Bio: As an enthusiastic writer with a passion for interiors, Charlotte would one day like to run her own Interior Design company, but for now is happy experimenting with new designs in her own house.
There are numerous home interior styles to follow these days, including shabby chic and vintage, modern and country, and each one has several defining features. Some will suit a woman’s taste more than a man’s, and vice versa, whilst some are much easier to maintain than others.
This is an essentially feminine style, especially when it is used in the bedroom. It is an affected look, where recent and sometimes modern furniture is made to look old and well-used. To convey a feeling of indulgence, colours are soft, and should be mainly off-whites and pastels, and for an earthier look, beiges and browns. The main colour in the room should always be white or cream, and this includes the furniture, which should be ‘distressed’ to show the original wood colour beneath.
Vintage style is similar to shabby chic, but with less emphasis on shabby. Again, white and pale shades should form the main colour palette, but there is greater scope for contrast, with the use of dark accent colours. Blacks and greys can be used on doors and window frames, for example. Vintage also differs from shabby chic in the accessory department. Shabby chic is heavy on accessories, but Vintage takes a simpler, more minimalist approach.
Country-style usually conjures up images of the French and English countryside rather than anywhere else in the world. The design look of English country-style is best termed ‘cosy, with heavily flower patterned fabrics and upholstery with a cream or buttermilk coloured background. The flower theme should be extended to large bunches of fresh flowers in vases on tables. The outside of the home should feature trailing plants, climbing over the walls. Chintz and toile fabrics are a perfect choice for upholstering furniture.
The French country-style is definitely more rustic than the English. In some ways, it incorporates elements of shabby chic, with old or antique-looking furniture and vintage accessories. Kitchens, for example, should display apothecary style jars and bottles, with a dresser having plates and cups on show. Natural wood is a definite design element for the French country-style, with an emphasis on elegance. This should be reflected in the opulent nature of fabrics, especially those used in window dressings, and antique-style furniture, such as a chaise sofa.
There is no mistaking a modern room interior with its clean lines – straight, angular or curved. Anything goes as far as colours are concerned. Primary colours of reds, blues and greens can all be mixed, especially if they are set against a pure white backdrop. Different types of furniture can be used, such as glass dining tables with leather sofas, metal tubular chairs with breakfast bars made of wood.
For most of these styles, existing furniture can be adapted or ‘upcycled’ to get the right look. For instance, even modern-style furniture can be painted and distressed to become suitable for a shabby chic style. Painted furniture can be stripped or sanded to get back to the natural wood for a vintage look. Furniture can be re-upholstered in suitably patterned fabrics to achieve a country-style.