When it comes to decorating your home, your interior design is a top priority that will influence your living space, furniture, and decor. Interior design styles can be functional, classy and stylish, offering a mix of decorating elements to create the perfect look. Whether you’re building your dream home or just renovating a room, there are many different types of interior design styles to consider when defining the aesthetic for your house.
While designing a room can be as easy and simple as changing out the furniture, it’s important to understand what elements define these decor styles and the best ways to maintain a consistent theme throughout the space.
Some people will mix and match trends, pieces and decorations to design a unique aesthetic that fits their personal style. A good design can make all the difference in creating a happy, comfortable, and warm home for your family.
With so many different decorating styles to choose from, it can be a challenge picking the best interior design and then communicating your ideal look to a designer. To inspire you with ideas, we’ve compiled a list of the interior design styles you should know about. From modern to traditional and rustic farmhouse to French country, explore all the different types of home decor to find designs and styles you’ll love.
Types of Interior Design Styles
Minimalist design is an interior design style focused on simplicity and only the most essential elements to create an open, uncluttered space. The movement began in the immediate aftermath of World War II but it wasn’t until the 1960’s and 1970’s that the style rose to prominence.
When we talk about design styles, we often talk about the features or decorative elements you can find on pieces of furniture. We also might discuss the colors, textures, and fabrics that might be used. Minimalism is defined by the absence of those signature characteristics. Minimalist architecture and design strip back anything extraneous so that only what is necessary remains.
If you want to incorporate minimalist design into your house, use a neutral base as that provides a blank slate. Only hold onto what is necessary, but keep some statement pieces. Leave plenty of room to let the space and the light make its own statement. By paring back, you can paradoxically reveal your style instead of hiding it under clutter.
Contemporary design can be difficult to pin down. Many people consider contemporary design to be interchangeable with modern decor because the words “contemporary” and “modern” are synonymous. In reality, it’s more complex than that and there is a difference between modern and contemporary interior design styles.
Contemporary means “of the moment”, so the design style is constantly evolving. Many styles were only popular during a certain time period, but contemporary has always existed and is ever-changing. In its earliest days, it borrowed elements from many different types of decor, including futurism, art deco, and deconstructivism.
There are elements of contemporary design that have held steady over the years. Overall, a contemporary style should feature simple spaces without clutter. The lines of furniture and decor are generally straight, but elegant curves are also at home within the style.
Furniture tends to be minimal and low-impact, but can also be heavier and more ornate depending on trends at the time. You also might find exposed elements, like wooden sofa legs or exposed beams.
Traditional design is the perfect style for people who like to honor looks from the past while living in modern comfort. This style pulls in luxurious influences from the 18th and 19th centuries, lending a sense of upscale elegance. However, traditional design is also very comfortable and livable. When done well, it won’t feel like you’re living in a museum or historical site.
Overall, rooms designed in the traditional style should feel warm and inviting. The furniture is often plush and overstuffed. Antiques and modern furniture and decor items can easily exist side-by-side. In some ways, traditional decor is the opposite of minimalism. A traditional room may be very layered with lots of extra details.
While there’s no one standard color palette for traditional design, you can feel free to indulge in vibrant colors. Rich jewel tones can hold up against the more ornate style, and patterned textiles like chintz and florals are also right at home.
Transitional style is a balance between traditional and modern styling. Transitional decor appeals to a variety of individuals because it incorporates a blend of old-world classic and contemporary pieces to create a timeless look.
The mix and match can be applied to your furniture, color scheme, finishes, materials, patterns, and fabrics. These designs often blend straight lines with curved to provide symmetrical masculine and feminine elements.
Transitional design style tends to be very neutral. Background wall and floor colors are often done in subtle monochromatic colors, while art and decorative pieces bring in splashes of color. While this design style may be simple, it is also very durable.
Similar styles, like minimalism, can feel cold and sterile, but transitional brings in grounding earthy elements like floors and furniture made from maple, walnut, or other sturdy woods. Furthermore, transitional furniture is often large and stuffed with natural filler like goose down.
