Some recent completed projects:

January 8, 2008

Make your own Style of Interiors:



Decorating today is a lot more interesting than it was in the last century.
Consumers now have more options than ever before when decorating a home, and can choose from a vast array of styles, prices, finishes, colors, and other decorative features.

Basic Styles...
• Casual Style
• Formal Style
• Contemporary Style
• Traditional

Color Themes...
• Black and White
• Chocolate Browns
• Floral Themes
• Denim Blues

International Style...
• French Country Style
• Paris Apartment Style
• Swedish Style
• Tuscan Style

More Looks...
• Rustic Style
• Shabby Chic
• Tropical Chic
• Western Style


  • Casual style is comfortable, warm, inviting, and homely. Almost everyone loves it. But exactly what are the elements of a casual room?
  • In general, casual rooms have simple details, textured elements in fabrics and accessories, restful horizontal lines, soft upholstery, low-luster surfaces, and arrangements that avoid perfect symmetry.
Rectangular and softly curved elements contribute to a casual feel.
  • The casual room often includes a bit of whimsey, such as a child's sled remade into a coffee table, a birdhouse lamp base, or a basket filled with pinecones.
  • Decorating styles with a casual feel can include rustic, American country, French country, Adirondack, ethnic, cottage, Shabby Chic, and more.
  • While many homes today are completely done in a casual style, most homes incorporate a bit of casual style somewhere -- in a family room, breakfast room, guest room, or country kitchen. These tips can be used to enhance a casual feel in our home.
• Comfortable upholstered furniture is a primary element in a casual interior.
• Long horizontal lines underscore a casual look and add to a restful mood.
• While neutral colors (beige, tan, brown, gray) are often associated with the casual style, interiors can also range from soft pastels to deeper tones such as green, navy, and terra cotta.
• Furniture in casual settings is often large in scale and selected for comfort and utility. Unusual pieces such as wicker, rattan, recycled items, and rustic antiques fit well into a casual room.
• Fabrics in a casual room are often lightly or heavily textured, sometimes coarsely woven and usually without sheen. Natural fibers such as cotton, wool, jute, and textured weaves are used to underscore a casual look.
• Upholstery details might include basic cording, simple gathering, informal pleating, and buttons.
• Furniture in casual settings can be arranged on diagonal lines within the room and avoids the use of perfectly matched sets.
• Wood furniture pieces and wood flooring are often made from lighter woods such as pine or oak, and are generally in a non-shiny matte or low luster fin
• Hardware materials include antiqued brass, wrought iron, ceramic, and wood.
• Theme rooms or collections are often arranged to enhance the mood of a casual room.
• Common themes include nautical, rustic, sports, Americana, quilts, hobbies, regional, and more. Collections might be of decoys, birdhouses, teapots, posters, memorabilia, trophies, art prints, etc.
• Window coverings in a casual room are often layered, using simple fabric panels for color and under treatments of functional shutters, blinds, or shades for light control and privacy. Drapery hardware in a casual room can also be made of non-traditional items such as twigs, ski poles, pipes, nail heads, and other creative elements.
• Curtain details are non-fussy, such as contrasting lining, welting or banding, tab tops, gathering, simple valances or swags, and tie-backs.
• Flooring choices can include hardwood, tile, stone, carpeting, area rugs, vinyl, and concrete. Popular casual carpets are sisal, berber, and textured weaves in geometric designs such as diamonds or squares.
• Casual style light fixtures are often seen in materials that include wood, iron, ceramic, pottery, and tin. Chandeliers are found in wrought iron or antiqued metals,
and may use small fabric covered lampshades in a coordinating pattern. Sometimes chandeliers use real candles for a light source.
• Accessories in casual rooms often include arrangements of baskets, pottery, books, pillows, collections, boxes, tins, trunks, wreaths, wood carvings, and dried flowers. Candles and plants add more texture, color, and interest in a casual room, as do put-our-feet-up ottomans. Artwork is simply framed and in casual themes that support the look of the room.
• Casual tableware includes stoneware, textured placemats, loosely woven fabric napkins, sturdy glassware instead of crystal, stainless steel flatware, wooden bowls, iron or pewter look accessories. Casual table looks can be found in everything from neutrals and pastels to brighter floral colors.

