Style Glossary

Carolean

CaroleanCarolean style, otherwise referred to as restoration style, is similar to Baroque-influenced houses. Brass is the hardware of choice for cabinet pulls, faucets and door knobs. Furniture is delicately carved and features elegant woodwork inspired by floral and fruit motifs as well as baluster-style legs. Walnut is the type of wood most commonly used to construct chairs, tables, cabinets and so forth. A decorative covering of fine wood known as veneer is applied to furniture to add character. Carolean lighting boasts a mix of modern and Old World characteristics thanks to simple silhouettes and detailed finishes. Table lamps feature shades made of silk or velvet, and they’re adorned with tapestries and fringe.

Image of Carolean dining chairs from Copper Creek Canyon Interior Outfitters

Chinese

ChineseChinese style borrows motifs from Asian home design, such as a focus on nature and simplicity. Interiors are filled with bright splashes of gold, red, brown and black. Feng shui is important, as the arrangement of furniture and decor is said to offer positive energy to the household. Cabinets, armoires and chairs have detailed engravings and paintings of dragons, mountains, clouds, birds and flowers. Furniture also comes with a thick lacquer finish for a glossy appearance. Paper lanterns are hung from the ceiling to contribute color, texture and, of course, light to the home. Ornate pendants and chandeliers can also be found in Chinese interiors.

Image of Chinese console table from Interieurs

Chippendale

ChippendaleThe Chippendale interior design style emerged in 1754 when Thomas Chippendale published the furniture catalog “The Gentleman and Cabinet Maker’s Director.” Chippendale furniture features influences from Gothic, Rococo and Chinese styles. The back legs of furniture flow upward to form intricately detailed backrests of chairs. Other characteristics of Chippendale furniture include tapered legs, club feet and lacy patterns. Furnishings are typically made of mahogany, a material which is easily carved and stands up to everyday wear and tear. Stools and chairs are upholstered with fine fabrics like velvet or silk. Chippendale style interiors are filled with neutral tones like browns, creamy whites and grays. Metallics such as gold, silver and bronze are also used throughout the home. Chandeliers are a common light fixture used to create a sense of sophistication.

Image of Chippendale chair from Kathryn Ivey Interiors

Coastal

CoastalCoastal style gives off a relaxed, subdued and carefree vibe. Beach-inspired elements such as sand dollars, sea glass and driftwood are used as decor throughout the home. A crisp white color palette is common in coastal style, with occasional splashes of blues, greens, aquas and corals. Light is a central element in coastal interior design, therefore, homes feature plenty of glass doors, skylights and windows. Coastal furniture typically comes with a lived-in, by-the-sea feel, so you’ll often see painted wood chairs and tables with a distressed finish or a natural woven wicker chair. Light fixtures also use natural elements to keep up the beachy ambiance. Chandeliers made up of cascading petals of sea glass or hanging wooden pendants that feature a worn away finish are both appropriate for a coastal home.

Image of Coastal living room from Group 3

Commonwealth

CommonwealthCommonwealth or Cromwellian home design focuses on the basics – furniture comes with severe, straight lines with no intricate carvings or embellishments. Commonwealth shares similar characteristics to Bauhaus style in that it concentrates on function rather than style and decor. Instead of velvet or silk upholstery, leather is used for its sleek and simple feel. The backs of seating were never stuffed, as this was considered far too luxurious. Rather, open slat chair backs were used for their understated look. Light fixtures also feature very basic shapes with little detailing, like smooth geometrically shaped hanging pendants or simple track lighting that blends in with the walls.

Image of Cromwell chairs from interior designer S.R. Gambrel by photographer Eric Piasecki