Design Styles Guide: Top 6 Interior Design Styles Explained

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With so many interior design styles to choose from, its hard to nail down just one look. Most people's style overlaps in more than one category. My style dictates a mixture of traditional, hollywood regency and transitional. Discovering your interior design style can be difficult for some clients. As a result, I've decided to highlight the top 6 interior design styles to help guide you on which aesthetic suits your fancy.

Interior Design Style: Traditional

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Traditional design exemplifies a timeless style. It is inspired by 18th and 19th century European decor. Traditional design is perfect for those who love antiques, classic art pieces, symmetry and other design elements that are rich with history. Traditional design prides itself on its harmony, order and its friendly charm.

Dark woods, millwork, refined colors and warm jewel tones are generally seen in this design style. The furnishings and wall colors are neutral tones while accent pillows and accessories help to bring in pops of color.

Furnishings found in traditional homes tend to be heavy statement pieces. Characteristics of traditional furnishings include details such as button tufting, claw feet, and ornate wood carvings. Wing back chairs, chesterfield sofas, and Queen Anne chairs are popular traditional style furnishings.

Interior Design Style: Mid Century Modern

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This era of design was influential from the mid 1930-1960s. Thanks to shows like Mad Men and the many price points available to consumers (think IKEA vs. Herman Miller); mid century modern is one of the most popular design styles. It is characterized by furnishings with clean lines, curves and geometric shapes. Wood accents, man-made materials, open floor plans and color are seen in mid century modern style homes.

The design philosophy with mid century modern style is to focus on the basic elements and functions of a piece. This style is the total opposite of traditional design. Furnishings are light and airy; creating an uncluttered look in a space.

Interior Design Style: Eclectic

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Eclectic design includes a variety of styles and time periods that are made cohesive through color, textures, and finishes. This is a tough style to implement; too many variations can create a room that lacks flow and looks mismatched.

Eclectic style is characterized by a multitude of fabrics, patterns, and art items. Eclectic style homes usually exhibit unique art and furnishings, a mixture of old and new items, and handmade or personal items. This is not the "anything goes" decorating style. There is generally a "place for everything" although the space may look cluttered.

Interior Design Style: Hollywood Regency

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This design style is a throwback to old Hollywood glamour. It exudes sophistication and swagger. This design style originated in the 1930's thanks to designers like William Haines and Dorothy Draper and was a favorite among the Hollywood elite.

Decorating with black and white, geometric patterns and bold accent colors are all iconic features of the Hollywood Regency look. Other common accessories are zebra rugs, gold accents, mirrored surfaces, Chippendale bamboo chairs, and lush velvet next to high-gloss lacquered pieces.

Furnishings are usually modest in scale and offer a clean, streamlined look. A prominent feature of the Hollywood Regency style is tete a tetes and parties, so furnishings are generally grouped for cocktails and conversation.

Interior Design Style: Transitional

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Transitional design is a fusion of traditional and contemporary styles. Think of it as a more modern version of classic design. Transitional design marries curved furnishings with straight-lined pieces; lacquered finishes with wood accents to create a balanced and sophisticated space attuned to your needs and lifestyle.

Transitional spaces generally have a neutral color palette. Walls are usually painted in hues of tan, beige, ivory and grey. This serves as the perfect backdrop for the accent colors usually found in accessories such as artwork, pillows and accessories.

Transitional furniture pieces tend to have more classic shapes and silhouettes, but are smaller in size with less ornamentation than traditional pieces. This design style celebrates clean lines and simple architecture.

Interior Design Style: Shabby Chic

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The shabby chic style is also known as "vintage chic" or "country chic". The entire decor appears worn, including all furniture pieces and accessories. This style exudes comfort and relaxation; it's also a fairly inexpensive aesthetic to implement.

A basic white color scheme works well in shabby chic interiors. Adding in touches of pastel colors help to compliment the space. Some of the most basic accessories to help complete the style include wicker chairs, distressed mirrors and wooden benches,.

There are so many aspects to love in each of these 6 interior design styles. I hope this interior design style guide gives you a better understanding of each and helps you narrow down a look that best represents your lifestyle.

Which interior design style is your favorite?

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Before & After: A Family Room Transformation Decorating Project

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A before and after picture really allows you to see the transformation of a space. As a designer, its a great way of showcasing your vision and the endless possibilities of "what could be". This is especially fun when working on a space in your home because you get to take risks! One project in particular where I had a chance to create a great "before and after" transformation is my family room.