A Recap of Casual Details:

• Homey, sturdy, and unpretentious interiors
• Low horizontal lines and soft curves
• Simple, unfussy details
• Asymmetrical arrangements of furniture and accessories
• Lighter woods, matte surfaces
• Textured fabrics, sometimes loosely woven
• Farmhouse or rustic antiques
• Collections, themed accessories
• Whimsical and unusual elements add interest
• Flooring of tile, wood, stone, brick, concrete, or textured carpet
• Accessories of stoneware, pottery, tin, wood, iron, quilts, candles, wreaths


  • Formal decorating is very often seen in period homes, historic buildings, and public spaces such as hotels. When we see photographs of the White House, European palaces, or fine old hotels, we are most likely looking at formal interiors.
  • In general, formal rooms are noted for elaborate architectural features such as high ceilings, fine moldings, hardwood flooring, and plaster ceiling detail.
Fine woods and classic shapes
  • Symmetry and line are extremely important in formal settings. Furniture in formal settings is often arranged on a straight axis within the room. Furniture and accessories are often seen in pairs, rigidly aligned in perfectly matched sets. Straight lines are contrasted with curving carved details.
  • Formal interiors have lots of highly polished surfaces in beautiful wood floors, fine furniture, large framed mirrors, brass hardware, and crystal light fixtures. Woods are usually dark and finished to a high gloss, fabrics are smooth and lustrous, and patterns are regular and traditional.
  • Antiques and reproductions, fine Oriental rugs, beautifully framed oil paintings and prints, and sparkling crystal chandeliers are also hallmarks of formal style.
  • Formal style can be adapted to home settings by relaxing the rules somewhat. These tips can be used to create a formal, but livable, look for our room or home.
• Upholstered furniture in a very formal interior can be somewhat uncomfortable and staid, with chair backs tight and upholstery stretched smooth. Relax this look a bit in a home, with more pillows and softer cushioning, and mixing in new upholstered pieces that are comfortable and inviting.

Symmetry is key to a formal interior
• Tall vertical lines are often accentuated in formal rooms with high ceilings, tall windows, long formal draperies, large imposing mantles, or large artwork and mirrors hung on the walls.
• Fabrics in a formal room are generally tightly woven in luxurious natural fibers such as silks, linens, glazed cottons, velvets, damask, and brocades. Satin, tapestry, and embroidered details are often seen as well.
• Furniture in formal settings is arranged on straight axis within the room. A typical wall might use identical half round tables set on each side of an armoire with matching carved mirrors hung over each table.
Formal lighting, fabrics, and details
• Dark case pieces (tables, shelves, armoires, etc.) predominate in formal rooms. Woods are waxed or highly polished. Other finishes on wood pieces might include gilt accents, marquetry, marble tops, leather insets, and polished brass hardware.
• Dressmaker touches are very important in formal rooms. Trims, tassels, fringes, braided trims and double cording often adorn draperies, pillows, and upholstery.
Buttons, pleats, gathers, and other designer details are added to both upholstered furniture and accessories such as tablecloths.
• Perfect symmetry is a staple in formal rooms. In a home setting a balance can be created by using objects of similar visual weight, rather than using purely identical pieces. This more relaxed symmetry will help avoid a "museum" look.
• Precise detail is usually evident in a formal room, including delicately carved table legs, ornate gilt mirror frames, button tufted benches, and fabrics with intricate patterns.
• Windowcoverings in a formal room are often elaborate fabric treatments, draped to the floor and layered with linings, valances, and trims such as fringe, tassels, and gimp.
• Accessories in formal rooms often include crystal, silver, brass, china, and fine wood, and are generally arranged in balanced symmetrical arrangements. Flowers are also a welcome addition to a formal room, adding both color and interest.
• Light fixtures are most often chosen in brass, porcelain, china, and crystal. Elaborate crystal chandeliers punctuate a formal interior.
• There is a wide variety of formal china, crystal, and silver available for a formal table. Choose from simple gold-banded pieces to elaborate floral designs. Set it off on lovely fabric tablecloths or beautifully ironed formal placemats and napkins.

A Recap of Formal Details:
• Symmetrical furniture alignment
• Pairs of objects (both furniture and accessories) aligned in precise balance
• Shiny surfaces (wood, fabric, and crystal)
• Tall vertical lines
• Dark, highly polished woods
• Smooth, tightly woven fabrics
• Antiques and reproduction furniture pieces
• Oriental rugs, marble floors, fine carpets
• Original art and prints, large mirrors
• Shiny brass or crystal chandeliers
• Mix of straight lines and curving carved details
• Window coverings of formal draperies and shaped valances
• Dressmaker details including fringes, tassels, and trims

  • Contemporary interiors have a mantra : clean lines, sculptural furnishings, art, neutral elements and bold color.
  • While some people dislike contemporary style for looking stark and cold, others find it exciting, urban, and fresh.
  • It's a look that often appeals to artists and architects who love the underlying simplicity of line, shape, and form.

