If you love decorating your home and creating an environment that is your personal happy space, you probably run into the same challenge that everyone else does. That challenge is being drawn to different types of home decor, but maintaining your own personal ‘stamp’; your own unique style. So how do you go about trying to mix up your decor style?
Truth be told, I have to think it’s hard for any of us to consider our home decor style by picking just one specific style. For example, you may love Farmhouse, but can’t resist a bit of Coastal. Perhaps French Country is definitely your thing, but once in a while you get distracted by some Art Deco. Or, your home is pretty well grounded in Traditional, but your kitchen is totally Country!
It might be a something of an adventure to mix up your decor style. Small, intentional touches of a different decorating style, carefully incorporated, can bring about a fresh and charming look and feel to your home. You haven’t strayed far from your own special style, but you have brought in a surprise element – the visual equivalent of adding an unexpected spice to a dish.
Here are a few examples of what I mean by that:
Add Coastal to Farmhouse by bringing in a bowl of shells on the coffee table, or a display of coral in a hutch or a book case.
Add Industrial to Traditional with a grouping of open weave metal balls.
Add Farmhouse to French Country by hanging a tobacco basket.
Add Traditional to Farmhouse with a one beautiful mahogany piece, or a display of floral chintz pillows.
Below is a list of elements specific to a particular style. I am keeping this list focused on 5 different styles: Farmhouse, French Country, Coastal, Traditional, and Cottage (my favorite).
The list of elements includes colors, furniture, accessories, the ‘feel’ of the style, and a list of blogs with links that are great examples of that particular style.
Colors: Beige, straw, neutrals, small touches of ivory, green and wood tones.
Furniture: Deconstructed sofas, wooden farm tables, coffee tables made from pallets, chippy hutches and shelving, cross back dining table chairs.
Accessories: Wooden chopping boards, chicken wire baskets, Ball Mason jars, pillow ticking, buffalo check or grain sack fabrics, old wooden crates and baskets, old windows, wreaths, shutters on the walls, wooden tool totes, dough bowls.
Feel: Comforting, relaxing, cozy, fabrics and textures are casual and inviting.
List of blogs for reference: The Painted Hinge, Love Grows Wild, Little Farmstead Blogspot, Farmhouse 5540, Bless This Nest
Colors: Muted tones of blue, green and purples and pinks.
Furniture: Tufted sofas, leggy tables and chairs. Tassels, ornate figurines, crystal or glass beads. Painted furniture also includes lots of gold gilding and highlighting, with lush details.
Accessories: Ornate vases, lamps with heavy detailed bases, paintings framed in gold gilding, dishes with gold highlights, old gold and silver with heavy patina, fabrics in velvet, brocade or satin.
Feel: Formal, historical, decorative, embellished, visually opulent.
List of blogs for reference: Edith & Evelyn, Cedar Hill Farmhouse, French Ethereal, French Country Cottage, Designthusiasm
Colors: Light, bright, cool colors including turquoise, coral, sand, ivory white, navy.
Furniture: cane, bamboo, clear glass or acrylic, wicker, pillows with images of fish, crabs, or coral.
Accessories: Shells, coral, lighthouses, sand pipers, sail boats, images or figures of fish and crabs, paintings of coastal scenes, lighthouses, ships.
Feel: Relaxed, easy, comfortable, refreshing.
List of blogs for reference: Nest of Bliss, Fox Hollow Cottage, Starfish Cottage, Sand & Sisal
Colors: A wide range of colors, from pale pastels to deep and rich blues, burgundy and green. Fabrics are brocade, velvet, floral or chintz or plaid fabric, with multiple patterns and textures.
Furniture: Tables, bookcases, hutches and sofas that are typically dark wood. Upholstery is textured and heavy. Upholstered ottomans.
Accessories: Plates on the wall, silk floral arrangements paintings of countryside’s, farm animals, dogs, roosters, botanicals. Pillows in plaid, floral and brocade fabrics, wall sconces. Planters of ivy and ivy topiaries. Bowls of faux fruits.
Feel: Formal, rich, luxurious, comfortable, interesting, historical, cozy.
Blogs: Our Southern Home, Nancy’s Daily Dish, Belle Bleu Interiors, The Endearing Home, Housepitality Designs, Between Naps on The Porch
Colors: Mostly on the lighter side, with some dark colors brought in for balance. Fabrics in soft florals, or chintz, mixed in with buffalo check or pillow ticking
Furniture: Often painted with chalk or milk paint, with heavier wood furniture mixed in. Simple, sturdy, well-built tables, book cases, dressers or chests.
Accessories: Baskets, candles, fresh flowers, textured throws, colorful pillows in floral, chintz, plaids, botanical prints and countryside prints, pitchers, plates, greenery.
Feel: Comforting, casual, inviting, cheerful, restful, cozy.
Blogs: Just Jan Blog, The Lettered Cottage, Junk Chic Cottage, The Distinctive Cottage, The Lily Pad Cottage
Since it’s easier to incorporate smaller accessories to mix up your style, instead of larger items like sofas, bookcases, hutches or chests, here is a list of accessories that work in more than one home decorating styles.
