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What Does 'My Decorating Style' Mean? Here Are a Few Tips to Help You Answer That Question

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By : Durand Demlow    99 or more times read
My decorating style. Most people use that phrase without giving it much thought. Its as if each individual had a unique way of expressing their tastes and aesthetics, and have found and combined items which together allow the rest of us to witness their own personal uniqueness. In a way, that's true, but just how many "styles" can there be?

If you were to search the web for "decorating style", you'll come up with millions of results! Millions. Everything from African decorating style to Zen decor. And many websites are today dedicated to defining what all this means and what you need to do to fit in to whatever style category your decorating style quiz says you should. And, if you hire someone, they'll tell you what you should believe "my decorating style" should be.

All this, of course, will be decided by how you answer specific questions, what you buy and how you arrange those things. Setting arrangement aside for a moment, let's look into what you buy, specifically your furniture, art and accessories. Our childhood influenced many things, such as our political views, our food choices and our decor directions. For instance, if you grew up in a simple, hard surfaced minimalist home, you might carry on that style or choose soft, puffy furniture and wall to wall plush carpeting as your statement of independence.

Or your parents bought, or helped you buy, much of the furniture you have and you simply purchase things that will "go" with those things. Most of us really don't know what our own personal decorating style is. So, naming it is nearly impossible! We've all heard the terms "Shabby Chic", "Western" and "Tuscan" and some believe that giving your interior decor a name "certifies" it or makes it legitimate. But most of us change with the seasons, have growing families, move to another part of the country or remarry. This leads to change in our purchasing and decor choices.

A lot of us also still have things that we don't necessarily like, but they hold some sentimental value or remind us of something or someone special. Some of us have gifts—framed art, accessories or even furniture—given by friends or favorite relatives. And, all of us grew up in environments that shaped us positively and negatively in regard to our homes and furnishings. In other words, our personal decorating style is both created by us and plays a roll in defining who we are.

Now, let's get back to "arrangement" or how we place those "things" in our homes. Understanding how we came to the decisions we make in regard to the placement of objects in our living rooms, bedrooms and dining areas, along with the hardness or softness of those things IS something we may never change. There are only 4 basic styles of interiors ... and, each of us is drawn to one of those, no matter what our personal decorating style is. They are:

CASUAL - Includes cottage, shabby chic, American country and many others which utilize softer fabrics and natural materials. If you like pleats, ruffles and comfort, you could be in this category. Furniture and accessories are sturdy, overstuffed and perhaps slightly whimsical. If your mate is one of the other three styles, remember other styles can be "casualized!"

CONTEMPORARY - Basic and linear. A sleek and fresh, bold personal statement representing a modern, up to the minute, probably tech-smart person who focuses on the dramatic. Smooth lines without skirts and frills. Colors are black, white, some neutrals and bright, bold accents. Plants are large and may have their own lighting.

FORMAL - Also called "old world" is elegant and symmetrical. Antique furniture and original oil paintings (with elaborate frames) will be arranged in pairs and always lead to a focal point within the room. Floors can be tile or wood with Persian carpets and Oriental rugs. A formal living room might have a large window, centered on the wall, looking out over a manicured lawn.

TRADITIONAL - This is the style most Americans grew up in. Classic and comfortable. Rooms might have white crown molding, understated accessories, antiques, drapes with under treatments of pleated sheers and plain colors. You may not even call it a style, as it seems like everything is where it is "supposed" to be and nothing is overdone or out of place.

Once you discover your basic style, it will be much easier to define your "personal" style. And, don't be afraid to be somewhat eclectic. We all are. A contemporary interior with an antique jukebox? A casual living room with a 56" wall-mounted HDTV? A formal home with a wild and crazy kid's room? Why not? This is where your personality gets personal. You should be free to experiment and grow! Free to challenge the system. Free to explore new horizons! If you really need to name it, go ahead. There are a million decorating styles out there with names. Search "personal decorating styles" and see.

But you are you, and are different from the other six billion people. Your home is your expression of the uniqueness of you and should reflect that quirky thing that sets you apart. There's no law that says you have to name your style, you know. When someone asks you what your style is, why not tell them its simply "your" style.
Durand Demlow is a commercial designer, home remodeler and website developer. His knowledge and career has given him the experience to create a website focused on helping do-it-yourselfers and homeowners with free remodeling and decorating tips and ideas. His website, is an ever-changing resource of DIY concepts and advice.

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