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  • Writer's pictureJen @ Designlyst

Your Guide to 14 Interior Design Styles

Updated: Jun 1, 2022

Interior design styles defined with examples & tips on how to achieve the look!

14 Interior Design Styles Defined

Have you ever come across a picture of a beautiful living room, bedroom etc. and wondered - what is that style called? There are classic styles that have been with us for ages and some that have developed over time. Most of the newer interior design style trends are fusions - some have coined terms while others are just straight up conglomerates of a few different styles!

We'll jump into each of the 14 most popular interior design styles and the most common fusions below so grab your coffee (or wine - I certainly won't judge you!) and get comfy.

Already familiar with a few styles? Jump directly to something you want to see by clicking on it within this list.


Contemporary/Modern Interior Design

Contemporary Modern Interior Design

Sources & credits below

Modern style (dating back to the 1930s) features a monochromatic palette and minimal decoration; contemporary style (which emerged nearly half a century later), utilizes the simplicity of lines - either vertical or horizontal. Here’s a few tips to pull it all together.

  • Monochromatic color scheme - Think black & white or contrasting colors

  • Metallic Accents - Furniture legs, Décor & Lighting

  • Simple styled drapes and area rugs on solid surface floors

  • Textural materials such as velvet or leather

  • Straight lines - Furniture shapes/arms should be linear, not curved

  • Keep the space uncluttered and clean - less is more

Classic/Traditional Interior Design

Classic Traditional Interior Design

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Traditional interior design is a style of décor that is based on 18th- and 19th-century European styles. A traditional interior design scheme is timeless, comfortable and put together. Here are few pointers to achieve the look.

  • Use a neutral color palette

  • Architectural details like crown molding and wainscoting are tell-tale signs of a classic traditional style home

  • Furniture should be comfortable and feature ornate details like curved arms and pin tucked fabric. Nail head furniture is very popular in this style as well.

  • Furniture legs may be ornate or tapered

  • Classic lighting includes chandeliers or pendants

  • Wood finishes should generally be darker in tone

  • Understated & muted toned patterns in area rugs, furniture fabric or wallpaper like a damask or floral designs

Transitional Interior Design

Transitional Interior Design

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Transitional design is a combination of modern and traditional style elements resulting in a cohesive look. This style is one of the most popular as it incorporates classic styles with modern updates.

  • Clean room with comfortable furniture

  • Use a neutral color palette

  • Minimal to moderate use of décor

  • Mix traditional and modern elements as shown in the example above. Wingback chairs (traditional example) and marble/gold coffee table & décor (modern example)

  • Furniture legs are typically tapered but can be mixed in this fusion style

  • Overall look should be relaxed, livable but put together

Coastal Interior Design

Coastal Interior Design

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Coastal design can also be referred to as "Hampton's Style". This style features serene color schemes, natural materials and an overall nautical look.

  • Color schemes for this style are generally blue & white but you can also play with neutral creams and whites with different textures or patterns

  • Patterns for fabrics are usually striped, floral or solid

  • Furniture and décor materials are typically natural like wicker, rattan & wood

  • Linen or performance fabrics are usually used

  • Keep wood tones light

  • Include greenery like floor or hanging plants

  • Let in that natural sunlight!

Tropical Interior Design

Tropical Interior Design

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Unlike coastal interior design, tropical style is versatile in that color schemes and patterns are not limited. However, like coastal design, it incorporates natural materials and lots of greenery. While this style is popular in warmer climates, many associate this look with a sense of vacation. Get the look in your home with these tips.

  • Lots of tropical greenery - tall floor plants, hanging and table plants. Live in a colder climate? Mix in good quality faux plants!

  • Furniture and décor are usually natural materials like wicker, cane, rattan & wood

  • Wall and fabric colors & patterns can be dark or light - usually colorful, floral or global

  • Wood tones can vary in this style and can be mixed!

Mid Century Modern Interior Design

Mid Century Modern Interior Design

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Mid Century Modern design - AKA "MCM" design

Originating in the mid-20th century—simple, functional wooden pieces made from teak and curved designs with the use of color sprinkled throughout the space. Generally a handsome aesthetic can also be a fun and playful one with the use of colors, art & lighting!

  • Furniture should be teak or walnut. If solid wood pieces are out of the budget, there are many affordable replicas available now that feature the same look.

