There are a million ways to decorate a home interior and a thousand interior design styles out there around the world. With an abundance of choices and ideas, it can be overwhelming to pick a theme for your home.
But if you’re looking for something achievable, take a look at some of the major and most popular design styles in homes today:
The contemporary design represents the here and now. It’s a more modern version of the modern style (I hope you get it). It’s a complete turnaround of the conventions of a traditional décor by giving a clutter-free appearance, while incorporating unique architecture, smooth forms and strong lines. It won’t give you the warmth of older design styles, but it doesn’t bring a chilly or breezy vibe either.
The contemporary style can be achieved using large windows, sleek furniture, minimal accessories, metal frames and straight legs; and by giving emphasis on basic geometric shapes and forms. Prepare to use neutral colored furniture and walls paired with brightly colored accents, but the dynamic nature of the contemporary style would let you break its own rules.
You heard it a lot from interior designers. You’ve read it a lot on home and garden magazines. And now, you don’t even know what is modern anymore. You may ask, “Isn’t all trending styles modern? Isn’t contemporary the same with modern?” Well, we’d like to answer no to both questions. “Modern” is actually an architectural design movement that originated in the 1930s, which sought to break tradition.
Modern design style employs a sense of simplicity, true use of material, minimal decorations and clean-lined architecture. The basic general rules would be: pick a neutral color pallet, observe asymmetry, add polished surfaces, employ geometric shapes, and probably the most important of all – use metal, glass and steel. Now, you may have hinted that modern design follows stricter guidelines than contemporary.
As the name suggests, the industrial style draws inspiration from a factory, warehouse or urban loft. It gives that raw, utilitarian appeal with a sense of edginess and sophistication. The industrial style was inspired from the industrial era, wherein liberal use of steel, exposed bricks and distressed wooden materials were common. Back then, it wasn’t a style; it represents the blandness of their everyday life. But somewhere along the way, its rawness and lack of pretension started to become appealing for people of the 20th to 21st century. The industrial, “unfinished” look has become a trend adopted in modern homes, loft apartments and commercial spaces.
Think about visible pipes, high ceilings with wooden beams, stainless steel counters, exposed brick and ductwork, dangling metal fixtures, abstract art, plus more combinations of wood and metal. Pick some worn-down furniture and incorporate stripped-back architecture. That’s how the industrial design looks like.
4. Mid-Century Modern
There were some disagreements as to when the mid-century modern design movement originated, but as the name implies, it lasted for around the 1940s to the 1970s. It epitomizes the nostalgic post-war memories and Rat Pack days with its open floor plans, organic and natural shapes, contemporary patterns, minimalistic design and eye-popping accents. The mid-century modern design is all about giving a classic functionality with minimal fuss.
To achieve the mid-century modern look, don’t be afraid to mix and match traditional materials such as wood, with non-traditional materials such as glass, metal, vinyl and plastic. Pick background colors from neutral to bold or black to white, then accentuate with deep colors like olive green, teal, orange and mustard yellow. Go for quirky fixtures and accessories. Blur the lines from organic to man-made. Bring the outside in.
The Scandinavian style is an offshoot of the mid-century modern design and made it more simple and pure. It’s an all-time trend that represents the simplicity of life in the Nordic countries. Think about their climate and their landscape comprised of forests, mountains and lakes. Their homes must feel cozy, bright and rejuvenating. And yes, that’s what the Scandinavian style is all about.
This style is characterized by simplicity, functionality, craftsmanship, elegance and warmth. The all-white color palette with earthy undertones and the incorporation of wood, steel, bronze accents and wide plank flooring is commonly seen in homes with Scandinavian design. The interiors are also spacious, well-lit by natural light and have minimal decorations.
The timeless appeal of the traditional style lies within its tasteful blending of elegance and comfort. Inspired by the 18th to 19th century Europe, expect classic styles, antique furnishings, symmetry and other elements with rich history within traditionally-designed homes. It makes use of rich color palettes, finished wood, curvy lines, different textures, patterned surfaces and elaborate ornaments.
Traditional design may remind you of the familiarity of the past, perhaps because you grew up in a home with comfy leather armchairs, thick curtains, elegant chandeliers, floral wallpapers, and walls embellished with wooden photo frames. There is a certain warm and welcoming feeling that the traditional style can only make us feel.
