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What is Style

What is Style?

That gets your attention straight away, firstly because you want to make sure that you have it, secondly you want to make sure you keep it.

What is style really? Something we naturally have, something we crave or something that is achievable by following instructions?

Style in relation to interior design can mean many things but overall it sums up the ability to be able to create an interior that is “good taste” flows within the home, is harmonious, well balanced, comfortable, practical, aesthetically pleasing to the eye and an overall creation that is memorable.

Of course there are styles of design that have a “formula” or set of parameters that dictate that style, for example English Country or French Provincial, then there is style from periods in time like Victorian and Louis XV. Styles were created by forms of decoration like art Nouveau and Rococo, furniture makers also set up styles like Sheraton and Chippendale. Then there are styles set up on where you live like urban style and country style and popular historic eras of change, hi-tech, art deco and minimalism, and if all else fails there is Eclectic.

So How Do We Find a Style?

This task is as daunting as creating a color scheme.

If you are decorating for yourself, it’s easier because you already have your own style or taste, you probably just don’t know how to identify it. The easiest way is to flick through magazines and books and bookmark all the interiors that “catch your eye” on first glance. Then go back through all the book marked pages and you will start to see a pattern of the style that you like. It is the same when you are going through a decorating store, there will always be a certain style of fabric that you are most drawn to, a style of furniture, paintings, decorative lighting etc.

That sounds too easy. Yes it is and now you just have to work with and be sympathetic to your environment. If you have a Georgian Style home, you don’t necessarily have to decorate it in that same period, but you do need to be sympathetic to that style as you can’t ignore the bones or structure of the home.

Style is creating the "X" factor.
Style is creating the “X” factor.

Some styles lean to different environments, Country homes need a practical style with a rural country feel, solid functional furniture, easy care floors, warm and inviting and easy clean fabrics, simple decorations. Using a Contemporary style with clean minimalist lines, would look quite out of place.

Contemporary clean lines not appropriate for Country Style home.
Contemporary clean lines not appropriate for Country Styled living.

Style can change throughout the house but not to extremes. Often kitchens have a different style to the rest of the house and work if there is an element that carries through the remainder of the home to marry it together, a continuous timber floor perhaps, or matching glass inserts in kitchen cabinetry as the doors throughout the house.

Creating style is essentially being an interior designer or decorator. I don’t want to stand on anyone’s toes here, but I often believe that Interior decorators have a better natural ability with creating style and the interior designer often has a better natural ability to create great spatial environments. I know you will have your own opinion, this was a generalization of what I have experienced.

I can explain style another way. It is just like selecting clothes to wear. Anyone can get themselves dressed, but can everyone succeed in looking stylish? Some people have the natural ability or flair to visualize an entire outfit complete with accessories and as we know it is always the clever use of accessories that create the look or style. Very similar to interior design and decorating.

Yet another way to look at style is taste or charm. Taste or charm is the ability to create something that is well balanced, harmonious, pleasing to the eye and has a special “x” factor that you can’t put down to one thing in particular. It is the ability for everyone to appreciate it, not necessarily like the style themselves but love the taste or charm that has been created. I love Edwardian styled homes to look at, I find them enchanting, ye they are not to my personal taste.

So to summarize – “What is Style?” Style is creating an interior with an “x” factor a “je ne sais quois.” It can be in a particular decoration style or period but it isn’t essential. Style is created by personality and enthusiasm, it’s the ability to maximize the potential of the interior space using all the skills, knowledge and tools available to you.

More information on Styles and Periods of Interior Decorating

Styles and Periods
Furniture History
Decorating Styles
Period Decoration

About the Author – Lee Brown

Lee Brown is the co founder of interiordezine.com, she has worked in the Interior Design Industry for over 23 years, specializing in commercial, hospitality, high end architectural homes and retail design. Over the past 13 years Lee and Chris Brown have been collating their wealth of design knowledge to provide free interior decorating education to the world. Make sure you register for your free ecourse today. Free Interior Decorating eCourse
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