Do you know your decorating styles? You’re likely familiar with the major trends that are all the rage in home decor stores, such as contemporary, modern, Scandinavian, glamour, farmhouse and industrial. But what about the movements that inspired these styles? How well do you know the trends from past decades and centuries that revolutionized how we decorate our homes? Put your knowledge to the test and see if you can differentiate from among the five most popular styles of the modern period.
Which style dates back to the 19th century?
Inspired by the Silk Road and by the Spice Route established by the British Empire, the British Colonial style mixes influences from several countries that were subject to British rule. Colonization resulted in Asian and tropical influences being mixed with the mahogany and oak furniture that was typical of the Victorian period. This unexpected combination makes for a timeless and interesting look. The key is to be bold with plant and animal prints, mismatched furniture made from natural materials, such as wood and rattan, and a wide assortment of plants in every room of your home.
Where did the Hollywood Regency style originate?
The Hollywood Regency style harkens back to Tinsel Town’s Golden Age, when Jean Harlow, Carole Lombard and Joan Crawford lit up the silver screen. This style was inspired by the Art Deco style, but is much more glamorous with golden accents, mirrored surfaces and lush textures, such as silk and velvet. Renowned designers Billy Baldwin and Dorothy Draper were responsible for popularizing this style, which was used to decorate the dressing rooms and apartments of Hollywood’s biggest stars. You can add a touch of this style to your own decor by choosing furniture with lacquered or mirrored surfaces, as well as long, sumptuous silk drapes and slipper chairs, which actresses would sit on while changing into their elegant outfits. Adding these small chairs created a striking visual contrast at a time when the Giga sofa, also known as the modular sofa, appears to have become the norm. When choosing colours, don’t be shy. Minimalism is not what you’re going for here. Juxtapose subdued shades with jewel-tone accents, and don’t be stingy with warm metals, such as brass and copper.
What other influences are associated with shabby chic?
Popularized in the 1980s by designer and author Rachel Ashwell, shabby chic is essentially an amalgamation of country (English and French), farmhouse and rustic styles. The central features of this style are a laid-back lifestyle and comfort. To create this look in your own home, opt for wood furniture. Whether painted, rag painted or in a natural tone, look for rustic or antique items similar to what you’d find in farmhouse decor. The most sought-after antiques by shabby chic fans include pine trunks, milk crates branded with a hot iron and jelly cupboards with glass doors. When choosing colours for your rooms and furniture, you can’t go wrong with a palette of faded hues with a time-worn appearance. A combination of such colours coupled with white, grey and ecru are popular in shabby chic decor.
What are the key elements of the Scandinavian style?
What does a Scandinavian chair look like?
This style took North American homes by storm more than a decade ago and continues to be very popular. Originating in Scandinavia, where darkness reigns for six months of the year, this style focuses on maximizing natural light. As a result, its hallmarks are light wood, white walls and large, bare windows. In terms of furniture, functionality is favoured over the ornate European styles of past centuries. Every detail has been carefully thought out and is included only if it’s actually useful. For this reason, Scandinavian style is often confused with minimalism, as there’s no room for excess. To incorporate it into your decor, opt for natural materials, such as wood, rattan and furs that are indigenous to your area. Optimize brightness by using numerous accent lights, skillfully positioned mirrors, large windows and a semi-gloss paint finish for the walls, which helps maximize incoming light.
What style is associated with creeping vines that are carved into or painted on furniture, or peacock feathers?
What style is associated with light grey, steel blue and dusty rose?
If you could add one accessory to a British Colonial room, what would it be?
Passionate about colour, vintage decorative elements and hand-made items, Vanessa Sicotte celebrates décor in all its splendour. Vanessa is the mastermind behind the Damask & Dentelle blog—and author of a book in the same name—where she has been sharing her favourite décor discoveries since 2009. She is also the host of Sauvez les meubles and Marché Conclu on Canal Vie. Since fall 2015, viewers can reap Vanessa’s valuable advice by watching the Marina Orsini show on ICI Radio-Canada Télé, where she is featured as décor commentator.