Your Decorating Style? Are you Decoratively Challenged?

We all have a friend or relative who has a  sense of style that makes decorating their home seem effortless.  You may scratch your head, how did they make it look so together? Do they have some inner sense that tells them the perfect spot to hang that picture or how to mix those patterns?  They have the special touch to place, choose and arrange  furnishings and accessories in their residences.

But when we shop for a particular item, bring it home & place it in the  intended room, it just doesn’t fit in. How do some people just know what will work ?

Is there help available  for the style challenged? I am here to tell you, “YES”! Help is available!

We can learn some simple guidelines & tricks, like for an example; never group items or accessories together  in even numbers, only group  with 1, 3  or 5  items together.

You can learn a lot from looking . Look at home decorating magazines, decorating TV shows. Look with a discerning  eye, analyze what you see and like.

Another good place to start is becoming familiar with different decorating styles. Here’s a few popular ones; Contemporary style, Retro, Traditional style, Modern , English Cottage, Romantic, Urban,  that’s just for starters. Lets take a quick look at a few of them  & discuss some areas that tend to define them.

Contemporary– It can fall within  a wide range. What comes to most people’s minds are black and whites with the  focus on-line, shape and form, providing a good backdrop for bold colored accessories and art. That’s what you were thinking, right? Well certainly. Let us forge ahead, however.

The furniture pieces often have clean lines and smooth surfaces, more rounded than the lines of Modern style.

Color palettes may lean towards  tone-on-tones, with heavy emphasis on  brown, cream, taupe &  pure white. Shots of color are sometimes found on a single wall,  a colorful rug or with striking  art.

Those drawn to contemporary  generally want to make an artistic statement. You’ll notice art is a theme running through this description, because they are frequently drawn to displaying art as a focal point of the room, perhaps original, if within their means.

Modern-differs from contemporary with more stark lines, clean, streamlined furniture,  polished surfaces, strong geometric shapes. It may include stainless steel & chrome. There is a lack of clutter.

Modern design can be minimalist or it might be inspired by the bold colors used in abstract art.

Often it has a  neural color palette that make the  art and accessories  extremely important. They need to have striking shapes or forms to make a statement.

Romantic, English Cottage, Shabby Chic-These are all closely related.  There will be lots of delicate lace and  florals.  They are  very feminine, lots of florals; in the  wall papers, art and furnishings. It has an old-fashioned feel, lots of white-painted furniture, ruffled throw pillows, slip covers,  floral or soft colored quilts and ruffled skirts on big over stuffed chairs and couches.  The art is often floral as well, big cottage roses &  peonies. Think English cottages with brass beds, white wicker chairs with big fluffy faded floral cushions.

This barely scratches the surface. Try browsing the internet, google some of these styles, there so much info available, look at the pictures.  If you look at enough pictures you’ll find yourself starting  to recognize various styles and identify them. You’re well on your way, to knowing what goes with what, when armed with some basic style awareness.

You’ll find what fits you and your life.

Here’s a few fun quiz’s to help you to find your personal style. The first one is a link to a quiz  from Real Simple online magazine and the second is from  Ethan Allan’s web site. Look around those sites while you’re there, see what you like.

Above all have some fun with it. It’s not rocket science!

What’s Your Decorating Personality? from Real Simple

Another fun  quiz from Ethan Allen -What ‘s Your Signature?

Here’s a great article to look at from Real Simple-Your Decorating Style Defined

Modern Interior Design- Contemporary Art

You may be redesigning a room, or perhaps you’ve just moved into a new place. Maybe you just feel the need for a face lift to up date your home to the year 2011. In any case, if you are in the process of decorating a room, you may ask yourself, “Why spend money on artwork? Can I afford it? Does artwork make that much of an impact on the design?”.

The addition of art work can pull a whole design scheme together . It’s the icing on the cake. It’s like having your shoes match your outfit. With out the art work, a room just doesn’t look finished . There are  lots of reasons why you should give some thought to finding the right piece of art. Here are a few more;

Your choice of art really does “make the room”.

It will inject your personality into the interior design.

Art work becomes the focal point for the whole room.

Choosing a fantastic piece of art work will give your home a unique individual touch.

It can be the inspiration for the room’s color palette, creating a unified pulled together look.

And guess what? It is a lot more affordable than you would think. Check out etsy, loads of talented artists with very affordable work. Fiber art too-still available at great prices.

In discussing contemporary art you may ask, “Is it just for modern design?”

Naturally modern art is most chosen for use with the sophisticated urban feel of contemporary design. The clean lines and neutral color palate benefit from the injection of bold color, the punctuation marks of the room, as it were.

The attention grabbing design and color of modern art can be used to good effect with Eclectic style as well.

It can also serve as a bridge in a room with a mixture of traditional and modern elements.

This post focuses in particular on the role contemporary art plays in a modern interior design theme.

Contemporary homes are characterized by their cool, muted color palettes, featuring a lot of whites, creams, and some darker shades of brown & taupe. This color scheme needn’t be boring: a piece of vibrant art work adds a splash of color to  white walls. Add small punches of color from pillows, rugs, throws. These ” punctuation marks” add interest to what could otherwise be a plain looking room.

The example below shows the impact of a pop of color in the neutral palette. It quite literally “makes” the room.

The pop of yellow add the punctuation to the neutral palette

Some additional points:
✓People who like modern design tend to spend  money on a few unique pieces rather than spending money on many smaller items.

✓A great design strategy is to choose a piece of art work that you love and build your decorating scheme around that art work. Choose colors that compliment it. Pull your room colors from the artwork itself.

✓A well placed piece of art work  in a prominent place, the center of a wall or over the fireplace, becomes the room’s focal point.

✓Surfaces in  modern interior design are clear and uncluttered. Compliment that look with few items sitting on nearby tables,  a few well chosen pieces of art in striking colors will have the most impact against the clean walls and smooth lines of the modern design.