  • Furniture legs are typically peg style, hairpin or a metal swivel

  • Tables may be irregularly shaped along with curved chairs and sofas

  • Original MCM color schemes include pea green, mustard yellow, orange and robin's egg blue and the use of red fabrics or art may also be spotted in these designs.

  • Patterns in this design style are generally geometric

  • Light fixtures include oversized fabric pendants & space-aged sputnik chandeliers

  • When in comes to metallic accents - choose gold in your light fixtures, hardware on furniture and other décor

  • Connect with nature with large windows if possible

Industrial Interior Design

Industrial Interior Design

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Industrial style refers to design that takes clues from old factories and industrial spaces that in recent years have been converted to lofts and other living spaces. Industrial style includes weathered wood, building systems, exposed brick, industrial lighting fixtures and concrete.

  • A mix of grays, neutrals and rustic colors can be seen in these spaces

  • Exposed brick and exposed duct work are the foundations of the space

  • The use of metal in furniture, décor and lighting

  • Large sectionals are a staple item in industrial style living rooms. This is because of their ability to help close off larger spaces and help define separate living areas - especially in a large open loft space

  • Wood furniture should look rustic or unfinished

  • The overall feel of the space should be casual and urban

Farmhouse Interior Design

Farmhouse Interior Design

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Farmhouse style should be comfortable and rustic with a neutral color palette. This style stands on it's own but has also been fused with industrial elements over the last decade. The two styles work well together but the bullets below are quintessential farmhouse elements to start with.

  • Neutral color palette with contrasting wrought iron accents

  • Reclaimed wood, barnboard & shiplap are common materials for furniture, wall treatments and architectural details

  • Architectural salvage & vintage accessories

  • Big comfortable furniture

  • Pine furniture - think tables

  • Wide plank floors

  • Lots of natural sunlight

  • Don't forget the floral or greenery

Scandinavian Interior Design

Scandinavian Nordic Interior Design

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Scandinavia (often defined as the countries of Sweden, Denmark, and Norway)

Scandinavian AKA Nordic design is a minimalistic style using a blend of textures and soft hues to make sleek, modern décor feel warm and inviting. Clean lines, utility, and simple furnishings are functional, beautiful, and cozy.

  • Clear the room of any clutter - less is more in this style

  • Walls should be white or a light neutral color

  • Wood flooring is typical - or a good quality look-a-like alternative

  • A plush, textured rug or throw pillows create "Hygge" and warm the space up

  • Incorporate natural textiles like leather

  • Wood tones are light or blond in furniture, flooring and any décor

  • Artwork & wall décor should be limited but not always monochrome. You may add a pop of color sparingly here

  • Statement pendant lights - of contemporary/modern style

  • A few simple neutral items like wood or clear glass to decorate with. Black may also be used sparingly as an accent

  • Include a few potted plants

  • The room should feel bright and spacious

Japandi Interior Design

Japandi Interior Design

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Japandi is a recent interior design trend and is the fusion of Japanese & Scandinavian design. Wabi-sabi is a Japanese aesthetic term alluding to the beauty of imperfection or rustic elegance although, it can come off as being too cold at times. Hence the Scandinavian fusion of warmth! Experts in this style, Shizenstyle, say the following list are principles to achieve the Japandi look.

  • An overall modern rustic theme of the interior is what we are striving for. Elements of coziness and warmth should also be taken into consideration.

  • Japandi seems to make use of lighter, natural wood tones because they complement either a pastel colored wall or a bold solid color. Solid black or a black trim color allows the natural wood grains to lighten the room. Some people are also saying that Navy blue is the new black so you may want to play around with that color.

  • Japandi aims to keep things clean and uncluttered with things but leans more towards a space with functional minimalism.

  • Having more hand-made items brings about the feeling of art, nature, and simplicity. In our increasingly tech driven and plastic society, having a few home décor items that were actually made by someone’s hands with an artists intent can bring about a very unique yet calming atmosphere.

  • Japanese furniture tends to be a darker wood color but has a sleeker design with unique curves. Nordic furniture tends to stay with the lighter wood tones and earth tone upholstery. Simply put, try using a mixture of both! Finding some furniture with metal bases and wood or fabric tops could also tie in the cozy rustic theme well.

