I sometimes wish I had a magic wand and could figure out where home design was going next, but it seems that in the last few years, with blogs becoming so popular and so many styles and room designs out there, it’s becoming increasingly difficult to define a particular style.
Do you know your style?
I think I know mine, but even though I’m pretty true to what I love and live with, it’s influenced by so many factors and the truth is, we have never been so inundated with pictures and images of room designs, telling us what we should love. It used to be we only had magazines to determine styles and trends, then along came HGTV and they brought things down to the normal folks and we all got more comfortable with DIYing and trying new things ourselves.
So, now it’s just a free for all on style and what works for everyone. The internet is full of images of beautiful homes and rooms and I think sometimes this muddies up the waters and makes it even harder to find your style and stick with it.
Does that make sense to y’all?
None of us can afford to redecorate our homes over and over again, so usually it comes down to freshening rooms and updating with paint and fabric and I’m no exception to that.
What are all the styles we see now? There are a lot of decorating quizzes out there that are supposed to help you define your style, but truthfully, most of us are a mix of a few styles. It’s much more fun that way!
Used to be so easy to spot, with classic American/English dark wood furniture and fabrics which are traditional too. Now Traditional has broken out of the box, which is a good thing. I still consider my style Traditional, but love to mix in more modern fabrics and accessories too. Under the Traditional umbrella could be French or English inspired décor, with all of those mixes.
Definitely not my top style, but a sleek and more minimal look.
Cottage or Farmhouse style
There are so many mixes of this look and style now, with white rooms and minimal color, to very neutral fabrics and textures. White slipcovered sofas seem to be leading this trend still, while mixing in colors in rugs and pillows. Coastal cottage seems to fall under this one too and coastal has been hot for a long while now. Shabby Chic could also fall under this one.
A mix of several styles, bringing in elements of vintage and modern.
I’m not going to attempt to name all the styles out there, but there are plenty to choose from, that is for sure.
I thought I’d gather a little inspiration around the internet and talk about styles and how things change over the years. This image above, from House Beautiful, is a beautiful room, with traditional furniture and elements. A mostly white room, with neutral textured rug and just a little bit of color makes this room a standout to me. Of course, having those beautiful architectural windows doesn’t hurt either, does it? I do love white on white walls and have been happy that I went with a light neutral white on my walls with white trim. With dark floors it all works for me.
This photo, also from House Beautiful, is one of my favorite pics ever. There’s just something so serene and comfortable about this hallway, with the dark door in the background and light walls and trim. The lantern is so classic and traditional too, just a lovely room with antique furniture. I’ll never tire of antiques and that real wood patina on older pieces of furniture.
Another beautiful staircase from House Beautiful, with beautiful molding and trimwork, this is certainly a Traditional look, always a winner.
This classic shot from Atlanta Homes and Lifestyles also is casually elegant with Traditional bones. You can’t go wrong with a patterned antique rug and you can see that little color was used here too.
There is still a huge surge in reclaimed wood and all white rooms (via BHG). Cottage style and farmhouse style rooms are still very popular and many people loved the casual lived-in feel that these rooms provide. The all white trend is still going strong in blogland too, with pops of color here and there and lots of painted furniture.
This bedroom from Country Living with lots of white and dark wood is definitely a classic and Traditional look too, along with Cottage style. Country style has now evolved into a more modern farmhouse style, but the look also has a lot of vintage and chippy furniture.
Blue and white color schemes always seems to be popular, as they are just so easy on the eyes, like this room from House Beautiful.
This hallway has a definite Farmhouse feel with white woodwork and walls, dark flooring and casual antique runner. The eclectic mix of the gallery wall brings in much personality to this room and gives it a collected over time feel. I love the feeling of these type rooms.
A pretty bedroom from House Beautiful shows a pretty soft green/blue on the walls, dark furniture, soft patterns on the fabrics, creating a very calm and serene bedroom. This is definitely on the Traditional side of decorating.
An all white kitchen in House Beautiful is not boring at all. Those harp-back chairs are certainly Traditional in style, although the whole feel to this kitchen isn’t stuffy but very crisp.
The Industrial revolution is still going strong in home décor too with so many industrial elements and reclaimed wood being used all over the place. I love it too, just wondering how long this trend will last? I don’t think it will continue being as popular as it is now, that’s just my gut feeling.
(via House Beautiful)
Iron, wood, vintage, modern fabrics, white walls, colored walls, it seems everything goes these days.
