19 Interior Design Styles
Rooms decorated in the American Country style are generally relaxed and comfortable with simple adornments. This décor commonly references American heritage through the use of traditional materials and a country motif. Homes are inviting, cozy, and comfortable, often with wood floors and stone or brick fireplaces. Spaces look “lived in” with the use of antique and functional decorative elements such as pottery, carved wood, hand-formed metal, and baskets. Furniture is typically made of leather or soft fabrics in muted colors with floral or gingham patterns.
Art Deco style is a decorative take on modernist style from the early twentieth century. Interior architectural elements include smooth walls with rounded corners, parquet wood floors, glass block windows, and porthole windows. Furniture is modern, often with mirrored facades, and is heavily lacquered or with inlaid geometric designs. Common materials also include veneer, stainless steel, or chrome. As with modernist style, spaces are uncluttered with minimal furniture or display.
The history of Victorian design is rooted in nineteenth century England – during the reign of Queen Victoria. It was an era of ornate and excessive decoration in all things. Victorian design is defined by orderliness and ornamentation; surfaces are usually filled with objects that reflect the owner's interest, such as antique vases. Many Victorian homes have formal entertaining spaces towards the front of the home, such as a parlor and formal dining room. Carved wood chairs and furnishings are typical of this design aesthetic, and are generally small in scale to fit these rooms.
The Arts & Crafts style was formed as a part of the decorative arts movement of the late nineteenth century, becoming popular in the United States in the early twentieth century. The style was a response to the industrial era, where handcrafted work was being replaced by mass-produced, factory-made home wares. Textiles, ceramics, furniture, and metal work were handmade by artists in simple forms for home use. The objects created were typically functional as well as decorative.
Asian-inspired home interiors primarily reference Japanese and Chinese design aesthetics. The style is grounded in eastern philosophies, although diverse, striving to create a balance between the external world and internal being. Minimalism is the core virtue of Asian-inspired design. By eliminating clutter, ornaments, and furnishings, these spaces are thought to be enhanced and promote harmony. Design philosophies, such as Feng Shui, provide guidance for achieving balance between natural elements and encouraging the flow of energy.
When you think of luxurious or over-the-top ornamental home décor, Baroque style typically comes to mind. This style was adopted by European royalty in the seventeenth century and was the preference of palaces and churches throughout Europe through the mid-eighteenth century (Louis XIV’s palace at Versailles is done in a Baroque style). The Baroque color palette is often rich, incorporating dark reds or greens to enhance gold accent features that are commonly used to decorate mirrors, art, and accessories.
Whether you are decorating your home or a beach cottage, Coastal design is a fun way to bring the outdoors in. Often inspired by the beach with natural wood, white walls, and blue and yellow accents, the color palette is characterized as “breezy” with bright or pastel hues influenced by the sea and sand. To achieve the interior look of a beach cottage, bead board and clapboard are commonly used as wall coverings. Natural light is often enhanced through the use of sheer window panels or white slatted blinds. Furniture is comfortable and functional so as to fit in with the active beachfront lifestyle.
Contemporary style is characterized by open spaces, modern, clean lines, and carefully selected accents in bold shades. Like most modern styles, there is a lack of ornamentation in contemporary design. Instead, spaces are kept open and decorative accents are carefully selected. Floors are typically hardwood, tile, or polished concrete. Contemporary style can be achieved in any architectural space; however, industrial spaces or contemporary-built homes with large, uncovered windows and high ceilings are more common for this design aesthetic.
An Eclectic style can be a mélange of any design style or a mix of objects from different eras. Eclecticism differentiates itself from chaos by unifying diverse collections through color, scale, texture, and groupings to make a cohesive room or home. While this style is not minimalist, it requires meticulous thought in its display, so as not to cross the line from “style” to “stuff”.
French Provincial style is most influenced by the homes in Southern France. Homes in the French country style are a mix of rustic elements and elegant details similar to the Baroque style. Floors are typically dark wood, stone, or tile, walls are a textured plaster, and exposed wooden ceiling and wall beams are common. In contrast to the rustic elements, furnishings are more refined; including upholstered seating with carved-wood frames, window coverings in natural, toile and floral fabrics, and large gilded or carved wood-framed mirrors.
