My own decorating style is a blended decorating style. It’s a mixture of several styles. I pick and choose from each and carefully balance them to produce rooms with a casual, comfortable elegance. These are my five favorite decorating styles and some of what I like about each of them. As a bonus – I tell you my own style at the end!
Barn and farmhouse style go so well together. The farmhouse is a blend of the old and new. The style usually includes a neutral but bright color palette. Think white, light tan, grey–with the occasional pop of color for accent items. It features natural wood or wood that has a “naked” look. You can also find this style of wood with a dry brush finish so that some of the wood still shows beneath. Farmhouse homes also usually include metal in the decor such as baskets, lamps, artwork, or trays. Sliding barn style doors often really step up the farmhouse charm and are a unique feature.
For smaller finishing touches, I love finding antique (or antique-looking!) items like buckets or containers with words pressed on them. Light colored greenery and floral arrangements featuring cotton with a burlap bow or wrap make great decorative additions. And no farmhouse styled Barndo is complete without a beautiful wood or metal sign.
When I think French Country style, I think of a farmhouse style but with more antique pieces and elegant flourishes. French Country has more sloping, curving shapes in the furniture. Restored pieces like wardrobes add charm and character to a room. A chandelier made to mimic all the elegance and drama of France makes a beautiful addition to any French Country home. Other classic French Country touches are a statement vent hood over the stove or glass-front cabinetry.
For more decorative options, consider incorporating brushed metals like brass for your faucets, doorknobs, or cabinet handles. Placing a mirror with an ornate frame in an otherwise simply decorated space adds a touch of elegance and immediately elevates the room. Carefully selected and unobtrusive wallpaper can also give a subtle touch of French glamor. I personally love the soft creams, natural elements, exposed wood beams, old books, and candles that are characteristic of this style. Don’t forget the candles… lots and lots of candles.
Now, I know when we talk about Barndos, we generally are thinking anything but “traditional,” but the traditional style can be unbelievably beautiful in a Barndo, especially in a pole barn. Traditional homes often have a light neutral color palette and the splash of coordinating color (usually blue) throughout the room. White window trim can make a room feel bigger and more airy.
This style features furniture with simple, understated curves. Well-chosen patterned accent chairs add life to an otherwise calm and neutral room. Blue and white throw pillows provide a classic, timeless look. Coordinate these with a traditional ottoman and white ceramic garden stools as a substitute for end tables. Traditional homes look great with colored cabinetry. Imagine a dark blue island with gold handles, faucets, and accents throughout an otherwise neutral kitchen. Well-coordinated Roman shades enhance the look.
Credit: House Beautiful & Francesco Lagnese
Industrial home decor is all about practicality. I think of it as a step above minimalism. You won’t find dramatic decorative flourishes like in the French Country style. Instead think metal, exposed brick, and other materials that give a partially finished look. Industrial Barndos have neutral, often muted tones with black or other dark colors for contrast. Shower doors with black steel windowpane-like frames give a beautiful, clean look with a clear industrial bent. Imagine, walnut stained cabinetry with a charcoal gray, soapstone countertop, and finish it off with a crystal chandelier or pendant light with some bling – and… you have WOW!
Coffee tables with simple legs and an understated surface go well in industrial style Barndos. Worn leather can also elevate an industrial home without detracting from its practicality. Finally, you can add restored pieces of machinery to serve as great artwork in this interior design style.
Homes that are rustic feature a lot of wood and natural materials that might usually be seen on the exterior of homes. In many cases, the overhead beams, ceilings, or window trimmings are wrapped in wood to really drive home the rustic feeling. Massive stone fireplaces are a wonderful anchoring point for a rustic living room. Even having a stone accent hall can give a unique feature to a rugged home.
Rustic homes tend to have warmer, darker color palettes, which can manifest in many ways but often include leather furniture. One of my favorite ways to do this is with a tufted leather sofa or a large deep accent chair with studded embellishments. Wooden furniture and decorations with live edges or natural finishes give an organic feel to the space. Greenery adds life to a rustic room without undermining the rugged, masculine feel. Most things in a rugged home shouldn’t feel too precise and mechanical. Factory-made precision can actually detract from a rustic style if it is not incorporated well.
No one style quite fits me, so I mix my favorites into a style that is uniquely my own (well it was until my daughters and I realized we all shared similar decor tastes… and my husband likes what I like!). I call my approach “BarnHouse” style; I am heavily inspired by French Country tastes but like to blend that with intentionally industrial accents, farmhouse flourishes, and the occasional rustic or traditional elements.
Our black steel windows have a clean, industrial look with reduced, divided light panes. We have an elegant, glassed-in antique cabinet for a French look in the kitchen coupled with a large cast stone fireplace surround, in the French style. The wood walls in the great room provide a rustic sophistication. We have classic blue and white pottery that, when used, ties in the traditional vibe. And the large farmhouse crocs, combined with my floral arrangements wrapped in burlap or a checkered bow, give a farmhouse ambiance.
The point I want to make, is that you shouldn’t feel completely constrained to one style or another. Of course, when you start mixing styles, you can run the risk of developing a discombobulated aesthetic, but you also can make something completely unique and perfect for you. If you are worried about maintaining a cohesive look throughout your home, I recommend consulting a designer or interior decorator. I would love to help you create the perfect blend of styles in your home.