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10 popular interior design styles explained.

Contemporary, Industrial, Eclectic,.....There's a lot of different interior design styles out there that can be so confusing and make you feel lost at first. A challenge for most clients we meet but hopefully after this post you'll be able to define a room's style in one glance. So, to recap on our last post, we mentioned that the very first step to designing your perfect room is choosing a style direction. This post will outline the most common styles so it can be a little easier for you to search for the right inspiration for your room, or just so you can show off your designer lingo among your friends. It's going to be a long post but it's worth it so bear with me....



Style 01: Traditional

Traditional design draws its' inspiration from the 18th & 19th Century England and France, so they always reflect classic European decor. There’s a lot of depth, layering and dimensionality in most traditional designs.

A few key points to identify a traditional design:

-Symmetrical designs, where everything goes in pairs like sofas, lamps and accessories.

-Intricate details and ornaments in moldings, wood paneling and built-in cabinetry.

-Rich and elegant fabrics like silk and velvet with different patterns like damask, florals, stripes, and plaids.

-Neutral palettes with mostly dark finished wood.

-A selection of Antique pieces and accent furniture.



Style 02: Transitional

Transitional design borrows from the traditional and modern design so it's considered the medium between both design styles. It mixes elegance with the contemporary lines and texture creating a beautiful balance. Transitional rooms are both sleek and stylish but also warm and inviting.

A few key points to identify a transitional design:

-focuses on architectural features like fireplaces and cornices.

-Muted color palettes of mostly off whites, greys and tans.

-Uses a mixture of textures like glass,steel,wood, rattan and lacquer.

-Furniture with tufting, plush fabrics and nailhead trims are very common.

-Includes upholstered ottoman coffee tables and elegant consoles.



Style 03: Contemporary

Basically, contemporary is all that is trendy at the moment so it's constantly changing. It borrows items from various time periods so it creates a design that could last a lifetime. Contemporary designs are often confused with modern but the main difference between them is that modern is a strict interpretation of the 20th century design, while contemporary is more changeable and doesn't stick to a certain style, so you can find curved lines that can't be found in modern design.

A few key points to identify a contemporary design:

-Open floor plan and unusual layouts.

-Relies on natural lighting and neutral colors.

-Bold scales and sophisticated palettes.

-Mixed metals,stone, glass and focuses on textures.

-Statement lighting either over sized or artistic and using sculptural elements.

-Furniture are often with exposed legs and clean lines.



Style 04: Modern

So as we said earlier, modern interior design started in the early to mid 20th century. It's a broad design term that is now used to express anything simple, sleek, smooth and with clean crisp lines. With modern design the decor is kept to a minimal level, so there's no clutter or unnecessary accessories.Remember Harvey Specter's office or apartment from Suits? These are pure modern designs.

A few key points to identify a modern design:

-Open Floor plans that are asymmetrical.

-Neutral color palette with bold color accents.

-Metal, glass and steel are frequently used.

- Sleek furniture pieces with basic shapes and no ornaments.

-Using statement art pieces instead of accessories.



Style 05:Mid-Century Modern

Now Mid-century modern has a very distinctive look.Remember how homes looked like in the 1950's and 1960's? Yeah, that's exactly it. It has a very minimal look that also gives an ancient retro vibe. That poppy vibe never goes out of style.

A few key points to identify a Mid-century modern design:

-Lightly furnished plans.

-Rich woods like teak, rosewood and walnut are mostly used.

-Playful, abstract and uses a lot of geometrical patterns.

-Colorful textile shades such as: Mustard, bright orange, avocado and turquoise.

-Furniture with shallow button tufting and tapered wooden legs.

-Iconic furniture such as the Eames lounger chair, the egg chair, or the wishbone chair.



Style 06: Industrial

Industrial design in the 90's when a lot of North American city centers started refurbishing warehouses into residential buildings. Developers created large open units and decided to leave the brick walls,old floors,exposed pipes and electrical wires as they are. Therefore, resulting in the now popular industrial design.

A few key points to identify an industrial design:

-Raw and unfinished look.

-Concrete flooring, exposed brick, wood and metal surfaces with hammered and scorched finishes.

-Mostly black and white with greys,rustic colors and copper tone accents.

-Huge sectionals with distressed leather fabric.

-High ceilings, beams and light furnishing.

-Dangling lighting fixtures that hang low and have wide shades or studio floor lamps with exposed bulbs.

-Edgy objects,artisan metal art and unhung monochrome prints.



Style 07: Eclectic

Eclectic design is all about mixing colors, furniture and materials. By borrowing ideas from different styles, trends and time periods it becomes very unique and diverse. This makes it one of the hardest styles to work with because it can easily look horrible, but when it's done right it gives a very cohesive and fun design.I'm sure you've all watched F.R.I.E.N.D.S, or we just can't be friends anymore, anyway do you remember Monica Geller's apartment? Now every chair on that dining room wasn't like the other, but every piece of the room felt like this is where it belongs right? That is a beautiful eclectic design.

A few key points to identify an eclectic design:

-Contrasting colors and variety of styles.

-Bold color palettes, textures, patterns and fabrics.

-Different furniture styles.

-A few antique pieces.



Style 08: Scandinavian

Scandinavian interiors are inspired by the very subtle and simple lifestyle of Nordic countries. They are simply modern, functional and timeless. They are very minimal but at the same time use the Danish concept of Hygge which is everything that gives you the feeling of comfort, coziness and well-being. One of the most popular stores and the most famous for scandinavian design is Ikea.

A few key points to identify a scandinavian design:

-Open, airy spaces with a lot of natural light.

-Mainly white with bright accents.

-Light wide wood planks for floors.

-Simple artwork with hints of color.

-Organic materials, natural fibre throws or fur.

-Layered fabrics, textured cushions and throws for more coziness.

-Slim lined and functional furniture with armchairs that are partially upholstered.

-Wooden stools and benches are very common.



Style 09: Bohemian

The word ‘bohemian’ refers to someone who is socially unconventional and often involved in arts, which makes it visually interesting and give a relaxed atmosphere. It's inspired by nomadic and ethnic vibes. Moroccan and tribal styles are also a great source of inspiration for some of the most popular designs nowadays.

A few key points to identify a bohemian design:

-Vibrant colors and rich patterns.

-Layering of accessories like throws, cushions and rugs.

-Red and purple tones are used a lot.

-Wood and metallic accents.

-Low and comfortable seating.

- An intentional "messy" look.



Style 10: Farmhouse

Farmhouse is close to country or rustic styles but has a modern approach to the cabin-inspired design. It gives a very cozy feel because of the amount of natural wood used. It also has a very vintage like aura.

A few key points to identify a farmhouse design:

-Open floor plan with a large kitchen and dining space.

-Neutral color palette that's mostly white.

-Has a few key pieces which are the fireplace, open shelves and cabinets.

-Ceilings with reclaimed wood beams, shiplap and barn doors are very common.

-Cozy natural textures and linen for fabrics.

-A variety of vases and planters.



I know this was long but i really hope it was helpful. There are definitely more styles but these are the most popular ones. If there's any style that you still feel is confusing or you need me to discuss another specific style let me know in the comments below. Have a GREAT day!


*All photo credits go to their owners.


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