After studing design styles, you should consider how historical styles could be adapted and applied in current interiors. When selecting a style for a client, it is important to understand the overall feeling that the client desires. Generally, five basic style categories are used to help guide the client. They are formal traditional, formal modern, informal provincial, informal modern, eclectic.
The term “formal” traditional refers to interior furnishings, finishes and backgrounds from historical styles that are of the more refined of court types. Many of traditional designs come from 18th and early 19th centuries, an age of great prosperity during which the arts flourished in the Western world. French and English furniture styles of this period exemplify this warmth, grace and elegance. Some of this styles have been adapted and scaled to meet present-day requirements without loosing their character.
A formal modern environment can be created by employing modern furnishings, finishes and backgrounds that are elegant and sophisticated. Art Nouveau, Art Deco, Classic Modern and Post-Modern furniture are particularly well suited for a formal setting. Italian, Secession, Wiener Werkstatte, De stijl, Bauhaus and International style furniture may be very formal and sophisticated, depending on supportive elements. Modern Oriental is often used in a formal manner.
Historically, provincial furniture was produced in rural areas. Provincial furniture used native foods and techniques that imitated finer, more expensive finishes. The provincial interior is generally handcrafted, simple and casual appearing unpretentious. The look is cloistered, comfortable and rustic, it may incorporate furniture from a number of countries as long as designs are rooted in the past and have an aura of charm and informality. Styles most commonly employed that provide this feeling are Colonial American, Medieval English (as well as simplified Georgian), French provincial, and Spanish. Also appropriate are Dutch, Swedish and German furnishings.
Numerous types and styles of modern furniture are available on the market, drawing principally from European, Oriental and American designers. When an informal modern setting is preferred, generally casual fabrics with a matte finish, simple materials and unpretentious accessories are used. Informal modern also could use fun, “funky” designs. Plastics and disposable furniture work in this style. Informal modern furniture styles particularly suitable for this direction include Scandinavian and modern furniture inspired by Japanese prototypes and the Craft Revival. Other modern styles including Secession, De Stijl, Bauhaus and International Style, Post-modern and Italian can generally be designed in either an informal or formal manner, depending on supportive treatment.
The eclectic look which is a mixing rather then a matching one, is common. However, eclectic does not mean hodgepodge. Furnishings should be related in scale and chosen with a final goal in a mind. There should be a common theme – some element that ties the pieces together. For ex. to achieve the provincial look, informality may be the key and the all country furniture, regardless of the source is generally compatible. For a formal traditional look, dignity may be the key and refined pieces of almost any style can be combined with a pleasant result. The eclectic look often allows for more daring and imaginative interiors.