How will you select a furniture style when there are so many styles to choose? One way is to locate a furniture style that you like. One that makes you're feeling comfortable, reflects your lifestyle and connects for you on a psychological level.

Before you choose which style is right for you personally, let's look back at the annals of interior design. Let's make a psychological connection or at the very least a pursuit in a specific style. They say everyone features a story to share with and so does interior design. Interior design began in the stone age when cavemen began to draw pictures on their interior walls, every person telling their very own story. Ancient Egypt and Rome had a deep fascination with their interiors as well, especially in architectural design.

How did history inspire furniture designs? Back in early 1400's to the 1700's, furniture styles were influenced by political powers. In fact, it had been the dominant countries in Europe that had the largest influence on the furniture types of that era. Many of the popular furniture styles were either named from then on period, region or monarch of the dominant country.

When Spain and Italy were in power, the furniture style was called Mediterranean (Renaissance) style, each country's style reflecting their very own culture. Then, when the ability shifted to France, the prominent styles were named after the kings: Louis XIV (Baroque) style, Louis XV (Rococo) style and Louis XVI (Neoclassical) style. When Napoleon took control of France the types of that era were Directoire and French Empire.

Now, let's shift our focus to English furniture styles. As we said before, usually dominant styles were named after monarchs. We see this in the Queen Anne, William and Mary or English Georgian (after King George) styles. However, during the mid 1700's there was a peaceful revolution in design that changed how a furniture styles were named. They now were named after the designer.

Through the English Georgian period, one of the very most famous cabinetmakers, Thomas Chippendale, began his career. Cabinetmakers were skilled in crafting fine furnishings, what we would call high-end quality. The interesting thing about Chippendale was he wasn't an inventor. Instead, he took the very best designs from other countries and adapted them into their own style. He was greatly influenced by French Rococo, Chinese and Gothic styles. He is best noted for his great chair designs and because of those classic designs his name endures.

In the mid 1700's, there have been two brothers, Robert and James Adam that studied architecture in Italy. It absolutely was during this time period that the Pompeii ruins were discovered. Pompeii was a Roman city buried by a volcanic eruption in 79 AD. This discovery was a major turning point in interior design. Many Greek and Roman artifacts were discovered. These discoveries took place once the Adam brothers were studying architecture, which can be also once the French Louis XVI style was in vogue. Suddenly there clearly was a classical revival in interior design, especially in France and England.

In France, the Louis XVI furniture style was called neo-classical. In England, where the Adam brothers were designing furniture, the style was called Late Georgian or Classical Revival style. The Adam brothers were architects in England and drew inspiration from the Roman classical revival period. Because the Adam brothers were architects, they not just designed furniture, in addition they designed entire rooms right down to the final detail and used many Roman and Greek elements inside their designs. Those furniture styles are rich and elegant in design and are considered timeless.

Other famous English cabinetmakers were George Hepplewhite and Thomas Sheraton. Hepplewhite drew his inspiration from the Louis XVI neo-classical style and from the Adam brother's classical revival style. Hepplewhite took these styles and injected their own ideas. He is best noted for shield back chairs, serpentine fronts, straight legs and curved backs. Sheraton's design style was noted for elegance and grace. He is called the "Apostle of The Straight Line" and is most beneficial noted for his lyre back chairs. Sheraton drew his inspiration from all of the above.

As you will see, the history of furniture design evolved through inspiration, political power and the human desire to make our homes more beautiful, even once they lived in a cave.

So, how do you decide on a furniture style that is right for you? Here are some ideas. Is your lifestyle formal or casual? Do you entertain a little or a lot? How much do you want to invest? Is your room large or small?

All these questions will help you choose the right style. For example, Traditional furniture styles are more formal and therefore would be more appropriate for a formal home and lifestyle or for people who entertain a lot. Traditional furniture also has intricate details like inlaid veneers, exotic and gilded woods so will therefore cost more. On the other hand, if your lifestyle is more relaxed you may prefer a casual style like Country French, English Cottage, Shabby Chic, etc.

Twentieth Century styles are considered modern styles and they emphasize clean lines and modern materials. If you are very organized and prefer uncluttered spaces, this may be for you. Some furniture styles, like Art Deco and Mid-Century are making a comeback and you might consider them also. Contemporary style came towards the end of the twentieth century. It is similar to modern style but it is more comfortable and is generally made of wood instead of metal or plastic. It also has smoother surfaces and uses a minimum of accessories. Scandinavian design furniture is a perfect example of this style.

If you are a traditionalist but also like contemporary styles, you may be interested in transitional style. The furniture pieces have the curved elements of the traditional style with the clean lines of the contemporary style. If you and your significant other like two different styles, you may decide on the eclectic style. This is where you combine two different styles within a room. By choosing a style where everything in the room works together, you are in effect creating harmony. And where there is harmony, there is peace and comfort. It will give a good feeling to the room because everything will work together. I wish you much peace and comfort in your home. May you find a furniture style that is functional, beautiful and an expression of your personality. Happy decorating.:-)

Published by Peter Garlow