Your Guide to Understanding Home Design Terms
Home Design Terms 101

Whether you are a first-time homeowner, new to remodeling or plan to hire an interior designer, having a general understanding of home design terms can help you to save money throughout the process of decorating your home, while also helping you to remodel your space in less time. Additionally, an understanding of home design terms can help you to find a move-in ready home that meets all your expectations and more. For instance, several popular home design terms include “contemporary,” “mid-century modern” or “bohemian.”

While contemporary homes often feature present-day styles and décor, mid-century modern styles often reflect homes from the 1940s. Moreover, bohemian styles often feature an assortment of patterns, colors and furniture types. By learning these important home design terms, you will be able to decorate your home in a way that best reflects your style, personality and budget.

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What are the most popular design styles?

Today, most homes are decorated in a way that best fits the style and personality of the homeowner, whether his or her preferred vibe is artistic, contemporary or mid-century modern. For instance, popular design styles include:

  • Contemporary – Contemporary homes feature a range of present-day design styles taken from the late 20th Homes with contemporary styles often feature bold colors and soft edges, while also focusing on organization and minimalism.
  • Mid-century modern – Mid-century modern homes resemble styles from the 1940s, featuring modern materials such as plastic or aluminum and clean lines. However, mid-century modern designs are not the same as modern styles.
  • Modern – Similar to contemporary and mid-century modern, modern homes feature styles from the 1950s. Focusing on clean lines, minimalism and neutral colors, modern homes are sleek, feature monochrome palettes and minimalist floor plans.
  • Artistic – Artistic homes feature little structure and incorporate unique or unexpected designs.
  • Layered – Rooms with layered styles incorporate multiple levels of elements to build interest in a room.
  • Bohemian – Bohemian styles feature an assortment of patterns or colors and different types of mismatched furniture pieces.
  • Contrasting – Homes with contrasting styles utilize various textures, tones and surfaces to distinguish a space and make it stand out.

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What are different types of color schemes in a home?

Interior designers use the color wheel to create appropriate color schemes for the interior and exterior of a home. Popular color schemes range from complementary to analogous to monochromatic. For instance, commonly-used color schemes include:

  • Complementary – This type of color scheme helps to brighten and intensify a living space, as high contrasting colors are used to create a vibrant look and feel. For instance, this color scheme uses a combination of contrasting hues such as reds and greens, blues and oranges or purples and yellows.
  • Analogous – This type of color schemes features a combination of colors that sit next to one another on the color wheel. This color scheme creates a lively or soothing vibe, depending on whether lighter or brighter colors are used.
  • Monochromatic – A monochromatic color scheme is ideal for the color shy, as this trend uses subtle variations of a single color or tint to create a smooth, comfortable and elegant look.

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Which types of design features can I choose from?

When designing your home, you may choose from a variety of accessories, furniture pieces and lighting fixtures to create your preferred look, style and feel. For instance, several of the popular design features you may choose to incorporate include the following:

  • Accessories – Popular types of accessories often include house plants, sculptures, vases, books and lamps.
  • Cabinetry – Cabinetry provides you with usable storage space and countertop support while also helping you to create a desired look and feel in your home.
  • Case-goods – Case goods are furniture pieces such as dressers, cabinets, tables, chests and bookshelves that are often constructed from hard materials such as plastic, wood, glass or metal.
  • Ottomans – These upholstered stools are generally placed at the foot of a chair to be used for additional seating, storage or a footstool.
  • Credenza – A credenza is a large type of flat-top cabinet that sits lower to the ground and can be used to serve food and beverages or to store dishes.
  • Lazy Susans – These corner cabinets are commonly-used in kitchens, as they feature circular, rotating shelves that can be used to store condiments, spices and other pantry staples.
  • Chaise lounges – A chaise lounge is a long, upholstered couch that resembles a chair but can be used to support the legs of the user.
  • Crown molding – As a popular type of ceiling molding, crown molding is constructed from plaster, wood or composite materials and is available in a variety of styles such as Classic Colonial and Greek Revival.
  • Console tables – A console table is generally placed behind a sofa or in a foyer and is used to display accessories such as lamps, floral pieces and other types of decorative objects.
  • Buffets and sideboards – A buffet is a long piece of furniture that often sits in a dining room and is used to serve food or hold dishes, while a sideboard is similar but generally sits in a living room.

What are the popular types of lighting fixtures?

A variety of lighting fixtures are available to you, depending on your preferred style and the type of ambience you wish to create in a room. For instance, popular types of lighting fixtures include chandeliers, wall sconces, floor or table lamps, ceiling-mounted lights and tracks. For instance:

  • Chandeliers hang from the ceiling and are often used to decorate a room while also directing light upward.
  • Wall sconces are mounted to walls and are often used to add style to a room while also directing light downwards or upwards.
  • Floor or table lamps generally direct light downward and are available in a variety of shapes, sizes, colors and styles.
  • Ceiling lights are common types of lighting fixtures, as they mount to ceilings and can be used as ample lighting in rooms of different sizes.
  • Track lights are ceiling-mounted lights that are positioned along a track to provide lighting for the purpose of accent or task.
  • Pendants are generally used above a kitchen island or table, as they direct their light downward and can be used to lighten a room for task or ambience.

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