What is Style

Every generation of interior designers introduces new trends, some of which become so popular they become a component of style. While taking the latest design trends into consideration can be instructive when remodeling or building new, do so with caution. Obsessing over the details of what the design industry has defined as a particular style (i.e. Asian, Contemporary, Coastal, Traditional, Transitional to name just several) may result in a pluperfect, textbook look, but it may also entirely miss the most important element of all: you!
“The style of a person’s living space is a deeply personal thing,” says KVS Interior Design President and Founder Kelli Sultan, ASID, NCIDQ. “Style is first and foremost about an individual’s lifestyle. It’s important to consider how they will be living in their home, what they like and dislike, what they enjoy doing and whether their home will be a quiet refuge or a place to entertain on a regular basis. A person’s lifestyle and personality become their interior design style. As a designer, I must understand my client’s life to create their style.”
“For me, appreciating a person’s lifestyle begins at our first meeting,” adds KVS Interior Design’s Pamela Novakovich, Licensed and Allied Member, ASID. “I notice how they stylize themselves – the style, colors, and textures of the clothing they’re wearing and how their wardrobe reflects their connection with the past or what’s going on in the world today. Interestingly enough, the textures and color palette of their clothing at that first meeting invariably end up being incorporated in their interior design,” observes Novakovich.
Establishing a style that truly reflects who you are can happen in a number of ways. For instance, if you want a contemporary interior, it may be the details are contemporary and there’s still room to use more eclectic pieces of furniture, such as treasured pieces from Asia, a piece that’s been handed down from your grandmother, or a piece from a different period that’s been re-painted or reupholstered. The contemporary background is established in the architecture and the interior detail. It’s a matter of integrating a style with personal collections and pieces that are important to you.
“Another source of inspiration for defining an individual’s personal style is their most memorable life experiences,” says Sultan. “Maybe they’ve traveled to a Caribbean island and been captivated by white drapes drifting in the breeze, white outdoor fabrics, teak furniture, gorgeous stone materials, brilliant sunshine and azure toned water. That can be re-created with a pool area that has white canvas chaise lounges, white umbrellas, draperies blowing in the breeze, bright colors with island artwork, driftwood floors and perhaps the design is executed in an Old Florida style home built in the 1930’s. Now it’s their paradise getaway. They’ve recreated an experience that was near and dear and removed from day-to-day life.”
“I had a client who traveled to Italy and fell in love with the country,” said Novakovich. “They wanted to eventually have a home there. For their Naples home, they envisioned a genuine Tuscan style. That style was about their dreams and aspirations. I believe when a design is executed, the finished space shouldn’t look ‘new.’ It should look like it’s evolved over time. When someone goes into a furniture store and says, ‘I’ll take that whole group,’ they’re not creating a style. Style is about visualizing and executing a design that takes older, treasured, or personal elements and incorporates them with today’s world. Style ultimately reflects how a person wants to live now and what they envision for themselves over the next 5 to 10 years. Where do they want to be and with what do they want to surround themselves?”
So pour through the style guides and magazines as you prepare for your design project. As you do, keep visualizing style in your own uniquely personal way. When all is said and done, who you are and what you value is the most accurate definition of style!