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August 02, 2021
How, we ask, did August come about so soon? June and July were both a blur, and now the remaining days of summer are numbered. Sigh.
Don’t fret! This sunny Leo season is perfect for enjoying time with friends, catching some waves - and totally revamping your space. And in that vein, we’re here with another installment of DECODE THE DECOR, a crash course from Decorner in interior decor styles. We know they can be kind of confusing, especially when there’s any kind of overlap, and we’re here to straighten all that out for you and to make it super easy for you to pinpoint exactly where your style lands on the design spectrum.
We’re covering some fun ones today and a pretty broad variety - so buckle up and let’s get decoding!
Chic but casual, rustic and refined, french country style is cottagecore meets shabby chic with a hint of provincial lite. The name says it all - it has the breezy, sun-soaked, sweet-scented sensibility of a weekend in the idyllic countryside with a touch of the stylized elegance of french couture.
A quintessentially french country pattern is toile, which features monochrome designs of figures and landscapes on a cream or white background. Pairing cotton or linen toile with stripes, small florals, ginghams or plaids in muted warms tones is key to creating the aesthetic. Vintage pieces, wrought iron accents, copper pots, sweet signage, and distressed wood and upholstery. Exposed beams and natural stone or wood floors add the country sensibility while more luxurious fabrics keep it elegant. And don’t scrimp on the lighting fixtures - a sweet chandelier will be the icing on the cake!
Buzzwords: soft and sweet, chic, casual, elegant.
Colors: cream, whitewash, soft yellows, pink, baby blue, sage green.
Archetype: your long-time pen pal who is just what you imagined - they smell like lavender, have a bottomless wine cellar, wear a lot of muted linen and make the best soup.
If The Great Gatsby is one of your favorite movies, you might be an art deco junkie. This style arose with the golden industrial age of the 1920s, hot on the tail of WW1 and preceding (and continuing into) the Great Depression. Art deco is about luxury, about celebrating human achievement, it’s about featuring man-made materials, making a statement, and banishing all frill and fluff. Sharp, zippy and sexy, this bold style is not for the faint of heart!
Art deco brings extremes together: formality and control coexist peacefully with sophisticated and flamboyance. Mirrors, bold patterns, gold, steel, animal print, chrome, velvet, leather. Sharp lines and stark contrasts. Lacquer and polish wood. Patterns you’ll frequently see in art deco stylings are geometric and linear, such as zigzags and chevrons; you’ll also see skyscraper points, abstract nudes and skyscraper points. Art deco takes inspiration from the travel that was happening in the 1920s, so you’ll also see influences from Aztec and Egyptian cultures. Furniture? Big. Light fixtures? Clean and symmetrical. This is an exciting style for someone who craves an electric environment in which to entertain - might we recommend some prohibition-era cocktails?
Buzzwords: bold, sharp, sexy.
Colors: silver, gold, black, primary colors.
Archetype: powerful and rebellious, this is a move-maker who rose high and fast, partly thanks to their penchant for bespoke suits and custom cocktails. (and, might we add, the perfume game here is STRONG.)
This is for the person that doesn’t fit into a box. Pick just one style? Please! An eclectic aesthetic intentionally picks elements from all different decor styles to create something highly personal and full of personality. This is the kind of space that you walk into and you immediately know a whole lot about the person who lives there.
The operative word here is “mix.” Patterns: florals of all kinds, animal prints, geometric shapes, abstract swaths of colors and shades. Furniture and textiles: vintage, thrifted, new, global. Gallery wall: photos, mementos, art, cross stitches, dried flowers. Eclectic spaces are perfect for showcasing collections, like crystals or books or little spoons from all over the country. This style can lean in the direction of maximalism, but with a more casual, lived-in appeal. It may sound like there’s a lot going on, but it’s not about jamming everything you can find into one space. It’s about the freedom to choose anything you like, and create a space with intention.
Colors: anything you like!
Archetype: an artsy type, hard-working and joyful, who feels happiest and most fulfilled in a space that reflects their many sides. (They’ve got lots of board games. Trust us on this one.)
The minimalist feels most efficient and satisfied in a space that prioritizes functionality over fashion. The space is all about freeing them up from constraint or worry so that they can function at top efficiency. Minimalism emerged in the 20th C as a reaction against a series of highly decorative styles - victorian style, abstract expressionism, and finally art deco style.
Minimalism pulls from several styles that prioritize tranquility and simplicity: Dutch style, Japanese zen gardens and Scandinavian design. It’s also a style that elicits extreme responses. It has a devoted following for being cost-effective, eco-friendly and Kondo-approved, but it has also been criticized for espousing perfection and extreme luxury in the chosen objects, making it inaccessible and impractical for most income brackets.
Clean lines, clarity of form, no superfluous decor or clutter. Monochromatic or limited color palettes. Lots of natural light, open floor plans, careful and well-integrated storage, and emphasis on craftsmanship. Light colors, beautiful natural woods, metal accents. Less is more. Power in simplicity.
Buzzwords: optimal, zen, efficient, uncluttered.
Colors: Light, natural neutrals, white.
Archetype: They collect nothing. They compost. They have only the exact requisite amount of any given thing. They bike. They want to eventually live in a van. (For our astro types: Virgo sun, Sagittarius moon, Aquarius rising.)
And the response and polar opposite to minimalism - MAXIMALISM. It’s loud, it’s luxurious, it’s big, it’s bold! Where minimalism is about optimizing flow, maximalism is about utilizing your space in the boldest way possible. It’s got the personality and personal quality of eclecticism, the bold visual appeal of art deco and the layering of french country. Why pick one when you can have them all??
Animal print as a neutral. Statement pieces abounding. Show off your collections. Mix textures! Mix patterns! Leave no horizontal surface bare. Match absolutely nothing. Use your fifth wall - the ceiling! Think wacky and bold light fixtures, bright chandeliers, or for the truly bold - wallpaper that ceiling! Mirrors, huge art pieces, and color, color, color. (Though there is much to be said for the graphic appeal of black and white prints.) This is the most dynamic of decor styles, perfect for big personalities and exciting spaces.
Buzzwords: MORE, MORE, MORE!
Colors: yes, please!
Archetype: this is Iris Apfel. This is a fashion-forward big-thinker, whimsical and fun and unpredictable.
From ascetic to abundant, flamboyant to finessed, there really is a style out there for anyone - and if it feels like there isn’t, it just means you’ve got something brand new to offer! And, furthermore, you should never feel locked into a style. Tastes change! Personalities and needs develop and grow and our space should evolve with us. You might feel drawn to french country now, and a couple years down the road minimalism might suddenly click as being exactly what you need in your home. It’s the perfect time to embrace the goodness that is change.
Which of these styles got your bells ringing? Who are your favorite creators of these styles? Is there anything we could add to these run-downs to help you even more? You know we love to hear from you - sound off in the comments, or send us an email to email@example.com.
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