So, how do you go about finding your own personal style in this conglomeration of trends nowadays? I don’t have all the answers at all and am right there with you I wish I had a magic formula to tell you all how to find your style and stick with it, but it’s sometimes an elusive thing. It takes years of honing your eye and trying to see the things that will truly stand the test of time.
For me, I still try to stick to my Traditional roots. With many of the pics shown above, the classic look of Traditional furniture frames will never go out of style. Changing out paint colors and fabrics is the easiest and most cost effective way to freshen up a room in a hurry. Very rarely do any of us get to completely start over in a room. Don’t we always have a sofa, chairs, side tables to deal with when we want to do a room design? So, by breaking down pics that we see and love, we can bring in some elements that are updated and fresh without completely starting over.
Have you figured out what your style is and do you stick with it?
My likes have changed over the years, but I’m really striving to find a classic and timeless look that I don’t feel the need to change with all the trends every few years. It’s hard NOT to fall for a few trends, but there are some I know will not stand the test of time like some of the classic photos above will do. We all have to figure out what WE love and want to live with and finding inspiration pictures always seems to work for me.
What are some things you are tired of seeing in decorating? Go ahead and tell me and I’ll share a few of mine. Even though I have a little bit of chevron in my house, it seems to have been way overdone and I think it will be on the way out soon, along with all those antlers and animal heads that have been so popular the last couple of years.
I also have to wonder how long the reclaimed wood and the everything vintage trend will last?
Is it a classic or not? Time will tell!
Marianne in Mo. says
Don’t like white walls, reminds me of apartment rental days! Don’t get the chalkboard thing either. A little chevron is nice, but it’s overdone these days, as is burlap. I favor traditional, but add a bit of country french. No hard edges, but no curliques that were so big in the 90’s, like all of that wine country that was long in the tooth! So glad it’s going by the wayside. I stick with neutrals,have a dark rather sofa, a bit of black, and may never get tired of a white cabinet in the kitchen. But have a dark island, did that just as the trend was coming on, and still love it. The all white kitchen is pretty, but not my look. We have open floor plan, and I need it to flow! That said, would love to try a dark charcoal feature wall in a bedroom, and am once again loving tangerines and turquoise. Just not sure it will stand my test of time! Beadboard is classic, and I love it! I see the blog trends, but don’t feel I have to do it!
Carolyn Roach says
I totally agree with many of the comments here. I love traditional type decorating and don’t see that ever changing. I cringe when I see beautiful cherry and mahogany furniture being painted white or some such color. I could never do that because I love my furniture ‘as it is’. It seems to me that many people have no idea of their decorating style so they just do what everyone else is doing. So, for now, most blogs are all the same – painted furniture, chalk paint, burlap, white rooms, etc. It all gets very boring after awhile. Give me color and warmth.
I grumble about this subject all the time but only to myself! Coming of age with Lynette Jennings, Kitty Bartholomew and others I learned and agreed with the “no boring beige walls” and this included white! If you had beige or white you needed to just try a color for your walls, any color, it’s only paint!! And I still agree with that philosophy. I have a very light green paint color running through much of my home and love it! I have NEVER liked white walls with white sofas with white chippy anything. Reminds me of a sanitarium short of funds!! Seriously though, why is blue the ONLY color shown besides white and grey?? Really?? And yellow with grey?? Now that’s a homey look!!!! Who believes this?? Madison Avenue dictates these trends and they know if you see it enough you start to believe it looks attractive. Does that mean we mindlessly buy it because “Well that’s the style now.” I don’t see attractive fabric now unless its bought through a designer and isn’t easily affordable. Why?? I can’t tell one room from another. One word describes them all now. W H I T E. Or we see the other route and it’s elementary colors for adult rooms. I look at these rooms and I wonder what does the husband think of this and where does he sit??
I agree with everything you said.
This post is very timely, and Rhoda is preaching to the choir here for a lot of us, judging by the comments. On my own blog I have railed on about these silly fads (because that is what they are) and the mindless “following the herd” that so many seem to do.
I used to be a decorator, and design has been one of my passions for fifty years almost, beginning with the studying of my mother’s magazines when I was a kid. I can say this with impunity: when you start seeing a “trend” in WalMart and Kmart, don’t even THINK of putting it in your house. For example: Chevron and Burlap and Zebra.