The Before…

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This before picture is the actual MLS photo of my family room. When we first saw the room in person, I fell in love with all the wood trim. My home is a GA Colonial and I love traditional design elements like mill work, crown molding, and wainscoting. So after we moved in, I initially had the wood trim stained a walnut color and painted the walls a creamy white. Beyond that, our budget didn't allow us to really transform the room. Sometime afterward, we found out we were pregnant with twins and that certainly derailed any plans to upgrade the space.

Fast forward to 2016, and we finally felt like we were in a good routine with kids and could handle a renovation. After living with the dark stained wood for such a long time, I was ready to do something in total contrast to this look.

The After…

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My color scheme for the room is sea blue, coral, chocolate, and white. As you can see, we went a little crazy with the white paint! It helps to really freshen up the space; gives it an airy feel. We didn't make any changes with the layout however; you can see how much of a difference paint can make in a space! It's such an inexpensive way to revitalize a room and update a look.

I still love the warmth that wood brings so, I decided to keep the mantel in the stained wood color to add a nice contrast to all the white in the room. This warmth is reinforced with the coffee table, tufted chairs and of course with my gold accents.

The final touches were introduced with accessories and styling. It's absolutely one of my favorite things with decorating. It's amazing how pillows, decor, and accessories can "complete" the look in a room. I loved filling this space with all my favorite books, accessories and a set of encyclopedias we received when my husband's grandfather passed.

My goal with the space was to give it color and always feel a sense of happy when I entered the space. I think I accomplished that goal. The room now feels so much bigger and brighter.

Do you have a before and after room transformation you're proud of? Let's hear about it in the comments!

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How to Choose the Right Rug Size: A Room by Room Ultimate Guide

Buying the correct size rug for your space can be tricky. I've made this mistake in the past and ended up with a rug barely large enough for a tree house. The reason most people purchase rugs too small is due to 5x7 and 6x9 rugs being less expensive than your 8x10s or 9x12s. However; a large number of spaces are too small for these size rugs and they end up making the room look choppy and unfinished.

So how do you choose the right rug size? Below I provide tips on deciding the correct rug size room by room so you'll never end up with pea sized rugs again!

Choose the Right Rug Size: Living Room

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When choosing a rug for your living room, its important to figure out the seating area. Measure this area and get a rug the closest size up from that. The key element here is furniture legs. You will want to consider if the legs will either be all on the rug, all off the rug, or just the front legs on the rug with the back legs off. Whatever you decide, just be consistent with the look!

If your seating elements will be against the wall, it makes sense to purchase a smaller rug and have just the front legs resting on it or have the rug float in front of all the furniture. A portion of a larger rug will go unseen with furniture resting on it if backed up against a wall and that's no bueno. If your room is big or the furniture will be floating, then a larger rug is the better option and more proportionate to the space.

Good: Seating elements are all off the rug.

Better: Front legs of seating elements are on the wrong with back legs off.

Best: Seating elements are all on the rug.

Choose the Right Rug Size: Bedroom

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Rugs in a bedroom are all about creating an intimate and cozy feeling. The best size rug for this space is one large enough where your nightstand, entire bed and any furniture at the end of the bed rests on it. This equates to a rug that would extend 1 foot past your nightstand and at least 2 feet past the end of the bed or any furniture at the foot.

However; we know large rugs can get very expensive. So ideally, you should purchase an applicable rug size that places it directly under your feet when you get out of bed.

Good: Placing 2 small rugs on either side of the bed (rug runners or 2x3 size rugs).

Better: Placing a rug under the mid point area of the bed with just the end legs resting on it.

Best: Placing a rug large enough for the entire bed and nightstands to rest on it.

Choose the Right Rug Size: Dining Room

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Rugs are great to use in this space to protect your flooring. For dining rooms, choose a rug size that will allow dining chair legs to rest on it, even when the chairs are pulled out. The size you choose should be large enough to extend at least 2 feet beyond the chairs.

Aside from size, the shape of the rug should also be taken into consideration. If your budget dictates a smaller rug, choose a shape that contrasts with the table shape (rectangular table with oval rug) to help bring visual interest to the space and lessen the emphasis on the rug.

Good: Dining chair legs rest on the rug only when pushed in to the table.

Better: Dining chair legs rest on the rug even when pulled out. However; the rug doesn't extend beyond the chairs.

Best: Dining chair legs rest on the rug even when pulled out. The rug is at least 2-4 feet wider than the table.

Hopefully this guide helps to solve your dilemmas with choosing the right rug size. Be sure to "pin it" at the top for safe keeping.

