What are Interior Design Styles?
Have you ever walked into a space and it just felt “right”?
That is the benefit of Interior Design and planning.
Interior design communicates with you without talking. It’s the feel of the kitchen counters, the way the sheer curtains move with the breeze, the angle of the sunlight on the walls, the texture of the cushions.
Interior design is creating a visually appealing space that suits its occupants. Whether it be a bright cheerful playroom or a calm relaxing bedroom, interior design creates a space that caters to the use of the space.
The size of the table and space to move around the chairs, the height of the wall art, the shape of the furniture all contribute to the design of a space.
But where to start?
First thing would be to get an idea of what design style you like.
“But, I don’t know design styles: you say. Don’t worry, we have some info.
Remember, you can also combine 2 design styles together to create your own space.
Think about the feeling you would like in your space and who will be using the space.
Pinterest is your friend. Search interior design styles or a type of room that you would like. (Examples could be Hamptons style, calm relaxing living room, coastal homes, blue bedrooms ) and save any pins that you like. See if there are similarities between your pictures. Are you drawn to one color, is there a similar type of furniture, do you like a certain type of artwork? These are all clues to your type if interior design style.
To help you discover your Interior Design Style, we have listed the most popular design styles in Australia with a short description. (This article is an evolving blog. in future we will go into more detail on each design style with a link to each blog.)
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Bohemian living takes on a decidedly ethnic look while embracing all cultures. Bohemian styled atmospheres are free-thinking and do not conform to the norms of society. Bohemian interiors are offbeat beautiful and artistic delights, keeping away from carefully constructed interiors.
Feel right at home with the bold, colourful patterns of Asia, India, the Middle East and Africa. The key to a Bohemian style is to carefully present a messy look on purpose using a mix of colours and a variety of elements like throws, rugs, pillows, trinkets, tapestry. The Bohemian style allows for expression of personal tastes and freedom. with the mis-match of old and new furniture, , décor and colours that create a cheerful atmosphere for a free-spirited lifestyle.
Boho Chic is a more modern fresh updated expression of Bohemian.
Styling for Boho Chic include
Layers and textures
Macrame, Fringes, crochet
Natural elements such as hanging plants
Coastal interiors bring the outdoors inside with a relaxing, cheerful, airy atmosphere. A fresh, relaxed style inspired by the ocean, reminding us of lazy days at the coast with the sun, sea and sand. Coastal interiors embrace the sun kissed aesthetics, bringing organic inspiration and nautical tones together in a bright, energizing aura of life at the each
Create Coastal interiors with:
Abundant natural light
Vanilla or white tones as a backdrop to create a cool , calm interior.
The white interior allows your shades of blue, aqua, turquoise and teal come alive in the organic accessories used to decorate the space
Nautical theme with ropes and nautical icons.
Light curtains such as sheer instead of heavy fabrics.
Natural fibre baskets and rugs
Large glass bowls, vases and bottles in shades of blue.
Soft fabrics/linens in grey, taupe and pastels.
Indoor plants (tropical)
Decorative accessories also include washed back picture frames, seashells and driftwood sourced locally.
A Contemporary design style is sometimes confused with modern. Contemporary IS designed around whatever is in style today. Contemporary follows current trends ands evolves all the time. There are no defined colours or design characteristics.
Country style is cozy embracing a warm timeless cottage feel. Country style has changed over time to the Modern Country that we know today. Influenced by the culture/country traditions this style has varying types such as American country, English country, French country or Tuscan country. However all these types are the same in their love of the rustic and organic.
A country look is achieved by
The mixing of new and old.
The use of wood paneling in white.
Soft florals, striped, vintage or checked patterns.
Pottery, wood and organic materials such as baskets.
Wall papered or stenciled walls.
Warm muted colours.
Oversized sinks and vintage faucets.
Eclectic style is not afraid to break the rules, encouraging freedom and individuality. This style draws inspiration from other styles, evoking a sense of surprise and imagination in unexpected contrasts to suit the space and its intended use. Eclectic style is bold and personal, designed with layers and variation, filling a space with items you love without being overwhelming.
To encourage an Eclectic design with rhythm and contrast without the chaos :
Create harmony and cohesion through colour with a main go to colour to return to in your design.
Choose a go to colour to consistently return to, creating a cohesive look
Textures and fabric bring variation and layers such as mixing textures of silks and velvets with natural hide.
Explore patterns, mixing shapes, florals and stripes.
