It's a new year and time for a fresh start. Along with your New Year's resolutions, I hope you included a resolution to give your home a lift so that your surroundings portray who you are in a fresh new light.
Whether you are considering a huge makeover or a small one, prepare for your home's uplifting renovation just as you would get ready for an exotic vacation. Research, plan and execute. The time you spend in preparation will pay off in results. Determine what decorating style you are before beginning your design project.
Don't shop for new decorating items before you have a plan. Just as you wouldn't want to show up in Alaska with clothing for Cancun, it would be a waste to purchase a lot of traditional items when you really want your overall look to be contemporary.
Knowing your decorating style is important whether you are doing a remodel by yourself or hiring a designer. Just as a trip needs a map to stay on track and get to the destination in the most advantageous way, decorating plans need a style in which to refer to when decisions need made. Staying within the parameters of a particular style gives your design a fluid and connected appeal.
When hiring a professional to do your design plan, she will want to know what style pleases you most. Most designers will walk through your home and ask a lot of questions in order to assess your style. Your home will give clues as to what style you enjoy. So, if your home is full of hand-me-down furniture that you don't like, be sure to tell your designer that is not your style, and why you are living with it at the moment.
If you are not sure what decorating style you like, rest assured that finding your style is not as elusive as you may think. There is no hocus-pocus solution to finding your style; you simply need to look at what each style accomplishes and decide which one fits your lifestyle best. There are a ton of fun quizzes you can take online to help determine what design you are drawn to. Just type in "What is my decorating style" and several quizzes will pop up. Don't be surprised when your style is defined by more than one type. Most people are a mixture of several styles, and styles can be easily combined to show off the unabridged complexity of your personality.
Another way to go about determining your style and making sure you stick with it is to go through decorating magazines. Pull out pages of rooms that you would love to live in. Read about the room and what the decorator calls that particular style. If you see a pattern emerging, that is your style. By putting your magazine photos in a binder, you can refer to them for everything you need to fill your room. When working with a designer, he will also benefit by viewing the pictures you chose.
Don't overthink it. Whatever you determine your style is, just go with it. Be careful not to be persuaded by well-meaning friends. Go shopping with someone who shares similar ideas and tastes as you. Stay true to yourself and you will end up with a design plan that you love. There is much joy when living in a space that you feel unified with.
The most popular design styles, described briefly here, are:
Contemporary design has clean lines, soft hues, textured fabrics, simple window coverings and minimal clutter.
Traditional design has comfortable, overstuffed chairs that have some curve, various print fabrics with varying textures, deep hues of color and layered window coverings.
English Country has much the same furniture as traditional design but is laced with large-print fabrics upholstered on big furniture and on draperies.
French Country is more delicate and has smaller furniture, usually with carved wood showing. You will often see toile prints used for upholstery and window coverings.
Design styles are also merged to give us an endless supply of options.
Transitional design is typically the clean lines of contemporary mixed with the warmth of traditional design. Ethnic designs can stand alone or complete another stylized plan. For example, contemporary design can be accented with Asian or African artifacts to give an artistic flair.
Eclectic is best described as a hodge-podge of many different design styles used in one room. Eclectic design can be chaotic or brilliant. It's kind of a high risk, high reward sort of plan. Although many items from different styles are put together in one setting with eclectic design, there needs to be a unifying thread that pulls them together. Perhaps your room's theme of exotic travel will pull the objects together, or a particular color palate or type of wood. Done correctly with balance and unity, eclectic design is no longer hodge-podge but exquisite.
Determine your personal style by doing the research necessary. Define it and declare it. Now you are ready to begin an enriching New Year's project.
Cindy Payne is a certified interior designer with more than 25 years of experience, a member of the American Society of Interior Designers, as well as a licensed contractor. Email questions to her at deardesigner@ projectdesigninteriors.com or send them to her at Project Design Interiors, 2620 S. Maryland Parkway, Suite 189, Las Vegas, NV 89109. She can be reached online at www.projectdesigninteriors.com.