Most of my clients find themselves drawn to a particular design aesthetic, with fabrics they can’t resist and furniture they covet. I tell all my new clients to send me photos of rooms that inspire them and with few exceptions, they are pretty consistent. I also tell them that every tribe can can reflect both modern/contemporary or a more traditional look – and that traditional looks are not necessarily dowdy and contemporary looks are not necessarily sparse. And, everyone can have a little bit of each.
The Romantic/Shabby Chic
Those drawn to floral, faded antique linens, ticking strips and gently distresses furniture will find a natural affinity to the Romantic style of design. This looks exudes femininity in a lovely palette of pastels, offset with dove greys and chalky whites.
These dreamy looks are gentle on the eye-no strong vibrant colors or straight lines – Romantic design is pretty and relaxed, perhaps with loose covers on a plump cozy sofa. Delicate flourishes and details like ribbons, tassels and pom-pom trims can elevate the simple to the beautiful and vintage furniture might sit well with a French or Scandinavian influence and cherished pieces of are often given a new lease on life with chalk paint gently sanded to give a distressed appearance. Nothing too glitzy – but maybe a few crystals on a chandelier or an industrial base on a table can add a lustrous note.
Refined, considered and enduring, this look appeals to owners of colonial and tudor homes. Admirers of this look have a love of symmetry, love pairs, and have a predilection towards smart coordination and an appreciation of period features.
The architecture of the property generally plays a pivotal role in decor, with cornices, moldings, chair rails in the dining room and mantles over the fireplace. Fabrics choices don’t need to be matched but solids with texture, damasks, plaids, stripes and paisleys are usually a good choice. Tending towards a range of historical hues, there is often a mix of blues and sages along with creams and rust to create a perfect backdrop for classically inspired pieces. Armchairs and sofas have strong outlines and tactile rich upholstery while windows are dress with pooling drapes with a box pleat for a fresher look. Modern twists and updates can be introduced because this is not a look that is devout to a particular period and animal prints work well here to give the look a little bit of edge.
Lovers of color, pattern and craftsmanship will find that they are draw to the relaxed, softly eclectic and playful Smart Bohemian style. With a range of global influences and touches of mid century modern, the bohemian house is artistically evolved with a sense of the well traveled.
This look can not be put together haphazardly or it will fail miserably! There is a loose cohesion, probably in the color palette – which can be bright and vibrant with bursts of colors like navy, plum, mustard and fuschia.
Tapestries might nestle along with geometric prints, ikats and simple stripes and can hang on a wall or cover wood floors. Antique heirlooms can sit along contemporary and mid century modern pieces, as long as scale is carefully respected. Bohemian style is maximalist and confident and radiates comfort as every piece can tell a story. If it is done right, the results can be vibrant, inviting, original and curated. If not, it can look cluttered and muddled. Textiles are definitely a crucial element with cushions and upholstery taking center stage along with floors and walls.
Not sure what tribe you belong to, it might be best to hire a designer who can help you find your style and allow your home to be self expressed!