Design Ideas > Decorating > 4 Distinct Seasons, 1 Distinctive Style

4 Distinct Seasons, 1 Distinctive Style


Jordan's Furniture Life and Style Blog

Destination New England || Classic styles that mix casual elegance with coastal vibes

Steeped in colonial history and seafaring pursuits (hello, lobster roll season!), New England style gathers a range of strong and reliable elements that are used and displayed in every type of home here – from cozy Maine cottages to historic homes and resorts in Rhode Island. Exemplified by staunch, rugged character and unwavering practicality and resourcefulness, New Englanders are used to changing seasons, and usually adapt by adjusting their design style and décor along the way, both inside and out.

New England style goes beyond beadboard paneling, braided rugs, and Windsor chairs. It’s really an aesthetic – a mix of studied symmetric order combined with individualistic quirks, often by way of heirloom antiques or idiosyncratic collections of objects. The look typically incorporates nautical or coastal themes, weathered surfaces, and popular colors found in nature, like tan, blue, green, white, off-white, and grey. And, furniture pieces need to be hard-working, practical, multifunctional, beautifully made, and, above all, comfortable.

New England style is really an aesthetic – a mix of symmetric order combined with individualistic quirks.

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Natural Materials || New England style cues often come from natural surroundings. Wood furniture abounds, even in modern interiors, with somewhat faded, distressed finishes remaining popular and timeless. These farmhouse or “cottage” looks fit perfectly with New England practicality, and also mix well with industrial, Bohemian, and rustic design schemes. For seasonal summer homes, few materials are more prevalent than wicker, along with rattan, jute, and seagrass for a nod to the tropics. Items like Adirondack slatted chairs, wooden porch swings, and breeze-moving ceiling fans also make frequent appearances. Add a natural rope-encased cocktail table to the mix, and you’re ready to spend time in your very own captain’s cabin.

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Tried & True Motifs || The aforementioned natural rope motif is a common sight in many New England homes, especially in coastal abodes. Vertical slat wood paneling, hardwood floors, and sturdy plank-topped tables often appear alongside built-in shelving units or buffets and hutches, especially in older homes. Other easy-to-find New England motifs include seashells, found on everything from mirror frames (made of actual seashells) to design details carved onto 18th-century furniture pieces crafted in Newport.

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Quirky Accents || These are the one-of-a-kind home pieces that tell a story. Quite often, they’re treasured antiques handed down through family generations, or newer pieces discovered through travels around the world. These items could be anything from complete dinnerware sets to sepia-toned family photos, or a boat-shaped chandelier to a thick wooden table from a factory workroom. These help maintain a personal connection to your ever-evolving New England living space. Don’t forget your vintage stoneware lobster platter, and, of course, a bib and plenty of napkins.


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