Seemingly any decade in history has given us more interior design styles than you could possibly care to incorporate into a single home! This can be a blessing and a curse because although you won’t be able to tastefully experiment with every style in the world, you are guaranteed to find something that suits your taste and preferences among the endless list of recognized design movements.
You may not even be aware of the different styles that are available to you or you may already be devoted to the aesthetic of a certain style! Here are some of the most popular interior design styles.
The traditional style of interior design is one of the oldest and most common design styles in the world. It is rooted in heritage and in classic shapes and forms. In traditional design, you will often find that key furniture pieces won’t change for decades, if not centuries! It’s about conscious layering of classic textures and colors and achieving a formal symmetry without incorporating anything that is too loud or at odds with the rest of the room.
Less is more! Usually inspired by the starker interiors of Japanese homes, minimalism is about emphasizing space and form over function. Form must be beautiful and eye-catching but function should not be diminished. There’s nothing jarring about the minimalist style. You won’t find anything “busy” in this style.
At the other end of the minimalist vs maximalist debate is Boho (abbreviated form of Bohemian). Boho refers to a style that is about pulling together natural and organic elements to create a layered look that feels lived in and comfortable while still being incredibly cool. In terms of materials and textures, you can expect to find a lot of rattan, caning and bamboo in a boho room. It’s all about being playful and exotic and taking risks with lots of layers.
Organic modern design focuses on being neutral, casual and inviting. The style is based around a clean aesthetic and neutral color palette that showcases some light layering, but nowhere near as much as boho, for example. Light tones and lighting fixtures in brass and chrome add the shiny modern touch to the organic wood vibe.
You can think of the eclectic style as a more refined version of boho. There are a lot of similarities between the two styles, with vivid color combinations and a distinctly curated feel. Eclectic rooms tend to be filled with pieces of furniture that feel a little bit less organic than boho. In a successful eclectic room, you want to feel like everything has been placed for a purpose rather than giving the impression that it happened by a happy accident!
The modern style is very much the opposite of both hobo and eclectic. There is nothing organic and layered about a modern aesthetic. It is all about cold, stark, almost sterile lines that give a strict structure to the decor. You won’t find many rounded shapes in a modern room, with strong angles and squares being much preferred to achieve the deliberate harshness. In modern décor color schemes, there are lots of neutral greys and silvers, but there is also room for occasional pops of contrasting color.
Modern farmhouse style is believed to be a ‘best of both worlds’ scenario. There is much less clutter and layering than you would expect in a traditional farmhouse but mixed with comfortable, practical furniture pieces that evoke a more rustic vibe. The aim of a modern farmhouse room is to bring up nostalgic memories of the past while reminding you that you are very much in the 21st century. The bottom line with a successful modern farmhouse aesthetic is rustic yet refined.
Increasingly popular in recent years, the industrial look is achieved with lots of metal, rustic wood and heavier fabrics like leather. Each item of furniture and objet d’art should have character. Often thought of as more masculine, it is softened by a neutral color palette and soft furnishings that add comfort such as throws, pillows and rugs. Steampunk is a derivative of the industrial style.
Although similar in ideals to organic modern, a Nordic scheme is more minimalistic and simplistic. It isn’t just furnishing a room with pieces from a well-known Swedish superstore. A base of light-toned woods is balanced out with a soft color palette of white, cream and light browns. Lines should be clean and a mix of angles and rounds. The overall effect should be simple and clean yet warm and inviting.
These are the most common design styles. It is not a definitive list. There are others that can be tighter or more specific but most can be defined as a derivative of one of the main – such as Art Deco, vintage, mid-century modern, plus a whole slew that reference historical periods such as Victorian, Edwardian, Napoleonic and La Belle Epoque. But, no one is better than the other. Style will always be a matter of personal taste.