Some of the “looks” which crack me up are ‘Farmhouse’ and ‘Industrial.’ First, I know firsthand what a simple farmhouse looks like because both sets of my grandparents lived in them, and they were poor and shabby, indeed. Second, the industrial/loft craze often looks like somewhere Charles Dickens’ characters have taken shelter. No one would voluntarily go live in a place as sad as these, and copying those elements and calling it design is just plain silly.
I may have to do another post on this myself, since I have apparently stepped up to my soapbox again!
I agree, but I still love my new zebra chair. 😉
Linda Weeks says
Oh that brings back memories. I loved Lynette Jennings and Kitty Bartholomew both, and miss them so much. Once you’ve found someone whose taste you admire, how can you just jump into whatever and whoever is in style! Candice Olson is another person who I really thought had a lot on the ball! Thank you Rhoda, for being yet another voice that I enjoy and respect!
Susan M says
Great posting and very thought-provoking. It’s tricky to list what I don’t like without offending those who might love it. We should all have the courage to decorate our homes with items that are special to us, even if they are not “on trend.” Surfing the blogs gives me ideas for tweaking my own style, but it can be a challenge to resist all of the trends, especially in places like Pottery Barn where everything is displayed so beautifully. The thing to remember is that we are being told what to love by advertisers who are in the business of selling. For example, for years HGTV shows made it look like the ONLY acceptable kitchen combination was granite countertops with SS appliances. People were ripping out perfectly good kitchens to achieve this look. As for the trends that I am tired of seeing: the painted or vinyl inspirational phrases on walls; chalkboard painted walls; cardboard animal heads; painting antique furniture to make it “current.”. My two cents.
Joanne B. says
ok- so here’s another 2 cents for all it’s worth! – My style is exactly that. MINE. It is a collection of the things that are important to me and the pieces that speak to me. I guess you’d say my home is Traditional but I like to think it is the history of our lives for the past almost 33 years- growing up on Long Island with trips to the city for a modern touch, Florida for the lighter colors and seashells, Tennessee for a taste of country, old world from our trips to Europe, a taste of the sea for our vacation home in Rehoboth Beach DE. Most important of all are the pieces my husband hand built and the 75 year old cedar chest my father built for my mother when they got engaged. There is nothing here that I don’t want- someone said “get rid of it if you don’t love it” and I do try to follow that, yet my home is not empty and austere or cluttered and filled with chotchkes. I think if you love something, it will go, but I never buy something and then find a home for it because I must have it (I avoid trends) and have never gotten rid of a major piece and then regretted it. I love following all the blogs to see what others do and if it speaks to me and it is meaningful to me it’s a go. Mostly I think I read them to drink in the confidence these talented bloggers share with us- and I see what it takes to make my home my sanctuary! I do not buy magazines any more, because I love what I see on the web better, because it was created by real people for real lives. Bravo for you Rhoda for being on my list of inspirational women!
I love these inspiration photos, Rhoda! This is a great post, the internet sometimes makes it harder to determine your own style. I know it can sometimes make me second guess myself. I’ve learned to stay away from google and just go with what I know I love.
Rhoda, a very thought provoking post. I have always thought that my style was eclectic with a traditional lean. I love layers and textures and well loved treasures in a home. One of my favorite blogs is ” for the love of a house” Joan has created a very individual, and comfortable home, and her blog posts describe the history and the where and the why she chose each object and piece of furniture. She decorates to create a home that she, her husband and their beloved Ella are comfortable in. I enjoy following “The Urban Cottage for the same reason. Steve’s latest kitchen project is fascinating to me. My favorite color is blue and I find myself drooling over Georgica Pond, the Pink Pagoda, Chinoiserie Chic, and the Enchanted Home. And many of the blogs I follow push me outside of my comfort zone and convince me to try and incorporate some new things I might never have tried in the past ( such as a pink, blue and white contemporary painting on my navy blue library wall…. I love it) I have friends whose homes are decorated with the mauve and burgundy and greens from the ’80’s and when they decorated their homes I wanted to see every inch, was so inspired. Being a young mom and poor to boot I could not decorate and redecorate my entire home to fit the popular trends of that time. Today when I walk into those same homes they are dated and lack the imagination and individuality I thought they expressed when first decorated. What I am trying to say is that I want my home to be timeless and reflect who I am, and expresses who and where I am today in my life. That it is a place where my family and friends are comfortable and inspired by the home I have come to love.
