Clients often ask me what my favorite personal decorating style is. I’m guessing that they want to know if my style closely aligns with theirs. My short answer is “eclectic”, meaning I really like to mix different styles for a more interesting look. But, there are many considerations in how this has come about, and my longer answer is this:
I grew up in the 70’s and 80’s, and my mother loved to decorate our colonial home, then redecorate once things started looking old or outdated. She loved wallpaper and wasn’t afraid of color and pattern. Looking back, I would say that she also liked to decorate to the current trends, so there was a lot of gold, brown and rust in our house in the earlier years. Going through design school meant learning in detail about past styles, and both school and work experience taught me more about current styles and trends. They also taught how to blend the two, considering line, mass and tonality. My takeaway from these influences is an appreciation for individual objects for their own particular style and personal meaning. I also developed an idea for what I don’t like, and even though Baroque, Victorian, and busy/overdone aren’t high on my list, I can still appreciate what some might find appealing about an ornate piece or even a period room.
In the end, what I personally like are rooms that invite you to come in and spend some time. A sitting room should be comfortable, sunny, and cozy, and project a feeling of warmth. It should have interesting things to look at and feel balanced, which is calming. If there is a mix of styles and colors, they should harmonize with each other, and elements should not compete as the main focal point. I personally don’t like things that are too “fussy”, nor do I like a cold, contemporary look for my own spaces. I like a house with rich architecture, but can appreciate a clean, modern space provided that it still meets the criteria for what I consider a well-done room. I like British colonial-style furniture, or anything that reminds me of warmer climates, and a relaxed, coastal lifestyle. I also like natural materials along with various textures, and it never hurts to bring the outdoors in with some plants (or even palm or citrus trees). As far as trends are concerned, I do think clean lines and simpler looks are here to stay, but I would prefer to do my own thing and not follow the trends too closely.
What I want my clients to know is that good design can exist within any style, and I consider a successful project one that reflects my clients’ tastes rather than my own.