There is nothing like buying your first home. Many first-time buyers can’t wait to personalize the property, inside and out, making it their own. However, a lot of people don’t even know where to begin! A good place to start searching for ideas is outside, in front of the house.
Take a few steps back and analyze the architectural design of your home. Is it a colonial? A Victorian? A Cape Cod? The list goes on and on, believe it or not. And don’t worry if the previous owner never told you what kind of house you were buying. This handy guide will help you determine the style of your home. Once you figure out exactly what kind of house you are living in, it might make interior decorating decisions a little easier for you.
Here are just a few of the ways you could decorate a home to complement its architectural style:
Typically found in New England (Connecticut, Massachusetts, Vermont, etc.), these homes were constructed by the first settlers in America, and they are characterized by steep roofs and huge chimneys. Many of these homes were built in the 1600s and 1700s, and some of them are still standing today after many restorations.
When it comes to decorating, you should try to think about the simplicity of early America. This doesn’t mean you need to forget about little nuances like picture frames, candles and throw pillows. However, you probably would not want to drape your tiny casement windows with heavy fabrics or bamboo blinds. Choose light linens (preferably a crisp white), neutral-colored furniture (black, brown, cream, white) and wood accents.
This style of home looks exactly how its name suggests. Much like the magnificent structures erected in Athens during 400-500 BC, these massive, three-story homes feature white exterior columns, arranged in a symmetrical pattern, flanking the entrance. You’ll also see several front steps leading up to a huge porch, much like the ruins of gathering spaces seen all over Athens.
There is usually a lot of ornate crown molding throughout the entire home, and it is sometimes so decorative that you may not even need to add much to a room, as it is already embellished to the max. Granite or soapstone counters are good options for the kitchen; however, many laminate choices give the same affect for a little less money. Complementary colors include green, gold and white. Stay refined; classic country furnishings look out of place in this elegantly constructed abode.
Victorian Queen Anne
French-style homes may reflect either a regal design or a country charm. Most of them boast very sophisticated features such as wrap-around porches, symmetrical towers, bay windows and a textured masonry. Some of these homes showcase such elaborately constructed exteriors that they are referred to as “painted ladies.” The outer walls, the roof shingles and the window shutters will all be different colors (generally pastels).
Queen Anne homes were very popular during the Industrial Revolution, when it was rather affordable to obtain furnishings once available only to the upper class. Heavy tapestries draped almost every room, and darker variations of reds, blues, greens and purples were very common. Ornamental wallpapers are encouraged. Many rooms were even overstuffed with furniture and knickknacks, so don’t worry if you have a lot of decorative pieces.