According to the late American interior designer Albert Hadley, “Decorating is not about lace curtains and carpets from Paris!” He believed style was all about flair. Creating a stylish and appealing home interior can be as inexpensive or costly as your budget allows. You just need to keep a few basics of interior style in mind, including function, mood and personality, using color, lighting and furniture arrangement.
Even high style must include function in interior design. Rooms have to be comfortable and work well for the inhabitants. That means the right furniture in the best locations, arranged in harmony with good lighting and a focal point that makes sense. A living room with stylish furniture won’t work well if it’s cluttered, dark and uninteresting.
Add interest to the function in your decor to make it more effective. Houzz contributor Judith Taylor says that things like avoiding too much furniture, arranging furniture on a rug and varying lighting and scale create interest and variety. If your interior is too dark, add layers of light with cabinet lights, track lighting use spotlights on artwork and consider opening up a room to more natural light with new windows.
Develop interior style by creating mood with colors, furnishings, textures, patterns and themes. While Taylor cautions against sticking too closely to a theme, you can use a theme to tie elements together for the mood you want. For instance, if you collect antiques, you might want to use one or two period pieces to anchor a room. Or if you love botanical prints, use a few of them on the wall and a complementary floral pattern for the couch.
A good way to create a mood is to use an interior design mood board. Whether you use an online mood board tool or scissors, magazines, fabric swatches and tape, a mood board can help you visualize the style you want before you start rearranging, painting and buying anything.
Color goes a long way toward creating the mood you want. Interior designer Tom Scheerer recommends using your favorite colors and complementary colors. Alessandra Branca says to figure out how you feel about different colors and use the ones that make you feel good to create the mood in your home.
After you have a functional design with the mood you want, add personality with personal touches. Arrange a collection of art, photos and mirrors on the walls or above the fireplace mantel. Create a family gallery with your favorite photos from vacations and important life events. Frame your kids’ most colorful kindergarten finger paintings and drawings. Put your handmade afghan or quilt on your favorite recliner or sofa. Personality injects your hobbies and preferences into your space.
Use your mood boards to plan the kind of personality you want. Decide if you’ll use things you already have in new ways or repurpose items that are important to you and have special meaning such as photos or antiques that have been in the family for generations. If you see something you like indesign magazines or on the Internet that’s unique or quirky, you may want to recreate it in your home.