Style - isn't that for the rich and famous?

Do you think home style has nothing to do with you?

Isn't it just an abstract concept? You live in a practical world. Colors. Prices. Food. Children. Washing.

But home style is really about you, how you see yourself and the world. The elements of style can be applied to any home, whether you're considering a country style home, mediterranean style home, or anything else.

Many people who wouldn't class themselves as interior designers have an excellent sense of style.

They have achieved this through practice - by really looking at and analyzing what they like (possessions, ornaments, pictures, colors etc.) and how these objects and preferences suit them and their lifestyle.

As with many aspects of home style, look at as many illustrations as you can. Some you'll like, so ask yourself why. Is it the colors? The fabric design? Or has the designer mixed two seemingly conflicting elements in a unique way?


Home style is about you, so you have to develop your own style.

Notice I said 'develop', not 'invent'. You don't have to think up a style from scratch, something no one else has thought of. Take the best of what you see, and use that.

Pay close attention to what appeals to you and why. You'll gain confidence in your tastes and develop you own particular sense of style.

A few suggestions...

Think of style in the following ways, and you find that it is a very practical part of your home style ideas.

Top Tip

Don't get 'hung up' over style. Take what you can from this page, but remember...

Your style is having your favorite colors and furnishings around you, so you can enjoy them.

  • Is the object, color, texture etc suitable for the room?
  • Does it clash with the other features?
  • Does it fit in with your concept? For example, if you're planning a very traditional scheme, then a piece of modern art (however attractive it may be in its own right) will probably not be suitable.
  • If it's a color, does it fit in with your scheme? If you've used five or six variations of soft muted colors in your scheme, and then introduce a vivid primary color, you'll probably find it destroys the effect you're trying to create.
  • What is your "gut" feeling? The feature you are considering may be correct from a color or texture point of view, but if you simply don't like it (even if you don't know why) then don't use it.
  • Are the proportions right? Sometimes the feature is fundamentally right, but maybe just a bit too large or slightly too small. For example, an oil painting may look good, but its frame is too thin and unimportant. Replacing the frame with a three inch wide gilded one may transform the painting.
  • Does the feature fit in with the architecture and setting? An ultramodern house in a new development may not be the ideal setting for French Empire furniture. However, don't be a slave to this. Many stylish rooms have a mix of old and new. As with many skills, once you've learned the basic rules and mastered them, you can then go on to ignore them on occasion.

Be sensitive to the house, its proportions, character and where it is located. Then be sensitive to your own needs and that of your family.

Imagine you're convincing your home of the style it should have rather than forcing a home style on it.

That way you'll achieve a finished look which is unique, full of your own influence, and a place you can truly call your own. You will then have achieved that abstraction known as 'style'.

Traditional style

traditional soft furnishings

This photo shows a room decorated in a classic traditional style.

The dimensions of the room, together with its architectural features (cornice, picture rail, ceiling plaster work around the chandeliers, fireplace) suggest that a traditional style will be suitable.

The color scheme is also a classic two-color scheme - blue and gold/yellow. The blue carpet supplies the base color, which is then introduced into the fabric of the upholstery and the curtains.

The furniture style is classical, and the 'Queen Anne legs' of the coffee tables is not only in keeping with the style, but also brings a touch of lightness and elegance to the overall effect.


Modern style

modern furnishings

The architecture of this room suggests using a modern style of decorating.

The lines are straight, with no embellishments. The scheme uses a simple color structure, the brown floor providing a base color, with creams and whites used in the walls and furnishings.

The rug under the table gives a link between the floor and lighter furniture, while the picture frame gives a contrasting balance. Although the style of the sofa is traditional with its scroll arms, its plain white upholstery and contemporary throw pillows enable it to blend into this contemporary theme.

Click here for more living room decorating ideas


Bedroom style

bedroom decorating

This bedroom style suggests comfort and luxury.

The thickness of the covers, together with the generous pillows give a feeling of welcome. The rug on the floor, while not essential in this room, suggest the owners value their room and its style - this is not 'just' a bedroom.

The use of simple shades on the windows instead of drapes prevent the windows from becoming fussy and the room overdressed.

Click here for more bedroom decorating ideas


Whatever style you use for your home decorating, at some stage you'll probably want to paint some walls. Not everyone finds it easy to make decisions about paint colors. There's a way to learn about some short cuts which many decorators know about. (Only suitable for residents of the USA and Canada.)

The Shortcut to Perfect Paint Colors - Paint Color Cheat Sheets


Final thought

Never, ever, select a style for the sole purpose of impressing other people.



Creating a style is like writing a novel - whether you like it or not, your own thoughts, opinions, insights and views will come through. Trust your instincts, and you'll find you have as much style as anyone else!

Click here to find out more about styles, and see some historical ones.


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