It can be noticed how few accessories are needed in the room pictured here. Both the accessories and art are large scale, architectural, and add texture to this unmistakably contemporary interior.
The color palette in a contemporary interior can be anything from a mix of neutrals, to black and white, to the use of bright and bold color. Black is often used to ground and define a contemporary room.
Line may be the single most important element of a contemporary interior. Look for it in architectural shapes and curves, in the bold use of black or color, in background details such as soaring ceilings or tall windows, and in sculptural or geometric elements and art.

• The museum interiors can be taken as example when planning a contemporary room: each element has its own space, and is set off to stand alone while contributing to the whole.
• Architectural and functional elements of a space are fully embraced in a contemporary interior, whether they are beautiful or simply structural. Ceiling pipes in loft spaces, broken brick walls in a former factory building, metal ductwork, etc. is often left exposed, adding textural interest and line.
• It is important to see the negative space (the areas around a particular object) and protect it.
• Bold statements should be made with both furniture and accessories. If red is chosec as the colour that should be stressed on, it can be put it up on an accent wall or a bright red sofa or chair can be chosen to accentuate the colour.
• In both furnishings and accessories, the small, pastel, and cute should be skipped. Ruffles, florals, carved details, traditional shapes should be avoided. Instead, for the bold, artistic, and sculptura should be used.
• Furniture generally exhibits clean, smooth lines. It is to covered in a neutral, black, or bold fabric. Fabrics often have a natural look (wool, cotton, linen, silk, jute) and add textural appeal.
• Furniture details should be kept uncluttered. Skirts are often either flat or box pleated, and have no additional trimmings such as fringes or tassles. Legs are exposed and in chunky, solid shapes. Pillows add shots of color and texture in clean geometric shapes.

• Flooring is generally smooth and sleek in vinyl, wood, or low-pile commercial carpeting. Area rugs can add more color, texture, interest, and space definition.
• Animal prints are at home in many contemporary rooms. Leopard pillows on a black sofa or a zebra area rug can be tried.
• Lighting is exceptionally important in a contemporary interior. Unusual fixtures should be used with sculptural interest, clean lines, and perhaps accents of bold color or metallic. Recessed lighting should be used or track fixtures to wash walls with light. With new construction or remodels installations of indirect or cove lighting can be considered.
• Art objects can be highlighted by placing sculptures on columns or pedestals. Specialized lighting can be installed for original art, framed prints, or posters. Repetition of line, color, and form should be used.

• In straight contemporary interiors it is most effective to have a few large accessories well placed. Each piece should be given a breathing room by establishing a zone of empty space around it.
• Posters and prints should be framed simply in classic black wood, colored metals, or light natural woods. Groupings of pictures should be done close together so they look like one large piece of art.
• Glass, metals, stone, and wood will all fit well into a contemporary interior. However, a cold looking room can be avoided by adding shots of warm colors and providing textural interest in fabrics, upholstery, rug, or accessories.
• Flower arrangements should be dramatic, large, and follow simple lines and shapes. They should be placed in contemporary containers that add to the sculptural look.
• Plants will add a shot of life to a contemporary room. They are to be made big, placed in simple pots, and different varieties are to be chosen that have interesting leaves. They can be up lighted from the back and underneath. The dirt can be covered with smooth rocks or chunky bark chips.
• Dinnerware is available in a variety of contemporary shapes, colors, and styles. It can be kept simple and they will add interest by their combining a range colors. Texture can be introduced with fabrics and place mats, metal, twigs, and other "architectural" looking materials.


  • Traditional style interiors are comforting and classic. Houses decorated with traditional style furnishings are elegant looking.
  • There is nothing wild or chaotic in a traditional room. It is calm, orderly, and can be somewhat predictable. Furnishings might look a bit outdated to some, while others will enjoy an interior that embraces the benefits of classic styling.
  • Traditional and formal styles can be similar in some respects. In both, symmetry is extremely important. Furniture in both formal and traditional interiors is often arranged on a straight axis and centered within the room. In addition, furnishings and accessories are often seen in pairs and straight lines are contrasted with curved details.
  • The point where formal and traditional part ways is in the degree of interpretation. Formal can be somewhat rigid, symmetrical, and almost too shiny and perfect, often using expensive period furnishings and fine antiques. Traditional rooms are less grand and a bit more casual, often using less expensive reproductions and accessories and fewer fussy details.
  • This homey style is easy to spot in magazines and furniture stores. While often eclipsed by popular casual and flashier contemporary styles, it is still a well-loved and enduring look for a home.
• Upholstered furniture in a traditional room exhibits classic lines and understated details. It is functional, unfussy, and restful looking. Edges are soft, smooth, and blend into the whole.
• In general a traditional room will use a mix of vertical lines with more restful horizontal lines. Gentle curves are seen in furniture, pillows, and accessories.
• Fabrics in a traditional room are generally neither too shiny or too textured. Florals, plain colors, muted plaids, understated stripes, geometrics, tone-on-tone and small all-over patterns are common.
Furniture - Elegant and understated

