Establishing the right personal style for your property is an art in itself, thanks to the wealth of different design inspirations available. There are, however, many good reasons to do so. Pinpointing a style that will blend harmoniously with the period and setting of a property lends focus to your aesthetic. When done well, a distinctive style can also emphasise a site's architectural traits and add value to an investment.
Contemporary style champions minimalism with an element of comfort. As the term would suggest, such styles develop fluidly and adapt to changing lifestyles and cultural trends. Contemporary design centres on cutting-edge concepts, stark lines and boundaries; furnishings are pared-back and bare space becomes the most prominent feature. This look is particularly well suited to urban, penthouse living. Choose high-gloss, fitted furniture for a sleek, streamlined finish and work with a monochrome palette for an overall impression of understated opulence.
Vintage style, with its focus on rustic pastiche, will be favoured by avid collectors and antiques aficionados in particular. Period features, hand-crafted textiles and a creative use of colours and patterns all contribute to developing an authentic vintage feel. It is advisable to honour the architectural style of your building; Art Deco fabrics and styling will suit an early 20th century apartment, while a 1950s home will embrace the hallmarks of the era, including tapered leg furniture and bold, geometric fabrics.
One of the most flexible styles available, coastal interiors range from classic New England-inspired elegance to the charming beach hut style, plucked straight from a quaint British seaside scene. Pale neutral tones, greys and greens present a refreshing alternative to the archetypal blue and white. Textures and fabrics are kept organic and natural, while seagrass flooring and white-painted wooden furniture contribute to an atmosphere of leisurely relaxation. Use natural light where possible, celebrating panoramic views with floor-to-ceiling windows.
Country style covers a range of traditional décors and offers an antidote to modern minimalism, emphasising a warm and welcoming atmosphere that would suit a rural period property or renovated farmhouse. Popular examples of the style include French country, dominated by the lavender purples and olive greens of Provence, and Tuscan style, characterised by rich ochre and terracotta accents. Large signature pieces in distressed oak complement natural stone floors and expansive fireplaces, with woven rugs adding a sense of comfort.
Industrial style will always be a natural choice when decorating a converted space. Barns, warehouses and loft apartments all lend themselves to functional designs that celebrate the building's architecture and original raison d'être. Industrial rooms often have an unembellished, utilitarian feel; exposed brick or steel work is embraced and re-purposed, with salvaged furnishings offset by a neutral grey palette.
With its eclectic decor and vibrant colours, the bohemian style can complement both stately and modern properties. Characterised by spontaneity, coordinated design details are replaced with curios and keepsakes, placing inherited artefacts among newly-bought treasures. Derived from the French term for Romani gypsies, bohemian style transcends ethnic boundaries and embraces fresh global styles. Items collected whilst travelling are the ideal way to introduce this style; think elegant Moroccan ottomans and sumptuous Indian silks.
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