2014-04-04 / Columnists

The Insider

Interior Design
By Christine Baumann

Did you know that there is a simple way to think about decorating styles? While there are dozens of styles to consider, most can be grouped neatly into four categories. Knowing which style appeals to you most can guide you when working with your designer or shopping on your own. And since this is the time of year when most people plan to work with a designer on redecorating or renovation, INSIDER has a few tips when you decide to bring together your own look for your home.

The Casual Style is homey and comfortable. Furnishings are somewhat oversized. Everyday items such as jars, baskets, lanterns, and books are used for accessories. Wood tones are typically light or medium toned and sometimes painted. There is a lot of mixing of fabrics and patterns. The overall mood is one of feeling at home.

The Formal Style is elegant and stately. Furniture is often tall and stained in dark polished finishes. Heavy trimming adorns window treatments and upholstered pieces. Accessory materials such as crystal, marble and porcelain frequently show up in pairs to create balance. Antiques and fine reproductions work well in these spaces. The overall feeling is one grandness.

The Traditional Style reflects understated elegance. It is a perfect blend of the casual and formal styles. Furnishings have classic lines and simple detail. There is often a mix of wood finishes and can also incorporate painted finish as well. Leather and Jacquard fabrics can be used on the upholstery and patterned window treatments. Accents include porcelain items, painted plates, leather bound books and timeless pieces. The overall feeling is one of classic sophistication.

The Modern Style is urban, fresh and slick. Clean lines are used as a design tool to distinguish items from the background. Space is deliberately placed around items so they appear to be “on display.” Furniture upholstery is neutral in color and fabrics are pulled tight. Pops of color and pattern are used sparingly for effect. Accessories are few but always artistic in nature. The overall feeling is clean, sophisticated and edgy.

Of course, mixing styles brilliantly within the same space can be achieved. Carefully select the major style and add an accent with elements from yet another category. This often results in pleasing and unique blends. Take a moment to ensure there is a special something that ties it all together, such as color or the historic era represented. Knowing which style appeals to you most can make the designing process run smoothly, and planning with an interior designer can help bring it all together.

Remember, when in doubt... ask your experts. This will always save you time and money. Call the Insider with your interior design questions (718) 845-1321.

Christine Baumann has a full service award winning interior design firm established in 2003. Her work has been featured in House Magazine, HGTV.com and has won the Queens Chamber of Commerce Building Award for Excellence in Design. Her philosophy is creating the right style for each individual client based on their particular needs.

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