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By Mariya Greeley
| June 24, 2019
The culprit behind bland or chaotic home design is often not poor taste, but a lack of understanding of what elements work together to create a cohesive style. Before you embark on your next redesign or renovation, define the look you want so you can keep your many creative choices headed in the same direction.
“The decisions people make in our store can feel kind of overwhelming because of the breadth of our selection,” says Mark Upchurch, the chief executive merchant of Floor & Decor’s new 84,000-square-foot store in Saugus, MA. In order to help clients navigate the store’s collection of hundreds of in-stock tile, stone, wood, laminate, and vinyl options, Floor & Decor offers free consultations with experienced designers.
“I always recommend clients do a little bit of research to have an idea what they’re looking for,” says Sofia Griffin, the design supervisor at the store. “Then we can help them bring their dream projects to life.”
So how should you classify your style when working with a designer or simply searching for inspiration on Pinterest? To determine which designs call to you, and how you can incorporate them into your home, read on for advice from New England designers.
“I would say a classic home is timeless, elegant, and symmetrical,” Griffin says. Inspiration photos featuring marble and granite, European influences, and traditional patterns like herringbone are “giveaways” that this style is the right fit, she says.
Opt for wood-paneled walls or ornate moldings to give your home a classic feel. Built-in cabinetry, coffered ceilings, marble countertops, antiques, and furniture with rich textiles, like velvet or tweed, are other style signatures to consider.
Cherry or mahogany flooring will go a long way in adding an air of warm sophistication. You can achieve this look with solid hardwood, or water-resistant tile or vinyl made to look and feel like wood, Griffin notes. “Those are perfect for the people who have pets, kids, or invite a lot of people over because you don’t have to worry about cleaning up right away.”
Classic interiors have a more formal feel, but are getting “less and less formal every day,” says Mary Maloney of Bee’s Knees Interior Designs in Hopkinton, MA. For example, clean, crisp window trims are now in vogue in place of the elaborate, heavily carved trims of the past.
Ever-evolving with trends, this style can be especially hard to pin down and define for industry outsiders. “I would say it’s more neutral, but with pops of color through accents, minimalist, soft, with round lines,” Griffin says. If this sounds like your dream space, you may just be a contemporary.
Flooring for this Scandinavian look tends go neutral too, though whether on the light or dark end of the spectrum is up to personal taste. Wide-format hardwood or tiles work well in this style, Griffin says, and provide the illusion of larger rooms.
“Contemporary is a good fit for people who find it fun to update the look of their home consistently,” Giffin says. “You will always have to change a couple of things here and there to keep up with the times.”
Just make sure to incorporate some personal touches, too. “This style can sometimes feel a bit cold when not done right,” notes Erin Gates, author of “Elements of Style: Designing a Home & a Life” and principal designer at Newton-based Erin Gates Design.
How do you feel about exposed brick, pipes, and wiring? “If all of that floats their boat,” Maloney says, “it’s a pretty good indicator they’re someone who’s going to be really happy with an industrial design.”
A love for very open-concept spaces is another tell, Griffin says, as is a preference for matte finishes. Raw, unfinished factory features mix well with a heavy dose of steel and iron metalwork and lights.
“The flooring will be more of a wide-plank wood or concrete look,” Griffin says. “Walls also often include concrete, brick, or subway tile backsplashes.”
If you don’t live in a restored mill or factory with these features, it can be tough to make a recreated version feel authentic, but can you still take inspiration from the look. “Focus on tough, rustic materials like leather and texture weaves,” Gates suggests.
Chip and Joanna Gains, hosts of HGTV’s Fixer Upper and owners of Magnolia Homes in Waco, Texas, are synonymous with the rise of farmhouse style. Today, six years after Fixer Upper first aired, you can find this cozy style everywhere from the country to city centers.
“I would say this style is organic, it has simple details, and it just feels warm and charming,” Giffins says. “It’s really practical and functional.” Farmhouse homes often feature big, open-concept kitchens and dining areas, exposed beams, white walls, subway tiles, open shelving, and natural woods on the floors and the walls. For those taking the name literally, barn doors are sometimes even incorporated into the design.
Pine plank flooring fits right into the decor. It might not be the most durable option for pet owners, but marked-up features only make farmhouse homes feel more inviting and authentic. “If something gets dinged or dented, it just adds to the overall patina,” Maloney says. “It’s not as high maintenance as your more classic style.”
In fact, Griffin suggests just buying hand-scraped wood flooring to begin with.
Waterproof Luxury Vinyl Plank is a great option if you want smoother floors, Upchurch notes. “Nothing is scratch-proof, but a lot of the finishes that are on our woods make it very durable for a big dog, the activities of kids, or just normal life.” LVP also reduces noise, making it even more of a boon for families with kids or pets.
If you’re still not sure which look most appeals to you, try exploring Floor & Decor’s inspiration center or Pinterest. Or, better yet, check out the more than 35 room vignettes at its Saugus store to see how each style looks and feels in-person. While there, ask yourself: When I get up in the morning or come home at night, will a room like this make me feel at home?
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Before you floor: How to design a room from the ground up
Choosing the perfect flooring for any room in your home can be as simple as asking yourself the following questions.