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Are you designing your space for the first time? The first step to avoid expensive mistakes in the interior design process is to figure out which style you like the best. With an abundance of unique design styles, it can be daunting to decide which style works best for you. You can also combine elements of several styles to create your ideal look.

So let's learn a bit about 15 popular styles and how they differ from one another.


Modern is a broad design term that typically refers to a space with clean, crisp lines, a simple color palette and the use of materials like metal, glass and steel.

This style employs a sense of simplicity in every element, including furniture. A word that's commonly used to describe modern style is sleek, and there is not a lot of clutter or accessories involved with a modern style.


Frequently used interchangeably, contemporary is different from modern because it describes design based on the here and now.

Modern is a strict interpretation of design that started in the 20th century. Contemporary on the other hand, is more fluid and can represent a sense of currency with less adherence to one particular style.


The minimalist concept is modern design which is further simplified. Color palettes are neutral and airy; furnishing is streamlined and simple. No excessive or flamboyant accessories or decor.

Minimalism is defined by sense of functionality and ultra-clean lines.


As the name implies, this style draws inspiration from a warehouse or an urban loft.

There's a sense of unfinished rawness in many of the elements, and it's not uncommon to see exposed brick, ductwork and wood. High ceilings, old timber and dangling metal light fixtures with sparse functional furniture, a few abstract art or photography to add a dash of color to an otherwise neutral color scheme derived from the natural material like wood and metal comprise of an industrial look and feel.


This style is a revival of the design style of the mid-1900s--- primarily the 50s and 60s. There's a retro nostalgia present with a minimalist approach. Functionality or fuss-free is the main theme for mid-century design with emphasis on pared down forms, natural or organic shapes such as egg-shaped chair, easy-to-use contemporary designs and simple upholstery. This style complements any space and also helps seamless interior to exterior transition.


Scandinavian design pays homage to the simplicity of life demonstrated in Nordic countries. Scandinavian furniture design often feels like a work of art, although it is simple to understand. There's functionality in furniture along with some interesting lines.

Other characteristics include all-white color palettes and incorporation of natural elements like form-pressed wood, bright plastics, and enameled aluminium, steel and wide plank flooring. Pops of color is added by use of art, natural fiber throws or furs or accent furniture items.

Spacious, natural lighting, less accessories and functional furniture characterize Scandinavian style.


Traditional style offers classic details, sumptuous furnishings, and an abundance of accessories. It is rooted in European sensibilities.

Traditional spaces often feature dark, finished wood, rich color palettes, a variety of textures and curved lines. Furnishings have elaborate and ornate details and fabrics like velvet, silk and brocade. Depth, layering and dimensionality are found in most traditional designs.


It is a very popular style because it borrows from both traditional and modern styles to facilitate a space that's not "too much" in terms of one style or another. There's a sense of balance that's appealing and unexpected.

Transitional design may incorporate modern material such as steel and glass and then unite them with plush furnishings. It includes relatively natural color palettes, creating a calming and relaxed space that manages to feel both stylish and sleek as well as warm and inviting.


Warm, earthy colors are indicative of a French Country design style, as are worn and ornamental wooden furnishing. The style has an overarching farmhouse inspiration.

French Country design may include soft and warm tones of red, yellow or gold and natural materials like stone and brick. French Country design can include collections of ornate porcelain dishes and heavy linens and bed coverings.


Bohemian is a popular style for home design and fashion. It reflects a carefree lifestyle with little rules, except to follow your heart's desire.

Bohemian spaces may include vintage furniture and light fixtures, globally inspired textiles and rugs, displays of collections, and items found in widely varied sources including flea markets and world-wide travels.

It’s not uncommon to spot floor pillows and comfortable seating spaces when incorporating the bohemian style. This eclectic style can incorporate an ultra-glam chandelier paired with a well-worn rug and a mid-century chair. Within the Bohemian style, there’s a laissez-faire attitude where anything goes as long as you love it.


Rustic design is drawn from natural inspiration, using raw and often unfinished elements including wood and stone.

Rustic design may incorporate accessories from the outdoors with warmth emulating from the design and architectural details that may include features like vaulted ceilings adorned with wood beams or reclaimed wood floors.

Rustic design can be integrated with more modern furnishings and accessories.


Shabby chic is vintage-inspired style, but compared to Bohemian and other styles, tends to be more feminine, soft and delicate.

Shabby chic furnishings are often either distressed or appear that way; paint tends to have antique-style finishes. The Shabby Chic color palette includes white, cream and pastels. Light-weight light fixture and wall hangings may be ornate and continue the feminine vibe.


In Victorian design, more is more and this is one of the key anchor points of this style. Specifically when it deals with the details on the furniture. In this style, you will often see Victorian pieces that are done with an excess of tufting, fringing, pleating, or gathering of fabric on the furniture, BUT in a slightly more modernized and abstract way.

Old with new, new with old. It is again about the mixing of styles and eras that you typically wouldn’t place together but make such a unique finished product. Modern Victorian is about pushing the envelope both with style and with colors and accessories.


Hollywood Glam is a design style that tends to be luxurious, over-the-top and opulent. It’s a dramatic design style, perfect for a homeowner who enjoys making a statement.

This design style can incorporate some features of Victorian design, including plush, velvet furnishings, tufting and antiques. The color palette is particularly bold—think purples, reds and turquoise.


Coastal style also called Hamptons style, hails from the iconic U.S. beachside area. Common features include light, airy color palettes with cool neutral shades paired with blues and greens. Furnishings are often white or beige. The room can contain elements of wood and accessories are often inspired by the sea.

Blue and white striped patterns for pillows, large windows, white plush sofas, and painted white wood are also common features of the classic Coastal/Hampton style.

The intention is to create a relaxed and comfortable environment that is inspired by the beach and ocean.

A rudimentary understanding of design fundamentals and styles can be a great help in solidifying your personal design ideals. The ability to identify different interior design styles will help you conjure up inspirational visions of your future home and provide a framework to build your personal aesthetic. With a vocabulary to express your inspired vision, magic happens!

If you like to consult with us on design elements to enhance your space, please contact us!

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