"A home's architecture and interior design scheme should dance to the same rhythm."
Creating a connection between your home’s architecture and interior design scheme is the best way to achieve a successful aesthetic. This holistic approach to home design takes into account the style of your home’s architecture and then proceeds to reflect that style in the way you plan and coordinate your interior elements.
Imagine visiting a friend’s industrial, urban loft for the very first time. You probably would not expect to walk into a space decorated like a country cottage. It would be a bit disconcerting. A more modern or contemporary approach would be in order, right?
Relating your interior to your home’s architecture is not about being completely predictable. It’s about honoring the architecture the surrounds a space and making the two parts - interior and exterior - work together synergistically.
So what is the direction you should take for you home’s interior? Let’s take a quick look at several architectural styles to get you thinking about how you might approach it.
Colonial architecture is a very broad category and includes many subtypes such as Georgian, French and Spanish Colonial. Each has its own defining characteristics.
When thinking of colonial style most people might imagine the Georgian variety. These homes are usually formal, multi-story structures with very classic details and a symmetrically balanced appearance. The entry area is almost always dead center in the front and flanked by a large number of multi-pained windows. It looks like each half of the façade is a mirror image of the other.
To relate your colonial architecture and interior design approach consider a traditional or classical design aesthetic. Early American furniture and crown molding are logical choices to reinforce this architectural style. To give your colonial interior a fresh, up-to-date look try a light and airy color palette with a emphasis on transitional furnishings - classic shapes interpreted in a more contemporary way.
Mid-Century Modern architecture became prominent in the United States and elsewhere in the 1950’s and 1960’s. This style of house is typically a one-story dwelling with a sprawling, asymmetrical layout and a low-slung roof line. It often features large areas of glass, too. This style of architecture is anything but traditional.
Naturally, the interior of a Mid-Century Modern home is the perfect environment to take a modern design approach. Avoid frills and keep things subdued. Think furnishings with streamlined features. This is great opportunity to practice minimalism.
Consider a neutral color scheme with the occasional pop of color for a modern effect. Wood, stone and glass surfaces blend beautifully in the Mid-Century Modern home.
A Cape Cod style house can be quickly recognized by its sharply pitched roof line and sequence of jutting dormers along the front-facing side of the roof. A Cape Cod is usually a wood-frame house with siding on the exterior and shutters next to the windows. In actuality, the Cape Cod is a type of colonial architecture that was a fixture in 17th century New England where it got its name.
Inside, incorporate bead board wainscoting and traditional or transitional details to help link your home's architecture and interior design. Cape Cod architecture also lends itself well to a casual, country approach in decorating. A stone clad fireplace, wood floors and simple moldings all look great within this environment.
Like other styles, Victorian architecture has many variations and sub-types. Let’s focus on the North American variety prominent in the last half of the 19th century. These multi-story homes usually feature many gables and sometimes turrets. The focus on decorative detail around the roof line and other areas is unmistakable.
Victorian architecture is very ornamental and is well suited to very traditional furnishing such as Queen Anne style furniture, fringed lamps and floral fabrics. However, if you prefer things to look a bit more up-to-date when linking your architecture and interior design, consider streamlined alternatives to the traditional Victorian shapes and apply pattern with a lighter hand. Embrace the frills but in a subtler more restrained way.
The Craftsman Bungalow owes its heritage to the Arts and Crafts movement of the early 20th century. Characterized by a low profile (usually only one or one-and-a-half stories tall) and prominent eaves, the Craftsman’s defining characteristics are perhaps the tapered, square columns set upon brick or stone pedestals along the front porch entry.
Inside, Mission Style furnishings and mica-shaded lighting are great choices for complementing the Arts and Crafts heritage that a Craftsman Bungalow exudes. If you want to take a less literal approach when blending your home's architecture and interior design style consider transitional furnishings – traditional forms defined in a more streamlined way.
You might also take a refined, rustic approach to your interior. The architecture of the Craftsman Bungalow is very conducive to casual living. Wood and stone elements are integral elements to this style.