Victorian or modern?

Last Updated 08 July 2010, 11:01 IST

There are several styles of decor to choose from, if you are planning to re-do your house. They could range  from minimalistic to contemporary to Victorian.

The Swedish style can be perfect for the family that does not want their design to be too complex. You can create a simple and yet classic decorating scheme that involves the use of light fabrics and unfinished wood pieces. You can characterise a Scandinavian or Swedish design by its heavy use of unfinished woods and simple, but elegant design. It features light, lustrous and pale colours and furnishings as well as reflective surfaces and no clutter. Perhaps nothing characterises the style as well as the use of whites, creams and light blues in various pale shades that are used on almost any surface. Light shades of pink, grey and grey with some darker accents of gold and red occasionally used for drama and to set off a space, are often seen on walls, flooring or furniture as well as accessories and draperies. Most popular colours in the Swedish style colour palette are however white and blue giving you a feel of clear skies. You could combine this with white, cream, yellow, red and gold to create a feeling of a sunset, blue sky and white clouds.

The accent colours especially when used in modestly designed floral patterns or in striped or checked fabrics help avoid too unadorned a look and retain interest and focus where desired. Swedish style furnishings avoid too many intricate carvings or styles relying more on a simple mix of straight and gently curved edges with delicate and often tapered bottoms which in traditional round or squared-off edges. Beds typically show off simple wood lines occasionally with upholstered head boards or foot boards and in more elaborate instances show off yards of light or white fabrics in a canopy either hanging from the wall or ceiling. Benches and stands are very common and typically have six legs with an upholstered top.

Sofas normally use light coloured wood frame work with very little upholstery and often have removable seat cushions done up in the light colours and styles. The woods used in the floors too are almost lighter woods such as beech, birch, white pine and are often “whitewashed” or lightly stained with white or pale tints. Keep it simple, elegant and restrained with light-coloured floors and fabrics and put the detail into the simple accessories and touches not readily apparent and you will have a home any Swede would be pleased to call “their” style.

Victorian décor
Victorian decorating makes use of many palettes. Deep, rich colour distinguishes the importance of a room. Lots of dark mahogany trim and furnishings show best with deep greens, blue works well with silver adornments. Elaborately adorned wallpaper or borders of red, blue and green florals and botanicals are widely used. You can use a grand dining table of heavy wood solids, exotic veneers and contrasting inlays, surrounded by velvet or rich leather chairs. You can fill the room with side-boards, small lamp tables, even cabinets special to house sterling silver flatware sets.

Rustic decor
There is always something comfortable and inviting about a rustic theme. Rustic decorating is all about connecting with the outdoors. The great outdoors might seem a world away from the city where you live but bringing it home should not be an obstacle nor it is necessary to sacrifice modern sensibilities for this rustic charm. Enough can be done to copy exposed log wall, rough-beams, stone and other rough creations to impress the style deep into your senses.

This is one deep woods decorating style where colour and texture share the same palette. Neutral, natural and earth tones are taken from nature. The shades are those occurring in weathered construction timbers and stones and in preserved wood furnishings and wall panels. Texture is everywhere. Use woods that are not finely planed. Plank floors can be interrupted with entry areas of flay stone or unpolished granite. Massive stone hearths and exposed rock in plastered walls are prevalent and impressive. If you want to take the look further use stone to build a room dividing wall. Make it appear structural and add some timber beams across the room in the ceiling. Animal hides, ray rugs and co arse woollens add to the list of heavily textured materials. A tree trunk coffee table would probably be the most familiar piece of furniture for a rustic style home décor. Dining areas would usually be dominated by long plank table flanked by benches and wooden arm chairs. A chipped but still charming mirror will find the right spot for a rustic home. Hung nature paintings fit right in plain linen and cotton covered cushions keep things simple. Rustic decoration can spread charm along with a relaxing feel.
Contemporary decor
A contemporary house would be a combination of modern materials like glass, metal, chrome and composites. The shapes tend to be very angular in a  contemporary furniture with a lot of right angle corners, distinct edges and overall lines that may be asymmetrical. This is usually very little in the way of carving, decoration or other intricate details. Surfaces are typically very smooth in texture and flow in an even line from one end of the piece to the other. The look of and feel of a contemporary design is often described as clean, sleek, chic and high-tech.
By few who don’t like contemporary design, it is described as cold, hard and sterile. Colours used here are neutral. A contemporary environment will typically have few decorations, wall hanging and other adornments. Tile floors are common, as are short-fibred carpets and rugs. An environment with abundant lighting is also a good fit for this style. You can use track lights and spot lights that give off a sharp white light rather than a softer yellow light.
The sharpness and the colour of the light highlights the lines of contemporary furniture and contribute to an overall modern feel.

Minimalist decor choice
Minimalism is a state of mind. It can be modern or retro. Minimalist interiors do not necessarily mean everything is stripped down. It means everything serves a specific function. You will notice emphasis placed on a building’s envelope by reducing dividing walls to create an open floor plan. In short, minimalist interiors have an open feel, clean line, order and wasting not on needless adornments. In minimalist decorating there is no attempt to create drama through the power of colour. Wall colours are white based cool, greens and a predominance of  white. There is an absence of texture in this décor, which can block the way of minimalist sophistication, wood flooring is flawlessly shiny and smooth here. Kitchen cabinetry is lacquered to a super high shine and topped with polished granite. Simplicity is the key keeping the focus on an absence of clutter.

Casual style
To create a casual décor style, follow these tips:

Use simple details in fabrics and accessories.Try to avoid shiny materials and lean toward textured or weaves like linen and wool.
Avoid too much symmetry.

Furniture should be soft and comfortable, preferably oversized.
More casual rooms will relay on larger and more “blocky” pieces of furniture as it provides a comfortable sense of security and confidence.Floors in a casual room should have either some form of stone or tile work, stained concrete or hardwood.
If you want to create a comfortable, strong and welcoming space with soft colours and rely on textures and old and rustic accessories you are there. Just add a touch of whimsy and oversized low and long furniture and watch your guests relax.
There are thousands of decorating themes in use around the world but only a handful have found their way into the mainstream.

(Published 08 July 2010, 11:01 IST)

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