Rustic design has been around for a long time, but the style has become immensely popular in recent years. There are several different subsets of rustic styling, but they tend to share certain characteristics. Generally speaking, a rustic design style is defined by an emphasis on natural, rough, aged, textured, and casual elements in decor.
For instance, rustic furniture is often made from natural materials, like wood, that has been aged to create a more rugged and organic look. Furniture used in rustic design tends to be sturdy and able to withstand common wear and tear. With a focus on natural beauty, rustic homes offer warmth and comfort with simple colors and unpretentious styling.
There are different kinds of rustic design. A traditional American farmhouse often highlights rustic features, as does a Tuscan country estate. While those may look different in execution, it’s their commonalities that make them both rustic. Organic, raw, natural materials are all hallmarks of this style.
Unsurprisingly, the French country style is directly inspired by homes in the French countryside. It blends natural elements with elegant ease, creating a space that feels upscale but still comfortable and accessible.
Design in France is overall rather chic and refined. While a home in Paris or another European city might be more formal or ornate, a French country home leans towards comfort over opulence.
Like in rustic design, French country decor tends to incorporate natural materials like wood floors or natural stone walls. These features may be subtly distressed but are often a little less rough than American rustic decor.
Colors are often warm colors layered over neutrals, and textiles might feature a cute floral print. Overall, a room will feel airy and cozy but will still have a sense of refinement.
With shabby chic decor, the style is all in the name. This decor style features furniture that has been naturally or intentionally distressed for stylistic reasons. Whether it’s antique or not, shabby chic furniture and decor items look as though they have been distressed over time.
Many people don’t believe in painting over wood furniture and would prefer to just stain it. Those people should avoid shabby chic furniture, which tends to use faux painting techniques. Furniture is painted, often in off-white or pastel shades, and then rubbed and sanded away to show the wood underneath.
Furniture may also feature details like appliques, stencils, and mismatched knobs, and textiles will often be bleached or stained with tea to give it an older appearance.
Overall, people tend to gravitate towards shabby chic because it’s so cute and charming. But this lived-in style is also incredibly comfortable and ages well over time.
Coastal decor can be simply summed up in just one word: beachy. The decor style features natural materials and soft colors to create a breezy, casual aesthetic.
The most important element of coastal decor is natural light. This design won’t work well in a dark or cave-like home. Homes with skylights, large windows, and sliding glass doors tend to let in enough illumination to make this style really resonate. These windows often feature minimal or no window treatments, so as not to interfere with the light.
Coastal decor often features colors in pale beachy tones. A sandy taupe or pale blue that echoes the shades of the ocean and the shore would be great on the walls, and a whitewashed wood floor would contribute to that light and airy feeling.
Textiles with natural textures like straw and jute add to that beachy feel. Use real decor items that you would find on the beach, like fishnets, or dried starfish and sand dollars to round out the look.
If you aren’t afraid of over-the-top opulence, then Hollywood Regency is a style you should explore. Also known as Hollywood Glam, the name alone gives a hint that this style of decor is glamorous, upscale and intentionally overdone.
If you can only sum up Hollywood Regency in one word, “luxurious” is probably the best one to use. The style is also intentionally eclectic. Layers of textiles in different materials bring in diverse textures and patterns, while a combination of light and dark decor items create contrast.
Some design elements you can expect to find in Hollywood Regency style is jewel tones, animal prints, stone floors, mirrored surfaces, and gold or other metallic fixtures. Overstuffed velvet pillows and soft faux-fur throws can bring comfort without compromising the rich style. If you’ve ever longed for a chandelier and a clawfoot tub, this design style may be right up your alley.
Scandinavian interior design can be easily categorized as modern or minimalist, but it has certain elements that set the style apart and give it a heightened sense of personality and warmth.
Modern design incorporates heavy, gleaming man-made items like metal and glass. Like modern, Scandinavian style shares the affinity for clean simple lines, but is more likely to use natural materials like wood, leather, and jute.
