Okay, so you’re moving into your new home and it’s time for you to decide exactly how you’re going to treat the interior. I recently walked out of an apartment that had a very “man cave” look to it…movie posters on the walls, the computer in the living room, framed movie soundtrack albums in the dining room, etc. But when I bought my house, I quickly determined that I wanted something different, a little more traditional, a little more elegant, if you will.

There are a number of approaches you can take when planning your interior design:

Contemporary – This style generally appears quite harsh and cold due to the hard angles and stark color schemes (lots of black, gray and white). However, if properly tempered with the right number of color accents, it can actually become quite warm and inviting.

Traditional – This remains the most popular of all interior designs, with curved furniture made from dark wood and upholstered in matching fabrics, along with chandeliers, glass and porcelain lighting using a variety of hues.

Asian – Just as it sounds, this track incorporates Chinese and Japanese influences creating an impression of peace and serenity.

Classic – This style uses lots of yellows, greens, and different shades of gray and pink to achieve its color palette. You will also find many columns, busts and urns, mostly inspired by Greek or Roman architecture.

Country: This author’s favorite style, country-flavored homes are often quite warm and inviting, primarily due to the use of natural, handcrafted, and timeworn materials. The colors are inspired by the surrounding landscape, along with a plethora of floral or checkered motifs. Wrought iron and stone are also used in the construction and/or decoration process, as well as aged wood and ceramics.

Tropical: For the homeowner who wants to feel like every day is “getting away from it all,” this style incorporates a color scheme that includes beige and softer shades of brown, along with furniture made from aged wood, rattan, or bamboo. Teak furniture is also popular, but it requires a lot of care to maintain it properly. Cotton, linen and silk make up the textile base of this decorative style.

Rustic: This is the first cousin of Country style, with high beamed ceilings, stone fireplaces, and tin lampshades. The overall impact is to create a warm and welcoming environment.

Tuscan or Mediterranean – that’s what it sounds like, a decorative style based on design elements found in Mediterranean villages, with hardwood floors, stone fireplaces and high wooden beams.

There are several factors to consider when planning your room design, namely lighting, colors, patterns, and furniture.

The more natural light a room has, the more open and airy it will feel and appear. Rooms tend to appear larger when fewer shadows are present.

Similarly, darker colors tend to make a room appear smaller and more closed in, while lighter colors make it appear larger and more spacious. The same goes for various textures, with smooth surfaces that reflect light in such a way as to create the illusion of space and size, and rougher textures and patterns that create a more intimate feeling.

When it comes to furniture, it’s a lot like trying to define art…you’ll know it when you see it. You can skip over two dozen different pieces before deciding which one will work most effectively in your home. As a general rule, keep larger pieces of furniture against the walls to conserve space. The only exception may be your sofa, which in most cases should be in the center of the room you occupy.

Choose pieces that protrude from the floor on legs that are made of materials that reflect light or let light through. An example is a glass coffee table for the living room or a glass dining table for the kitchen.

You can also find pieces at your local furniture store that will work well in your home, however many times looking through a used furniture or antiques store can provide you with options that can bring a unique style to your decor. Naturally weathered or worn pieces add character to your design, and of course many of these vintage pieces are no longer generally available. Take the time to stop by your local mom and pop store before making your final decisions.

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