Decorating theme

 A while ago, I wrote a blog post about "themed" rooms - the sorts of rooms that you used to see on corny decorating programmes from the 1990s, where a big room reveal would display a pirate themed room, or an Arabian nights themed room or something along those lines.

As you can imagine, I'm not a fan of themed rooms. In fact I think they are naff and clichéd. Unless you are decorating a young child's bedroom, or decorating for a party, a theme should be avoided at all cost. Themes are for parties, not for your home.

 “Themes are for parties, not for your home”

— Kate Hatherell, The Home Design School

Recently we have been talking about how to bring your style preferences into your home, and it's important to be able to do that, without it tipping over into the realms of "theme".

So what is the difference between Style and Theme?

Some themes are pretty obvious. If you're thinking of decorating your room like a circus big top, a medieval dinner hall (when you live in a 1930s semi) or a forest walk, that's a theme.

 A Roald Dahl themed bedroom. Perfect for a child's room, but that's where it should stay! A Roald Dahl themed bedroom. Perfect for a child's room, but that's where it should stay!

But what about if you like something like a coastal style? At what point does it turn from style into theme?

In my style workshops, I teach my students how to identify the key design elements that they are drawn to within each style, rather than blindly following a traditional label such as "coastal".

If you like the coastal style, for example, you need to dig a little deeper to find out what that means for you. Is it the light and airy colours you like? Is the blue and white colour scheme? Is it the natural materials used for knots? 

Identifying your unique home décor style is about knowing the colour schemes you are drawn to, the intensity of colours, the mood you create, the feelings you evoke. It's about knowing the style of furniture, the types of fabrics that you like to surround yourself with.Distilling what's at the heart of your design preferences helps you to create a scheme which encapsulates the parts of a design style you like, without becoming themed or clichéd.

Until next time x

  • This is lovely. Thanks for sharing this post.

  • Millie Hue says:

    Thanks for helping me understand that home style is also knowing about the style of furniture and the type of fabric that you will be using. I guess I would have to educate myself more because I have been meaning to redecorate my condo unit. Ever since I’ve moved into this property, I have never changed the design that it had, so I wanted to make it personal.