• Color in a traditional room is often in a mid-range of tones, though very dark and very light colors can also be used. Pretty multi-color florals are often the basis of a traditional color scheme that uses the lightest color on the walls and deeper hues for upholstery and flooring. Avoid neon brights and jarring combinations.
• The Overall Ambience of traditional decor is homey, understated, and non-jarring.
• As in formal settings, furniture in a traditional room is often arranged on straight axis within the room. The sofa will directly face or sit perpendicular to the fireplace and a bed will back up to the center of the longest bedroom wall.
• Wood furniture will usually have a mix of straight and curved lines. There may be light carving details as well. While wood pieces will often be finished with darker stains, a traditional room might also use lighter woods as long as the lines of each piece are classic.
• Interiors in a traditional home will often feature trim and molding that is painted glossy white. Crown molding is common and adds to the formal look. Walls might have a chair rail and simple molding details, with wall surfaces done in a flat painted finish or wallpaper. Ceilings are often white and may have simple beams.

Furniture - Symmetrical displays
• The dining room in a traditional home is generally a separate room, often with some built-in corner cabinets for china storage. A large area rug sits on top of a hardwood floor. The table is rectangular with a set of matched chairs placed evenly around the perimeter. A matching sideboard, buffet, or china cabinet is centered on one wall.
• Dressmaker details are not particularly important in a traditional rooms. Trims, tassels, and fringes are used sparingly if at all, in favor of a simpler, calmer look.
• Window coverings in traditional rooms show traditional style. Look for narrow shutters, traverse draperies, and under treatments of pinch pleated sheers. Cornices and valances may also be featured.
• Accessories include pairs of lamps, urns, plants, mirrors, framed prints, china, vases, and collections of books. Pairs of objects are usually arranged in balanced symmetry.
• Light fixtures exhibit classic styling. Lamps with silk shades, wall sconces, and floor lamps might all be used. Shades should be fairly plain and in ivory or white.
• Traditional dining rooms can show off a variety of china, glassware, and silver. Plates might be a classic gold-rimmed style or a simple floral design. Use either beautiful tablecloths or pretty fabric placemats and napkins.


  • The French Country style has its roots in the sunny hillsides of rural France. The style is broad and includes looks that fit into both humble farmhouses as well as grander chateaus. In general, however, the style is rustic, warm, cozy, and appealing.
  • Natural materials play an important part in French Country rooms, whether in carved wood details, woven rush chair seats, rough plaster walls, or natural stone floors.
Colors include a range of earthy and bright colors.
Warm golds, grass greens, brilliant cobalt blues, and deep russet reds are often seen, as are black, brilliant yellow, brown and beige.
The heart of a French Country interior is the fireplace which may include an embedded rustic beam for a mantle, stone or tile details, and a brick or clay tile hearth area. Heavy copper pots, iron accessories, and hanging herbs add to the look of a French Country fireplace.
• We can use architectural features such as distressed ceiling beams, timbered details, rough stone walls or floors, and coarse plaster walls to underscore a French Country theme.
• Rustic furniture, whether new, reproduction, or antique, uses the look of aged wood, hand-carving, curved panels, and rustic patinas. An armoire is a French Country necessity to hold linens and pottery.
• Dining tables are often large farmhouse or harvest style, with a waxed or low-sheen finish. Chairs might include carved details, slat or ladderbacks, and woven rush seats.
• Flooring can be brick, clay tile, or stone. Think simple, sturdy, natural color, and rough.
• French Country interiors often use contrasting lights and dark shades in the room, such as dark wood beams against pale plaster ceilings or intensly colored Provencal fabrics against lighter rush chair seats.
• Windows and doors in a true French Country home are narrow and deeply set with large sills, and are covered with shutters to keep rooms cool in summer. Prolific green vines circle windows and doors, contrasting with stonework, colored stucco, and bright shutters.
• Fabrics feature intense colors of red, green, blue, and yellow in a variety of traditional patterns. These mix well with stripes, checks, and plain fabrics in matching or contrasting colors. Yellow and gold is often paired with red, green, or blue, in happy Provencal prints.
• Textile themes include vines, sunflowers, olives and leaves, grapes, roosters, and beetles, that are sometimes arranged in geometric patterns, borders, or striped sections.
• One popular French fabric, Toile de Jouy, is a linen or cotton fabric in white or beige with a one color scene pictured in large motifs repeated along the length. Topics might include farmyards, countryside scenes, or landscapes featuring people and animals. Traditional toile colors are blue or red, but many toiles are also made in black, green, tan and other tones as well.
• Accessorize a French Country room with baskets, wrought iron, ceramics, crocks, and Chinoiserie pottery, wire baskets, copper pots, old oil paintings, carved wood, tile, and grasses such as rush and sisal.
• Flowers are an integral part of French Country. Place arrangements in rustic baskets, dented tin pitchers, or old copper pots. Add grasses and wildflowers to reinforce the country theme. Use flower boxes filled with lush greenery and bright flowers.
• Colorful pottery for a French Country dining tables is available in a variety of colors and patterns. We might choose plain gold or green plates and olived themed table linens to set off textured baskets, iron candlesticks, and pottery pitchers.


