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What Goes With What

Many of you know what you like and have a gut feeling about what looks good. The key is to understand some of the basic rules and guidelines to a well designed room. Continue honing your skills by “educating your eye” when looking at magazines and catalogs, visiting furniture store, and surfing the web.



Formal: This look is achieved by using fabrics with some sheen, such as moiré’s or silks. You can then add in formal textures such as a damask or formal stripe. The wood colors generally used in a formal room are darker like a cherry, walnut, or mahogany and are usually finished with a high sheen. Legs on wood furniture are frequently curved or detailed and have ornate feet. The use of pairs is typical in a formal setting with matching chairs, lamps, and tables. Symmetry is an important part of a formal setting but the end result is frequently more rigid than most people are comfortable with. Dressmaker details are also an important part of this look and window treatments are generally layered with sheers, side panels and swags with jabots.



Traditional: This look has some similarities to formal but with more casual fabrics with no sheen. Floral, stripes, plaids, and tone on tones are common choices for the traditional room. Deep colors are often found on upholstery. Wood colors are generally dark but with less ornate legs than the formal style. Typical window treatments may be shutters or wood blinds with side panels and top treatments.



Country: This look uses fabrics that have more texture or pattern, like flame stitch, Jacobean floral, crewel, combined with heavier weight fabrics. Wood colors are walnut or cherry. Camel back sofas with exposed legs combined with wing chairs are typical furniture choices.



French Country: Also referred to as Province- a warm and welcoming look. Utilizing rich, intense colors and printed fabrics like toile, checks, small prints, and lace are fabrics of choice to achieve this look. Wood color is generally bleached or painted combined with wood. Legs generally are cabriole legs with simple feet.



Shabby-Chic: Vintage fabrics with a bit more of a feminine feel are the usual fabric choices to achieve this look. Woods tend to be painted or distressed in lighter colors. The color palette is generally softer, like pinks, yellows, and greens. The combination of leg styles and mixture of fabrics makes this look work. Touches of whimsy are an important factor in this look as well.



Lodge: Just as it sounds, a recreation of a country woods retreat. Pulling many of its elements form the outdoors with strong, earthy colors and dark, primitive wood styling. Decoys and animal mounts add to the look as well as simple window treatments like wood blinds or tab curtains.



Tuscany: Fabrics with a weightier feel. Chenille, tapestry, and velvets complement this look. Colors are generally earth, as in yellow greens, brick and browns. Walls generally have a heavier texture to them and are frequently plastered with a glaze added to give depth. Woods are a combination of lights and medium darks but generally distressed.



Victorian: Fabrics that have a bit of sheen set the stage foe a true Victorian look. The original look was based on the theory, “more is more” Today’s Victorian is a less embellished version. Cherry, Mahogany and Walnut are the usual wood choice. Fussy dressmaker detailing in window treatments is part of this look as well. Brass, both shiny and antiqued, is an added touch to this style.



Contemporary: Fabrics generally are geometric and solids. Wood is oak, teak, and frames are frequently built of metal. Leg lines are usually sleek and straight. Those who love the clean, sparse look of contemporary are of the “less is more” mindset.



Eclectic: A combination of a variety of styles and eras, including country, Victorian, traditional and primitive. These are looks many of us achieve when we create a home filled with an accumulation of years of living in a home.


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