8 Common Interior Design Styles – and How to Determine Yours

Interior design styles

8 Common Interior Design Styles – and How to Determine Yours

Choosing your interior design style is the first step (after choosing that you want to redesign, of course) in determining what colors, furniture, and decorations you’ll be purchasing for the design of your home. You can work with your interior designer to establish a design that’s rigorously adherent to the style of your choice, or mix and match elements to achieve your perfect balance.

The most common interior design styles you’ll see across Pinterest boards, in design magazines, and even across Instagram are:

Bohemian: think carefree, colorful, and layered

This style is purposefully messy, with a balance of deep, earthy tones and pops of color. The Bohemian style can lean toward dark and earthy (terra-cotta tones and desert-style colors) or light and girly (breezy whites, light pinks, purples, blues – like you’re walking into an ethereal dreamcatcher).

Boho chic design will often feature found and/or reclaimed items – especially wooden tables, desks, and chairs. There’s a focus on natural fibers such as linen, jute, and burlap, and you’ll often see a lot of tassels, beading, and extra cushions thrown about (especially floor cushions).

Contemporary: think clean

Contemporary design focuses on neutral colors, naturally “cool” looking materials (such as stone, glass, metal, and marble) and maintaining an open space. Furniture is simple, with minimalist silhouettes. Contemporary will generally have a color block of some sort – such as a colored wall, piece of furniture, or rug and pillows – but keep in mind, this is color, not colors.

Designs and decorative elements will be kept in geometric lines and shapes – including light fixtures. It’s all about even balance and structure with contemporary design.

Mid-Century Modern: 1950’s modernism

Mid-Century gets its name from its time period – the 1950’s. Nowadays, it’s kind of like a cross between contemporary and minimalism; it focuses on open space, neutral colors, and minimalist silhouettes, but generally uses a bit more wood furniture than Contemporary and Minimalist design styles. The textiles remain in natural fibers in neutral colors, such as jute and linen. The biggest tip-off of Mid-Century Modern are the light fixtures: there’s a heavy focus on side-lighting (table laps, handing pendant lamps, and those giant floor lamps that arch over open spaces such as couches and living rooms).

Minimalism: like modern… with even less stuff

There are no tchotchkes here. Everything tends to remain in one color or color scheme, varying only in texture. It’s standard to have either no art, or one piece of art hanging on the wall – that art may even be simply a slab of wood or textured canvas. This is the true “open space” feeling of “nothingness.”

Traditional: think warm and comforting; it’s a common style for family homes

The color palettes remain warmer and calm, with off-whites, peaches, and bronzes. Furniture is wooden with bronze accents, and generally heavier – think snuggly couches and tables that take at least 4 large men to move! You’ll see a lot of raw iron on staircases and door entrances, chandeliers and sconces on the walls, and intricate wall trims.

Textiles will feature classical patterns such floral, paisley, gingham, and plaid. Textiles will be in darker shades of navies, emeralds, and deep reds. Plenty of tchotchkes may adorn walls and shelves, along with framed photos and books.

Urban: think industrial

Urban goes for the look of an industrial or office building that’s been converted for home use. This can feature exposed brick walls, exposed ceilings (such as unfinished air vents and ducts), and even unfinished floors. The color scheme will remain neutral – whites, greys, blacks, and you’ll see a lot of stainless steel.

Modern Urban is a style that takes the edge off the industrial look a bit by bringing in softer, neutral tones and furniture, such as featuring a wooden table instead of purely stainless steel and glass – like a perfect mix of mid-century Modernism, minimalism, and urban design.

Victorian: if you hate modern, minimalist, or contemporary, Victorian is likely your style

Think ornate chandeliers, heavy drapery, rich textiles, and details abound. Color palettes are rich and heavy: deep purples, blues, greens, reds, and golds. Heavily detailed, patterned, and textured wallpapers give way to ornate moldings and carvings.

Light fixtures are often dim – to imitate Victorian-era candlelight, and sconces and chandeliers will either be gorgeous glass or heavy wrought-iron.

Textiles and furniture is are velvety and inviting – commonly tufted. This style is of opulence, warmth, and utter excess.

Coastal:the “beach house” design

This style will have you feeling like you’re walking into a beach vacation, with light, airy accents and colors. Paint and textile color palettes are bright white, sand color, greens, blues, and turquoises, and tons of nautical stripes. Tchotchkes abound will take the form of seashells and sail accessories, and furniture will be wicker and wood.

With so many interior design styles, it can be hard to choose what’s right for you. We recommend scrolling through Pinterest boards, Instagram feeds, and paging through design magazines and marking what speaks to you. From there, we will help you determine what your style is!

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