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Designer Roundtable - Design Styles

Updated: Jan 15

Contemporary, modern, traditional, farmhouse, minimalist, industrial, mid-century modern, transitional, mediterranean, cottage, shabby chic, coastal, french - the list could go on and on. 

We will talk with six of Colorado’s top designers about the main styles in Colorado and how to blend them to make them uniquely your own. 

Erin Dawes: Dawes Designs 

Jenni Russell: Design In Perspective. 

Delilah Collins: Collins Design & Remodel

Mona Wilson: MW Design

They are all the owners - the two designers from House Meraki are co owners & designers.


Kim: With so many design styles out there, it can be difficult to understand them all. What are the main design styles, and what elements define them?

Delilah: Mid-century, farmhouse and transitional. Mid-century is defined by sleek lines and natural wood tones mixed with light finishes. A popular farmhouse look is white shiplap paired with rustic fixtures, raw metals and natural finishes. Transitional is a perfect blend of traditional and modern elements, such as a traditional profile for trim or cabinetry but painted in soothing tones that give the space a sense of timeless character. 

Mona: Another design that is very strong and trending is industrial design. Characterized by displaying the building materials and adding raw, unfinished materials, this can be very masculine. Yet, you can add beautiful chandeliers, wallpaper and textures to bring in a more feminine touch.

Jenni: Modern uses clean geometric lines and simple color pallets with manmade materials and little ornamentation.

Erin: Mountain Modern is a blended style. Take a gorgeous strong wood floor, like rustic hickory, and tone down the cabinets with graphite paint. Add in a showpiece, like a built-in bar with a one-of-a-kind live edge countertop, and highlight a treasured western art piece. Contemporary is still a strong style for Denver homeowners. Contemporary kitchens are turning away from wall cabinets in favor of clean walls and an abundance of storage below countertops. Slab doors win here. Discreet hardware pulls and acrylic gloss or laminate cabinets in any color you want – the bolder the better.

Kim: How can homeowners figure out what their design style is? 

Delilah: I always request clients to send me inspiration images - even of photos that they do not like!


Elizabeth/Adriele: Yes, gather images from magazines, the internet or even take pictures of your favorite vacation spots. This will help you understand the overall feel you’re attracted to. 

Mona: I also ask what colors make them feel warm, inviting or happy, and what color they like to wear the most.

Kim: Most people do not like just one style. How do you incorporate several styles in a design?


Erin: That is exactly what will make the space your own and not simply a magazine photo! It’s the number here that is important. Too many elements and you turn your space into a curiosity shop. Our minds and eyes need negative space to help transition from one design element to another.


Mona: When I have clients that are very mixed about their design style, I always tell them to start with a neutral palette and build from there. There may be three or four different design styles that we incorporate. At the end of the day it may be eclectic, but it’s their home and we will make it beautiful.

Kim: What advice would you give to anyone who needs to blend several styles to make everyone happy and love the space?

Elizabeth/Adriele: Try to merge a single element of a style with an element of another style. This will prevent you from leaning too far into a single style and help capture the perfect balance.

Jenni: Consider what they like most about each style first. Is it the crown molding in the Georgian home they saw in the magazine? Or the light airy colors and simplicity of the beach house they vacationed at? Pick one or two specific aspects of each style and use it consistently throughout the home.


Elizabeth/Adriele: Yes, we agree! The favorite element picked out of a style should be blended with a different element of another. The key elements to focus on for the final merged design are architectural background, furniture profiles, texture/material preference, as well as patterns and colors.

Delilah: Find out what your functional needs are and start there. Collect inspiration images and look for common elements, such as wood tone -vs- white cabinets, clean lines -vs- patterns, soft finishes -vs- accent finishes! I like to blend the preferred styles together and follow up with a countertop that is the most practical for the space.

Erin: Flooring usually continues to adjacent rooms, so I recommend a classic choice there.  Cabinetry is expensive! So I favor quality and function, knowing that a hardware swap and a gallon of paint could be in the future. Light fixtures, plumbing fixtures and backsplash are where you can jump into current trends with two feet, since it is relatively easy and inexpensive to change later. Styles WILL change. Don’t worry that your curated, blended-style project might not look exactly like the magazines. It’ll look like YOURS!

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