Black, white, and gold, are the main color themes, though jewel tones such as deep blue, red, or green are another possibility.
Touches of gilt are another outstanding element of the Paris style.
Furnishings and accessories display a vintage style and time-worn elegance. Painted furniture pieces in black or cream mixed with dark woods and accents of gold give a grand look. More luxurious Paris looks might feature shimmering silks and brocades along with finely carved furnishings.
Accessories and motifs can include vintage posters of French nightspots, French signs, large train station clocks, black wrought iron tables and shelving, and any scenes of France, Paris, or the Eiffel Tower.

• Large scale posters of French landmarks and nightspots are very popular starting points for a Paris room. Also, paintings, faded and stained etchings, old black and white postcards, and sepia-toned photos of nearly anything French can be considered for decorating ideas.
• Black is the great unifying element in Paris rooms. It can be used in painted wood furniture, picture frames, fabrics, lampshades and accessories.
• Large clocks are often a focal point in a Paris room. An antique or a new reproduction can be chosen that features lettering in French and has an aged appearance.
• Frequently used motifs in a Paris room include the fleur de lis, toile (pastoral country views in one color and white), hot air balloons, castles, and scenes of France and the Eiffel Tower.
• All elements in a Paris room should have the feel of age and permanence. We will have to avoid items that look too matched, new, or shiny.
• Light fixtures should add a romantic glow to a Paris room. Wall sconces should be installed with little silk shades, crystal chandeliers, and fringed lampshades on table lamps for an air of elegance. Black lampshades will cast a golden light when lined with gilt. Beading, cording, and fringes can be added to any shade.
• Occasional furniture should draw from the Paris look as well, with layered skirted tables, padded iron benches, little bistro tables and chairs, and large ottomans covered in rich fabrics.
• Gorgeous vanity tables will be seen in Paris style bedrooms. They can be made luxurious by using a decorated gilt table or a vanity all dressed up in silk and ruffles. Vintage accessories and mirrors should be used to add to the glamour.
• Fabrics to be used in a Paris room include velvet, damask, brocade, lustrous silks, and traditional toiles. Toile is often paired with coordinating color-checked fabrics in both large and small scales. Tassels, cording, fringes, and other details add a grand old world look. Linen, leather, and paisley designs are also seen, as are bold stripes.
• Upholstered furnishings should look upscale with beautiful fabrics, dressmaker details, and carved legs. Down cushions provide the slightly rumpled look of comfort and elegance.
• Wood furniture pieces are stained dark or painted in black or ivory. Distressed, crackled, and aged finishes bring a "collected" feel to the furniture. Small aged areas of gilt on furniture edges add to an heirloom quality.
• Accessories in a Paris-themed room might include large vintage mirrors, architectural elements (columns, corbels), garden statuary, black wireware, clocks, hatboxes, luxurious silk pillows, soft throws, vintage candelabra, flowers, plants, china, and delicate porcelain figurines. We will also have to look for vintage linens and antique hats (or clothing) to display.
• Windowcoverings can be ball gown beautiful with flowing panels, elaborate swaged valances, ruffles, tassels, silk cording, or bouillon fringes. Simpler rooms might feature linen or toile panels over shutters.
• Flooring of dark hardwood might be covered with an array of worn Oriental carpets to provide instant pattern, color, and age.

  • Tuscany brings to mind sun-washed hillsides, vineyards, farmhouses, and an earthy outdoor lifestyle filled with food and friends.
  • That image may be responsible for the current craze for Tuscan style kitchens and family rooms.
  • It's a style that might also be called the original European "Shabby Chic", personified by crumbling stone walls, moss-covered rock patios, and any element that is stained, old, and well-used.
  • Some appealing words in Tuscany decorating vocabulary: loggia, portico, patios, villas, and outdoor kitchens. These terms evoke thoughts of relaxing summer days spent outdoors amid warm splashes of sun and lush greenery.

