Understanding all of the interior design styles is no small feat. There are not only dozens of styles that have been identified over the years, but designs can be customized to fit the needs of the homeowner.
Interior design has become nothing short of an obsession for many. In this blog post, we’re going to break it down. The differences between styles and how you can create a beautiful design for your home are immense. We hope to bring some clarity along with ideas for how you can design your interior space.
Interior Design Trends 2021
Before we get too far into the different styles out there, let’s take a look at some of the trends that have been popping up over the year. No doubt, there will be a few that you find valuable.
Nostalgia and All Natural
Two of the biggest trends that have started to become the norm throughout 2020 and into 2021 are nostalgia and all-natural. While both of these have been trends in the past, they’re surprisingly taking a lot of the United States by storm. Some might consider the pandemic to be part of the reason that both of these trends have become popular. The recent amounts of uncertainty have caused homeowners to desire a design that makes them feel comfortable.
Both nostalgia and all-natural design offer warm tones that feel inviting and help to relieve stress in the home. One element that’s especially common with all-natural design are plants. Plants help alleviate stress in many ways and are proven to be a calming mechanism for many people.
Diverse Design Inspirations
Another common trend over the past year or so has been the diversity of design inspirations throughout individual homes. No longer do homeowners draw from the same old sources of the past or even just one source. Instead, they’ll pull from multiple places to create a blend of design that is completely unique.
Elements of Interior Design
There are 7 elements of interior design:
These different elements make up all the differences between design styles. Let’s break each of them down so that we can better understand how they work together.
When it comes to color, you’re choosing more than just an aesthetic choice for a room. In truth, you’re choosing each room’s mood, how it affects the different pieces of furniture or art, and of course, the emotion given by the room.
Don’t get confused by form. The form is just a fancy word for the shape of a room. While you often won’t be able to change or choose the form of a room, you should adjust how the room is styled based on the form.
Light takes into account both how light enters the room through windows and how you choose to light the room. The quality of light in any given room dramatically impacts how your design and color choices will impact the room.
Think of line as the perimeter or line around the form/shape of the room. The lines in a room help to inform the character just as much as the form.
Pattern isn’t common in all design types, but it really stands out in the design types that it is in. An example of a pattern is wallpaper or other types of patterns on walls, ceilings, and floors.
Texture shouldn’t be confused with pattern because it’s not the room’s texture so much as it is the texture of different items throughout the room. Consider texture as the way that objects feel throughout the room.
Space is one of the simplest to measure because it accounts for simply the room’s length and width. The length and width will change the way that you use flooring in the room, light fixtures, and other elements.
To Hire or to DIY My Home Design?
After hearing some of the different interior design styles and design elements, do you think you’ll be able to handle the interior design of your home, or will you need to hire it out? There are obviously several factors to consider.
What’s Your Goal
Creating a goal for your space in your home is essential. Some goals include how much time you want to spend on the project, how much you can afford to spend, and how many renovations you need to complete.
Depending on your goals, you should be able to determine whether or not you’ll need to hire a contractor or if you can possibly design your home on your own. If you don’t have any design experience in the past and haven’t done many home improvement projects, you could consider working more closely alongside the contractor you hire.
Nonetheless, there’s still a lot to learn about design before you’re ready to DIY your home design. If you consider hiring a contractor to help you work on your interior design project, reach out to Thomas Buckborough & Associates today!
Interior Design Styles to Consider
There are many different interior design options out there, which can make it hard to decide on just one style. Because there are so many different design styles, we’re just focusing on four of the main ones.
As we go through each one, take note of the different elements you might like or dislike. Then, you can dive into them and learn more about the unique subcategories within each style. While it is essential that your home matches and is consistent throughout, you might be able to mix and match a little bit here and there. Here are the four main design styles and what makes them up.
Modern Interior Design
One of the most common interior design styles right now is modern. While it’s come a long way, modern interior design has always been something that’s aspired towards. Because “modern” is included in the title of this style, you can assume that it will change and update from time to time. Sometimes modern will be slightly more mid-century modern, and other times it might take a modern farmhouse. Here are some examples of modern interior design and different common characteristics.
Many homes are designed with either dark or light walls. When it comes to modern interior design, you’re not looking for one extreme or the other. Instead, you want neutral colors on the walls. Think of simple pastels and earth tones, both of which are going to work really well no matt the color of your decor.
Clean Simple Lines
Elaborate architecture and lines aren’t common within the modern interior design style. Instead, you’ll want to stick to really basic, clean, and elegant styles. Things that make you feel really at home and comfortable. Nothing too fancy is a good way to put it.
Some Industrial Elements
Don’t overthink this part of modern design. All you have to do to have is use some real elements within your home, such as stone, exposed wood, or exposed metal. Each of these can help to contribute to the modern industrial type look. Exposed wood beams are especially popular these days.
Keeping your home and decor free of clutter is a huge part of modern design. No matter what you try to do with decorating, clutter is going to make it difficult to see. While keeping your house tidy and clean is part of it, you’ll also want to keep things as simple as you can. Think clean shelves and small decor elements with just one or two key pieces.
Primary Colors Used As Accents
Because the walls are made up of mostly natural and neutral colors, you’ll want to use primary colors as accents whenever you can. Keep it simple, but don’t be afraid to throw in some yellows, greens, and blues to help spice things up. Any of the primary colors really work well.
Open Floor Plans
Open floor plans are another staple of modern design. Think big kitchens attached to living spaces with lots and lots of room for entertaining. These homes are meant to feel open so that you can enjoy the space with your guests and with your family.
Natural light is a must in any modern design. The best way to achieve natural light is by using large windows. These windows are often located in the living, dining, and kitchen area. Another place that might have large windows are the bedrooms.
If you’re looking for something that’s somewhat in between modern and contemporary design, then transitional design might be what you’re looking for. When you’re trying to create this type of design style, you need to look for the in-between; like a combination of two different design styles to make up one.
Colors need to evoke a clean feeling while accessories keep things minimal. White mats and rugs to offset picture frames are a great example. When looking for furniture, consider pieces that have a healthy mix of masculine and feminine styles. Here’s an example:
Contemporary Interior Design
Contemporary design is, in a lot of ways, the opposite of modern design. It uses more trendy elements and extreme contrasts to create different warm and cold elements throughout. The general characteristics include the use of simple yet deliberate uses of texture, color, and space. A contemporary space might invoke feelings of trendiness vs. classic.
Contemporary spaces will often have hard lines vs. smooth and offer lots of open spaces. Indirect or recessed lighting will often be used to light walls and spaces, while the lights themselves don’t become the focal point. A lack of clutter is especially common with contemporary design, so try to keep things as simple as possible while you’re decorating. Think of your furniture as opportunities to contrast the bare room.
Industrial Interior Design
As the name implies, industrial design specifically touches on the industrial elements throughout the structure and decor. Exposed elements like brick, wood, and metal all take a huge role in making up the industrial design style. Furniture pieces that use these elements along with clear glass are all great ways to give your decor an industrial spin.
If you’re attempting to remodel your home in a way that models industrial design, the best way to do so is by using exposed wood and brick. In an older structure, you might consider showing some of the metal piping in the ceiling. It can be hard to model a home to look industrial in appearance, but there are many ways to focus on industrial decor. Take a look at some of these examples on Pinterest.
Art Deco is a very unique yet extravagant type of interior design that’s hard to miss. It stands above some of the other design styles as one of the most elegant in many ways. Because of this, you’ll commonly see it displayed in up-scale hotels, businesses, and of course, homes. Some of the key features that Art Deco always incorporates include modern, bold, elegant, and angular forms. The form of interior design dates back to the early 1920s, and you can see how when each of those characteristics is combined, the style would feel generally upscale.
Think back to a movie from the 1920s or 1940s. The colors throughout the homes and the furniture will often have hints of what we consider today as art deco. The colors of the era were bright, focusing on reds, yellows, blues, and pinks. Bright pink lounges and blue cabinetry would have been prevalent elements during this time.
Common Furniture and Fabrics
The furniture that fits this style is quite large at scale and will often make big impressions overall. But most of the furniture is very streamlined and won’t have many frills or fancy things attached to it. However, some furniture would have pearl or other type inlays that were inspired by safari trips that were common amongst upscale families.
Fabrics included leather and velvet as some of the most common. The fabrics were all mostly solid colors. Avoidance of overly feminine or masculine patterns was extremely common. Floral patterns or plaid patterns are not at all apart of the Art Deco style.
While Art Deco isn’t as common in today’s world, it still has its place, and some homeowners really enjoy including different Art Deco elements. You can learn more about the history ofthis design style here.
Rustic is a trendy style today. Many homeowners and consumers identify with this style because of its many “natural” touchpoints. Experts will often argue that Rustic design includes and encompasses a number of different styles. Because of this, you might notice that Rustic touches on a lot of the different styles we’ve already covered. We still think that there are elements or a way of designing a home’s interior that highlights a truly rustic feel. Some standard features of the rustic design include natural wood finishes, the use of raw stone and some metals, simplicity, and handmade features. Here are some more characteristics:
No Modern Touches
Rustic will not be incorporating anything from Modern design. No lights, furniture, or colors. That’s one of the big differentiators that Rustic brings to the table. While yes, Modern design can pull some really big Rustic styles into itself. Rustic will remain entirely it’s own in the way that it decorates and lives in your home.
Almost all of the furniture within your home should be handmade if you’re going to call your style Rustic design successfully. Because the furniture is handmade, it will always have a very simple look and feel. Handmade furniture carries its own unique beauty because of the way it is made.
Fireplaces are a place in the home that has a great opportunity to really display the beauty that’s associated with Rustic design. When it comes to a real wood-burning fireplace, you have the opportunity to use exposed stone and a natural wood mantel. Resist the urge to paint the brick on the fireplace or the mantel itself because that will lean more modern than rustic.
Another extremely popular interior design style is Scandinavian. Why it’s grown so much popularity over the years is hard to say, but it’s definitely one that has become a staple across different areas in the U.S. and especially the midwest. The common characteristics of this style include minimalism, simplicity, and functionality. This type of design lends itself well to a very usable yet still beautiful home.
The colors used throughout Scandinavian interior design are often neutral, consider greys, whites, and other light tones. Because of that, textiles are often used to accent different areas throughout the home. Something that’s especially common is the use of brightly colored pillows on couches.
Wood + Metal Finishes
Both wood and metal are common finishes that look really nice throughout this style. Wood floors are a must, and using hairpin legs on wood tables with metal chairs is also very common. Wood elements in the kitchen are also very common and, while it’s not a must, most cabinets will feature naturally finished wood.
Plants and Flowers
Plant and flowers are some of the most common accents used within the style. Among lovers of Scandinavian design, there really can’t be enough plants included in the interior design. Fresh flowers on the kitchen counter or table are another great way to bring color and warmth into the space.
As you might guess, the number one feature within minimalist design is that it’s simple. There’s very little decor, and everything is straightforward in general. Clean lines, a simple color palette, and an open floor set it apart from some of the other styles we’ve already covered.
Think of the simple things. A desk, chair, and a lamp to make up the majority of your office decor. Nothing too crazy and nothing too fancy, just a really simple bare essentials setup. Oftentimes that’s why it works and why people are so drawn to it. Clutter can make things really distracting and difficult to workaround.
Clean lines throughout help to make the home seem more open and large despite the size. Flat, smooth furniture is a great way to incorporate clean lines and enjoy a minimalist setup. Additionally, minimalist homes will have a very open floor plan that doesn’t use lots of different rooms or nooks and crannies.
Textiles to Break Things Up
Textiles offer exactly what you need to break things up a bit and make it fun. Without things like blankets and pillows to break up the overly simple design, you’ll be left feeling a little too bored with your home’s look. Textiles will help you change that in a simple and thoughtful way.
Mid-century modern is a common design style that is often used throughout the country. It’s a very safe design style that offers many different elements that many people can appreciate. This design style started taking place around 1933 and continued to around 1965.
Defining factors of mid-century include items and pieces that make you feel a sense of nostalgia. Post-WWII, this style offered a lot of new materials and items that hadn’t been used in the past, thus creating a trendy feel. Today we might view mid-century style decor as memory or style that offers a sense of security away from today’s trendy design styles.
Distinguishing Features of Mid-Century Modern
Some distinguishing features of this style include:
- Clean lines
- Minimalist orientation
- Different traditional and non-traditional materials
- Some contrast in materials
All of these elements work together to give the feeling of nostalgia and newness that keeps the design style alive today.
Common Characteristics of Mid-Century Modern
Characteristics regularly included within this style are:
- Organic influences
- Simple forms
- Designed to fit your need and style
The last point is what makes this style unique. There aren’t many hard and fast rules around this design style, allowing you to make the most of it in your own way. You don’t have to follow specific trends or stay to a certain type of design to still offer a mid-century style.
Bohemian has quickly been growing in popularity for many reasons. However, one of the main reasons is the use of natural materials and plants throughout. Additionally, the style is very bright and light, making it very inviting in open spaces.
With bohemian design, you can expect that some elements may match, and others might go outside of the design style and pull from other popular design styles. That’s really where the fun of this style is. There’s a lot of freedom to add different pieces and have fun things that maybe don’t quite match.
Characteristics of Bohemian Design
As you might have guessed, at the top of the list of characteristics is wicker furniture, colorful throw rugs, and lots of plants and pillows. Bohemian is a very trendy style and calls for the space you’re designing in to have a sense of “pop” or “wow” to it.
You’ll want to also keep in mind that rich and bold colors and patterns are extremely popular and praised within this style. Most elements will offer a sense of color as well. There will also be a lot of small individual pieces that match but tell their own story. Collectors love this style for this reason alone.
If you’re looking for more tips, be sure to check out this design guide. It’s full of great pictures and practices.
Eclectic design is simply a mix of multiple design styles into one space. There are lots of informal mixes and a wide variety of styles artfully used to create one eclectic pattern. Unexpected elements, bright colors, and bold patterns are all commonly used within this design style.
Key Elements and Characteristics of Eclectic Design and Decor
The best way to look at this style is through different mixes of the other styles. For example, perhaps you’d mix bohemian with a minimalist style and thus create an eclectic boho minimal style or something along those lines. Here some ideas of styles that you could mix to create an eclectic style.
- Modern Rustic
- Bohemian Minimalist
- Glam Eclectic (features many different bright styles and furniture)
- Tropical Bohemian
- Modern Collector Style
Each of these styles will inherently become its own as you change and add different pieces to make it unique. To have a truly eclectic style, you’ll need to make it your own.
Inspired primarily by the 18th and 19th centuries, traditional design offers a timeless style that may truly be present forever. This style is often inspired by European decor but can incorporate lots of elements that are now American antiques.
Key characteristics will include dark, warm tones and earthy color pallets. When this design style is present, it’s easy to feel as though the items around you are antique or at least aged well.
Characteristics of Traditional Design
Characteristics include furniture that looks like it’s fit for royalty—lots of velvet-type chairs with wood legs that offer a very ornamental feeling. Details within the style will also offer an ornamental feeling and sense. Bold colors and decor can sometimes make the style feel busy and leave guests in awe of all the different pieces.
When decorating, one thing to keep in mind is that there is always a structure to each decor piece. One side may mirror the other to create symmetry. Look for lots of balance with not one piece left out of place. Everything will match and seem perfectly fit for where it is placed.
Coastal design is interesting for a few different reasons but one of the main reasons is because it can vary dramatically depending on where the home or building is being decorated. For example, some of the characteristics of coastal design might be different in Alaska than those in southern California. But, nonetheless, there are some very distinct parts of the coastal design style that make it worth covering in our guide.
Characteristics of Coastal Design
The first thing to know about the characteristics is that, although it can often be confused as nautical design, coastal isn’t quite the same. It’s also very different from Mediterranean, the style that we’ll be converting next. here’s what to expect out of a coastal home.
Coastal homes are always filled with light. Huge windows and natural light will always be a staple. If you’re trying to create a coastal designed or inspired home be sure to include lots of windows.
Natural Clean Design
The interior design throughout a coastal home will feature all different kinds of decorations but the design should always remain very clean and simple. The colors are simple, the furniture is simple, all making you feel as though you’re on a coastal vacation.
Lots of White
Colors used throughout coastal design will always favor a lighter pallet and especially white. Use of white as a backsplash and countertop in a kitchen isn’t uncommon and some coastal homes will even throw in white cabinets to add to that. All of this helps to make a more natural and clean feeling design.
A coastal home will have fewer walls and a much more open floor plan. Different rooms should flow together and will often give the feeling that the home is much larger than it actually is.
Mediterranean design style highlights the southern coast. Think of places like Mexico that border the ocean and offer this intense sense of romance and relaxation when you visit them. Decorating this way doesn’t lend itself all that well to most places, but it is a great way to design your interior for some. Here are things that Mediterranean design is now for:
Natural wood will be commonly used throughout the entire space. Expect for there to be natural wood cabinets, beams, furniture, and more. All of this wood helps to compliment the earthy design and makes the home feel more warm and welcoming. When you’re inside a Mediterranean design, you’ll definitely sense all of the raw elements that are present.
Open shelving is common throughout different areas of the home. Designers will likely include it in the kitchen, possibly in the bathrooms, and sometimes in living rooms. Open shelving allows the home to feel even more raw and open.
Natural Stone or Tile on most Walls
Stone and tile walls are common when creating accent walls. Outside of stone and tile, smooth walls will be used. Wallpaper is rarely used in the Mediterranean design and is often discouraged in this style.
Earth Tones or White Colors
Wall color is an essential focus in any home. Mediterranean homes will have a number of different color options, but all of them will fit within the broader range of earth tones. Lots of greys, creams, and sand colors are used in these homes. White is another very common color because of the accent that it offers.
If you’re looking for a truly exotic design style, then consider French country. French country will allow you to feel like you’re somewhere far off in Europe no matter where the physical location of the building you’re staying at is.
The inspiration for French country comes from the French countryside and the homes that fill it. It’s a very “farmhouse”-esque design style while maintaining some of the modern amenities that make homes like these so attractive. You’ll find this design making you feel a sense of rustic and elegant all at once.
Furniture that Offers Curves
The furniture throughout this style has all kinds of curves. You’ll find the chairs, couches, and end tables all have curves and rounded edges.
Natural Decor and Tones
Most of the decor and color patterns throughout French country are very natural. When they aren’t natural elements, they’ll swing all the way to bright reds, yellows, and pinks. These brighter colors are often used in the patterns.
Patterns Wherever Possible
Patterns are extremely popular for a few different reasons. One of the main reasons that patterns are used is because of the life and excitement that they can add to a room. Whether the pattern is used as wallpaper on an accent wall, curtains in a bedroom, or pillows on a couch. Patterns are a great way to make this interior design style really fun!
Old and New Furnishings
A mixture of both old and new furnishing is really common for French country design. Think old pieces of artwork or antique furniture that can accent some newer or more modern pieces. This helps to give it a “modern farmhouse” type feel.
Speaking of modern farmhouse, we couldn’t take the time to put a guide like this together and not cover this very influential design style. Today, this style is all the rage throughout most of the United States. It seems that almost every homeowner wants to style their home after a modern farmhouse.
Here are the characteristics that have everyone excited. If you’re looking for a very in-depth post with lots of pictures, check outthis one by Connecticut in Style.
Natural light is a huge part of this style. In fact, it’s almost essential. Without natural light, your home would feel a bit darker and might lend itself better to a different style. Modern farmhouse interior design will always require you to have lots of exterior windows.
Open Floor Concept
High ceilings and an open floor concept are extremely popular and vital for a true modern farmhouse. The space needs to remain very usable and inviting as well.
Natural Materials and Colors
Modern farmhouse is always full of natural colors. Rarely will a modern farmhouse use or need bright colors. Instead, colors will be muted and tend to resemble natural or earth tones. These raw materials are what makes it a modern farmhouse instead of just a modern home.