12 Popular Design Styles Defined
From Art Deco to traditional, learn all about the most popular interior design styles. Which do you like best?
1. Art Deco
Most popular in the 1920s and 1930s, Art Deco is a streamlined, geometric style of home design. It features sleek lines, mirrored accents, rounded fronts, and wood furniture with chrome hardware and glass tops.
Layers of color, pattern and texture define bohemian design. A more free-spirited style, bohemian rooms often have an informal, collected feel to them, that features furniture and decor acquired over time from travel adventures, thrift stores and antique shops. Key elements include woven wall hangings, rattan furniture, lots of plants, and vintage-inspired pillows and throws.
Inspired by the ocean, this look employs airy fabrics for window treatments, evoking a light and breezy feel, and emphasizes nautical or beach-themed accessories like seashells and lighthouses. The classic color palette of navy and white with gold accents is often used.
Often featuring sleek, clean lines, contemporary design is marked by solid colors that are mainly muted neutrals or bold pops of color in furniture and accessories. Furniture tends to be lower to the ground, and often has straight legs or metal frames with an emphasis on basic forms and shapes. Graphic elements in the form of accents or artwork go very well with this look.
This style can be summed up in two words: rustic elegance. Extensive use of white wood paneling and soft floral patterns are hallmarks of country design, as are muted hues and pops of red, black or pure white accents. Striped, checked and floral vintage fabric patterns are go-tos, and decorating elements feature a handmade, rustic quality — wood, baskets, hand-forged metal and handmade pottery. Primitive furnishings are also a key element, and are found in antique shops and flea markets.
A catch-all style that borrows from a few other design styles, the eclectic aesthetic uses unexpected contrasts to evoke a sense of imagination and surprise. Don’t be fooled, the style is not just throwing together anything and everything. Instead, it actually relies decisively on the building blocks of design — color, pattern, texture and composition — to create a cohesive look. Whether patterned, solids, textured or a mixture of all three, the use of a large number of fabrics is characteristic of the eclectic style.
Popular in loft apartments and hip restaurants, the industrial style is known for exposed building elements, such as ductwork, pipes and brick walls. Industrial-style spaces usually feature open floor plans, neutral color palettes and furniture made from metal, rustic wood and leather. Large windows are also a key characteristic.
8. Midcentury Modern
Originating in the 1950s and 1960s, when Scandinavian designers and architects were very influential, midcentury modern embraces simplicity, functionality and natural shapes. This style includes unique elements like walls of glass, and pops of deep colors like olive green, chocolate brown, orange and yellow in the decor. Updated versions of this look are available today in the form of fun, colorful and quirky furnishings.
Characterized by a neutral color palette, strong geometric shapes, asymmetry, and polished surfaces, the modern style originated as a clean, streamlined furniture and architecture style from the 1930s. It is rooted in the absence of decoration and the minimal, true use of material.
A style inspired by the aesthetic of countries like Norway, Sweden and Denmark, Scandinavian design values simplicity and functionality over decoration. Neutral colors, simple furniture with clean lines, and natural woods are hallmarks of this style, as are uncluttered rooms filled with natural light.
11. Shabby Chic
A term coined at the start of the 1980s, Shabby Chic is a cottage-inspired look that evokes a sense of brightness and airiness. Key decorating elements include weathered white-painted furniture, floral prints in muted colors, white slip covered sofas, painted motifs, and vintage accessories.
Using classic styling techniques and symmetry to create a calm and orderly decor, the traditional style usually involves 18th-century English, 19th-century neoclassic, French country and British Colonial revival furnishings. Muted fabrics in simple florals, solids, plaids or stripes, and a mid-tone color palette are common.