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Here are six American home decorating styles...

Although much younger than that of our European ancestors, American home styles possess a rich, ever-changing heritage of their own—and promise to do so for years to come.

The diverse array of homes in the following sections speaks to the variety of this country’s history, as well as to the versatility of the land’s architects and home designers.

While not every form is represented here, our editors have identified six major traditions in the history of American homes—all of which are as popular today as ever. You’re sure to spot a favorite among these styles.

Colonial style - typical residences built in the 13 American colonies and the ones that soon followed comprise Colonial architecture.

Examples range from simple style like using divided Dutch doors and central chimneys that were dominant to grand such as the Monticello of Thomas Jefferson.

Newer Colonial homes in today's America are part of what’s called the "Colonial Revival." First seen in perhaps 1880, the revival really took off following World War I and continues today.

Most have a somewhat flat facade that is symmetrical with double-hung windows and shutters and a front door that is prominent. A simple shape like a box is typical of this kind of style along with the use of porches, additions on the house sides or back that have flat roofs and bay windows.

Victorian Design was a beneficiary of the industrial era’s machine-made decorations and improved railroads for distributing them.

The trend flourished between 1855 and 1910 and included Second Empire styles, which mimicked French fashions of the day, and Queen Anne — what most people picture when they think of Victorian homes.

Good modern-day example of the characteristic details of Queen Anne homes are an elaborate porch, a corner turret and bay windows.

Gingerbread ornamentation, fishscale shingles, vibrant colors, and leaded or stained glass windows are just as fitting to Victorian-inspired homes.

Craftsman Home Design espoused the simplicity and authenticity of natural materials and handiwork - hence, the name.

The burgeoning Arts and Crafts movement in England strongly influenced the austere decorative style characteristic of this period.

The Greene brothers, two architects from California with backgrounds in manual arts, drew up the first plans for Craftsman bungalows in 1903.

Soon the bungalow was all the rage among buyers of smaller homes. It’s making a comeback now in urban and suburban developments.

Look for many of today’s Craftsman-style homes to sport deep porches supported by tapered, stone-footed columns, and wide, projecting eaves, often with rafters peeking out from underneath.

Dormers, especially shed dormers like the ones sloping out of the gable roof are usually present. Common exterior materials include shingles, lap siding, stucco, stone and brick.

The Spanish Colonial Revival home style began showing up on the West Coast after the Panama - California Exhibition in 1915. Hollywood stars took to it quickly and it spread from there.

Now these homes are popular again, most often in warmer climates. The homes’ stucco exteriors are usually topped with tile roofs.

Small windows and unadorned facades often give way, as their Spanish predecessors did, to elaborate garden courtyards or patios.

The courtyard behind even features a fireplace! Other interpretations of the style include archways and elaborate wrought-iron window decorations.

Flat roofs are not unlikely, especially in dry climates, but low-pitched gable and hip roofs are frequently seen as well.

Southern Plantation homes prior to the Civil War, the porch was all but mandatory, since it provided much-needed escape from the heat in homes that depended on a central fireplace for cooking. The porch survives today for its comfortable, nostalgic qualities.

Southern-style homes typically put the formal rooms at the front, separated by an entry foyer. A central hallway leads back to the casual gathering areas.

Traditional and sometimes even French and Colonial-inspired elements are common in this type of home design.

Look for quoins, arches, columns and keystones; steep-pitched, hipped roofs and louvered shutters are not uncommon.

Generally, a stately elegance sets Southern-style homes apart from otherwise very similar country-style designs.

What Country Style homes lack in grandeur they tend to make up in comfort and livability. Arguably one of the most enduring home styles in America, country-style homes share the porch with Southern-style designs as their most notable feature.

Other earmarks include pleasingly symmetrical facades, shuttered windows, and gabled roofs with brick chimneys. Once reserved for farmhouses - this explains their simple construction and down-home feel.

Country-style homes are not only seen in the countryside but are also common in suburban developments and even on city lots. The above information is written by Anne Marie Draganowski - American Home Styles - Building Our Past, Present and Future.

Books about home decorating

Decorating with Funky Shui by Jennifer O'Neil, Kitty O'Neil

With Feng Shui being the arranging of objects to encourage harmony, Funky Shui can be thought of as a fun way to arrange objects in the home.

The design philosophy of the Chinese receiving all the attention recently is the basis of this decorating resource on how quirky objects can be showcased in ones home.

Learn how to create rooms with themes with charm, how to combine lighting with color that provides a happy ambiance.

Finally, you can now use the wonderful souvenirs accumulated during trips. Funky Shui decorating helps you use your imagination and end up with the style that is just you.

New Decorating Book by Denny Caringer, Editor.

Use this classic resource and learn how to create a warm, livable haven for the family.

This edition is all new material from prior editions. From working with styles, textures, colors and fabrics to wall/window treatments, floors, home lighting and incorporating the accessories for relevant interior design.

Includes 900 photographs and over 100 illustrations. The casual and informative text provides ideas you can use in every room and even areas outdoors - home decorating.

Mediterranean Style - Relaxed Living Inspired by Strong Colors and Natural Materials by Catherine Haig.

Bright colors, simplicity with boldness, contrasts done with textures - these are examples of this popular style that features tile, stucco and stone materials - great to live with and easy to maintain.

The practical text explains what the elements of the Mediterranean look consist of and how to create this look for your walls, floors, windows, doors and home furnishings and accessories.

The book includes 12 projects you can consider and they each have step-by-step instructions. You'll soon discover that creating this relaxed style of home decor doesn't have to cost a small fortune.


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