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!
Rose L says
Great topic and post, Rhoda! I think of decor styles in the terms of modern, traditional, casual and vintage. It makes things easier for me when I’m evaluating a piece to determine if it will work for me or not. I would have to say that my style is vintage. I love iron beds, quilts, wood furniture especially oak and pine pieces. My walls are pastels but I never include pink. I love florals, transferware, vintage fabrics (think ticking and checks etc.) and antiques, furniture that reminds me of the 30’s era though I wasn’t born until the late 50’s. I love old traditional houses and what most consider to be the American farmhouse but that’s mostly because of the way I was raised I think. My roots are in farm country and I grew up in an American four-square. Still I tend to add bits and pieces of what’s trendy and current (white sofa, slipcovered chairs) just to keep things looking fresh. I guess I could be happy in any of the cottage/farmhouse/country type styles you mentioned earlier but I can’t do the white walls/white trim. I need color and nature in my life. I found my style in 1982 when I opened my first issue of Country Living magazine. Back then it was a pretty rustic magazine and I guess they have evolved over the years just as I have though they are far too modern for my tastes now. I can easily look back at those old issues and see that many people are still living with and loving such similar styles just a bit updated and similar to my own tastes today, over thirty years later. I’ve tried to change my style a few times and it just wasn’t me. I’m not comfortable any other way. I love looking at blogs and pinterest even though a lot of what I see isn’t my style. I still find decorating and design to be fascinating, I just don’t need most of it in order to be okay with myself and my style. As far as trends go I dislike chevron type graphics and love planked walls! To each their own, whatever makes each of us happy is what is important.
Griege sounds like a virus. Antlers are cool all made into a big chandlier in a big log cabin. But hanging on the wall in a house in a subdivision is confusing. Book pages and coffee filter anything will be thrown away shortly. I am betting granite counters and stainless steel appliances will be the avacado, harvest gold and mauve of years past, just more expensive. I sound really curmudgeonly, don’t I? I am fixing to paint my kitchen yellow and there will not be a single “pop” of gray.
Rhoda! Another thoughtful post. Thank you so much. I was thrilled to read the responses too, and thus find that there is a big contingent of “Traditionalist-Individualist” home decorators out there who have the confidence and conviction to stay true to themselves and buck the Trend. I have the honor of living in a house built 1910 – 1911 and even have some records of correspondence between the Lady of the House and the Architect/Builder who designed a number of homes in our town, as well as the Train Station and the original High School building. We love the original old-growth oak millwork, the high ceilings and wood floors. We fell in love with the proportions and openness. Since it is a much bigger house than I have had before, I did find a need to add a bit of furniture here and there, and we chose color! And pattern! But no chevron, burlap, neutral. We have upholstered grass green velvet love seats, oriental rugs, multi-color patterned fabrics on hand-me-down side chairs, patterned colored red and beige chenille “splotch” pattern on two boudoir size tub chairs. All the paint colors in the house actually register as color, rather than tone, and they play off the dark oak of the panels and door frames: Yellows, Greens, Dark Red, Light Blue, Taupe. Our furniture is not Period to the House, but speaks of our life together as a couple and a family, and our accessories are accumulated over our 21 + years of marriage – travel – special occasion – my thrifted “finds” – heirlooms/pass downs. It is a “work in progress” but it is warm and welcoming and obvious that it is lived in and loved. Recently, after finishing an upholstery project, I hosted a Gals Night In at my house, and was so gratified to hear compliments about my unique and interesting style. The comments may well have been a euphemism for “weird” but that would be fine with me too 🙂 As with some of your other readers, I change up lampshades, and move things around, but on the whole nothing “Big” happens. The re-upholstery project was necessary for the chairs, sofa/loveseats after 20 years of use! I am waiting for a new-to-me coffee table update to speak to me on Craigslist or at a local estate sale or auction. I’ll know when it calls my name…
What a great post. I loved reading all the responses. I have decorating A.D.D. bad! There is something about every style I just love. I try to find a common element amongst what I love and blend it together so it is uniquely mine. I am tired of Chevron and don’t think it will last. I did this painting to my daughters room 3 years ago and she’s painted over it already.. I guess we are ahead of the trends! Right now I am loving some industrial/rustic/with a bit of Mid Century Modern (love it) thrown in. See, decorating A.D.D…. I like the idea of the animal heads though I don’t have any because I don’t know how they would fit in and where I’d put them, but I do like them! I also like to collect things from when I travel and use them in my decorating, so I’m all over the place. I do have a chalkboard door in my kitchen and I’ve had it for years, again before it was trendy! I made my own chalkboard paint and painted my door to the garage in my kitchen for my girls to color on. I still have it though they are much older now, but they still enjoy writing on it! Again, the Chevron can go away anytime now for me! AND I’m tired of white walls… yuck! I don’t know how people keep them looking fresh and clean, too much upkeep for me.
Kathy d says
Excellent post! This is why I have started my blog. So much to choose from.
I am tired of the overdone neutrals, chevron, turquoise, fake antiques, painting every piece of furniture in a room, lamps that were ugly in the 60-70s and are still ugly, unpolished silver.
My style? With all my hand-me-down stuff from dead relatives, I call my style “Mama’s basement/Granny’s attic”
I am eclectically me, with a bit of my husband thrown in. Modern and traditional mix very smoothly with our late19th century/ early 20th pieces from European auctions. I especially favor a barly twist side table and a burled wood wardrobe we picked up at auction for less than $75 combined, which share the same space as our very modern, but handcrafted bedroom set. I think that modern and traditional work together when modern is kept classic.
