Interiors, like fashion, follow trends and fad and phases, and wax and wane in popularity. Remember Shabby Chic? French Provincial? These styles were everywhere in the 1990s and early 2000s. In the 1970s we saw orange and brown used throughout the home, and in the 1980s blue and yellow was the hero combination. Times change, tastes change, and society changes too – and design styles reflect these cultural and psychological shifts.
At KWD, we love every style and enjoy specifying soft and hard finishes, colours, textures and furniture to match any brief. Design is not about what we would like in our own home, it’s about what works for our clients, what they feel comfortable and what suits their lifestyle.
There’s such a wide variety of styles to choose from, and if you’re clever you can even blend styles together to create your own eclectic mix. We’ve outlined our ten favourite current styles below – which one represents your personal style?
Simplicity and functionality are the cornerstones of Scandinavian design, with clean uncomplicated lines that create a relaxing environment with plenty of space and light. White is the key base colour for Scandinavian interiors with colour and interest introduced by light wood furniture and minimalist, stylish accessories in cool greys and blues. You can introduce more colourful textiles from influential Scandinavian designers like of Marimekko who has a distinctive 1960s graphic aesthetic.
Scandinavian homes have a pure, pared- back style that is centered around warm functionality, clean lines, flawless craftsmanship and understated elegance. The use of light is important, as is the use of earthy muted tones, honest materials and minimal ornamentation. Fireplaces are a key feature in the living areas, but unlike British fireplaces that are usually the focal point of a grand room, these are often very simple columns located in the corner of the room. There are no carpets to be seen, instead interiors feature light wooden floors throughout.
Inspired by beach living and nautical themes, this coastal style is characterised by a relaxed décor palette of whites and creams accessorised with blues and greens. White floors, walls and wooden furniture are key to this look, with blue and white textiles adding a fresh and breezy touch. Natural materials and textiles provide the texture. Contemporary coastal décor is all about functionality and creating space, characterised by clean lines and a minimal colour palette. The space is clean and clutter free whilst being cosy and comfortable, relaxing and serene.
Art Deco is a distinctive style that originates from the 1920s and 30s. It’s distinguished by geometric shapes and opulent finishes reminiscent of the glamorous, decadent and hedonistic jazz era of the 1920s. The interiors of cinemas, ocean liners like the Queen Mary and grand railway stations were heroes of the Art Deco style, particularly across the United States.
Moving on from Art Nouveau materials like moulded glass, horn, and ivory, Art Deco introduced exotic items like zebra-skin and new materials like aluminum, stainless steel, plastics, lacquer and inlaid wood. Art Deco designs are characterised by zigzag / chevron patterns and triangular shapes, stepped forms, sweeping curves and sunburst motifs.
The distinctive architectural and design elements of the Art Deco style include detailed cornicing, geometric motifs, elegant arcs and arches, high-gloss finishes, ornate mirrors and plenty of silver and gold. Materials are sumptuous, wallpapers are popular and shiny satins and velvets come together in a traditionally black and white colour scheme, accessorised with pastel hues like pink, pale green and teal.
4. BRITISH COLONIAL
This exotic classic style is one of Kate Walker’s favourite design aesthetics. “I love the lightness and freshness of British Colonial design,” says Kate. “It is layered and textured with special pieces that travellers collect on their journeys. It has an adventurous spirit reflective of its origins, with a backdrop of white and soft shades highlighted with the greenery of palms and ferns and grounded with dark timbers. Some of the homes I admire the most are British Colonial in style, from Ralph Lauren’s Jamaican home, to Faith Hill’s home and India Hicks’ estate in the Bahamas. My own home is an eclectic mix of traditional American and Chinoiserie, with a nod to British Colonial.”
While the interior style known as Industrial Chic is a nod to the industrial revolution, it also aligns itself with society’s recycle, reuse and reduce philosophy and our love of rawness and texture. Warm, masculine, uncluttered and defined, the Industrial Chic look was largely introduced via warehouse loft conversions, but has now been applied to any number residential and commercial spaces where utilitarian design blends with worn textures and elements of metal and raw wood.
