12 Popular Interior Design Styles Defined
When designing a new space or refreshing an existing space, it’s easy to get overwhelmed with the variety of interior design styles to choose from. Here is a comprehensive breakdown of 12 popular interior design styles and how to achieve them.
Minimalist interior design is all about simplicity, functionality and tidiness, and can be quickly summarized with the phrase “less is more”. This style has been growing in popularity over the last few years as more and more people want their homes to be serene and quiet in today’s busy world.
Minimalist spaces are very bright featuring white walls, light flooring, a few streamlined decorations, and some neutral accents. Because the typical color palette is not complex and minimalist spaces are covered in white, many describe minimalist spaces as feeling a bit cold. This can be fixed by adding a few subtle wooden accents or one item that adds a pop of color.
Modern interior design employs a sense of simplicity in every element, including furniture. A word that’s commonly used to describe modern style is sleek, and there is not a lot of clutter or accessories involved with a modern style.
Modern is a broad design term that typically refers to a home with clean, crisp lines, a simple color palette and the use of materials that can include metal, glass and steel.
Just as the name implies, industrial interior design draws inspiration from industrial spaces like a warehouse or an urban loft. Architecturally, you will typically see exposed beams, air ducts, brick walls, concrete walls, and sometimes even electrical. Because air ducts and beams are usually exposed, it’s common for ceilings to be much higher than usual making the space feel large.
To complement industrial architecture or to make a non-industrial space have an industrial feel, the decor should feature a lot of metal and wood. Due to so much exposed metal, we recommend adding a small splash of color and some greenery to add some warmth to the space.
4. Mid-Century Modern
Mid-century modern is an interior design and architectural style that originated in the middle of the 20th century and stuck around until the 70’s. Because this style is so versatile, natural and functional, it is still a popular style choice today.
There’s a sort of retro nostalgia present in mid-century modern design as well as a touch of minimalism. Though the style is versatile, there are a five key elements that are consistent among every mid-century modern space: a lot of natural light and lighter color schemes; clean lines and geometric forms; a focus on functionality; minimal decorations; and a wide range of textures and materials.
Modern and contemporary are two styles frequently used interchangeably. Contemporary is different from modern because it describes design based on the here and now which can change over time, while modern design has a very specific look (explained above). Contemporary interior design is a fluid design that represents a sense of currency with less adherence to one particular style.
Contemporary design frequently features decor from several time periods with a larger focus on what is popular today. In contemporary spaces today, you will find neutral color palettes, a lot of natural light, open concept areas, and a strong minimal interior design influence.
Traditional interior design offers classic details, extravagant furnishings, and an abundance of accessories. There is always a lot of depth, layering and dimension within most traditional spaces.
Traditional homes often feature dark, finished wood, rich color palettes, and a variety of textures and curved lines. Furnishings have elaborate and ornate details and fabrics, like velvet, silk and brocade, which may include a variety of patterns and textures.
Transitional is a very popular design style because it combines traditional and modern design, allowing the design to not be completely confined to a set of style rules. A transitional space is not too much of one style creating a sense of balance and a beautiful compromise.
A transitional design may incorporate modern materials, such as steel and glass, and then unite them with plush furnishings. It also includes relatively neutral color palettes, creating a calming and relaxed space that manages to feel both stylish and sleek, as well as warm and inviting.
Bohemian is another style growing in popularity among young adults and can be described as free-spirited and bold. This eclectic style can incorporate an ultra-glam chandelier paired with a well-worn rug and a mid-century chair. Within the Bohemian style, there’s a carefree attitude where anything goes as long as you love it.
In a “boho” space, you will typically see a mixture of bright and natural colors, a variety of patterns, and plenty of greenery. Bohemian homes may include vintage furniture and light fixtures, globally inspired textiles and rugs, displays of collections, and items found in widely varied sources including flea markets and international destinations.
Scandinavian design pays homage to the simplicity of life demonstrated in Nordic countries with spacious rooms, natural lighting, and few accessories. Scandinavian furniture design often feels like a work of art, although it is simple and understated. There’s functionality in the furniture along with some interesting lines, many of which have a sculptural influence.
Other common characteristics of this style include all-white color palettes and natural elements like form-pressed wood, bright plastics, and enameled aluminum, steel and wide plank flooring. If there are pops of color it often comes from the use of art, natural fiber throws or furs, or a single piece of furniture.
Also dubbed Hamptons style, coastal style hails from the iconic U.S. beachside area. This design exhumes a very beachy vibe with the intention of creating a relaxing “seaside” environment.
Common features include light, airy color palettes with cool neutral shades paired with blues and greens, and white or beige furnishings. The room can contain elements of wood and accessories are often inspired by the sea. Other decor may include blue and white nautical stripes, large windows for natural light, and plsh sofas.
Rustic interior design is drawn from natural inspiration, using raw and often unfinished elements to create a sort of outside atmosphere indoors. Rustic spaces are usually described as being very warm and organic.
The primary materials for all rustic spaces is wood—usually with an unfinished look—and stone. Other common features include vaulted ceilings, wooden beams, wood floors, and accessories inspired by life outdoors. Many design styles integrate rustic design with more modern furnishings and accessories.
12. French Country
French country interior design emerges in the United States after World War I when soldiers came home from the war and began to build homes inspired by the cottages and manors of the French countryside. This style is all about mixing elegance and rustic styles to create a sort of chic countryside atmosphere.
Warm, earthy colors are indicative of a French country design style, as are worn and ornamental wooden furnishing. French country interior design can include soft and warm tones of red, yellow or gold and natural materials like stone and brick. Sometimes you will see collections of ornate porcelain dishes and heavy linens and bed coverings.