Design trends I’m tired of: The first would be the over use if the mason jar. I use mine plenty, but for their intended use, preserving food & and holding lilacs (or other abundant summer flower). The forementioned chevron & burlap for all of the forementioned reasons. I’m tired of the “industrial” interiors look so cold and tired. I know this one won’t be popular, but I do believe “shabby-chic” is an oxymoron, in my book anyway. Along with the industrial, the shabby is just tired, and if not played well it just looks like you picked from flee market left-behinds.
The waters are muddy in home design, with everything looking the same. But that is true in so many industries these days. Look at photography, there just aren’t originals anymore; all baby pictures, senior high school, engagement, and wedding photos look the same.
Thank you Rhoda for the post, I really enjoyed it.
Hmm. I will try not to be that one person who always seems to ruin the comments thread, but I feel a bit bummed out reading these comments! I guess I just happen to like all the trends out there. Zebra is out, btw. I get extremely tired of my decor and change it out every few years. There is no way I woul decorate my home and leave it for 16 years. I diy most everything, and I paint furniture like nobody’s business. Why? Because I dont like it the way it is. Chalkboard paint is extremely fun, but who said you had to paint an entire wall? To each his own, but everything in all of your houses was the latest trend at some point. Be true to yourself, even if that self is a trendy decorator. Your house should make you happy, if its in style or not, if its traditional or full of burlap, chevron , and chalkboard paint, PERIOD.
My least favorite design style is mid century quirky with mod patterns, danish style furniture pieces, nubby upholstery and lots of period nick nacks. I adore old movies and vintage fashion, but for some reason, even when done well this style gives me the willies.
All these rooms are so stark. I find white to be cold and unwelcoming. I like color and a welcoming vibe. My living/dining room has a branch chandelier that I made after seeing one online I liked for about 2k (out of budget), a spring green on the walls, turquoise print chairs and for now a purple sofa(looking for a vintage mid-century orange). Everyone that comes to my house comments on how much they like the room. Art is reclaimed wood, local artists and a Wyeth reproduction. Floors are hardwood with no throw rugs due to three large rescue dogs and ceilings are high and beamed. Not fancy, but our house is the one everyone wants to gather at.
This is an interesting topic. There are a few trends that I am tired of, but I tend to avoid trends.
I love reading blogs and getting new ideas. Our house was built 15 years ago and has beautiful honey oak trim and cabinetry throughout the house. I made that choice because I thought it would be a “classical” look rather than picking white or the “pickled” look that was so popular back than. Now, I feel like my house is so “dated” when it is still nicely done. I have seen blogs that are are painting their oak cabinets, but I cannot bring myself to paint this beautiful wood for another trendy look that will be outdated in a few years. So…. I feel almost ashamed and embarrassed of my house being out of style even though it is still beautiful and I love it. These trends make it so hard….
I read somewhere once that if you want to identify your style, you should look at your choices in clothing and accessories. Interesting concept.
Rick Hamilton says
Great post. Having an overall style and vision can really affect the cohesiveness and flow of your home. Other notes on Traditional styles speak of comfort, warmth, and familiarity. In contemporary style, clutter is nonexistence. Elements of neutrality, clean, smooth, and subtle reign supreme. Casual features a lack of rules and never gives an appearance of contrived or formal. What message do you want to give to your guests? And what vibe do you want to come home to?
Phillip Holbrook says
Nice article, but here’s a friendly suggestion: Please let go of the much overused “out there” prepositional phrase. Just.a suggestion..
I enjoyed reading your article. I would call my style cottage, and I think it is southern but not farmhouse or strongly “country.” I love white as the foundation, but I have a mix of wood tones in furniture and enjoy vintage items, dishes, and plants. I like pops of color and vary with how layered it is and how many patterns I do. I think it is a soft, cozy, light atmosphere. I shop thrift stores and aim in department stores for trying to minimize a “mass produced” look even when I do pick up a mass produced item.
It is a small house, and we are making improvements over time and fixing up rooms. I recently have enjoyed being a “plant lady”, and the green color and living plants are really making the house cozy and give it lovely color! My favorite colors are red and green, but I only really splash out with red during Christmas and winter. I am decluttering, too, and have donated a good deal of things that are not things I want to store or use.
I don’t really do trend items, unless you consider my interest in vintage dishes and my being a reader and loving books trendy. I think that could be considered trendy, but I have been interested for 25 years, since I was a teenager. 🙂 I don’t have huge collections of things and don’t want to be cluttered in the home with big collections. I think maybe southern cottage nails the look, but not in a cluttered or theme-y way with my accent pieces. I try to avoid that. I love the cottage style!
I live in an older house that isn’t dated just darker then I would like. Dark counters, limited natural light and a brown leather sectional sofa in the great room are my obstacles. Counters and sofa are in great shape so they arent going anywhere! In the past I’ve made changes that I’ve liked but I’m ready for more changes. I will look for ways to lighten the look of what I have. My style has always been traditional but I’m leaning towards more casual and fun in the last few years… what makes me happy that I might not have done before. I love the light and airy look but a good pop of color will get me everytime! I’ve always loved green, gold and maroon and that has continued. I recently read and loved your house blog with all the blue-green which I’m in love with and trying to incorporate! It’s taken me years to not jump at purchasing something I love without considering if it will go with the rest of the room. For me decorating is probably a lifelong quest to change things up.