Tuscan decorating is rustic, warm, and inviting, with a few simple, sturdy details. A Tuscan room often looks as though it has been there forever, well-loved and used over many generations.
• Rustic and simple are the hallmarks of Tuscan style. True Tuscan rooms can be low-ceilinged, dark, and small, though we'll likely want to modify that look for our home. Instead of "dark rooms", use warm, cozy colors, sturdy furniture, and lots of terra cotta and wood.
• The exterior of a Tuscan home often has a tile roof, vine covered walls, and old rustic shutters on every window. Driveways and lanes are lined with rows of tall cypress trees.
• Crooked and crumbling stone walls outline walkways, patios, and other outdoor areas. Grottoes are another traditional outdoor feature, using lush greenery and statuary in small cool corners of a garden.
• Garden paving might be brick or stone set unevenly and planted with grass between each stone.
• A variety of colorwashing and faux wall techniques are appropriate in Tuscan interiors. Look for mottled, uneven colors, and an old-world, time-worn finishes in warm golden tones.
• Architectural features include small, deeply set windows that frame vistas of farms and vineyards. Arched niches, rustic ceiling beams, stone floors, and simple moldings will underscore a Tuscany theme.
• Flooring in a Tuscan room might be brick, clay tile, or uneven stone.
• Furniture is simply fashioned from rustic wood and might have accents of tile, iron, or marble. Dark woods, pine pieces, or painted furniture might be used, and include heavy distressing and aging to add to the time-worn feel.
• Chicken wire cupboard door fronts are another Tuscan element than can easily be incorporated into kitchen cupboards or an armoire.
• Tuscan colors spring from a range of earthy ochres, deep golds, sunny yellows, rich browns, and warm terra cottas, accented with deep blues, black, rusty reds, and olive greens.
• Tuscan themes include agricultural products such as olives, grapes, and flowers.
• Terra cotta tiles are an important element of a Tuscan room. Terra cotta is also essential to the Tuscan color palette.
• Tuscan kitchens often have dark timbered ceilings and tile or textured walls. Storage includes sturdy open shelving, freestanding cupboards and tables, and chicken-wire covered cupboard fronts. Natural stone sinks and rustic sink hardware are another essential. Range hoods are often a prominent feature in a modern Tuscan kitchen and can incorporate a large structure and a display shelf.
• Copper pots, tin accents, marble, and stone can be used in a Tuscan kitchen. They can be decorated with sturdy pine storage pieces, a big farmhouse table or island, and bunches of hanging herbs.

  • One of the fastest ways to add a dose of interest to a home is to bring in some texture . Rustic furnishings do that with charm and style.
  • Rustic used to mean 'rickety and cheap', but rustic style is all grown up and now borders on sophisticated and trendy.
  • Beautiful woods, polished logs, and twiggy charm has made rustic one of the most popular styles in the market today.

• Since rustic furniture is extremely textural, it should be added in small amounts. An entire roomful may be too much to take in, while a few pieces allow each item to stand out and be a star. Add some bent willow chairs around an old oak table, or include a few pieces in a fireplace grouping.

• Rustic seating pieces can be warmed up with cushions and pillows. These will soften the chairs visually and provide an additional level of comfort. Fabric will also serve as a unifying element to tie in a rustic piece with other items already in the room.
• Traditional formal designs can even be recreated in a rustic style. The unusual and beautiful willow canopy bed, would feel at home in both contemporary and country interiors. The room is visually appealing the room, even without additional color or patterned fabrics. This is the charm of rustic furniture.
• Use of rustic accent pieces such as tables, mirrors, coat trees, or other accessories in guestrooms and powder rooms can be done. These smaller spaces can be theme-decorated in a rustic style around a few interesting items.
• Rustic is great for outdoor spaces as well. Arbors, benches, trellis pieces, and chairs, look terrific surrounded by plants and gardens.

• Porches, country kitchens, casual dining rooms, or covered patios might be just the right spot for a rustic dining table. It's the perfect backdrop for everything from a family meal to a Fourth of July picnic. Or, picture a cozy rustic Christmas dinner table set with a simple basket of evergreens in the center.

