Change Decorating Style to Match House?

stephfJune 19, 2012

I would definitely put myself in the "cottage style" of the decorating spectrum. I've always been drawn to pictures and furniture that match this style. I love the soft colours, it mixes in old pieces, it's casual and family friendly. I feel that with this style, nobody is afraid to sit on your couch when they enter your house. This worked great for us in our cute little (1000 sqft) cape cod. It was like the structure of the house dictated the style it wanted to be on the inside.

Now we're moving into a 75 year old, 2200 sqft dutch colonial with 10 ft ceilings. I'm drawn to dark wood floors and gray tones for the walls. I picture an elegant dining room with upholstered chairs and a more traditional living room. As much as I love cottage style, I just feel like it would clash with the style of this house. With this house we are definitely leaning towards a more traditional, classic look. The problem is, a lot of the funiture we own is cottage style; lots of antique wood painted white, wrought iron beds, etc. Actually it was the wrought iron bed that brought me here to ask this question. In the new house, I'm picturing an upholstered head board for the master bedroom, but I really don't want to get rid of the wrought iron bed. I remember falling in love with it the second I saw it and spending more money than I had to get it because I just HAD to have it. So I guess what I'm asking is, has anyone ever seen a wrought iron bed incorporated into a more traditional looking master bedroom? I think I just need some reassurance and inspiration to make me realize that we could still make it work.

Has anyone else's style evolved into something completely different depending upon the house you are living in, or have you stayed true to your decorating style no matter what?

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Yes -- my style was more cottage and switched to more tradtional -- well -- in my case -- more Brit Col Cottage!

It is wonderful to hear that you have truly listened to your house -- and will work towards making it your own home ...

Post photos here -- and I'm sure we will all help to slightly switch/mix your styles!

    Bookmark   June 19, 2012 at 10:26AM
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I think you can achieve what you want with most of your own things.

All that white painted furniture can be painted in more traditional tones, like deep green or Chinese red or chocolate or black.

You can still use comfortable upholstered things - if you use rumpled slipcovers now, you might like tighter more tailored ones, but keep your relaxed style.

Use heavy linen instead of cotton twill. Replace ticking stripes with more traditional stripes. Use Jacobean or William Morris or simple lattice, leaf, or floral prints in place of gingham checks. Things like that.

That sort of colonial outpost style that you see in Bermuda, and in films like "Out of Africa," can work wonderfully in a more traditional architectural style.

    Bookmark   June 19, 2012 at 10:37AM
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I can see using it fine if you do the above suggestions with the bedding etc. I'm hoping it has clean lines, if it's curly lines it won't work. FYI my husband and I made a six foot upholstered headboard with plywood, lots of foam and a soft chenille fabric. It was very tall and we loved it. I'm now using that in my lake house which is cottage style and it works well so why not try it and see how it works out. Then you can make a decision after it's completed.

    Bookmark   June 19, 2012 at 11:38AM
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Bronwynsmom has given you some terrific ideas to transition your cottage style to a more traditional version. I imagine that your wrought iron bed might work, too, depending on your choices of bed linens, wall color, bedside tables and lamps. However, if you don't love it in your new bedroom, you might consider moving it to a guest room and gifting yourself with a different bed.

    Bookmark   June 19, 2012 at 11:50AM
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Go to Houzz and search for wrought iron bed - you'll find them in every type home and some great inspiration photos of how it can work.

Here is a link that might be useful: Houzz - wrought iron beds

    Bookmark   June 19, 2012 at 12:09PM
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Thanks for the suggestions everyone! It sounds like I may have a lot of painting in my future. I will be sure to post photos once we're all moved in. The house is mid-reno, and a bit of a warzone right now...

    Bookmark   June 19, 2012 at 1:09PM
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Love Bronwynsmoms ideas! I was going to say that I don't think you have to totally "switch", just change things out a bit. You don't want to get too far away from what you really love.


    Bookmark   June 19, 2012 at 1:30PM
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This house would have been filled with a lot of vernacular furniture when new, anyway, especially the bedrooms. You may want to go a bit more formal in the LR and DR, but I don't think it's quite as big a shift as it would be in moving from somes house styles to others.

    Bookmark   June 19, 2012 at 1:48PM
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Annie Deighnaugh

My tastes always tend toward the eclectic so I can see using your cottage style furniture in a colonial home. I don't think you have to go strictly colonial, especially in the non public spaces. Cottage and colonial mix very well and you can express your own style in between. And I don't think you have to repaint a lot of can go more feminine with light furniture and add the more colonial look in the fabrics and window treatments.

    Bookmark   June 19, 2012 at 2:24PM
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Oh, and let me recommend Minwax "English Chestnut" for your floors. It is the most perfect, beautiful deep brown I've ever used - no red like mahogany, no orangeyness like oak and some pines, no grayness like the provincial ones, no heavy blackishness like the jacobean ones. The color looks great with everything else, too. Give it a look.

    Bookmark   June 19, 2012 at 3:37PM
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I made the move from a Traditional house in Virginia to a more relaxed style in Florida. So, now I thought I would redo everything I had in Virginia, we sold a lot of the furniture and now I have just the few pieces I need to accomplish a more relaxed style.

The trade off? The stuff I kept needs refinishing or repurposing or getting something similar but smaller or larger. It will take me a while to reuse my things. If I had it to do over, I would have taken nothing with me, that way I could furnish the downsized house with what really fits here. Harder to take things with you and repurpose than it is to measure and fit what actually goes into the newer home.

    Bookmark   June 19, 2012 at 5:47PM
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I've stayed true to my traditional/transitional style of decorating. Our house is a craftsman style tract home but I didn't care for the outside facade to begin with so I just do what I want on the inside. DH liked the look of the house and it had all we needed on the inside, in case one wonders why the heck we even bought it to begin with.

    Bookmark   June 19, 2012 at 7:16PM
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Bronwynsmom, thanks for the suggestion for the floors! We were thinking about Minwax "dark walnut", but I will definitely check out the "english chestnut". I really appreciate your description of how the stain looks in real life.

I'm wondering if anyone has any similar comments regarding "dark walnut"...?

    Bookmark   June 20, 2012 at 8:44AM
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Dark Walnut is very nice, but not as warm as English Chestnut, in my view. Both are deep and timeless. I just think the E.C. is much prettier, without losing gravitas. Let us know what you decide!

    Bookmark   June 20, 2012 at 9:10AM
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