The Sweet Spot Method to Balancing The Style Of Home You’re In And Your Favourite Interior Style In Less Than 30 Minutes

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Is your houses architectural style different to your interior style?

Recently I’ve had two clients with same theme different problem so I thought I’d post some tips here for you.

One is Gordon, he has great taste and style but the house he is in (currently renting) is nice but doesn’t necessarily fit his taste. He’s not staying there longer than a year, but he does want a properly decorated home. I’ll show you how I tackled that in a minute.

The second is Niki, she and her husband are renovating a house that isn’t exactly their style of architectural preference. It’s an older house and while they do love traditional styles, they’re not the same as the house, and they both clearly prefer modern architecture.

So how do you marry an opposing architectural style to your interior taste?

Should you stick with your houses architectural style as your interior style? 

Or ignore your houses architectural style all together?

These are questions that often come up, especially if you’re considering renovating the kitchens and bathrooms. Since they are much more permanent to the house.

Here’s what I think.

Unless you love the same interior style as your architecture, or are going to do a complete overhaul of inside and out to bring the house structure closer to your style, then you really have to blend the two. Otherwise it creates an odd disconnect like the interior is ignoring the space that houses it…. and we all know how awkward it is when you’ve got two friends ignoring one another.

So how do you find that sweet spot between your architecture and preferred interior style? Check out the formula below.

 

The Sweet Spot Formula

STEP 1:  Two things you MUST know for the stunning mixing of styles

Ever played pin the tail on the donkey? Well that’s what designing is like without the following questions clearly answered. Thats why as much as most of us like to skippedy skip over the foundational work, theses two are a MUST. They are:

  • Do you know what an incredibly beautiful version of your houses style actually should look like? If not now is the time to find out and let it give you some inspiration.
  • Do you know what style you like? If not get pinning anything you like without thinking about your house and see what that looks like too.

When you are armed with knowledge of both your style and the best looking versions of your houses style you can start making informed choices about what you like and dislike.

Without it you might as well just be throwing any old thing out there and doing the hoping and praying method for ensuring it will all turn out.

It only takes five minutes of furious pinning on each question to get a fair idea of of each answer. If you haven’t been able to answer the above, do it now.

 

STEP 2: The no fail method to getting the base of your room right

Now, we tackle the base layer of your interior. The skirting, moulding, trim, cornices, or whatever else your country calls it.

For this I recommend you keep the architectural details true to the era and style of the house you have…. Mostly.

That means you keep the skirting moulding, windows and possibly doors all true to what the house is.

I say mostly, because if the style that fits your house is currently underwhelming you can dramatise it a little by making the trim details more decorative. It’s even ok to borrow from slightly different eras to build a more dramatic look. The key is to keep it still relevant to the architecture of the house.

How do you do that?

Well if the detailing of the house is Victorian and ornate then you go more ornate with the trim. Like so.

 

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If the house is more of a bungalow which is cleaner and simpler, then go for trim that is more linear and geometric in detail.

 

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If the house is more modern, skip the trim on the ceiling all together and go clean lined on the bottom trim.

 

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Niki’s house (similar to below yet cleaner lined) is in the geometric group and I’m currently proposing that they go a little more dramatic with their moulding than the house style requires (which is quite simple) so that we can up the feeling of luxury in their space and get closer to the traditional style they like as a base, but is still relatable with the houses architecture like below.

 

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For Gordon there is no point even touching the architecture. The most I recommend for a rental is if you will be there longer term then paint or wallpaper, and update lighting and possibly faucets or hardware to bring into the space your style. But mostly focus on great furniture, rugs, lighting, and art that you can use again.

So, now take 5 minutes to search Pinterest or Google for your style of house and moulding by typing “victorian house and moulding” or “farmhouse and moulding” for example (but with your style) and pin anything that you really like.

Do it now. I’ll wait.

Great, now, lets tackle the other fixed elements. Kitchens and bathrooms.

 

STEP 3: Getting Kitchens & Bathrooms Right for you and your house

Now, this is where the blending really starts. Because who wants an original to the house (complete with years of grubby use) kitchen or bathroom?

Even traditional feeling kitchens and bathrooms are the updated versions of themselves.

So, kitchens, bathrooms, fireplaces, doors, and floors. These are the places you can blend in the interior style that you most love.

If it’s modern or a more simplistic style you like then you can boldly place a modern kitchen or  bathroom in the space as a contrast like the below examples without it feeling unusual because you have kept the traditional architecture.

 

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Or if your style is closer to that of the house then you could use a modern version of a more traditional kitchen or bathroom like below which fits with the architecture.

To later bring in even more of your own style with key pieces like the pendant light.

 

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Playing with doors to bring in your style is also a way to blend your style and the architecture together. Like adding traditional detailing to a modern pocket door and architecture like below.

 

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Or modern doors to traditional architecture like below.

 

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Okay so now’s the moment to assess if your style is closer to your architecture and if you’ll stay true to that style in the kitchens and bathrooms or if your style is opposite and you’ll create a contrast with your style in the kitchens and bathrooms.

A great way to decide this is with some inspiration. Take another 5 mins on Pinterest and do a search like “modern farmhouse kitchen” or “modern bathroom in victorian interior” and pin some ideas you like.

Again, hop skip and a click over there and spend 5 minutes getting your ideas together before step four where we talk about continuing this blending of styles with the furniture and accessories.

 

STEP 4: The rule of twos

With the fixed elements in place, accessories like lighting, wall decoration, furniture, and decorative details follow the rule of twos.

The rule of twos is that you have at least two different items of any style that you like dispersed within the space.

Dispersed being that if the architectural mouldings is one, then you might want to introduce an ornate candelabra onto a console or an ornate chair into the centre of the room.

 

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Above they do this with the mirror and also the chair yet they blend the chair in a modern way with the fabric choice.

 

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In this room they bring the vintage bench into the space to throw off and blend the rest which is mostly modern.

This is also the moment if you have added a modern styled kitchen to a historic home to add modern furniture into your historical space like above (which blends old and new beautifully) or below where they take a more modern stance with the furniture because the architecture has such a strong historical reference.

 

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Notice how the modern elements are added across all levels and heights in the image above. The modern curtain, the wall sconces, the pendant light, the rug, and then table and chairs. This kind of blending is important

Alright, your turn. In this last 5 minutes you’ll get some ideas for how to blend your space. Click on over to Pinterest or Google and type:

your style + your houses style + the word interior

Like “country bungalow interior” or “modern farmhouse interior” and again pin anything that you like that comes up.

 

If you’ve done it, congratulations! Having done these four steps roughly with the 5 minute rapid pinning sessions should have focused you on finding your interior style sweet spot.

Of course more time is needed to really flesh it out in exact details but this should have already clarified a lot for you.

So lets recap what we’ve covered.

  • Step 1: You worked out what high quality versions of your house style and personal interior style looks like so you could make informed design decisions in the later stages
  • Step 2: You worked out the best looking moulding that suited the architecture of your home to set a high quality foundation for your space
  • Step 3: You decided for kitchens, bathrooms, and possibly doors whether you would be true to the architecture or inject here your own interior style into this space instead as well as found high quality examples of this done well.
  • Step 4: You found stunning examples of homes that had mixed your houses style and your personal interior style together well as a jumping board for your own ideas.

Now, I’d love to hear from you. Did you like this exercise? What is your personal style and home style mix? Pop me a message by email or below. I respond to every email and comment. Except if you’re that aussie guy trying to get me to pay you to sell my painting. Dodgy!

 

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