15 Home Design Styles to Motivate a Makeover

Consider the column: seemingly straightforward, it's a form with endless permutations, from rough-hewn wood to polished marble to rutted concrete. Home design is like that. A signature style emerges from even the simplest of items. Here, a partial and impressionistic list of styles, with examples drawn from the archives of Mansion. Take the poll at the end to weigh in on your favorite one.

CLASSICISM. Every surface is an opportunity to channel your inner aristocrat: an upholstered fainting couch here, a carved ceiling coffer there. To achieve this look, you'll need Corinthian columns and multi-layered chandeliers, draperies that truly drape and moldings upon moldings. And don't forget the rotunda.

MINIMALIST. Simplify. Take the paintings off the walls, the hardware off the cabinets, the tchotchkes off the shelves. Invest in unfussy pieces in neutral colors. Not everyone will be a fan, but perhaps your psyche will benefit from a dose of minimalism.

COUNTRY. A four-poster bed lends a touch of luxury to a farmhouse without going overboard. Other elements include a rustic-looking hearth, a clawfoot tub in a warm brick color and wallpaper evoking a field of wildflowers. In the kitchen, try glass-fronted cabinets to show off a collection of patterned dishes.

ECLECTIC. For those who dare, go eclectic. Toss together mirrored panels, shag carpets and acid-trip colors. Combine a faux tiger-skin throw with a blue-velvet armchair. Use an ornately carved stone table in the master bath. Cover a wall in graffiti and stickers. The only rule? There are no rules.

MIDCENTURY MODERN. Considering its continued ubiquity, midcentury-modern style is one of the easiest to test out without a full-scale renovation. A casual wooden lounge chair or boxy sideboard will do the trick—no time travel needed.

EAST ASIAN. For faraway flair, incorporate the style of a hutong, the traditional courtyard home of Beijing. A pagoda roof and secluded garden are perfect, but smaller touches include a colorful lantern, intricate woodwork or patterns that evoke calligraphy.

RUSTIC. Borrow the style of a cozy cabin with wood from floor to ceiling to bedpost and chair leg. An old-fashioned stove adds country charm, as does a checked curtain or watering can of wildflowers.

MEDITERRANEAN. Bring in a whiff of the Mediterranean without crossing your front doorstep. Add in Spanish tiles or a heavy rug. Rough stucco walls imitate a seaside villa. And a hammock doesn't hurt.

INDUSTRIAL. Industrial style works even if you don't live in a downtown loft. Channel the factory floor at home with exposed brick, ductwork, concrete, garage doors used indoors and corrugated steel.

BOHEMIAN. Evoke a sophisticated version of bohemian style with mismatched chairs around the kitchen table, an abundance of cushions in contrasting patterns and books crammed onto shelf upon shelf. No need to hide your colorful scarves, chunky jewelry or well-worn pots and pans—these are yet more items to express your style.

TRADITIONAL. For something more traditional, think of book-lined libraries, staircases with balustrades and bedrooms with four-poster beds. Perfectly suitable outside New England and the Upper East Side.

GLOBAL. For the globe-trotting homeowner, only an abode filled with worldly influences will do. In one country house, it's a yoga teepee with a disco ball. In others, fresco work illuminates the ceilings.

SOUTHERN. Southern style is tricky to pin down, but perhaps it is most easily summed up in its mix of tradition and playfulness. It's a mantel set with both candelabras and a pitcher of purple ferns. It's the countrified pattern of a quilt on matching twin beds. It's an ornately framed mirror on a butter-cream-colored wall.

BEACH HOUSE. Beach style need not mean pictures of ships and whale figurines (though one or two won't hurt). Think crisp white linen for the furniture and bedding; wood paneling on the walls, wicker chairs and a muted color palette drawn from the insides of seashells.

CONTEMPORARY. Even an old home can accommodate a contemporary makeover. Clear out the clutter, add in a few low-to-the-ground furniture pieces and bring it home with something over the top: a cement block fireplace or an eye-catching artwork that spans a full wall.


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