An eclectic mix of materials – rusted metal, galvanised metal, glass and reclaimed wood – Industrial Chic shapes and silhouettes are simple yet bold. There is nothing sweet or pretty about this aesthetic, although hard lines are softened with aged and natural textiles. This is a no-frills style. Furniture should be made from recycled metal or wooden materials, and you can add a sense of comfort with a leather armchair or neutral sofa. Salvaged materials give an authentic industrial feel – woods mixed with rivets, pieces of machinery and aged metal signs are key elements. Accessories like metal tables or an antique accent lamp can infuse a subtle industrial edge into any decor. Greenery works well.
For kitchens, classic islands work best and open-faced shelving and storage are ideal. Free standing metal racks are a great choice for extra storage. Exposed overhead beams, exposed brick walls, metal splash backs, metal framed windows and concrete floors complete the look.
A minimalist aesthetic may seem simple, but there is a skill to creating a space that is sleek and sexy rather than stark and boring. The art of minimalism extends beyond home design and into a lifestyle where less is more. The focus is less on things, and more on freedom and contentment. There is beauty in simplicity.
With a minimalist style it’s important to invest in quality pieces and to use a variety or textures and materials. The design style is all about marrying form and function. Pare back the items in a room and find a stand out piece of furniture and let it shine. Then build a story in the room with lamps, plants and art. Avoid the temptation to fill space with furniture, instead allow space to breathe and room to relax without clutter.
MID CENTURY MODERN
Mid-century styling take its name from architectural designs of the 1950s and 60s. It evolved from early-20th-century Modernism. The urban culture that grew with the post-war era meant smaller living spaces and more ergonomic, sleek designs with a preference for blending minimalist lines with stylish curves (Mad Men’s Don Draper’s oh-so-stylish Manhattan apartment is a case in point).
Designers came to the fore in the Mid-Century Movement, with names like Charles and Ray Eames, Harry Bertoia and Arne Jacobsen creating iconic furniture and lighting that are highly coveted (and copied) today. This aesthetic embraces functionality and a mix of organic shapes, clean lines and minimal embellishments. Simple fabrication from materials like timber and steel are preferred, with influences from Scandinavia and the US particularly prevalent. Furniture that suits this aesthetic is now easily available as the design style is so popular, and the clean architectural lines with wood and brick feature walls are the perfect backdrop for this retro minimalist style.
A classic aesthetic is built around traditional styling. There is a focus on details like period tapware, ceiling cornices, skirtings and detailed joinery. Dark wood furniture, leather and textured fabrics are popular with loads of cushions too. Curtains are sumptuous and often multi-layered, and rugs tie the look together and add warmth. The overall feeling is one of comfort, tradition and quality.
At KWD we are often asked to create a Hamptons-style home. However there are misconceptions about this type of aesthetic. Hamptons-style is often confused wit American Coastal, so our first step at KWD is to drill down to work out what our client’s vision really looks like. A Hamptons-style is actually very formal, elegant, expensive and detailed (think Grayson Manor in the series ‘Revenge’), with dark timber floors, chandeliers, grand staircases, ceiling sconces and heavily panelled walls.
Tasteful elegance is key, combined with a sophisticated coastal flavour. Bedrooms features four poster beds and luxurious textured fabrics, living areas feature large stylish, comfortable sofas, and kitchens and bathrooms have a luxurious look with antique-style tapware and a touch of glamour in the furniture and accessories. This opulent coastal style embraces the very essence of casual elegance with tasteful decor that mixes old and new with white or pale-toned walls.
The landscaping of a Hamptons-style home is very important too. The outdoor areas carry a sense of formality. And if space and budget allow, a pool house and swimming pool are a must.
The Boat House aesthetic is chic and subtle – white-washed walls, bleached timbers, clean lines and streamlined fixtures. The minimalist décor brings the outside in and creates an uncluttered platform for this coastal look. French doors with white window frames open out to large decks to create a seamless flow with the great outdoors, and high ceilings with floor to ceilings windows maximise the light and air that flows throughout an open plan design. The relaxed elegance of the Boat House look is fresh, light and contemporary with minimalist décor. Highlights of tropical plants, basket ware, and ocean treasures add warmth to the simple and serene style.
If you would like more information on any of these design styles, and how KWD can help you achieve a new look for your property, give the team a call on (03) 5974 1800.
Images: Houzz / Walta Barda