A number of basic design styles apply to everything from furniture to interior and exterior home design. Here are some general guidelines for some popular design styles:
Contemporary/modern design features sleek, unadorned cabinets, plain panel doors and hardware that’s hidden or unobtrusive.
Traditional is more formal and elegant. Raised panel cabinet doors or clear glass panels separated by thin strips of wood are often seen. Rich wood finishes or painted white wood may be accented with sparkle from brass or brass-tone hardware.
Craftsman bungalow houses usually have low-pitched gable roofs with large overhangs and exposed rafters. Under the gables are often decorative beams or braces. A craftsman bungalow commonly has a generous front porch with a roof is carried on square, tapered columns. Stone or brick frequently is used for the porch’s base or columns. Masonry may also be used for a tapered chimney on one side of the house.
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Country features light stain or distressed-color finish, simple cabinet and door styles and unpretentious wood or ceramic knobs and handles.
Colonial style homes take advantage of classic architectural elements, notably symmetry, columns and formally framed doors and windows. These residences, often elaborate, typically have large front and rear porches, providing an opportunity for cross ventilation in sultry climates.
Victorian styles often reflect the romance of the 19th century with contemporary convenience. Common cabinet woods are oak or cherry and with the right color scheme, even white can be used. Many different types of hardware will work, from hammered iron to antique pewter.
High-tech design areas feature stainless steel, metal tubing, chrome and black accents. Kitchens often feature an industrial look with sleek metallic appliances and storage cabinets. Glass block or curving transparent window glass may be set in a wall.
Southwestern homes, with their stucco or adobe exterior and orange or red tile roofs, are gaining in popularity these days, especially in the west.
Likewise, log homes, which today include construction techniques that may or may not use whole logs to yield a house that looks like it’s built with logs, have a solid, somewhat romantic and secure ambience that attracts many people.
French country design is more of a style than a set of specifics. The rural homes of France that provide the basis for French country style are diverse in all but their charm. One common trait is the multi-paned windows extending to the floor, which are called French windows and that are used like doors, inside and out. The kitchen is enormous and comfortable, with exposed, sturdy beams and tiled floors. The living room is also large, often with a fireplace.
Mediterranean style favors stucco as it weathers well, especially in damp or sea-side areas), as well as bay windows or narrow, deep windows and doors flanked by slat-board shutters and painted vividly. Ceramic tile flooring, airy, large open living areas are also hallmarks of Mediterranean design.