If you want a warm and inviting home that is also stylish and sleek, go for the transitional design. It combines the elements of traditional and contemporary styles to create a look that is familiar and modern. It’s not too formal, not too fussy and not too edgy – it contains just the right amount of them all.
The common features of a transitional design is the inclusion of neutral colors like beige, cream, taupe and khaki; use of plush furnishings balanced by adding steel and glass; blending of textures such as jute, leather, chenille and rattan; and adding soft carpets on wooden floors and drapes on huge windows.
In minimalist interiors, less is more. It’s one of the flagship architectural developments of the 20th century. For some, minimalism is cold and boring, but enthusiasts consider it sleek and sexy. Everything is plain, streamlined and clutter-free; thus, making a comfortable, liveable and stress-free environment.
To achieve the minimalist look, the key is to de-clutter. Store everything out of sight and keep all surfaces clear. For the color palette for your interior, chose the combination of black and white (or perhaps any muted color as default), then add one or two accent colors to highlight accessories and furniture. Place less furniture and keep them plain and solid with clean lines. Keep your walls clear but add one or two pieces of décor to add color. The minimalist is sure to bring an uber modern feel to your home with the sense of calmness and restfulness.
9. Old World
Gaining roots from the design conventions during the 16th to 17th century Europe, the old world style infuses the medieval and the Renaissance. Showcasing the grace of the Mediterranean coasts of Italy and Spain as well as the countryside of France, it brings an illusion of the old times – a feeling that people who are uneasy with bare windows and all-white would love. It brings a sense of antiquity and grandeur, but still manages to bring warmth and comfort. Its regal and grand rooms may look formal, but it feels comfortable and homey.
Typically, old world design makes use of earthy materials like limestone, tile and marble, matched with sizeable pieces of furniture made of rich wood and dark leather. Color palette would include brown, ocher, burgundy, forest green, cream and navy. The interior would boast of arched doorways or windows and exposed beams. Finishing on surfaces may be dark-stained, glazed, sanded or painted. Decorations would include ceramic jars, floral patterns, bamboo elements and bronze wall ornaments.
It’s funny how the “primitive” stuff would always look so fashionable and trendy after so many years. Look how the rustic design is trending. It shows off organic and natural elements for simplicity and warmth, breaking you off from the urban and virtual things in your life. It would make you feel like living in a cabin on the woods, even if you’re in the heart of the city. Nature is life with rustic design.
Normally, rustic interiors consist of lumber, wood and stone, embellished by elements like metal, glass, bamboo, rattan, clay, wool and sisal. Pieces of furniture would look like heirlooms, vintage or flea market finds (most probably, they really are). Items are timeworn, distressed or handcrafted. Everything is simple, rugged, natural and down-to-earth.
11. Shabby Chic
If you’re a frequent user of Pinterest, you have probably observed that shabby chic has become a trend. Actually, this uniquely attractive way of decorating started in the 1980s. This design is inspired from different styles – it looks like vintage but more delicate, Bohemian but softer, and cottage-style but more feminine. It brings a sense of airiness and brightness, with a beautiful combination of what’s antique and contemporary.
In shabby chic interiors, you would often notice the use of white, cream and pastels. Vibrant colors are only used for accents. It also makes use of whitewashed wooden furniture, distressed elements, floral prints in muted colors, vintage embellishments, linen textiles, ornate wall hangings and flowers – yes, more flowers.
Inspired by the sea, the coastal style is cozy, breezy, relaxing and charming. Others also refer to it as cottage or nautical décor, while some consider them as different design themes. Anyway, it’s the style that will most likely come to your mind when you imagine a beach house. No matter where you live, using coastal design would make you feel like its summer all year round.
The common features of a coastal styled home are light and airy interior, painted white wood, cool neutral color palettes, white plush furniture and accents of blues, greens and gold. It brings the carefree feelings of beachcombing, sunbathing and boating.
Now that you have an idea of the most popular design styles nowadays, choose what suits your tastes and preferences best. Read more about that design style on so many interior design websites online and on home and garden magazines, and try to get that look for your home sweet home.