Kelly - Talk of the House says
Love this post, AND love all the comments here. For the most part, it sounds like all of us are basically traditionalists who don’t mind not following trends. But I wonder if we all have that confidence because of our age. Do you know the average age of your readers? When I was young in my teens and twenties, I probably followed every fad in home design there was. I wanted to be “current”. It wasn’t until I was a little older that I realized #1 – it was too darn expensive to keep doing that, and #2- it didn’t fit our home or our family’s style. So over the years, I developed my own style and figured out what I truly did love and what worked for our family’s casual lifestyle…It has been a journey, but if the basics are good, I can be happy just updating pillows and some accessories seasonally (which is what it sounds like your readers are doing as well.) As far as what I am tired of…I never bought into the gray scene. I love color too much. (But I will always love white cabinets in kitchens, forever and ever amen!) And antlers belong in cabins. And as much as I love graphically designed prints in fabrics, I think they are on their way out. Oh, and while we are talking “traditional”, do you view Traditional Home as a magazine with traditional rooms?? just asking….
Kelly, I think most of my readers are definitely more mature women, like myself. I know there are some younger ones too mixed in, but probably 40 to 50 is the median age most. And I think you are right, it takes more age and wisdom to become confident in our styles and not to fall for every trend that comes along. I have gone through a few phases. Ten years ago I had a new found love for toile and had that in my bedroom, but when it came time to update, I abandoned the toile for something fresher, but I still like toile. I do like graphics prints too, but don’t want them to overtake my house, so small doses for me. I do think Traditional Home still does a good job of expressing Traditional style and I enjoy House Beautiful too for the mix of traditional and modern.
Barbara C says
I am definitely traditional with quite a few lovely French antiques, but I’m having a lot of fun adding some modern touches with fabrics and art. One thing I am grappling with at the moment is the space above kitchen cabinets. I have about 39″ between the top of the cabinet and the ceiling. I have a lot of “stuff” up there now, but want to freshen the look and declutter. I’m afraid that taking everything down will look vacant. Any ideas would be appreciated! Thank you.
WoW Barbara–39″ extra–!?!
As a former-kitchen designer, have you considered stacking another layer of cabinets and shelves up there?? A great “architectural” look–extra storage–and meaningful display!
If you add an extra row of cabinets at the top as Catherine suggested make sure they are shorter than the current wall cabinets. The finish could be a different color than the current cabinets. (Not knowing what your cabinets look like, this could either be striking in a good or not so good way.) Glass doors would allow you show off some of your pretty serving pieces or a collection you enjoy. Good Luck.
My decorating evolves as I do and it’s taking awhile to find my style. I like mixing vintage, cottage and throwing in some modern pillows or lamp shades. I love the traditional examples you provided. I loved all the rooms except the last one. I really like mixing painted pieces of furniture with natural wood and dark wood tones.
You can’t go wrong when you surround yourself with things you love. In blog land things are getting a bit boring and all the rooms are beginning to look the same with the exception of eclectic (mixing styles effectively) The trends I think are overdone are chevron, chalk paint walls, numbering everything, big huge EAT signs in the kitchen, Keep calm and carry on signs, planked walls, pallet signs, words on walls, all industrial look with wire lamp shades and homes where all the walls are white, and the furniture is white. I really like the collected look (like what you have) You have a nice mixture of traditional, a few modern pieces and color mixed in.
Sandy Cunningham says
Would love to hear people’s take on use of fake plants? I mean really good ones. Is that a no-no. I am moving into the Atlanta area in June and am wondering what everyone’s take is on this. Thanks, Sandy
HI, Sandy, I mostly love real plants if you have even low light, you can grow many things. But, a few fakes here are there on bookshelves or low light areas, I think are fine. I have one or 2 that look good and real too. I don’t love big fake trees, however!
C.B. McQueen says
R, I am in love with that skirted ottoman in the first picture, do you have any information on where I can purchase one like it. As always, everything is lovely!
Hi, Constance, sorry no, that is an inspiration pic I found online.
Loved, loved, loved this post! The pictures were great! I worked for a lady in Texas that had her small home professionally decorated just before the II World War broke out. It was very traditional and was still very stylish when I worked for her in the 80’s. I wish I had taken pictures of her home but I can still remember most of it. They used dark flooring, lighter walls of green, creamy white for all the wood trim and doors, dark wood furnishings with cream, red, and pops of turquoise in the furniture. Thanks for the great post! I feel like I just read a great magazine!
I am sort of a traditional/casual/comfortable person with family items and just things that we like.