Minimalist Interior Design

Minimalist Interior Design

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The home improvement experts over at The Spruce say minimalist design is about prioritizing the essential. A minimalist building, object, or interior design is stripped to its core function, realized using limited materials, neutral colors, simple forms, and avoiding excess ornamentation to achieve a pure form of elegance. Today, minimalist interior design and home décor offers an alternative to the over-accessorized, jam-packed interiors that first became popular in the Victorian era and grew in popularity thanks to 20th-century consumer culture. The Spruce also says the following are key characteristics of minimalist design.

  • Less is more

  • Focus on functionality

  • Clean, simple lines

  • Sculptural forms

  • Lack of superfluous ornamentation and decoration

  • Monochromatic, limited color palette, with color sometimes used as an accent to create a soothing environment

  • Use of limited, well chosen materials, such as concrete, steel, glass and wood

  • Everything has a place and a purpose

  • Use of space and natural light

  • Spotlight on craftsmanship

  • Interior design that is airy and uncluttered, often with open-play layouts and seamless integrated storage

Boho/Eclectic Interior Design

Boho Eclectic Interior Design

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Bohemian design style incorporates an eclectic mix of colors, patterns, and textures. The relaxed, global-inspired aesthetic bends traditional design rules to create a layered, personalized look. Follow these tips to achieve your version of Boho/eclectic.

  • Use bold, colorful patterns in your décor and textiles like area rugs and throw pillows

  • More is more in this design style - accents like fringe and embroidered, block-printed, beaded, or tasseled throw pillows. Layer your rugs! Add color to your walls by hanging a gallery of interesting framed drawings and paintings. An ornate room divider or folding privacy screen fits right in as well

  • This design style exudes a laid back feel, so let your personality shine here with your favorite antique or salvaged finds including artwork

  • Popular patterns in this style are "Ikat" and "Suzani"

  • Furniture in this style tends to include natural materials such as wicker, rattan or wood and may be rich in tone. You can also mix and match here!

  • Don't forget your greenery - potted & hanging plants

Grandmillennial Interior Design

Grandmillennial Interior Design

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House Beautiful published an article on the rise of "Grandmillennial" style, a term coined by writer Emma Bazilian. According to Bazilian, a Grandmillennial is a young-ish, Instagram-posting, décor aficionado with a passion for floral chintzes, Sister Parish interiors, and more. The essence of the Grandmillennial style involves a young (ish) person taking ownership of granny's needlepoint pillows, tasseled lampshades and floral wallpaper. This fusion design style mixes traditional, Victorian, French, Chinese and modern elements as described below.

  • A mix of traditional upholstered furniture

  • Small-scale print floral wallpaper or Chinoiserie

  • Mixed fabric patterns with velvet being a featured material along with toile and chintz.

  • Skirted tables

  • Ruffles, pleats, and fringe embellishments

  • Vintage brass metallic accents

  • Monograms

  • Ornate chandeliers

  • Needlepoint

  • Botanicals

  • Fine china

Gothic Drama Interior Design

Gothic Drama Interior Design

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Elegant and full of drama, the moody gothic interior design style is one of the most underrated trends. When you hear gothic you think dark and gloomy but if done correctly this style can be very elegant. Here are 5 ways to achieve this style: intricate wallpaper, jewel tones, contrasting dark and light elements, elaborate architecture, and chandeliers.

  • Wallpaper has made a comeback in the recent years. Using intricate wallpaper is a quick and affordable option to create a moody gothic aesthetic and maintaining sophistication - think damask patterns

  • Utilizing jewel tones. Think emerald green, sapphire blue, ruby red, amethyst purple, citrine yellow. Gold—as a color and a finish—can also fall into this color family and complements jewel tones beautifully. Using jewel tones is an easy way to establish a moody aesthetic.

  • Add light elements to add depth and soften up the space to where its not overbearingly dark. In the above image, the white fireplace provides a space for the eye to rest; It lightens the space along with the gold touches.

  • Gothic architecture is known for its ornate decoration elements. Elaborate architecture is a form of décor on its own. It adds a luxurious and sophisticated touch to the space - think tall ceilings, large windows and elaborate moldings and doors

  • Utilizing a Chandelier in your space is a way to add ornate decoration that the gothic style exudes


That's 14 interior design styles defined! I hope you found a style (or a few) you love! Still not sure which style(s) are right for you and in need of a refresh at home? Take this fun design questionnaire and we'll reach out to answer any questions you have.


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