How to Decorate A Non-Working Fireplace: Tips, Ideas and Inspiration

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No fire, no problem. A non-working fireplace can still remain a stylish focal point in a room. Below I share tips, ideas and inspirational photos to get you motivated on how to decorate your fireplace.

First let's start with the mantel. If you don't have a T.V. occupying most of the space, this is a prime opportunity to show off your decor skills. There are a few items that are tried-n-true that I always use for the mantel.

Decor Item #1-Vases

A vase, ginger jar, or urn are great as a stand alone item or can be grouped together to create a collection. Ginger jars are especially popular at the moment and look great grouped together for display.

Decor Item #2- Lanterns

Lanterns add a bit of old world charm and I love incorporating the look on a fireplace mantel. I love the idea of switching out candles for a more interesting decorative piece; such as the mason jars in the picture above.

Decor Item #3-Greenery/Flowers

No mantel is complete without incorporating flowers or some form of greenery. Plants and flowers add an organic touch and can help to bring pops of color and an overall freshness to a space.

Now that we've discussed the mantel, let's move down to the bottom half of our non-working fireplace. There are a number of creative ways to decorate this area and make it stand out among its fire breathing competition.

Decorating Idea #1-Plants

As stated above, plants help to liven up a space and are a great option to bring in color.

Decorating Idea #2-Candles

Candles help to provide a soft and intimate glow when lit and gives the illusion of a functional fireplace. Be sure to choose a variety of sizes and bases to provide visual interest.

Decorating Idea #3-Books

A collection of vintage books give your fireplace a rustic charm and makes you look scholarly.

Decorating Idea #4-Magazines

Decorating a non-working fireplace with magazines is a great storage option. I'm sure a collection similar to this would be a great conversation piece in the living room.

Decorating Idea #5-Logs

Even though your non-working fireplace can't generate fire, logs are still a great option when it comes to styling. And colored logs are even better; they add a touch a whimsy and artistic expression.

Tips

Once you've decided on how you plan to decorate your non-working fireplace, be sure to keep these tips in mind...

Tip #1-Create an anchor

  Via The Decorista/Donna Doton

Via The Decorista/Donna Doton

This basically means to pick a decor piece that grounds the fireplace. This will essentially be the decor focal point on the mantel. For example, a tall mirror or a large piece of art would serve as the foundation for the rest of your decor accessories.

Tip #2-Vary the Height

Try not to pick decor accessories that are all the same height. Varying the height creates visual interest to the eye. A rule of thumb is to pick small, medium and large items when shopping.

Tip #3-Limit the Types of Items You Use

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Try to stick with 3-4 different items when decorating your fireplace. Too many varied items on the mantel will make it look chaotic and thrown together. When necessary, repeat 1 or 2 of the items to fill in empty space. In the image above, there are 4 different objects used with 3 repeated throughout the look (artwork, vases, apple decor accessory and flowers).

I hope these tips, ideas and inspirational photos were helpful and gets you excited about decorating your non-working fireplace! As you can see the possibilities are endless; you just need a little creativity. However; if this is not your thing I offer an accessories and styling package that will help solve your dilemma. Accessories are truly my jam; check out my package here.

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Maximizing Style & Efficiency: 6 Essential Ideas for Decorating a Small Entryway

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First impressions are everything. And your home entryway or foyer is no different. It gives visitors a peek into your personality and design aesthetic; even if you think you didn't have the latter. If you have a small entryway like me, then the options you have to display your style is even more limited. But that doesn't mean to ignore this space or dress it in a way that screams "after thought".

It's important to set the right tone and leave a lasting impression on your guests. When your foyer is small, there are a number of things you can do to make the space your own and wow your guests. Let's take a look at 6 essential elements for decorating a small entryway.

Element #1 for Decorating a Small Entryway-Rug

A rug should be used to ground the space and assist with designing the look for the entryway. A rug is also great with minimizing dirt from entering the home.

Element #2 for Decorating a Small Entryway-Have a Seat

If your entryway can accommodate it; add seating. This is advantageous for those that have little ones that need a place to put on their shoes before heading out the door. Or it can be used as a comfy resting spot to kick off your shoes and open the mail. Either way, the addition of a seat makes the space feel inviting.

Element #3 for Decorating a Small Entryway-Mirror

Mirrors serve a two fold purpose. They can make a small space feel larger and they can be used to reflect artwork or pictures along the opposite wall. Using a mirror in the picture above is especially great with narrow hallways.

Element #4 for Decorating a Small Entryway-Table

A table acts as a landing space; a place to "land" your car keys, mail, and purse. Along with being a landing space, a table is great for displaying decor and storing things out of the way. The wicker baskets used in the picture are a great example of both an accessory and storage. I also love how the cluster of pictures above help to define the wall and space.

