished in the years between the world wars. Craftsman style was the antithesis of Victorian decoration. Craftsman homeowners subscribed to the ideals of simplicity and handmade artistry.

Natural woodwork was its hallmarku2014from dark oak chair-rail paneling, doors, trim, built-in storage units and furniture. Nature inspired stenciling and friezes adorned walls. Earth tones and muted colors were chosen in favor of bold hues. American pottery, hammered metal bowls, bronze lamps with mica lampshades and organic baskets were extremely popular but were used with great restraint as over-ornamentation was frowned upon.

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Mission was an offshoot of Craftsman style that had several different interpretations. In the southwestern U.S., the style referred to Spanish Mission design elements and Native American influences. In other parts of the country, Mission pointed to the earthy color palette and angular lines of the original Arts and Crafts movement.

When choosing a Mission style decorating scheme, stick with colors that evoke a natural feel with hints of the desert such as deep green, umber, dark gray, slate blue, soft rose and gold. Add pops of saturated colors that inject southwestern flavor like turquoise, deep red and goldenrodu2014especially in accessories or hand-painted tiles around the fireplace.

Mission style is characterized as casual and welcoming. As with Craftsman furnishings, natural woodwork is the star of the show. Painting wood is a no-nou2014a warm stain is all thatu2019s required. Furniture pieces, cabinetry and paneling are simple and play off of geometric lines and uninterrupted surfaces that display the beauty of the wood. Leather upholstery and hand woven textiles add a touch of softness to hard surfaces.

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Frank Lloyd Wright was at the forefront of Prairie School style in the early years of the 20th century. Prairie homes and furnishings echoed the geography of the Midwest plainsu2014flat and expansive. The style featured horizontal planes, low rooflines, geometric forms and natural materials.

Wrightu2019s interpretation of Arts and Crafts included many built-in furnishings such as seating, storage units and inglenooks to keep interiors free of clutter. Furniture was designed with Prairie architecture in mind. Minimal lines, low coffee tables and long benches mimicked the low ceilings and long lines of Prairie style homes. Oak, slate, decorative tile and art glass were materials common to Prairie School design.

Wright also drew heavily from the clean geometry of Japanese design and decorative arts, including Shoji-type screens, pocket doors, lacquerware accessories and Asian-inspired light fixtures. A subtle color palette in a Prairie style home might include terra cotta, cream, butter yellow and taupe. Handmade textiles and folk art with a southwestern flair played to Wrightu2019s deep appreciation of the American West, which in later years also became associated with Prairie School design.

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