I am tired of antlers. chevrons, those poofy tissue balls hanging from ceilings, and those book page and coffee filter wreaths. I am also tired of the sunburst clocks and mirrors..my aunt had one when I was a child, and they are not new..but just seem dated and tired.
michelle ferrer says
Oh, goodness. Name a style. I strive to make our home welcoming, comfortable, and elegant. That’s a trick since I’m not formally trained in what goes with what. But, I love it when people tell me that they feel so comfortable when they come in despite some formal pieces. Our dining room is country French. The living room is warm wood walls, rock fireplace, a mix of silk covered chairs, chenille sofa, and a mirrored angle-plane side table. Family room has large windows with red toile at the windows and light green/blue/rust oriental rug, butler tray table. Kitchen and breakfast room green walls with warm wood cabinetry and red plaid café curtains. Putting a name to it? I suppose “Relaxed Formal Eclectic Southern and French Traditional”. Goodness, that’s a mouthful 🙂
Oh! I think we are similar in our decorating in that my goal is for people to feel warm, cozy, and comfortable!
O.m.gosh, what a read through! Great post! And–interesting comments!
I’ve nEVer been driven by trends-the color of the year-the latest styles…but rather, take inspiration from the parts of it I’m drawn to and create MY OWN interpretation! Including building my own stuff–lucky I used to build homes and design kitchens–I can do it!
The best description of my style would be– Timeless, Collected, and Evolved.
The best home-STYLES (I think) are the ones that “explain” who you are without you saying a word! ; D
Again, fun post Rhoda–
You have just inspired me to get back on my soapbox. I have plenty to say on the subject myself, and you have just opened the floodgates.
Connie in Hartwood says
I have been told that my style is the ultimate in Eclectic. I disagree, only because I think it’s not useful for people to think that they must be confined to one style or theme in order to be considered worthy. My style, if there is one, is composed of things that I LOVE … after a while, the look blends together and becomes cohesive.
In our house, which was built in 1848, I cannot bring myself to adhere to what others think its style should be. Antique furniture from a lifelong habit of collecting blends with thrift shop finds, antique and worn Oriental rugs, contemporary Ikea shelving and storage, antique wood floors. If we like it, we do what we can to find a place for it. My newest find is a mid-century modern record player/stereo that I plan to repurpose into a TV console. Does it match anything else in the house? Nope, but that doesn’t matter one bit.
Blogs and Pinterest and HGTV shows are great inspiration, with a potential negative side. Some people, eager to be stylish, will subscribe to a trend because that’s what we see all over the place. (Burlap, chevrons, etc., come to mind.) In fact, I found this post via a pin on Pinterest … that first photo from House Beautiful … wondering what the designer was thinking by putting those dining chairs in the way of whoever may be sitting in the white upholstered chairs.
I’m not sure I’ve ever visited here before. I’m off now to see what else you have posted recently. It’s great to ‘meet’ you!
Home fashion trends come and go, just as clothing fashion trends do. In a consumerist society, these trends are continually designed and redesigned, and this keeps the wheels of commerce turning. We follow, wanting to claim our spot in whatever is the current “in” thing. We are a herd species, finally.
That said, sometimes being part of the herd is a good thing. The current interest in up-cycling is a very good thing, particularly if it prevents us buying yet another potentially disposable (read: faddish) home decor trinket.
I believe the best-evolved homes are not “decorated” in any one particular style. They are instead thoughtfully collected over time, displayed not in ostentation but in a gracious desire to share an environment that says “Here is warmth and comfort and contentment.” To me, that’s true style.
Pam - New Hope, TX says
Rhoda, thank you!! I am 51, been married almost 32 years. I have wanted to start a blog for over a year, but I didn’t think I would fit in! We bought a new home 8 months ago that was built in 1983. It is a Cape Cod/Farmhouse. We love it, but it definitely isn’t all white on the inside! We love color and don’t follow trends. I have been going to flea markets long before it was popular. I am very eclectic and love all styles, I have even painted a few pieces with ASCP. Not until I found Brenda (Color My Decor), did I think many people decorated with color. Love your style and blog!
After renting a home for the last two years and before that, living in a military housing apartment in South Korea, I’m trying to find my style as I transform our new home bringing it out of 1989. Sigh… It’s hard because I’ve been overwhelmed for these last few years with all these ideas on the web and not able to do much with the ideas. Now it’s overwhelming trying to pull it all together. I need to stop and let it take the time it needs. But, this is our retirement (from the military) house, so I want it complete now! Homes are never complete though, are they?