Element #5 for Decorating a Small Entryway-Wall Space

If you're short on space for a table, use your wall for extra storage. Hang wall hooks for hats, totes and jackets. Its also a great option for keeping things off the floor.

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Element #6 for Decorating a Small Entryway-Lighting

There's nothing worse than walking into a home that's dark. Sufficient lighting is especially important in a small entryway. When you open the door, you really want to be able to see the space and discover the home's personality. If table lamps aren't an option like the picture above, wall sconces are a nice alternative.

With these 6 essential elements, you can't go wrong with decorating your small entryway while impressing your friends. Being small doesn't mean you can't make an impact! Are you struggling with creating a look for your entryway? If so, check out my Design Launch Consultation package here to get started.

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Color Phobia: Subtle Ways to Add Color to Your Home

There are some folks who are hard core neutralists who have no interest in adding color to their color palette. Having 20 different versions of greige suits them well. And then there are others like myself who can't seem to get enough of color. Color is life. Color is happiness and I can't imagine living in a space that was void of it. Finally, there are those who are dab smack in the middle. You like greige and you also enjoy color. You're indifferent. However; the main thing that stops you from jumping head first into the world of color is the fact that you don't know how to incorporate it without your home looking like a circus tent. Below are subtle ways to add color to your home.

Subtle Way to Add Color: Accent Pillows

With the exception of the accent pillows, this vignette is pretty neutral. Accent pillows are a great way to dip your toes into the world of color. No commitment necessary. If the pop of color is too much for you to handle; you can easily change out the pillow covers to something more your speed.

Subtle Way to Add Color: Draperies

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This pink and greige bedroom is so feminine and elegant. The soft pink color palette adds a subtle touch of color to an otherwise neutral space. The draperies in this picture are custom. So if you go this route be sure you are confident in your color selection since custom draperies are not cheap.

Subtle Way to Add Color: Artwork

Artwork is another option to layer in color. In this picture, the cool blue tones in the art and accent pillows help to elevate the white and make the space a bit more interesting. Inexpensive art from Etsy and Minted can be easily changed out depending on the season and your mood.

Subtle Way to Add Color: Rugs

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Imagine how boring this space would be if the rug was neutral. This colorful rug helps to add personality to an otherwise sterile color palette.

Subtle Way to Add Color: Flowers

This floral arrangement adds the perfect mix of happiness and life to this space! This is the safest route to take when you want to add color but aren't sure how. This level of commitment involves no more than a trip to the grocery store and a few bucks spent on flowers.

These subtle ways to add color in your home are great options for those who are fickle and unsure about how to add their favorite hues. Its important to keep the base of the space neutral and then layer in color through accessories and textiles. These things can be swapped out easily to change up the color scheme when necessary.

What are some ways you have incorporated color into your space? Let me know in the comments!

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The Highs & Lows: How to Mix High End and Low End Home Decor

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I love fashion. Some of my favorite designers include Marc Jacobs, Ralph Lauren, and Tory Burch. However; you know that saying, champagne taste on a beer budget? Well that would be me. I always seem to gravitate towards things that are way out of my wallet's comfort zone. So as a result, I've had to get creative and figure out ways to create a high end look without spending silly amounts of money on absolutely everything I'm wearing. So you might find me pairing Tory Burch flats with Gap jeans.

The same concept can be applied to home decor. Cause lets face it; most people do not have budgets large enough to customize furnishings for every room in their home. There are ways to achieve a high end look without compromising your budget. The key to this is in the splurge. The most important aspect of mixing high end and low end home decor is to invest in one or two quality pieces. These pieces will help to elevate the other lower end items in a room. Stumped on what those quality items should be? Let's explore this concept in 3 main rooms: the living room, bedroom, and dining room.

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How to Mix High End and Low End Decor in the Living Room

The living room is a space that is used frequently. This is an area I imagine most people will use to watch T.V., take a lazy afternoon nap, curl up to read a good book, etc. It only makes sense to have your investment item in this interior be the sofa(s). With so many options to choose from, it's hard to know what will last and provide the biggest bang for your buck. The key is in the framing. You'll want to select a sofa that has an 8-way hand tied spring coil system. This is the gold standard on quality furniture. The coffee table is another important quality piece.

How to Mix High End and Low End Decor in the Bedroom

The bedroom is a sacred place. It's your oasis; where you go to rest and recharge. It's also the focal point of the room. You'll want to make sure to purchase a sturdy bed frame and mattress. There's nothing worse than climbing into a bed that provides terrible back support and interrupts your sleep. Another great investment piece is window treatments.

