Intro to interior design styles


6min read

Have you ever found looked at an interior and been unsure what the style is or how you’d describe it? Having some understanding of different interior design styles can be really helpful, whether you’re looking to switch up your current interior style to something totally new or find inspo of similar interiors to give a room a minor facelift. Either way, this chapter will give you a better understanding of different styles and characteristics to look out for

The list of interior design styles is extensive and constantly growing with new decor trends. Some are fads and don’t stick around for long, whereas others stand the test of time. One thing you’ll notice is each style is characterised by certain traits. This could be certain accent furniture or decor details. The more you analyse interiors the more you’ll pick up on these things

But just know, like with all things art, you should feel good about breaking the rules and not sticking to one style. It makes things much more interesting

In this chapter, we’ll cover the seven most common interior design styles:

1. Traditional

2. Mid-century modern

3. Modern / contemporary

4. Bohemian

5. Industrial

6. Scandinavian

7. Eclectic

Interior design styles uncovered


Traditional interior design

Traditional design is inspired by the 18th and 19th centuries and you’ll often find lots on classic art and antiques

Vibe: Very consistent, orderly, and symmetrical
Colours: Lots of neutral colour palettes with warm and dark tones. It’s often heavy on wood and gold/gilding
Furniture: They’re often ornate, curved, and visually ‘heavier’. You’re more likely than not to see some wingbacks, wood carvings, tassels and fringes
Accessories: Maximalism is big here, so you’ll often find many accessories here, with emphasis on vases, candle holders and candelabras. It’s a very detail-oriented style
Textures & patterns: Bold patterns, lots of upholstery and velvet
Other callouts: The layout of furniture is not very creative, it’s often straight or at 90-degree angles
Artwork: Paintings are a must have for any traditional interior. The use of large scale ones above sofas and fireplaces can make for great statements. Then combined with smaller ones placed above side tables and in corners of a room can really make for an interesting visual authentic


Mid-century modern

Mid-century modern design sprung up in the 1940s and is still going strong today. Its functionality and timeless look keeps it relevant and a staple for a home that wants to achieve a seamless flow

Vibe: It’s utilitarian, simple and super functional
Colours: Natural hues and is often inspired by nature
Furniture: Clean lines and organic curves with very little ornamentation. The forms are very simple but often use rich and luxurious woods
Textures & patterns: It plays with more materials due to the inventions of the time, so you’ll notice woods but also glass, textured fabrics and engineered metals like plexiglass and plastic
Artwork: Simple illustrations look great surrounded by mid-century furniture. The clean lines pop next to one another and really leans into the modern narrative of this timeless look


Modern / contemporary

Contemporary design by definition is constantly evolving and changes with the times as it’s anything that’s current in the moment. Due to this, it’s often characterised by a simple and sleek design with a lot of use of metal and glass

Vibe: Contemporary interiors are usually very simple, open and airy. You won’t find much clutter, as the emphasis is on showcasing the space, which can often give it a minimalistic look alongside modern technology
Colours: Most neutral palettes with hints of more saturated tones
Furniture: Bold and structural pieces and you’ll often find lots of geometric forms and bold scales
Textures & patterns: Modern and contemporary design loves to play with state-of-the-art materials. Lots of metals, stones and glass
Other callouts: There are often lots of large windows and high ceilings in contemporary and modern spaces
Artwork: Go big and bold. Placing large statement artworks above fireplaces, sofas and beds will help draw the eye of people entering the room. Although the room may have a neutral palette, don’t be afraid to add splashes of colour


Bohemian interior design

We have quite a bit of hatred towards what bohemian interiors have become. As they’ve gained a lot of attention by retailers and they’re all jumping on the bandwagon, so it’s a bit of an overdone, basic design style in our opinion. A bohemian style is a free-spirited aesthetic that mixes in some zen and hippy type looks. It’s meant to evoke a chilled-out environment that has an emphasis on nature

Vibe: Chilled out with elements from different cultures
Colours: A neutral palette with some bolder accents
Furniture: Soft comfy furnishings
Other callouts: Often has a nomadic feel to it with trinkets from around the world
Artwork: Matching the colours of your artworks to the furnishings can work really nicely in Bohemian rooms. As this will create a very cohesive look


Industrial interior design

Industrial interior design often feels very relevant and trendy, but it’s been around a long old time. After factories shut down following the second industrial revolution loads of large buildings became vacant. So the popularity of this decor style grew as more people renovated them. This style is often characterised by exposed brickwork, pipes, concrete and beams

Vibe: Lots of character with a building’s original fixtures and fittings being exposed. But can often have a cold, masculine to it due to the materials and textures
Furniture: It’s often raw and unfinished with a lack of soft or cosy furniture
Artwork: Big walls and high ceilings make for the perfect blank canvas when building a gallery wall. In industrial spaces you can get really creative with the styles and colours used as it’s a very versatile look


Scandinavian interior design

Scandinavian homes are usually the most obvious as they have very strong and defining characteristics, think light, airy and organic

Vibe: Scandinavian design always has a very relaxing and chilled vibe to it
Colours: A lot of white and grey
Furniture: It’s all about clean lines, layered fabrics, glass furniture and textures
Artwork: Look for artworks that have muted colours, so they’re not too garish. When combined with simple illustrations and minimalist photography it can look great in a Scandinavian room


Eclectic interior design

We saved the best until last… eclectic interiors are all about high-energy, bold colours, unique finds and interesting furnishings. Be careful not to think the bolder the better and anything goes, as eclectic design is all about consistency and creative direction, so a look that might seem easy to imitate would have carefully planned out

Vibe: Eclectic design is experimentation and playful, which creates a fun and confident look
Colours: Bold colour palettes with an emphasis on contrasting colours to create a cohesive space
Furniture and accessories: Accent furniture and a maximalism approach works wonders
Artwork: Gallery walls are perfect in eclectic rooms. Mixing in different colours, mediums, sizes and frames suits the spirit of this interior design style perfectly

Sum it up

We feel any interior design style should be a reflection of the owners personality and style. Which is why we have such a love for eclectic interior design, as this is all about presenting your personality in a room. When designing any room, don’t give yourself too many boundaries. Let your imagination run free and have fun with experimentation without being too strict on a particular style