Scandinavian is typically uncluttered and functional. But unlike minimalism, it is encouraged that you bring in some decorative elements that aren’t strictly functional but still make you happy, like plants and textiles.
When most people think about modern design, they picture clean lines and elements like steel beams and windows. Hearing the word urban might put you in the same mindset as you picture steel girders and glass skyscrapers. But urban modern actually brings in some comforting elements to soften the harshness of more industrial modern design.
Urban modern design tends to feature straight lines and more minimalist furniture profiles, but it often uses more muted colors. Instead of a concrete floor like you might find in an industrial modern loft, an urban modern home might use neutral engineered wood flooring.
Elements of glamour and upscale living can be brought in through high-end window treatments and velvet upholstery. The overall look should fuse elegance, comfort, and simplicity in perfect balance.
The Bohemian style, which has its roots in 19th century Paris, is characterized by its nonconformism. While many design styles almost require certain features, boho decor is all about breaking the rules and thinking outside of the box.
The original Bohemians were writers, artists, musicians, and other creative types. If you’ve ever spent time in the home of a nomadic and creative free spirit, you may have witnessed Bohemian style firsthand. This look brings in bold colors, lots of contrasting patterns, and different types of materials for a layered and eclectic look.
Combine jewel tones and other striking shades with metallic accents to start this look, and include plenty of textiles. Bohemian design also might incorporate elements from various cultures to reflect a well-traveled homeowner.
Ultimately, the only real rule with Bohemian decor is to lean into your own personal style and trust it to guide you. Other than that, you can write your own rules.
Mid-century modern design originally rose to prominence somewhere between the 1930’s and 1960’s, but it’s been having a major resurgence over the past five years and it doesn’t look to be going away anytime soon.
This American style was influenced by earlier international styles, like Bauhaus. Furnishings feature sleek lines, and decor elements are often influenced by geometric shapes like hexagons.
Natural materials like wood and manufactured materials like Lucite often coexist side by side, and functionality is always kept in mind.
A big part of why mid-century modern became so popular, was that it utilized manufacturing methods in a way unlike furniture had before. The way the lines of the furniture work, they can be shipped compactly and inexpensively and assembled later.
This made them more affordable and accessible to ordinary Americans. To this day, mid-century modern reproductions can be acquired for reasonable prices.
Many people can form a very vivid mental picture when asked to envision industrial style. Industrial interior design can feature concrete floors, exposed metal beams, metal accents, rust lighting, and floor-to-ceiling windows in a downtown loft environment. This is certainly one aspect of industrial design, but it doesn’t tell the whole story.
While industrial decor does take its inspiration from the stripped-back, exposed style of warehouses and factories, you don’t have to replicate that look in your home to honor the style. Home decor with raw elements like exposed wooden beams or brick walls could be considered industrial.
Solidify the style by looking for industrial furniture. Industrial furnishings tend to incorporate heavy, sturdy elements like metal and are often made from reclaimed materials. This gives them a striking look.
Industrial design is simple and clean, and you can go very hard and metallic with it, if that’s your taste. But softer interpretations like ones with exposed wood beams or lofted ceilings may be more palatable to some consumers.
Eclectic style doesn’t have its own distinct aesthetic but is a melange of others. Eclectic design incorporates disparate elements in a way that ultimately makes sense. The final result will likely be colorful and full of varying textures, but it should still feel harmonious.
While Bohemian style might incorporate several vibrant tones, eclectic can be a little more balanced. Many eclectic rooms will feature neutral colors as a base and then layer more intense colors or patterns on top of that. The neutral tones help the space feel a little more cohesive.
While Bohemian style often features patterned wallpaper on all four walls, an eclectic room might just feature painted walls with eclectic decor elements layered against it. Or it might feature three painted walls, and one accent wall covered in wallpaper.
If you’re not afraid of mixing patterns, eclectic style is really fun to try out. Incorporate multiple rugs in different patterns and mismatched but complementary throw pillows to achieve this decor look.
