There’s a difference between the designed environment and the decorated home. It’s the same difference you get between the person who dresses with a specific style, and the person who avidly follows fashion.
It’s a tough trick to pull off in either case. Ultimately, designing interiors requires a coherent, strong personality to pull all the elements together: just as wearing your own individual style requires that you have the persona to fill the clothes. Otherwise, as noted, you’re just aping fashion magazines and adverts.
In both cases, there’s an illusion at play – or at least there is when professional design steps in to help out. A “true” style or a “real” home are brought about through years of refinement. A person arrives at his or her individual look over summers and winters, springs and autumns, of developing new associations and obsessions, of rounding his or her character to fill his or her world.
This happens in the home, too. The designed interior ultimately aims to replicate the look of a place that has been developed through years of experience: of travel, of rest, of love and of inspirations. Without those cues, without that weight of time to carry the sediment of objects and decorative items to their rightful places on walls, on chairs and in nooks, the interior designer has to take a reading of his or her client’s personality and try to build him or her the home that he or she would want to have developed in 10 years’ time.
Designer interiors, then, are almost projections of homes yet to be: an attempt to gather all that personality together in ways that make the project unique to the client. They do follow trends, of course: but then so do people whose style is more style than fashion. The trick is to cherry pick from the trends that most represent the personality and wishes of the client.
Current design trends for interiors are widely varied. Retro cool is definitely in: 50s look furniture and appliances both have their place in the designed home. The “treasure trove” look is also a big draw: a Victorian collector’s style, full of wooden furniture and knick knacks.
The former gives a pleasingly nostalgic feel to a home. The latter represents a direct attempt to create an air of cosiness, also informed by the fascination we have with our past; with an age where we feel things were easier and potentially of more quality. Certainly, the homeowner who is drawn to the Victorian look is responding to the idea that comfort and style are, and were, of higher quality when things were built to last.
In a way, the designed home is very much like a suit of clothes. The homeowner can adopt an off the peg look and be very stylish, even satisfied. But to really find his or her home style, he or she needs to consider something different – something more tailored and personal. It is the job of the interior designer to find that and bring it to life.
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