What is your decorating style?

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shabby chic
Cottage decor is referred to as shabby chic
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What is your decorating style is explained in the evolution of your decor taste

Decorating styles can vary from one end of the spectrum to another. Your mother may be a country décor freak whereas you are totally shabby chic. One sister may be completely into modern or contemporary design while the other would never veer from the traditional.

Your decorating style evolves over the years. There are certain colors, patterns, designs, accessories, and furniture types that you are drawn to. Ultimately you realize that again and again you pick out Craftsman style furniture or adore art décor style. This has become your signature style.


For those of you who feel most comfortable with traditional home furnishings this may mean that you like formal more than informal and are swept away by a grand fireplace, intricately carved moldings, chair rails, wood floors, built-in bookcases and, of course, a formal dining room. That is a must.

Furniture that is routinely used in a formal home includes Chippendale, Sheraton, Hepplewhite and Queen Anne.

A traditional room generally boasts furniture that is ornate and sensuously carved. Colors that are often utilized in a traditional interior include gray, white, gold, rich red, marine blue, topaz, luminous green and rose quartz. Jewel tones are the most sought-after colors for those who love the traditional look and feel.

Rich materials, such as velvet, silk, brocade and satin, as well as tapestries and needlepoint are apt to be found in a traditional home. These fabrics are sumptuous and lavish. Stripes and florals are often the patterns of choice. The window treatment is heavy and full, with valances and top treatments, and often held back using elaborate tassels. Some drapes have fringe on them.

Tables are usually skirted and footstools are covered with elegant needlepoint designs

The dining room table, with a formal tablecloth, is set using weighty, ornate silver and leaded crystal. The floors are covered by Oriental rugs and Aubusson carpets. Traditionalists often hang formal pictures of animals and landscapes on the walls as well as renderings of their ancestors.

Chandeliers and brass light fixtures are de rigueur in the traditional home and flower arrangements are a must. They should be big, formal and imposing.


Cottage style decorating is also often referred to as shabby chic. Furniture is re-purposed and used for something other than its original purpose. For example, an old door is turned into a coffee table or a vintage trunk is used as a table. This is a casual and relaxed look. It is homey, charming and perhaps a bit nostalgic. You do not have to dress up for dinner in this house. No tuxedos allowed!

Cotton duck, denim and chintz are the fabrics of choice. Stripes and florals are mixed and the colors often used are white, blues and various pastels, which create a peaceful pastoral or seaside feel, depending on the location.

Use baskets, plants, or anything that you find in nature that appeals to your senses as decorations.

Go to yard sales or antique shops and find some appealing pieces of furniture that obviously have a history. Distressed and time-worn furniture that has been well-used and well-loved is the cornerstone of the cottage style. This is a lovely and appealing look, as is traditional, but they are polar opposites. The person who is comfortable living amidst traditional furnishings probably won't be at ease kicking back in a casual cottage style home.


These two styles have just touched on the surface.

There is a multitude of other decorating styles including country, modern/contemporary, eclectic, primitive, arts and crafts and rustic. Your style develops as you gradually start to notice a pattern and that you are consistently drawn to the same styles, proportions, colors and textures.

Of course, you may be eclectic and like a variety of different styles and opt to toss them in together. That's okay. This can look terrific.

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