Modern styles and farmhouse styles are vastly different, but they somehow seamlessly blend together in modern farmhouse decor. This decor style is a great example of how people with very different tastes can coexist in the same home.
Modern farmhouse style marries the minimalism and clean lines of modern design but incorporates natural and rustic elements as well. The result is a room that feels warm and inviting, but also simple and refined. Exposed wooden beams are a great choice as they mimic more industrial styles but use natural wood instead of metal.
You might also combine farmhouse elements like shaker style cabinets with more modern elements like sleek marble countertops and gleaming appliances.
If you find farmhouse style too cluttered and modern design too cold but enjoy elements of each, then modern farmhouse is an excellent look to explore.
Modern country and modern farmhouse styles may sound interchangeable, but there are some subtle differences. While modern farmhouse furnishings might be more rough-hewn and rustic, modern country furnishings tend to be a bit more refined.
The main identifying feature of a modern country home is wood and lots of it. Incorporating elements like hardwood floors, exposed beams, and wood-paneled accent walls can help you achieve this chic style. If you need some low-budget hacks, you can find peel and stick wallpaper that creates a faux wood-paneling look, and engineered hardwood flooring is often more affordable than the real thing.
Modern country styles might feature interesting elements like textured walls or a statement fireplace, but the colors will generally be neutral. Muted natural tones like beige or eggshell make a great base for modern country decor. Instead of cutesy floral prints on textiles, look for things like sleek faux animal fur rugs that integrate country style with modern elegance.
Even design novices are likely familiar with art deco style, even if they don’t realize it. This style, which was most popular during the 1920’s, 1930’s, and 1940’s, has been memorialized in iconic pop culture properties like The Great Gatsby. While it shares similarities with the earlier Art Nouveau style, it eschews the minimalism of that aesthetic and embraces opulence.
Art Deco design features rich and bold colors, intricate details, metallic accents, and geometric elements. The materials used to tend towards being man-made: there are lots of shiny surfaces like mirrors, chrome and glass to supplement the lacquered furniture. If wood is used, the type of wood is likely exotic and high-end. The furniture is often large in scale, which gives it a strong visual impact.
You can look forward to striking and interesting patterns in Art deco design. You could expect to see something like wallpaper in black and metallic gold featuring zigzags or chevrons paired with exotic animal prints like zebra skin rugs.
Floors might be an upscale marble or a retro black and white tile topped with a geometric rug. Overall, this interior decor is luxurious and always gives you some fun eye candy.
If you aspire for your living space to become a peaceful retreat, Asian Zen style is worth exploring. This soothing decor is low-key and understated but still has a calming and welcoming vibe.
Asian Zen embraces minimalism and functionality when it comes to space, but combines all of that with neutral tones and natural materials that foster a sense of comfort.
This design style incorporates whites and soft neutrals on walls and larger pieces of furniture for a chilled-out backdrop. You can bring in pops of color through artwork and textiles, but try to stick to colors inspired by nature.
Natural elements like wood floors and furniture made from natural fibers are hallmarks of this design style. One natural element you might not think about is light, but lighting is crucial to creating the proper Zen look. Lots of natural sunlight during the day and flickering candlelight at night create a soothing scene.
Feng Shui is a little different from other interior design styles since the principles are deeply rooted in ancient Chinese philosophy. When you decorate using Feng Shui, you’re not thinking about your space in a traditional Western way.
In Feng Shui, practitioners are encouraged to use certain building materials and arrange furnishings in a certain way to channel the energy in your home in the most ideal way. You can hire Feng Shui experts to come into your home and arrange a space to benefit your emotional and physical health.
However, if you want to just dip your toes in, there are simple ways you can incorporate this design style into your home.
Some elements of Feng Shui you might incorporate are using paired furnishings to create a sense of partnership and attract love. Instead of putting a single chair in a reading nook, put two chairs side by side.
If you want to attract wealth, you can paint a wall red: if you’d rather attract well-being, use purple or green. This fascinating concept is really fun to explore.
