By Jason Walsh, senior industrial designer, and Patrick Ege, lead industrial designer
Homeowners and home buyers today are blessed with seemingly endless options across numerous product categories. But amid all those choices, many find themselves overwhelmed, unable to narrow down home designs and styling to meet a specific focus.
No need to stress. Follow these six tips to help gain an understanding of your style–and how to design your house to meet it.
1. Browse, browse, browse.
Peruse décor websites and style magazines. Window shop. Take note of features in other homes that you like. This will give you an idea for what grabs your attention. Once you’ve noticed a common theme, specifically search those styles. Exposure gives the greatest ability to understand your style.
2. Draw inspiration from your favorite things.
Compile together all the possessions you treasure. These can be picture frames, books, trinkets, clothes, fabrics, etc. Anything from large to small, but all important to you. Then study them as a collective and consider what drew you to them. This can further help determine what common themes appeal to you.
3. Don’t feel constrained by design rules.
Remember it’s your house, and it’s OK to express yourself even if it doesn’t fit into a specific style definition. It’s not a science; have fun with it.
4. Consider making changes in specific areas such as doors.
Simply changing the door can significantly enhance a home’s design and even shift its overall feel.
Exterior and interior doors offer different opportunities, however. Complement the home’s architectural style by choosing an exterior door that falls into that style. For example, if the house features Georgian/Federalist architecture, then choose a paneled door to complement the home.
There is much more freedom on interior doors because you aren’t constrained by curb appeal and resale value issues. You’ll likely feel more comfortable doing something different on the inside. For example, that same Georgian home might have modern interior doors throughout the house.
Express your style by painting the doors–exterior and interior, or choosing a specific decorative glass. From ornate to modern, decorative glass can add to the style of a front entry. For example, Masonite’s Tanglewood glass creates an elegant and ornate appearance, and the Masonite Optimus features clean, sharp lines.
Consider changing out an interior molded panel door with a barn door to make your specific style stand out. Pick between modern or rustic hardware to complement your barn door to take it a step further.
5. Blend carefully.
Still, even though you shouldn’t constrain yourself to rules, do keep in mind that some styles work well together while others don’t. “Farmhouse modern” is an example of two styles that can coexist. Also known as “transitionally modern,” it mixes the old with the new; it’s a rejection of the seriousness and starkness of modern while appreciating modern’s simplified features.
Craftsman and Victorian, on the other hand, are two styles that don’t mesh. Developed around the Industrial Revolution, Victorian was a creation of very ornate and decorative styling. Craftsman is a rejection of that philosophy; therefore, mixing the two would create a confused style.
6. Go neutral for large items, trendy for accessories.
Playing it a little safer for large items, such as furniture and appliances, prevents these more expensive wares from going out of date quickly. You can still stay with the times through smaller, more affordable objects. For example, accommodate the hot trend of eclectic design by adding bold, mix-and-match accessories with relatively low cost and risk. Invest in major items that suit your tastes and build around that with accessories.
Terms like contemporary, traditional, and the like are the foundations from which to play. Once you understand what those foundations are, have fun with your designs. Remember, if you really like it, then have at it—there are no rules.
Have other tips for understanding what your style is? Share in the comments!