Now that Spring is here and the warmer weather is upon us, it seems that everywhere I turn I am surrounded by nautical inspired decor. That got me thinking – what’s the difference between decorating a room that is inspired by the ocean versus one with an ocean theme? Or the difference between a French-inspired home and one with a French theme? Or any look and theme for that matter? Both use an inspiration source, but the execution is what defines and differentiates them.
Decorating with items versus decorating for a feel
In general, a themed room uses a lot of items and decor that are representative of the inspiration. If you walk into a themed room, the style is obvious and unquestionable and will probably be the first thing you notice about the room. Think for a minute about a beach-themed room. It might include some vintage oars on the wall, nautical pillows, seashell art, a surfboard accent lamp, and in a kids’ room, maybe even a bed frame shaped like a boat!
In contrast, a room inspired by a particular look encompasses the look and feel of the inspiration, with or without objects that represent it. In a room inspired by a feel, it might take a bit of time for you to realize the style and even then, it might come across more as a feeling than a look. For example, a room with a beachy feel won’t necessarily have items that represent the ocean, but might encompass the colors of the water, the textures of the sand, natural woods, with maybe a few shells mixed in.
Quantity makes a difference
French decor continues to be quite popular and as many people begin to incorporate this style into their homes, they look for items that seem “French.” Typical items include anything with a fleur-de-lis, items with French script on them, images of the Eiffel tower, fluffy white poodles, or things that specifically have the word “Paris” printed on them. When several of these types of items are all combined in one room, the result is usually a room that feels more themed. A few “stereotypical” items mixed into a space won’t create a theme, but multiples often will.
Creating a look can sometimes be a bit trickier. It requires you to look at the colors, textures, materials, finishes, and shapes of your inspiration, as opposed to an item representative of it. So instead of a gold tray for the coffee table that says “Paris” in the middle, look for one with an antique finished mirror in the center that gives it a brocante feel. Instead of accent pillows with fleur-de-lis on them, look for linen or velvet in a muted color.
Which one to create?
The decision to create a look or a theme is entirely up to you based on your preferences and goals for the space. In general, though, themes tend to be a bit more playful and whimsical. Certainly shopping for themed items can be so much fun and fortunately, themed items are often grouped together in stores making the shopping that much easier! Also, many people often limit a theme to just a single room, as opposed to the whole house, whereas when you create a look, you often try to carry it throughout the house for cohesion.
Whether you incorporate a look or a theme into your home, both tell a lot about your interests and personality and make your home unique to you.
Do you have any themed rooms in your home?
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