Industrial design style is often found in lofts or other reclaimed industrial spaces. Open spaces, high ceilings, and floor-to-ceiling windows are common in industrial spaces and defining decorative elements. Industrial spaces show their building materials as a design element, by using exposed brick walls, concrete or weathered wood floors, bare ceilings, structural beams, and metal air ducts. Because these spaces typically have so much texture in their building elements, a neutral palette is commonly used.
Mediterranean style homes are typically found in warmer climates and feature coastal design elements, such as open spaces and outdoor patios. This design style is influenced by homes in Greece, Spain, and Italy. Walls are typically made of stucco or plaster, floors are marble or tile, ceilings are usually wooden, and wall beams are left exposed. Golden yellows, olive greens, rich reds, and cobalt blues are colors commonly used and can been seen on walls, tapestries, mosaic inlays, pottery, and art.
Mid-Century Modernist style epitomizes simplicity with clean lines and minimal decoration. The furniture style compliments the architectural design with an emphasis on straight lines. Mid-century modern homes generally have open floor plans, with large floor-to-ceiling windows that call attention to the natural environment. Natural elements are also brought into the home with stone wall details and natural wood beams. In contrast, mid-century furniture is generally leather or wood and highly polished and sophisticated. Stainless steel and granite are complimentary materials with their sleek surfaces.
Morocco was a trade center for centuries and you can still see the influences of Arab, Spanish, and French cultures in this design style. This style is colorful, casual, and welcoming. Walls are generally heavily textured and painted rich colors. Textiles and tiles are common decorative elements and have bold geographic patters like stars or chevrons. Tiled floors commonly feature Persian rugs. Furniture is generally made with wood and overstuffed cushions, and additional seating can be accommodated through the use of floor pillows.
The climate and influences of the Pacific Northwest have led to a design aesthetic that enhances the experience in a region where much of the season is spent indoors. Modern architects influenced much of the Northwest’s home design through the incorporation of natural elements, such as wood and stone. Lighting is an important element, especially in an area that often experiences overcast skies. Large windows let in light and create a natural extension to the outdoors. Indigenous tribal art and Japanese design aesthetics are also commonly found in Northwestern designs.
Shabby Chic is a style that combines casual, romantic furnishings with antiques and elegant adornments. The look is achieved by distressing furniture to give it an aged appearance, combined with antiques and overstuffed, casual furnishings. Shabby Chic rooms are generally dominated with white, neutral colors, and light floral fabrics, to create an elegant and feminine space. Chandeliers, candles, and antiques all enhance the cozy, lived-in appeal of this style.
Southwestern-styled interiors are known for their desert-inspired designs; including textured walls made of adobe or layered plaster in light yellows and pinks. Floors are usually done in tile or light-colored hardwood, and paired with striped wool rugs for added warmth. Traditional Mexican or Southwest Indian art and distressed wrought iron are commonly used for decoration, and furniture is generally large and comfortable, with wood pieces built from knotty pine.
Traditional style interiors are an ageless favorite, offering comforting elegance and gracious living that easily adapts to changing lifestyles. Based upon styling first popularized in the 18th and 19th centuries, Traditional decoration relies upon the commanding presence of finely crafted woodworking. Queen Anne colors combined with Chippendale and Thomas Sheraton furniture designs are thought to be the universal benchmark of craftsmanship and lines of design. Fabrics in a traditional room are generally neither too shiny, nor too textured, with solid, tone-on-tone, and muted patterns.
Transitional style is a merging of traditional and contemporary furniture, finishes, materials, and fabrics, equating to a classic, timeless design. The transitional palette relies on a lack of color to evoke a clean, serene atmosphere. Dark colors are often used to add depth to a neutral balance of taupe, tan, and vanilla. Furniture lines are simple yet sophisticated, featuring either straight lines or rounded profiles. Fabrics can feature everything from graphic patterns on overstuffed sofas to textured chenilles on sleek wood frames.