Baskets: Traditional, Farmhouse, Cottage, Coastal
Plates on the wall: Traditional, Farmhouse, French Country, Cottage
Dark wood furniture: Traditional, Cottage
Light colored Furniture: Coastal, Cottage, Farmhouse
Floral or chintz fabric: Traditional, Cottage
And here is a list of accessories that work in ALL 5 of these decorating styles:
Topiaries, greenery, ivy, hydrangeas
Botanical prints and art
Pillows and upholstery done in buffalo check, pillow ticking or plaid
White pitchers, plates, ceramic ware
(If you’re interested in more details, I wrote about all of these in a post called: How to Decorate Using 5 Classic Design Elements)
I would describe my own personal décor style as Traditional in foundation with a Cottage overlay. I can’t get away from Traditional; I have a houseful of mahogany pieces left to me by both my Grandmother and my Mother. (I love them all – they are truly beautiful.) But I try and lighten and brighten my rooms with hydrangeas, a window frame, and vignettes of candles, white pitchers, greenery. I sew pillows to match the seasons, that help soften the formal feel of all that mahogany. And although I do not have any leanings toward farmhouse décor, I have somehow acquired quite a collection of chicken wire. A set of 3 chicken wire baskets, a small group of votive candleholders in chicken wire, a cloche with chicken wire, a set of 3 mason jars nestled in a chicken wire basket, and the chicken wire we added to the window frame sitting on the mantel.
Some things to keep in mind:
Be careful of overdoing groupings and arrangements; clutter does not enhance anyone’s home
Keep color values the same, and keep patterns consistent, or least complementary
Start out with small accessories, and when you feel more confident, move into larger pieces of furniture like coffee tables, book cases, hutches, etc. And this piece of common wisdom will ALWAYS prevail: keep your BIG furniture pieces neutral, in both style and color. Sofas, chairs side tables, coffee tables, book cases, hutches. This will help a room feel solid and well-grounded.
Take baby steps. I know I probably sound like a broken record when I say this, but…. Take the time to search thrift shops, consignment stores, rummage sales, garage sales for your treasures. You are not spending a lot of money (although you ARE spending some time!) and you can experiment with bringing different elements and accessories into your home décor. There is no substitute for playing around with new pieces, mixing things up, putting together a collection a that doesn’t seem to work on paper, but works beautifully in real life! Happy hunting, and happy mixing!
From our home to yours~
I am sharing at these Link Parties:
A Stroll Thru Life // Hearth & Soul // Home Stories A-Z Tips and Tutorials // Chasing Quaintness Celebrate Your Story // Yesterday on Tuesday Project Inspired // Mostly Blogging Inspire Me Monday // Jody Fitz Reader Tip Tuesday // Of Faeries and Fauna Waste Not Wednesday // Marilyn’s Treats Thursday Favorite Things /// Designthusiasm Style Showcase // Ginger Snap Crafts Wow Me Wednesday // French Ethereal Share Your Style // // The Painted Hinge Farmhouse Friday // Chic on Shoestring // Best of the Weekend // Bowl Full of Lemons // Celebrate and Create // Across the Boulevard // Finding Silver Pennies Sunday Link Party // Create with Joy Inspire Me Monday // Life and Linda Dishing & Digging It // A Pinch of Joy Busy Monday // Flour Me With Love Mix It Up Monday // Marilyn’s Treats Over the Moon // I Should Be Mopping The Floor //
What a thorough well done article I learned so much. Pinning for reference.
What you said about mixing styles is so true. I am not able to stick to just one. If I was single, with a big budget, french country is my favorite, I also like some farmhouse decor, but certainly not all of it. It was really informative to read all the various definitions with examples.
Thank you so much, Leanna! And, like you, I also get pulled in two directions: a simple cozy cottage look lifts me up, but a richly colored and opulently textured Traditional room draws me in. And I didn’t even get around to discussing Art Deco, Tuscany, or Victorian or Rustic styles!
Michele Morin says
Great post. I should spend more time studying pictures of looks that are peaceful and pleasing to my eye, and then I would be more skilled at creating the look I want in my own home.
Michele – I think you hit the nail on the head! There are so many sources, Pinterest and blogs being the most obvious! But also there are magazines, books, catalogs, movies – inspiration can be found almost everywhere! Thank you so much for stopping by!
Marilyn Lesniak says
Thank you for sharing at #OverTheMoon. Pinned and shared.
Congratulations! Your post was my feature pick at #OverTheMoon this week. Each Hostess displays their own features so be sure to visit me on Sunday evening and to see your feature! I invite you to leave more links to be shared and commented upon. Please don’t forget to add your link numbers or post title so we can be sure to visit!
Thank you so much Marilyn!! I am always so flattered and appreciative! I will be over tonight with another post to share!
Thank you again so much!!
Love all your inspiration! Pinning.
Cottage is my overall style,and I end up being able to add things like you pointed out that overlap for various styles. Your article explains in the best depth I have ever seen the definition s of each style and how to add touches of other styles. Cottage style fits so well here in this house.
Tracie – thank you so much for your very kind words…it’s comments like yours that keep my motivated and encouraged. My apologies for taking so long to respond; my life hit roller-coaster speed right around when you posted your comments. I will try to keep writing posts like this one to help with inspiring creativity and originality! Thank you again!