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Define Your Design Style with Kelley Kolettis Designs

Transitional design is the happy middle ground between traditional and modern design. A neutral color palette is used to create harmony, while adding accent colors, like blue, orange, and green. Straight, angular lines from modern design are combined with the soft curves found in traditional to create a cozy contemporary space. Textures like sleek chrome, distressed wood, and leather, are combined to add elegance without sacrificing the homey feel in a space. There are so many options to create your own transitional style. It is a great way to mix your old and new items together in the same space.

Shabby Chic combines worn and antique design elements with classical elegance. Distressed furniture and materials are combined with bright metals, like silver and gold, to create the juxtaposition the style is known for. Pastel colors, similar to colors seen in French Rococo, are used with neutral colors. The design also pulls from nature, using flowing organic lines and plant motifs and patterns. For example, a leaf pattern carved on the legs of a table. Textures like wood and ruffled fabric create a cozy lived-in feel to the Shabby Chic design.

Shabby Chic exploded in popularity back in the 90s and became easily accessible with the Shabby Chic line at Target and similar retailers before the Farmhouse-style became popular. It has started trending again as a more neutral boho-look, while the new trend is less shabby and more chic. What do you think?

Modern Farmhouse is very similar to Traditional Farmhouse design, but has some key differences that separate the two: It is simple and minimalistic, the color pallet is almost exclusively neutral, with white being a prominent color. This can be seen in many Modern Farmhouse exteriors that have predominantly white siding with black paint and wood being used as accent materials. Wood is a major component, often adding the textures and color to the space. Old vintage items are still combined with new modern ones, but the emphasis is placed more on a modern, sleek design. Traditional Farmhouse leans more towards rural farmhouses, while the Modern Farmhouse design has an urban influence that is still trending today.

The modern industrial style started with old barns, warehouses, industrial buildings and churches being converted into living spaces. This design style can be identified by the stripped-back structures, weathered looking surfaces, raw elements, exposed bricks, etc. The furniture is built using distressed wood and metal such as iron or copper. Do you have a piece of modern industrial furniture? Share a pic

Bohemian (or boho) styles are usually identified by a lack of structure, opting instead for care-free layers of pattern, texture, and color. "Boho" mixes different cultures and artistic expressions into an eclectic style with an emphasis on organic elements. This style is easily recognized by being light and airy, with pops of color, and mixtures of materials.

The French Country look is soft, rustic, elegant and casual.There are a few distinct characteristics that make up this style: Softly patterned fabrics in muted colors, with off-whites, yellows, and blues. Distressed, painted, and vintage furnishings and accessories.


Some confuse French Country with Farmhouse. The difference is French Country style seems softer with more antique flair while farmhouse style is simpler and more casual. There are more curved lines in French Country style, while farmhouse style may have straighter, modern lines.

Coastal design is characterized by the reflection of natural seaside elements—surf, sand, and sky—in the home through color and texture. Coastal style features are usually defined by jute textures, earth tones, layered blues, crisp whites, stripes, and loose linen upholstery.


Not be confused with Nautical design (which is your typical navy blue and white with anchors and sea shells) Mediterranean design, or Tropical design. I know it's a lot to take in, but those are all very different design styles. Feel free to reach out if you're trying to decide which of these design styles you are aiming for.

As guessed, the Mediterranean style is inspired by countries, like Greece and Italy, that boarder the Mediterranean Sea. Neutral or earthy color schemes are common with blues being incorporated. Stone and tile are materials that are used to add texture, but also make the home more durable to the sea air. Exposed wood beams and arches are common architectural features with the style. The integration of the indoors and out is created through large verandas and open courtyards. Natural materials like wicker, linen, and iron continue this incorporation of nature and the sea with the interior space

Traditional farmhouse is characterized by a neutral color pallet, a lack of formality, and its minimalistic design. Old and new furnishings are often paired to create a cozy, lived-in feel to the space. The style is known for its use of natural wood grains and traditional fabrics, like linens.

Two main types of Farmhouse design styles are Modern and Traditional. Traditional draws more from the rustic and vintage setting of farmhouses in the past. Modern uses less colors, has smoother textures and implants worn, rustic items less often.

Mid-Century Modern, also called MCM, really gained traction after WWII. The design emphasizes the importance of function, with every item in the space having a purpose and use. Natural woods, especially teak, metals, and leather are materials that get the most focus. These materials, combined with organic and geometric patterns, are used in unexpected ways, often to increase functionality of the design. Bold colors are used as accents, like a vibrant blue wall or deep green side chair

Southwestern is characterized by its incorporation of natural dessert elements. This style also pulls from many cultures from the southwest area, including Spanish, Mexican, and Navajo. It has an earthy color palette, with shades of neutral browns, deep auburn reds, and cactus greens. Exposed beams and white stucco walls are common design features that draw from Spanish architecture. Hammered metal, ceramics, distressed wood, and hide are materials used in southwestern design. Geometric and linear patterns on rugs and fabrics, draw again from the historical patterns of cultures that inhabited the area. The multi-cultural influences and natural elements makes southwestern a unique and harmonious design style.

