Before beginning any design project, it is important to discover the interior design aesthetic that works for you. Often, the architecture of your space can help set the tone for the interior; alternately, juxtaposing opposite design elements could be used to express your personal style. With numerous design genres to work within, a general understanding of each can serve as a foundation to begin defining your vision.
The following is a sample of the most widely practiced design genres. There are many more to consider when establishing your personal design style and often, elements of some genres can complement others to create a space that’s uniquely you. There are many examples of architectural and interior design styles to be seen throughout the Seattle area.
Contemporary style is defined by clean lines, sculptural elements and the carefully considered use of color. Furniture pieces are composed of straight lines and are an artful combination of wood, textiles and metals. Whites and neutrals are often accentuated by bold colors. Texture is an important aspect of contemporary design to ensure the space has an inviting aesthetic rather than feeling cold and austere. The focus of contemporary design is function first. Decoration for the sake of filling blank spaces is kept to a minimum; in modern design, accent pieces are strategically incorporated to serve a purpose while also adding visual interest.
In contrast with contemporary design, traditional spaces feature furniture and accents that are gracious and ornamental in design. Fabrics for furniture, windows and other parts of the home will reflect elegance through a combination of floral prints, damask patterns and stripes.Wing-backed chairs, claw footed tables, and furniture pieces that hearken back to the 18th and 19th centuries are often used. Highly coordinated spaces are a trademark of traditional design, where textiles are carried throughout, used on upholstered furniture, patterned wallpapers and complementary window dressings.
Classical design is defined by symmetry, balance and the use of grand focal points. Greek and Roman styling inspire this design genre that is steeped in classic tradition. Inspiration is drawn from historic periods where an emphasis on lavish styling and immaculate balance are key features. Designs are centered on a main focal point such as a grand staircase or ornate fireplace, keeping furnishings in strict order. Upholstery patterns are kept to a minimum, to place emphasis on the architecture and ornate decor.
Country-inspired design can reflect American, French or Swedish country. In all styles, the goal is comfort and honesty in design. Furniture is either handcrafted or made to look that way and presents materials in their more natural, unfinished state. Decoration is often comprised of antique or faux antique pieces that reflect life in the country. Fabric patterns reflect agricultural themes printed on toiles and bleached linens. Colors are generally muted to create a quiet and warm aesthetic.
Once you have your design direction in mind, you can take on your design project on your own or seek professional assistance. The American Society of Interior Designers (ASID) can help you find a reputable designer in your area.