  • Shabby Chic is a comfortable, casual look using vintage accessories, pastels, and comfortable furniture.
  • If we want to place collected mismatched teacups, lacy linens, soft floral fabrics, painted furniture, vintage crystal chandeliers, and lots of white accessories, this may be the style.
  • Shabby Chic is also a balance. Something elegant and beautiful can be used next to something time-worn, smooth china along with textured lace, dull painted surfaces contrasting antique silver accessories.
  • Here are some ways to use the Shabby Chic decorating style in our home:
• White furniture Painting furniture changes its personality. Once dark and heavy pieces magically turn light, fresh, and summery, and a roomful of mismatched items can be transformed to instant harmony.
• Slipcovers hide wear and tear, out of date fabrics, and mismatched colors. White is the color of choice, but faded prints will work just as well. And if they get soiled, they can be washed and put back onto our furniture. Easy care fabrics can be considered, and preshrink before having the slipcovers made for our furniture. Two sets can be used-- white for summer and a warmer floral for winter.
• Tea Stained Fabrics bring the illusion of age. The key criteria is that a fabric look old, worn, faded, and soft -- even if it is brand new. The background can be ivory, creamy white, or a variety of muted pastels. Vintage-looking fabrics can be bought, or tea staining can be done on our own fabrics.
• Overstuffed Upholstery including large "sink-in" chairs and sofas are a Shabby Chic staple. Comfortable, slip covered, rumpled, ruffled, and rounded, with chairs almost big enough for two. They are welcoming and inviting and look right at home.
• Rumpled Elegance Leave our ironing board in the closet when decorating in the Shabby Chic style. Upholstery should look sat-in, well used, and definitely not pressed. It should be noted that it is not "messy", just comfortably "used" and "lived-in".
• Architectural Details Seek out everything from glass doorknobs, iron corner brackets, concrete column bases, old mantles, and more. They will bring authenticity, style, and interesting detail to a space.
• Imperfect Accessories which were once elegant, it can now be used in Shabby Chic, even if it is flawed, damaged, or painted. It just has to look old. Large ornate candlesticks painted white with bits of the old iron finish showing through, a chipped floral teapot pressed into service as a vase, scroll sconces, worn mirrors in detailed frames, golden cherub lamps are all candidates for the look.
• Iron Metal furniture, headboards, and decorative items are another successful addition to a Shabby Chic interior. Peeling paint, rusted sections, and vintage looks are all the better.
• Flowers and Candles Fresh flowers are a natural for a Shabby Chic room. We will have to look for a handful of pink roses plopped into a china vase, floral fabrics and needlework pillows, books on flowers and gardening, and candles to bring a romantic mood and interesting lighting.
• Pattern Mixing bring a "gathered" look by combining a variety of patterns, checks, florals, and stripes. For easiest mixing the background color should be kept the same(white or ivory, etc.) and repeat at least one color in almost every pattern used (all with a touch of rosy pink or pale green for example.)


  • Tropical chic is one of the most popular looks today. It includes comfort, warmth, and a touch of the exotic, using jungle themes, restful colors, and natural textural elements.
  • It's a style that has fresh appeal with touches of traditional.
  • This is not the multi-colored jungle look we might choose for a child's room. Instead, it might be defined as "lush minimalism" since it mixes lots of texture and intricate pattern with simple details and a few large accessories.
  • Common motifs include stylized palm trees, large leafed banana plants, monkeys, animal prints, rattan, leather, and grasscloth.

This look is most often used in living rooms and family rooms, but can be adapted for master suites and bathrooms as well.
Here are some of the underlying elements and themes of a tropical look room....
• Comfortable upholstered furniture is a must in a tropical room.
• Long horizontal lines underscore a casual look and add to a restful mood, while taller elements such as plants, screens, or artwork add a grand scale.
• Neutral tones including ivory, beige, camel, tan, deep brown, soft gold, and pale yellows are the foundation of a tropical themed room. Greens are also a major element in shades that range from light sage to avocado and from yellow-greens to a green that is nearly black. Accents might be in dark brown, black, or even muted reds.
• Furniture in a tropical room is often large in scale and selected for comfort and utility. Accent pieces in wicker, bamboo, iron, and rattan will also fit well with the look.

• Fabrics should be soft and lush. Neutral solid chenilles are perfect for the major upholstered pieces. Pillows, ottomans, and chairs might be done in jungle prints and leaf designs.

• Wood furniture pieces and wood flooring fit well into this look. Light woods can be used but add more weight to the room by mixing in some dark tables, lamps, or furniture feet.
• The main motifs used would be the tropical jungle look and animal designs (monkeys, elephants, etc.) used in fabrics, accent items, and accessories.
• Animal designs figure prominently in a tropical room. Consider using both animal hide designs such as leopard spots and zebra stripes as well as animal images such as monkeys, lions, and elephants.
• Large plants, especially palm trees, are a perfect addition to a tropical themed room. Add them in corners and uplight from underneath using inexpensive can lights.
• Because island prints, leaves, and animal prints are a feast for the eye, avoid overdoing the room's accessories.
• A few large plants, lamps, books, and some carefully selected large-scale accessories will usually be enough. Lots of tiny little things should be avoided and should be kept simple and spare.
• Windowcoverings should exhibit a natural quality. Bamboo or matchstick blinds, breezy linen panels, or plantation shutters are all choices that will fit into this look.
• Grasscloth, baskets, rattan, and wicker in natural tones add another layer of texture to the room. These materials for can be considered for wall coverings, cornice boards, folding screens, ottomans, and more.
• Flooring might be hardwood, though tile or stone is another possibility. The hard floor can be accentuated with area rugs of natural sisal.
• Artwork will look best if it sticks to the color palette of the room -- pale golds, ivory, browns, and greens. Prints can be hung with stylized leaf designs, exotic looking palm trees, and jungle animals.
• Light fixtures can add some whimsy with decorations in monkey, leaf, or jungle accents. Dark lamp shades will add more weight to the room.
• Tableware looks might include natural colored stoneware, textured placemats, loosely woven fabric napkins, and sturdy glassware. They can be accessorized with wooden bowls, baskets, and bamboo