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How to Mix High End and Low End Decor in the Dining Room

I really believe the table and chairs should be your big investment in this space, especially if you have little ones. Most people think that its best to buy an inexpensive table when you have small children. The idea behind this is that the table will be prone to spills, stains, and all sorts of things when kids are small; so the plan is to upgrade when they get older and are beyond this stage. The problem with this theory is that you have to live with this inexpensive, badly stained table for a long time. Did I mention I was referring to myself? My twins are almost 6 and are still in this stage. I"m ready to throw my whole table out the window. Quality furniture will last folks, even with kids. I hope to upgrade soon.

Top Tips for Low End Decor

As for inexpensive items, my recommendation would be to focus on those smaller pieces: think accessories, pillows, lamps, rugs. These items are more forgiving and easier to swap out frequently than a sofa or table ( see what I did there)?

Now I recognize everyone's interpretation of "splurge" will be different depending on your budget. The idea is to find those investment or quality pieces that is reflective of what you can personally afford in your home. Get creative and have fun! The goal is to create a mix of high and low end decor items that will result in a more expensive look overall.

How to Decorate & Style Your Coffee Table: The Do's & Don'ts

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Every home should have one. They come in different shapes and sizes, can be formal or informal, and are made from numerous materials. This furnishing is a statement piece and is generally the center of attention in gatherings; second only to the TV. This important furnishing is your coffee table.

While the choices are endless for selecting a coffee table that coordinates with your personal style; the options for decorating and styling one are the opposite. Let's face it, there are a limited number of accessories to choose from when styling your coffee table (books, flowers, and trays will forever reign). Even with this being the case, there are still ways to make those tried and true selections stand out and reflect your personality. Let's discuss the do's and don'ts of decorating and styling your coffee table.

Decorate Your Coffee Table: Do's

  • Use the Rule of Three as a Guideline

Now I usually roll my eyes at "rules" when it comes to decorating but this is one I actually agree with. The concept is simple; the rule focuses on the notion that grouping items in odd numbers create more visual depth and appeal than even numbered groupings. Three is also the smallest figure that allows our brains to form a pattern and remember things. This principle holds weight in interior design, graphic design, and photography. There must be some truth to it cause how else do you explain popular "number stories" like, The 3 Little Pigs, 3 Blind Mice, Goldilocks & the 3 Bears; hell, even Three's Company! Although 3 seems to be the magic number, groupings of 5, 7, and 9 can also work.

  • Vary the Height of Your Accessories

There is nothing more visually unappealing than seeing objects styled at the same height. It's important to create interest and contrast; differing heights also allows the eyes to move around the objects instead of glossing over them.

  • Add Color

Pick objects with a pop of color that complement the scheme of the room. For example, select flowers to put in a vase that is a similar color to the walls or accent pillows in the room. Candles and greenery are additional ways to bring in color. Finally, art books are a way to both provide pops of color and spark a conversation with its images.

Decorate Your Coffee Table: Don'ts

  • Clutter the Space

Depending on the size of your coffee table; there seems to be an urge for some folks to occupy every. square. inch. Please my stylish friends, don't be one of those folks. The general rule of thumb is to leave space for drinks and coasters when entertaining. A non-cluttered table also minimizes accidents or things being broken if little ones are in the home.

  • Mix Themes

When it comes to shopping for accessories, resist the urge to splurge (hey that rhymes) on all your favorite knick-knacks. It’s important that the items you purchase are deliberate and match the style of the interior space. For example, if the room style is traditional, it would not make sense to purchase crystals and vintage inspired pieces (bohemian vibe). Mixing themes makes a room feel "chaotic" instead of coordinated.

  • Pick Sides

Depending on the size of your coffee table, some decor tips suggest that you should choose a side to decorate and leave the other side empty. I personally think this looks weird and unfinished. In addition to the size, the styling arrangement will depend on the number of objects selected. Obviously if it’s one or two items, mentally dividing the table in half would work with each object being evenly spaced apart. If its three or more, its best to create an imaginary quadrant of the table and place an object within each quadrant.

With these basic tips, anyone can decorate and style a coffee table with confidence. The process should be easy and personable. Once you become a pro, the hardest part to decorating your coffee table will be staying within your budget! From glam to farmhouse chic, the choice is yours-just be sure to have fun in the process. If you need more inspiration and tips, be sure to download my e-book "The Vignette Blueprint: 8 Successful Tips for Styling your Coffee Table & Bookshelves" here.