As its name suggests, Mediterranean style is inspired by the homes found in the Mediterranean region of southern Europe, northern Africa, and parts of the Middle East. This simple and romantic design brings in tons of natural materials, warm colors, and plenty of light.
Because this style originated in countries like Greece, Italy, and Spain, you can expect to incorporate the kinds of building materials popular in that part of the world. Stucco walls, terracotta roofs, and tiled floors are hallmarks of Mediterranean homes. Decorative tile work can also be incorporated into kitchen backsplashes, shower stalls, or even mosaic inlay on the floors.
Mediterranean homes often feature colors that are inspired by the sea and shore. Blue is a common color. Paint techniques also come into play, with many people opting to add a glaze or other textural element.
Furniture is often functional, while still incorporating design elements like ornate legs. The overall look is soothing, elegant, and incredibly cozy.
Craftsman style homes first soared into popularity in the early 1900s. These practical family homes were built with functionality in mind, but also incorporate beautiful built-in custom details. To this day, original Craftsman creations are still highly sought after, especially by people who are interested in home restoration.
If you can’t afford an original Craftsman home, you can always incorporate elements of the style into your own design. There’s an emphasis on things made of natural materials, so wood will be used extensively. Textiles are also made of natural materials and may feature nature-inspired prints like florals, while walls might be painted in forest green.
When it comes to design, much of the character is built directly into the home. You can expect to see items like massive, ornate built-in shelves, fireplace nooks faced in custom tile, and even stained glass windows. Furnishings are often geometric in nature so they don’t compete with classic architecture.
Southwestern design style emulates the types of homes you might find in Mexico and the American Southwest. This distinct look arose from the hot and arid climate found through much of the region, and you’ll also find a lot of references to original settlers in the area.
The exterior of the home may feature things like stucco, rounded surfaces, and terra cotta roofs to protect against the heat. The interior of the home often draws inspiration from the landscape as well.
A lot of people use reds and oranges in Southwestern decor as it echoes the red desert sand. Floors are typically wood or tile instead of carpeting to help keep the room cool. Furniture is typically made of natural materials, like wood.
When it comes to decorating, Southwestern style embraces textiles and decor from indigenous or Spanish culture. You can expect to see items like Aztec-print wool blankets or rugs, bleached or painted animal skulls, and woven baskets and wall hangings. Overall the look is warm with plenty of different fun things to look at.
It will come as no surprise to learn that the Victorian style of design came into being during the reign of Queen Victoria from 1837 to 1901. It also probably won’t surprise you to learn that this ornate look is fit for a queen.
Victorian design borrows influences from several other historical styles, including Arts and Crafts and Art Nouveau. There are also lots of Asian influences. This decor is mostly characterized by its embracing of ornamentation. In some styles, like minimalism, less is more, but in Victorian, sometimes more is not enough.
Restoring a home from the Victorian era can be a lot of hard work, but you can bring Victorian design influences to an existing or new home. There are a few major components that will help you achieve the look.
First, look for lighting that makes a statement. Colorful Tiffany lamps are a great choice. Choose rich, bold colors like crimson or forest green for the walls, or select a bold floral or Gothic-style wallpaper. Line curtains with heavy velvet drapery in jewel tones.
If you don’t want to find authentic furniture from the era, look for overstuffed furnishings with ornate wood frames.
If you want to feel like you’re on vacation in the Bahamas all the time, turn your home into an island-inspired paradise with tropical decor.
Tropical interior design is characterized by bright colors that reflect natural elements such as the sky, ocean and vegetation. You can create a tropical lifestyle with the right home furnishings, rugs, bedding, wall pieces, and decorative items around the house.
While coastal design might go for muted pastels inspired by the beach, tropical decor will feature stylings like wallpaper patterned with bright green palm fronds and vibrant decorative pillows with colorful plants or birds. These bright colors are balanced by white or natural furniture made of materials like rattan, wicker, and bamboo.
For a final touch, nothing makes a room more tropical than including some potted tropical plants. Many palms can do well indoors even outside of their usual climate, and it elevates the overall design.