Whether we call it Western, rustic, cowboy, cabin, or mountain style, this is a look that is as timeless as the American West.
An abundance of natural materials is key to decorating in a Western style. Rock, wood, metal, and leather are the main ingredients, with wool, birch bark, beadwork, and antlers playing an important secondary role.

Western style furniture is often large scale, made of wood, and without any fussy detail. Log furniture, Mission style furnishings, and twig pieces can be mixed with pine and oak.
Here are more elements that will contribute to Western decorating :
• Color schemes in a Western room center around honey colored wood, gray rock, and black metals. Accent colors are often brick red, terra cotta, forest green, or navy, though cream, gray, and other tones might be used to coordinate with a Western styled fabric, rug, or wall hanging.
• Western motifs can include any of the following: cowboys, cattle, deer, bear, moose, fishing, mountains, pine trees, leaves, oaks, pine cones, acorns, horses, lakes, rivers, fishing, riding, hunting, wildflowers, grasses, and so on.
• Fabrics in a Western room are tough, textured, and tactile. Leather, suede, wool tweeds, denim, saddle blankets, matte woven rugs, and fur can be used. Most are matte finished, though some moderately shiny leathers may be featured. Soft chenilles and patterned tapestry fabrics are also popular for upholstered pieces and for furniture throws.
• Older is often better in a Western style interior. Vintage cracked leather ottomans, weathered farm implements, old Indian blankets are all items that will be at home here.
• Bedrooms can have a cozy masculine feel when done in Western style. A mix of Native American motifs, denim, chambray, and rough woolen blankets, can be used or any of the other Western motifs can be chosen for a truly personal space.
• Creativity can let loose when it comes to Western accessories
• Horseshoe sconces, vintage fishing creels, twig framed mirrors, dried flowers, and large baskets can be chosen. Old jeans, quilts, or leather pieces can be cut into squares to make one-of-a-kind pillows. Colorful cotton bandanas can be used as table napkins, as pillow covers, curtain tiebacks, and valances.
• Floors are generally hardwood. Wide plank flooring and recycled floor boards will add another layer of authenticity to a Western room. Area rugs can be low pile or flat woven styles, or might be real or fake fur animal skins.
• The fireplace and mantle are essential to a Western themed room. It can be dressed with functional iron fireplace tools, a decorative metalwork screen, and simple mantle accessories such as hurricane candle shades, a display of pinecones, or a rugged cast bronze sculpture of a cowboy on a horse.
• Lighting should be functional and substantial. Antler chandeliers (available in both real and cast resin versions) are popular. Lampshades made of stretched rawhide or golden mica bring a soft glow into a Western room. Many lamps and fixtures are made of wood or metal and feature designs and motifs that are Western in mood.
• Window treatments should be simple and not overpowering. Whenever possible, the windows should be left uncluttered to showcase a wonderful mountain view. Otherwise look for wooden shutters or blinds, flat roman shades, or simple curtain panels.
• Since this style is so visually textured, large accessories can be used rather than collections of tiny objects. Stylized pottery, antlers, snowshoes, antique skis, big baskets of pine cones, and similar items can be incorporated. We should be aware of the use of contrast when arranging accessories. It can be very effective to mix textures, sizes, and colors when arranging these items.
• Iron and metal pieces fit well into a Western room. There are iron hardware (cabinet knobs, pulls, hinges) as well as metal sink faucets, iron lamp bases, chandeliers, and firescreens.
• Vintage accessories add an "it's always been here" look. We can find an old radio, rusted metal pails, saddlebags, spurs, toboggans, books, skis, snowshoes, or other worn items and use to decorate the interior.

• Decorative details in a Western styled decor include log and twig accents, nail head designs, leather fringing, yarn whip stitching, Indian motif beading and the like.
• Artwork should feature Western styled motifs and might be oil paintings, drawings, vintage photos, sepia toned illustrations, antique Western postcards or book illustrations.
• A Western dining room is stocked with sturdy stoneware, pottery accents, twig place mats, and accessories that might use Indian, mountain, cowboy, or fishing motifs.

No comments:

Some Recent Designs: