So you’re ready to redecorate. Great! What interior design style is best for you? There are some broad categories, naturally, and within each, you’ll find small differences in things like color palette and finishes that can take your style from shabby chic to French country. Some are so subtle, you may not even notice it!
Read on for the key points of some of the most popular interior design styles and learn what’s best for you!
Though it’s inspired by the 18th and 19th centuries, traditional design isn’t necessarily stuffy. Traditional design is all about consistency and order. The color palette for traditional design is dark, with lots of jewel tones and wood accents. Ornate decorations like claw feet and detailed scrolling are key markers of traditional style furniture.
When it comes to décor elements, think gold, silver, and anything that is dramatic without being ostentatious. Traditional design isn’t snobby or over-the-top;it balances drama with practicality.
The farmhouse style is rustic, but it’s not quite country. It’s a blend of modern touches and pieces that look like they’ve been collected over time. Farmhouse décor is eclectic, with common threads of natural elements like wood and wicker.
A farmhouse design runs the risk of swinging too far into country overload with barnyard-inspired elements like roosters and sunflowers. A traditional farmhouse wasn’t adorned with flea-market knick-knacks but with practical items gathered over time.
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Transitional decor combines traditional elegance with contemporary updates in furniture, accessories and fabrics. It’s a bit more relaxed than traditional design with simple, yet sophisticated lines. Fabric choices for this style are ultra suedes, cheniles, and soft leathers in neutral color schemes with lots of layering.
In one word, French country design is charming. In more words, it’s a balancing act of rustic elements and items that are inherently elegant. The French country color palette is warm and inviting.
French country borrows from several of its traditional peers. The weathered finishes of a farmhouse interior are also right at home in a French country design. For example: the ornate scrolling and details of a classic, traditional armchair would work well in this interior design style as you can combine a distressed paint job with the traditional lines to accomplish a French country feel.
The grandmillennial style is what it sounds like, to an extent. It’s elements of what you’d find at grandma’s house combined with the design sensibilities of a millennial. When combined, these components produce an eclectic, yet traditional aesthetic. Grandma’s settee is paired with the sleek Scandanavian coffee table in a grandmillennial living room.
In this style, patterns reign supreme. For a generation obsessed with nostalgia, combining these two results in the comfort of childhood Sundays spent at Nana’s and the sleek images we see on the feeds of Instagram influencers.
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This style is all about pastels, florals, and soft fabrics. It’s a comfortable décor style that feels a little worn in. Heavily starched and pressed linens have no place here. This is another interior design style that will work well with weathered finishes. In fact, anything with a well-loved feel will work well in a shabby chic room!
In this style, there really aren’t many rules when it comes to mixing patterns. Mixing florals and stripes of any size and shape actually make a shabby chic room more inviting.
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On the other end of the spectrum, you have modern styles. In contrast to the scrolls and details in traditional interior design styles, modern interiors are all about clean lines and shapes.
In a truly modern style, every element in the room serves a purpose. There are no unnecessary decorative items, nothing superfluous. In homes designed for a modern look, you’ll find lots of natural light and an open floor plan, but any home can support a modern look as long as you stick to clean lines and natural elements.
As I said in this post, a contemporary home is sophisticated and simple. The same clean lines and natural elements of a modern style are popular in contemporary designs.
A major component of a contemporary design is the color palette. Contemporary spaces use predominantly black and white, with neutral colors playing a supporting role. Add in a bold, bright color for an accent.
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At first blush, minimalist sounds like “nothing in your house.” While that might be technically true, minimalist décor isn’t minimalist for minimalism’s sake. The point of this style is to eliminate unnecessary items and force every piece in your home to serve a purpose while also making an impact.
One of the most important elements in a minimalist design is actually the lack of elements. Open space, both on your walls and your floor plan, is key. Like other modern décor styles, stick to clean lines.
Mid Century Modern
This interior design style came from architects and designers who came to America after WWII. As with many other modern styles, clean lines are important in a MCM style. Geometric patterns are popular in this style, just like contemporary and modern styles.
What stands out in MCM, though, is the introduction of man-made materials like polyester and plastic into interior design. Bright colors came into fashion in the mid century modern era, with appliances joining in on the fun (remember the avocado-colored stove at your aunt’s house? That’s MCM décor).
A common thread among modern interior design styles is geometric design and the art deco style has it in spades. Furniture in the art deco style is characterized by clean lines, yet where minimalist and contemporary designs feel simple, art deco feels glamorous and luxurious.
Back are the ornate details lost in most modern designs. The look is still geometric and strong, not soft and romantic like more traditional styles. Chevron and animal patterns are popular in art deco. And when in doubt, add some metal. Gold and stainless steel are popular elements in a typical art deco design.
When you think of an industrial style, you probably think about exposed construction elements like air ducts, beams, and old brick with big windows. But you don’t need to live in a repurposed loft to create an industrial style in your own home.
The industrial style seamlessly mixes warm elements like wood and red brick with cooler-feeling metals. Sleek, steel coffee end tables feel right at home next to a lush leather sofa. Industrial design still incorporates smooth, clean lines, but you can add in additional touches of industrial days gone by with accessories that would be out of place in a minimalist room. Think a piece of art with flowing lines or an abstract sculptural element.
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This is really just the tip of the iceberg of the many, many types of interior design styles. While these can give you a great starting point, you don’t have to follow any of these guidelines to the letter. Take to Pinterest and find a bunch of things you like, then refer back to this guide to see where your interior design style preference lies.
Then, as you make choices about what comes into your home, you can pull up your Pinterest board and this post to see whether that couch fits within your chosen style. The more genuine the style, the more your home will feel like yours!