January 26, 2012 Wisdek SEO

A Word or Two About Design Styles

A Word or Two About Design Styles

by Kenneth Ho & Fardid Biglar

When it comes to renovating the home, most homeowners often have difficulty describing the style that they want. With the amount of jargon it takes and the subtle difference between the styles, you’d have to be an architecture historian to tell them apart. The following are brief descriptions of the most popular interior design styles meant to give you an edge in choosing and talking about the styles you like:

Modernist designs are known for their purist sensibilities including clean lines, spaciousness, and efficiency. It is a very popular style in Europe and North American condo living due to the spaciousness that it emphasizes. You see few historical architectural elements in a modern home and none in an ultra-modern style. There are no moldings, no corbels, very subtle textures, and nothing that creates a busy look. Style is reflected through technological materials such as stainless steel, glass, plastic, smooth wood veneers and other sleek materials. Since there are fewer details, colour and texture plays a very important role. In modern kitchens for example, cabinet doors that are simpler in design such as the slab door. With fewer elements to distract your eyes, when compared to traditional styles, modern design quality is reflected by the details of craftsmanship and intrinsic beauty in materials used. High-gloss lacquer finishes, exotic wood veneers, and stainless steel accents create a high-tech look.

Contemporary kitchens have some of the high-tech look and functionality of a modern space, but are not purist in style and design vocabulary. Often different styles are mixed together to give this style of space a unique emotional connection to its occupants. In a contemporary space, it’s common to find a juxtaposition of styles such as an antique rug or historic wood table used with an ultra-modern sofa in a streamlined and technologically advanced space.

The advantage of having a traditional design is that it may never go out of style. Ornamental elements such as moldings and posts are commonly used in a traditional design to reflect timeless elegance and sophistication. The classical style is most obvious when looking at the kitchen – crown moldings, light valences, raised panel doors, columns with ornaments, hardwood flooring, and rich materials such as tumbled marble.

Cabinets in cherry wood or off white finishes topped with granite countertops are a popular direction for most homeowners. This would be a good choice of style if you are the type of person who likes to redecorate often without spending a lot of money, because wood finishes and white cabinetry match nearly any fabric and trend. A traditional space also makes clutter not as noticeable compared to a modern style. This is due to the abundance of textures and variation within different elements.

The modern classic style is a streamlined version of the traditional style. It has modernist sensibilities with its clean lines and spacious feel. Classic elements that are presented in a modern classic design is often more subtle, such as like moldings without extra ornamentations for example. The overall impression that you would get by looking at a classic modern space is that the room would appear to be cleaner as all classic elements are reduced to form only or totally removed.

In a modern classic kitchen, you would still be able to find elements that are presented in a traditional kitchen such as crown moldings, light valences, and raised panel cabinet doors but you would find these elements to have less details in them or streamlined to be more technological in style. Instead of tumbled marble flooring, a honed and cross cut travertine would be used to purify the style. A common feature of the classic modern style is extra-wide drawer cabinets that you’d see in ultra-modern designs, turned into a timeless piece of furniture for all times.

The country style is a casual version of the traditional style. Materials that are hand made or have a hand made look are preferred and have more variation. Worn and weathered items are celebrated and remove formality for a space. It’s all about comfort.

The old world style perhaps may be the most ornamented and sophisticated of the styles outlined here. Inspired by history, they are Baroque, Neo-classical, Tuscan, Renaissance, and English style interiors that conjure up imagery of castles in Europe. Elements such as corbels, appliqués, crown moldings, spindle columns, canopies, and complex hand-made architectural features are common. Antiqued or hand-made iron work and hand-dragged finishes, elaborate chandelier in the dinning room and the foyer, and grand scales distinguish an old world interior.

These are six of the most common styles that we see in homes nowadays. Knowing these styles will give you an advantage in coordinating the elements that you need to create an exquisite interior that reflects your tastes. It is also useful in helping you to discuss elements and styles that you like with your designer, a part of a healthy two-way design process which is the key to making your dream space a reality.


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