A lovely ceiling medallion, beadboard added to a bathroom wall or a chair rail placed in a dining room are all effective design tools that can reinforce a particular style or transform a space. Even something as basic as the shape of a window, or simply going with a salvaged door with character instead of a brand-new door, can contribute to the room's overall look and feel.
Use your home's architectural style as a guide, but think outside the box to create a stunning space. "Don't be afraid to bring traditional elements in if it's a contemporary home, " advises Christopher J. Grubb, interior designer of Arch-Interiors Design Group Inc. "I love to see a contemporary-style home with an ethnic piece so it's not all chrome and glass."
Whatever design direction you go, these popular home styles feature specific interior details that enhance your space.
Southwestern or Rustic Style
Houses decorated in a Southwestern style never feel cold or sterile. Instead, these homes offer a casual and warm space in which to relax with family and friends. Terra-cotta tile floors, hefty beams in the ceiling and rough textures are common design details that give these homes character.
A rustic hearth decorated with tiles around the opening is often also included, surrounded by comfortable, oversized distressed leather or suede furniture.
Unlike older homes with elaborate crown molding and ornamental trim, midcentury homes that became popular in the 1950s and 1960s are about simplicity and light, with large walls of windows and opened-up ceilings with exposed beams.
Typically the homes are one story with a low-slung roof line and sprawling layout. Interiors are streamlined and airy, with good flow between spaces. Sleek furniture with clean lines reinforces the midcentury look and feel.
Comfortable homes known for their low-pitched sloping roofs and broad front porches with distinctive square pillars, Craftsman bungalows follow a design philosophy based on simplicity and practicality. Often the insides of these houses include custom wood built-ins and exposed rafters and beams.
Natural materials, specialty wood and hand-crafted details are the hallmarks of these homes. Numerous windows for natural light, an inviting fireplace and wide doors are a few of the commonly used design elements that make the inside of a Craftsman bungalow home very livable.
Both elaborate and ornate, Victorian-style homes use decoration liberally often borrowed from different eras. Steep-pitched gables, pointed turrets and decorative shingles are some of the features associated with Victorian homes.
Often Victorians are a combination of different styles, including Gothic revival with pointed arch windows, rectangular Italianate houses and Queen Anne homes with wrap-around porches. Stain-glassed windows, ornate chandeliers, and tables with marble tops and intricate legs are often used to decorate Victorian interiors.
The historic charm of Colonial homes is perfect for homeowners who prefer a traditional look. This broad category includes styles such as Georgian, French and Spanish Colonial each with their own personality and look and most people think of a classic Colonial as a formal, symmetrical, multi-story structure with a prominent entry door dead center in the front of the house.
These homes have a stately look and a large number of multi-paned windows. To complement their formal architecture style, interiors often include details like crown molding on the walls.
Offering more warmth than an ultra-modern interior that can sometimes feel cold, a contemporary design aesthetic is all about options. A combination of modern and traditional styles, contemporary spaces are comfortable and stylish.
"Contemporary is a broad category that's not as sharp as modern and features clean lines in style and furniture, often with a tone-on-tone palette, " explains Christopher, who says you can soften the sleek lines of a contemporary fireplace with a tufted upholstered bench, or use a round table to soften a rectangular contemporary dining room.
Unlike the minimalist details and slick finishes often seen in modern homes, a farmhouse aesthetic is heavy on comfort and timeworn finishes. This type of home should feel warm and inviting, with a mix of furniture styles and cozy details.