In Part 1 of Finding your Personal Style, we looked at how things outside in nature can be a source of inspiration for your decorating style. Some people are more natural than others, so we are going to look at another source of style inspiration, regional design.
My husband Mark recently took a business trip to Italy and returned with many lovely photos of Italian design. There are several styles going on in Italy, yet there is a common thread that runs through them all. Italy is old. There are aging bricks, plaster and huge vines on buildings that have been there for years. This mixes with the modern Italian design aesthetic to create a unique, “aging-modern” style. You could look at it like our “shabby chic” here in America. You will see beautiful mouldings and plaster medallions mixed with stark modern kitchens and simple, minimal furnishings. There is also the countryside of cottages and gardens with wrought iron gates and window boxes. Tile is used extensively, as is aged plaster. When looking at photos of Italy, you may find that your style-sensor is attracted to this unique Italian style.
French style has been popular in many decorating magazines and has developed into a marketable decorating style. There are variations of this concept such as French Country, French Regency or Baroque. A mixture of old and new, some very ornate pieces and simple rustic iron, all make up the Paris Apartment Style. This is a great style for someone in a city apartment who would like an eclectic and cozy, yet glamorous décor. It is as if an apartment dweller has collected items from family, a few special purchases and flea market finds. Lots of mirrors with carved frames and beautiful old chandeliers combine well with antiques and regency style upholstered furniture.
English Style was very popular in the 1990’s. English Country uses lots of florals and plaids mixed with solids of chintz or linen. You will see overstuffed furniture with many pillows and mix-matched prints. Antiques are a staple of this design style. A variation of English Style is Shabby Chic, a more casual look based on worn looking antiques and white or light florals. This style is very popular in the United States. Flea markets are a good place to find the mix of furniture, plates and antique items that make up this relaxed style.
Each region of the world has it’s own distinctive decorating style that can be seen in many of the buildings and homes around the globe. Asian, Spanish, Middle Eastern and Scandinavian are other popular regional styles used in decorating. Travel is the best way to become familiar with these styles but we all don’t have a chance to travel around the world. You can see examples of these styles in photos, movies and even popular restaurants. Let your style-sensor lead you to the things you love. It is a wonderful journey!