Home Design Style 101

Posted by Christina Temple on Mon, Oct 14, 2019

You may or may not already have an idea of what your home design style is. Knowing what style your home is and what style you prefer is an asset when it comes to working with a designer for a remodel. Taking a little time to narrow your style preferences down can greatly help streamline what products, materials and other options make sense for your project. If you can go into your remodel with some confidence about the styles you like and want, it will vastly improve how quickly your designer can help find the products and layouts that work for you.

Traditional kitchen in Mason.

There are three primary design styles that are helpful to understand. You may fit neatly into one, or you may like aspects of each. These terms are convenient shorthand that can help convey preferences to your designer or assist you with finding appropriate inspiration. In the end though, keeping in mind your personal character, the style choices that make you and your family unique, and the preferences you have for how your home feels, are the things that will make your home truly yours.

Traditional kitchen in Williamsburg.

Traditional Design

Traditional design uses intricate details, soft textures and warm materials. It is inspired by historical style movements including classic European or “old-world”, colonial, Victorian, and early 19th Century architecture and interiors. Highly decorative, with an emphasis on deep tones and luxurious details, traditional design generally conveys a feeling of grandeur, age, and refinement.

In kitchen design, traditional style will often be conveyed with raised panel cabinet doors, hardware with intricate details, crown molding added to the tops of cabinets, and custom range hood designs.

Contemporary Kitchen in Over-the-Rhine.

Contemporary Design

Contemporary design features have minimal details, an emphasis on materials, and clean, angular lines. It began to rise as a style following World War II, and came into popular use in the 1970’s. It is also sometimes referred to as "modern" design. Contemporary spaces are generally uncluttered and open, will have some unexpected features, and will have a curated mix of materials, textures, and colors to create interest.

Contemporary kitchens will often have slab-style (or flat) doors, simple or minimal hardware, bold color pairs, and unexpected textured or patterned elements.

Transitional kitchen in Deer Park.

Transitional Design

Generally speaking, transitional design falls in the spectrum between traditional and contemporary. It’s hard to say exactly what elements can be found in transitional spaces because one's interpretation may lean more traditional, while another may have more contemporary overtones. In most cases, a transitional space will favor the clean lines and unexpected choices of contemporary design equally as much as it showcases the well-considered details and refined notes of traditional design.

Transitional kitchen designs might utilize recessed panel cabinet doors, a tile backsplash, interesting but minimal hardware styles, and decorative lighting with a modern look.

Traditional farmhouse style kitchen in Middletown.

Other Design Styles

There are other styles as well that can fall inside or in between these three primary styles. Of these more specific style genres we see Craftsman, Farmhouse  and Asian-inspired designs the most often in the Greater Cincinnati area  We are also seeing a rise in Scandinavian-inspired design which is a minimalist take on traditional Western European design. All of these styles can be considered themes or overtones that are layered over the basic principles of any of the three main styles. It all comes down to the shapes, colors, and textures you gravitate toward most often.

Scandinavian-inspired transitional kitchen in Indian Hill.

Mood Board

If you aren’t sure which of these descriptors fit your style, try creating what’s known as a mood board. This is a collage-type board (Pinterest or Houzz are great for this) where you can put together the ideas you like the most, along with other inspiring images that aren’t specifically home-related, to help your designer get a sense for what you’re interested in and what appeals to you.

Neal's also offers a "Design Style Inspiration" slideshow in our 1000 Design Ideas Gallery that shows some of the different types of styles out there to get your ideas flowing.

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