A style first introduced in Paris at an exposition, Art Deco is known for its luxurious design, often using high-end materials and finishes. Gold is the dominant metal used with other materials like chrome or steel, inspired by the "new" metal skyscrapers in the 1920s. Velvet and animal prints are both common materials used in Art Deco design that elevate the space and add texture. Eye-catching colors, like green and pink, are often bold and dramatic adding a unique flare to the space. For finishing touches, mirrored surfaces are a go-to for Art Deco, opening up the space and creating more light for that gold to glitter off of.

An Eclectic style is known for not adhering to any set rules. It combines other styles together and even different periods are mixed in the same space. Though the design lacks definition, there are some general themes. Having a creative color scheme that combines and explores an array of palettes. A collection of patterns are layered to complement each other, adding variety to the space while still keeping it cohesive. Furniture and texture are no exception to the mismatching of themes. Having fun and going outside of the box to create a space that is unique to you is what gives the Eclectic design its spunk.

Traditional design is fairly easy to spot. Influenced by the design elements from other time periods, Traditional design gathers inspiration from France and England during the 18th and 19th century. Colors are often rich and saturated with warmer tones layered over neutrals that allow the furniture and accessories to pop. For the overall layout of a space, symmetry is extremely important. Patterns are layered showing homage to the past using opulent ornamentation and ornate details.

Modern design became popular at the beginning of the 20th century. This style uses neutral colors and is usually monochromatic, except in rare instances with only two or three colors in a space. This style is defined by abundant natural light, open-concept floor plan, long and low furniture, clean lines, neutral colors, and a mixture of natural materials.

It is often confused with contemporary design, which is defined by "present-day trends". Contemporary design will look different generations from now while modern design is defined by the time period in which homes and fashion were made to look more industrial.

Contemporary Design is the "in" or current style that is presently popular. It usually has a muted color scheme that is accented by bright vivid colors. Pattern is used very sparingly and often used only for art work, rugs, or other small accent pieces. Trending colors are found to differentiate between eras for this style. Clean, bold lines are the hallmark of Contemporary helping to create rhythm and uniqueness to the room. While pattern is lacking, texture is used in abundance in its place. This differs to modern design were textures are more smooth and minimal.

British Colonial style is relaxed but polished and feels almost like a tropical island resort. It pairs dark-stained rattan, wood and bamboo furniture with pure white linens and plenty of indoor greenery to bring the outdoors in. Influenced by colonialism and the British taking over many territories around the globe, the inspiration of Asian, Caribbean, and African design could also be found in the use of eclectic fabrics, distinctive prints, and unique accessories collected from world travels

Asian Zen stems from Japanese Buddhism. The combination of harmony, simplicity, and tranquility define this style. Neutral and natural colors that are inspired by nature are preferred, like Pale blue for rivers or ashy grey from stones. Furniture and décor is used sparsely to create the minimalistic appeal. Having the furniture closer to the floor is also very common and allows for more space, opening up the room. Exuberant detailing and patterns are avoided in Zen Design, some soft minimal patterning can be used, but solid color is favored. Bamboo and other natural woods are used to add texture, along with fabrics like cream linens. Plants are a nice finishing touch and bring the calm greens from nature into the space.

Scandinavian design is defined by a minimal, simple approach that combines functionality with craftsmanship. Its focus is on simple lines and light spaces, devoid of clutter. Mainly favoring natural materials, especially pale woods like ash and beech, wool and linen textiles, leather, and glass.


Scandinavian design is very similar to Mid-Century Modern, but is brighter in color and allows for more light. MCM will have bolder and more colorful prints while Scandinavian focuses more on the texture and natural wood grain.

Hollywood Glam design is all about drama which blends practical with theatrical. It pulls its look from the golden age of film-making and the over-the-top set designs of the time. Being easily confused with art deco design, its bold jewel colors and luxurious overall look make this a very timeless design style. The metals most commonly seen in Hollywood Glam design are shiny gold or brass. Velvet, Greek key and animal patters are all welcome in this design style adding texture and balance to the design.

This covers most of the designated design style, but current trends tend to mix multiples together to accommodate everyone's ever-changing style personalities. Homes are updated and renovated at record rates, roommates and spouses are combining their homewares and furniture to create new mix-and-match designs that are changing the way interior designers are creating the final design so that everyone feels represented in the home.

If you have any questions about how to define your design style, or if you are wanting to revamp your space using a completely different style, then reach out to Kelley Kolettis Designs to get started on your next project.

Happy New Year, everyone!


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