If you're thinking of redecorating check out a decorators guide to home styles. There are countless decorating themes and terms used around the world, and it's important to have an idea of what's what before getting started.
Consult the Home Style Guide
Consult a decorators guide to styles to help you figure out if your style is modern, traditional, formal, or relaxed, and how to achieve the look you want. The following are some of the most common styles and terms used.
Traditional interior design originated from English designs dating from the 18th and 18th centuries. Over the years it's been influenced by some modern touches, but the basic principles remain the same. Traditional decorating is classic, calm, and comfortable. When you walk into a traditionally decorated room, it could be in just about any time period. There are no contemporary pieces, and everything is functional, classic, and relaxing. Traditional decorating is generally slightly formal.
Victorian decorating is romantic, elaborate, and full of embellishments. It's based on the 19th century style of decorating and is considered a little over-the-top. The look is very decorative with lots of accessories, carved moldings, and heavy fabrics. Luxurious materials like silk, velvet, rich woods, marble, stained glass, and more would all be used in the same room. Furniture is luxurious and often heavily carved. There is nothing minimalist about Victorian decorating.
French Country is an old-world style of decorating that is a little rustic, a little traditional, and very welcoming. It's warm, casual, and can work well in houses large and small. The colors are inspired by the French countryside and include sunny yellows, cobalt blues, stone grays, and lavender (reminiscent of the lavender fields of Provence). The use of natural materials such as wood and wicker is common in French Country decorating.
Tuscan design is similar to French Country in that it is inspired by the Tuscan countryside. The look is very rustic and includes a lot of terra cotta and warm rusts and yellows. Overall, the color palette is a bit warmer than that of French country.
Georgian design is simple and elegant. It's great for people who want a simple, uncluttered interior but don't like contemporary designs. Georgian interiors are sophisticated and well-proportioned. They feature a lot of urn designs, timeless Wedgewood china, delicate furniture, and decorative accents like swags and ribbons. Some of the names associated with the period are Sheraton, Chippendale, and Hepplewhite. Look for furniture in these styles when decorating a Georgian interior.
Many people think of contemporary designs as being a bit cold, but that's not really the case. Modern spaces can be very soothing and comfortable. They're defined by simplicity, subtle sophistication, and clean lines. Accessories like pillows and decorative objets are kept to a minimum, and the focus is on space rather than items. Neutral colors are the most popular for this type of design, but occasionally bold accents will be thrown in to punch things up.
Feng Shui is a Chinese style of decorating that promotes arranging furniture and accessories to be in tune with nature, in order to promote harmony and good health into one's life. Feng Shui interiors are generally free of clutter and have plenty of light and air. There are also five elements that need to be represented in a Feng Shui interior: fire, wood, water, earth, and metal. Feng Shui is part art and part science, so if you want to decorate in this style, it's best to consult an expert.
Swedish decorating is light and airy style of decorating. Pale walls, floors and furnishings are the main characteristics. They're often painted or stained in whites, creams, soft blues, pinks, and yellows. Gold accents are not uncommon. Furniture and accessories often have gentle, curved lines and nothing looks hard or severe. There's often a lot of fabric draped over small side tables and used as canopies. Swedish decorating is very similar to cottage chic.
Even More Decorating Styles in the Guide
There are countless styles of interior design and ways to decorate your home. The above examples are some of the more common and should be included in every decorators guide to home styles.