Anne Haimes Interior Design

What is chic and how can it improve your home?

Adopting a signature interior design style makes re-vamping rooms simpler and more focused. Colours, themes and individual features can be narrowed down, and you can be sure the room will reflect your desired atmosphere – from warm and welcoming to subtle and stylish. 

Avid interior designers will know all about the chic style, but if you don’t – or you want to know how to bring it to life around the home – this guide will help you understand chic and give you some tips on how to include it in your interior design.  

What is chic? 

Chic is an interior design style characterised by fashionable and elegant pieces based on a distinct ideology or theme. In interior design, various chic décor is used to give a room a certain look – from cosy, rustic and gritty, to classy and elegant.  

However, different chic styles are popular among decorators and homemakers. They each have a unique look and feel and bring different atmospheres to a room.  

Some decorators choose to design rooms around a single chic theme but combining individual features in specific areas around the home can also add unique style to spaces. 

Some of the most popular chic styles include Scandi, shabby, urban, modern, contemporary, and industrial. And here’s how to recreate them in your home: 

Modern chic is characterised by visual and functional simplicity, using natural materials, straight lines, and warm colours. It’s a broad term for many design styles that bring these aspects together.    

The ‘modern’ style is often confusing, as it actually refers to features developed many years ago – as opposed to the most contemporary ideas.  

It developed from the ‘Modernist’ style of the early 20th century, originally inspired by the art movement of the same name, in the 1800s. This sparked a change in approach to interior design, placing more emphasis on aesthetics.  

It’s often defined by clean, well-structured lines and focus on simplicity and functionality. The colours and materials are also minimal and natural – mainly focusing on brown, black, white and beige colours and glass, wood and metals.  

The mid-century modern style builds on the modernist style. It first became popular in the 1950s, following the end of World War II, but still holds its own in elegant contemporary living rooms.  

The main features separating the mid-century modern style from the classic modern style is warmer, more vibrant colours – shades of orange, yellow, brown and green which make rooms much livelier. Common materials in the style include plastics, metals, glass and wood. As with modern design, materials are typically minimal, rather than patterned.  

While functionality is still important, there is also an emphasis on nurturing inviting living areas and bringing people closer together with more welcoming spaces.  

Contemporary styles are simply those popular in the current day – which means they can change from year to year, unlike ‘classic’ styles. This means trends, colours, furniture, and use of lines may vary more from home to home than other styles, too.  

Remember, the traditional ‘modern’ style is the name given to the trend it was based on when it was created, whereas contemporary style is always changing – so, it always stays ‘modern’.  

Those looking to add some contemporary flair to their interior design should look for colours and pieces which are visually stunning, bold and warm, but also functional.  

Start with a mostly neutral colour palette – with shades of black and white – along with some brighter mid-century modern inspired colours, like browns, oranges and yellows. This follows the rules of the contemporary style, being visually appealing while remaining simple and functional.  

Furniture used in contemporary designs has bold, clean lines. Chairs and sofas are often simple, with minimal colours and patterns – focusing on simplicity. Ornate furniture is rarely used in contemporary interiors.    

Shabby chic is all about personality. The distinctive feature of the style is the use of worn-looking furniture, which can be store-bought or created uniquely in the home by adapting existing pieces to give them a rustic, weathered look.  

The main challenge when designing a shabby chic interior is making sure the room doesn’t look messy. One way to manage this is by including more indulgent features – materials like linen and sheer lace, vintage French-inspired accessories and soft colour schemes. Rooms that get this balance right are cosy and relaxing while oozing character.  

Feminine colour schemes are often used, too – including beige, pink, white and light blue shades.  

A popular style in the 21st century, Scandi-chic is the perfect style for creating a cosy, homely atmosphere. It’s simple, affordable and all about the designer adding their own personal touch. 

Organic materials are a defining feature – wood and leather furniture, cotton, wool, and cowhide are all regularly used. Rugs and bare ornamentation are also common and offer the perfect opportunity for adding unique pieces and allowing personality to shine through.  

Scandinavian furniture is recognisable for its rounded lines and simple shapes. Function takes priority but there is still plenty of opportunity for creating beautiful, rounded shapes and contours. This includes the comfortable sofas and chairs which make Scandi living rooms so warm and relaxing. 

Your Scandinavian style interiors should include simple colour combinations, including blues, blacks, greys and especially shades of white.   

The industrial style is one of the most fun to design. Industrial interiors allow for plenty of innovation in the design process, favouring décor over functionality when it comes to picking pieces for the room. Some inspiration for your industrial interiors may include unique or unusual beams, columns, pipes, flanges, and fireplaces. 

The key to industrial design is utilising available space and existing features like unfinished brickwork and concrete. Warehouse and loft conversions are often popular choices for an industrial interior. 

They often feature a more masculine tone. Neutral colours are common, like browns and greys, with raw materials often left in their natural state, to add to the aesthetic. 

The urban style is all about bringing the city vibe to your home interior. This means bold, experimental, rugged, and colourful pieces.  

Urban interiors share some similarities with the industrial style – using brickwork, exposed ducting and beams, and unusual materials. Wide-open space is important too, as the focus is on bringing outdoor aesthetics to the home.  

A base of cool, natural colours like granite, charcoal, and brown shades are most common, with splashes of colour often used to create an urban vibe. A palette of greens, yellows and reds adds vibrancy – replicating the feel of parks, New York taxis and red brick buildings.  

Experiment with your furniture when creating an urban interior. Worn-looking sideboards, coffee tables and drawers – like those seen in shabby-chic interiors – are popular in the style.  

As it’s an unconventional style (think street art), utilising features like loft conversions and exposed ducting can create a rugged effect that reflects the natural and imperfect feel of the great outdoors.   


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