Traditional or contemporary, exotic or home grown?
There is much to consider when choosing a decorating style
Having taken into account the plethora of possibilities and the likely limitations, it is then a process of examining established interior styles to determine which one, if any, might best suit the specifics of your home and resonate with your own personal taste.
Modern-day decorating declares that it’s quite appropriate to take a little bit of this, combine it with a little of that, integrate a few other foreign elements along the way and call it eclectic. And this is certainly one approach (although you really do need a lot of clever, careful planning, a good eye for balance and a strong sense of colour and pattern play to successfully pull it off). Otherwise, it’s a matter of selecting from a vast array of traditional and contemporary decorating styles and applying them to suit.
Traditional decorating styles take in all those forms of interior design which can be connected to a particular period in history, whether it’s centuries past or just a few decades ago. They can be either rural based or city sophisticate, and embrace the use of authentic furnishings, textiles, accessories and treatments just as much as reproduction pieces, fabrics inspired by those of yesteryear, and a world of paint and other decorating treatments which utilise modern materials and methods to produce a look of bygone days.
Meanwhile, contemporary styles have more to do with the use of modern materials to create a distinctive, highly individual look or to reinterpret, rather than imitate, the elements of more traditional styles.
Metal (such as stainlesssteel kitchen appliances), glass (perhaps a textured shower panel or a customdesigned interior water wall) and cement (often seen in polished concrete or exposed aggregate flooring) might figure high on the list of materials that go into a contemporary style scheme, albeit tempered with natural materials, such as timber, and softer elements such as carpet and fabric.
Many contemporary styles — particularly those fashioned along the lines of the Modernist movement of the 1920’s and ‘30’s — embrace minimal, if any, decorative detailing, and often place a strong emphasis on hard geometrical lines, eschewing clutter and ornamentation.
Some designers maintain the process of deciding what interior decorating style (be it contemporary or traditional) to choose for a home should come down to determining how much you should adhere to the architectural style of the building. This approach does have merit and it will certainly help to suggest whether the home, be it a manor house or a penthouse apartment, takes on a formal, grand dècor, or whether a more casual, cosy feel is appropriate for your country cottage, inner-city terrace or suburban unit.