Be inspired by the character of your home
You don’t need to be literal in your interpretation. Zeitgeist, the general intellectual, moral, and cultural climate that typifies an era, is a very important part of the creative process and can guide you. By recognizing the look and the elements of a period’s design you can create a style that is authentic to that time or at best sympathetic to the sensibilities of the time period. Knowing the zeitgeist of a time helps us to reinterpret a style while updating it for today’s lifestyles.
If you fear getting started on a look that might become outdated, read on. Here are a few more approaches to design for your home that won’t go out of style overnight.
1. Choose an architectural style or historical period. Some homes lack distinctive character. This is actually great news if you have a strong preferences for any of the wartime legacy movements. In particular, design periods like mid-century modern, International Style, Scandinavian Modernism for example all interpret well because they share a spare aesthetic, an economic absence of visual detail.The homeowners here updated their home with International Style references interpreted in modern colour sensibilities. Don’t feel you have to be strictly governed by a period’s style. Colour is a great way to bring a look into today’s aesthetic. Have some fun putting your stamp on the reinterpretation.
International style, for example, can be a great starting point because it is broad reaching. (International Style expanded on aspects common to Modernism and its stylistic characteristics. It is underpinned by four principles: architectural expression of volume rather than mass, emphasis on balance with a break from symmetry, exposed honesty of structure and the absence of non-structural ornamentation. )Major influencers include Le Corbusier, Mies van der Rohe, and Walter Gropius. The Barcelona chair, for example, epitomizes the essence of Modernism by displaying its structure and by being machine made. Its a great example of iconic pieces from this period but many others mimic these sensibilities and work well with this style. This chair fits the bill quite nicely.
The furniture of another popular period look, mid-century modern, always look chic and current. Again, colour updates this look. The blue chair with its clear hue and an animal hide rug refreshes this style.So choose a style you love but feel free to break it up and re-interpret it. Then you are on your way to creating a look all your own.
2. Complement the style of your home.Some of the best rooms pay homage to the home’s character. Here, classic elements (millwork, crown moldings) set the tone and create a context for classic furnishings. This gives the space an integrated feeling. Trends come and go so quickly. A timeless approach of classic elements is always the way to go if you want a room with staying power.
3. Contrast the structure you are in. Here’s a different way to approach your home’s character. This structure has hard, angular elements, offering a ‘machine-made’ aesthetic in cool black and white. Introduce tension with elements like soft upholstery with hand-detailed warm, wood-tone furniture to contrast with the architectural style. Remember to push the extremes for best effect in this approach. A diamond-tufted, rolled-armed sofa in luxurious velvet and an oriental carpet would contrast beautifully with the spare aesthetic of this room.
4. Develop an eclectic or collected room. Eclectic is a great strategy when blending two households. Varied leg profiles could have been a problem. (Check out those gams!) But It all works. The variety also helps break down the stiffness of a formal room if you want relaxed elegance.In this European look, the stylish pieces contrast with one another and tell an interesting story of the homeowners design path. Calm, ‘analogous colours’ (i.e., those adjacent to each other on the colour wheel) create a rich monochromatic look lending harmony to the mix and saving it from being a mish-mash.
This high fashion inspired room rocks an eclectic look. But notice that each piece has an aesthetic ally. This is a good approach to create a cohesive eclectic look. Each piece your introduce should invite a friend. For example, black and white drapes are balanced by the black and white cabinet. Curvy chair backs relate to curvy lighting and mirror frame. This is another way of looking at repetition.
Rich velvet meets architectural salvage meets tribal weaves. How can these all work? Subtle details relate pieces. Tassels on toss pillows on the sofa relate to over-sized tassels on the floor cushions and work together with harmonious hot colours. A bed of textural sisal grounds the grouping keeping the vibe relaxed. Clean lines on the sofa keep the velvet from being too formal.
5. Add character to your home. Millwork and molding defines many design periods by its style, heft, and in some cases its absence.A basic boxy room can be greatly enhanced by adding details such as crown molding, ceiling tracery, panel molding, trim-work, bead-board, brackets or corbels, ceiling medallions etc.If you find your home lacks character, installing details like these will add layers of architectural interest. So a preferred style can start you out. Pick major pieces which have characteristics consistent with the style or look you want to achieve. Everything else will follow. First, look through the many inspirational photos on Houzz to gather some style notes to guide you.