Mix and match furniture, don’t use coordinating pieces , e.g. don’t match the chairs to a dining table, rather have different styled chairs, each different to the other but of the same colour to create harmony in your design. Use old and new, a modern chair with an old era style table.
Include personal pieces to reflect your own style and personality.
French Provincial style focuses on combining elegance and beauty with country, rustic features. French Provincial furniture is strong and sturdy with simple, elegant beauty.
This style began in the South of France with furniture makers copying the highly decorated furniture made in Paris during the 17th and 18th centuries. Rural furniture makers , unable to afford the fashions trends of wealthy Parisians , created their own affordable pieces, combining local rustic features with beauty and elegance.
French Provincial styles were influenced by local materials and and climates. Colours were influenced by the sun, lavender fields and sea in Southern France.
The style extended to floors and interiors with :
Sturdy Baroque furniture with floral, natural or toile upholstery.
Colours of butter-yellow, blue and lavender.
Armoires for storage.
Dark wood, tile or stone floors styled with cotton or wool rugs.
Gothic style was prominent in the Middle Ages and is still popular amongst many today.
Gothic style is opulent and has mystical charm.
Gothic styled interiors use
Satin, silk and velvet fabrics
Tall narrow windows with a point at the arch known as Lancet windows.
Architectural mouldings and a must have chandelier
Drapery richly decorated with tassels, fringes and tiebacks.
Ornate patterned wallpaper
Dark, vibrant colours such as emerald green, ruby reds, sapphire blues and deep burgundy.
The Hamptons is a well know wealthy vacation area on Long Island, New Your City USA.
Hamptons styled interiors reflect a relaxed, casual beach lifestyle in a classical, wealthy, sophisticated way.
Hamptons interiors are bright and breezy with white walls, plenty of natural sunlight and timber floorboards,
To create a Hamptons style incorporate
Shaker styled cabinetry
Complementary blues with natural colour palettes of cream, white, ivory and sand.
Natural textiles and textures such as rattan, jute and linen.
Artwork referring to the sea , including corals and landscapes.
Visit our blog : What is Hamptons Interior Design Style for tips and ideas to style your Hamptons Home.
Hollywood glam, also known as Regency style brings back the glamour lifestyle of the Golden Age of the American Movie Industry. Hollywood Glam never seems to go out of fashion and embraces the lavish home décor styles of film stars from the 1930’s. Hollywood Glam is opulent, luxurious, It is luxurious, opulent and while sometimes seems extravagant , is a statement for the wealthy to show off their financial success. Hollywood Glam can be achieved by styling with
Victorian inspired antique furniture with plush, velvet furnishing, tufting, silky fringes and tassels, .
Fabric and textures in bold colours with vibrant reds, turquoise and purples.
Luxurious Shiny accessories, cut glass, sparkling fine crystals and mirrors and chandeliers
Candles and flowers
Shimmering silks, cashmere, faux fur and cushions, rich textiles and carpets.
A statement sofa piece.
Industrial design style is regularly found in reclaimed industrial spaces or lofts, transforming the working part of a building into a live-able space. Embracing the past usage of the space, with open spaces, high ceilings, large windows, beams, pipes, columns, ducts and flanges highlighted in the styling. An abundance of textures is found in the space with exposed concrete and bricks
Industrial design style is achieved with
Bare ceilings with metal air ducts
Warm neutral colours such as browns and greys.
The use of iron, steel, exposed concrete, bricks , worn, recycled or salvaged elements.
Weathered wooden floors or concrete floors
Japandi is the mixing of traditional elegant Japanese styling with minimal functional Scandanavian styling. Japandi styled interiors are clean, minimalist, warm and comfortable. The philosophy of the Japandi is easy to understand. Japandi philosophy is easy to understand with the fusion of functionality and cosiness that looks beautiful.
To create a Japandi styled interior
Use a mix of light and dark timber
Use both Scandanavian and low line Japanese furniture.
Hang a pendant made out of paper
Have one statement piece with minimal accessories
Use natural materials such as bamboo, rattan, wood, wool and linen
Mix soft Scandi pastel tones with the warmer rich Japanese colours
Japanese styled interiors are about balance, harmony and consideration. Based on local cultures, materials and a history with a lack of foreign invasion and influence, Japanese designers have developed an innately native style. With a basis of minimalism in it’s simplicity in both finishes and layout , Japanese interiors embrace the principles of Zen. Zen interiors introduce silence and stillness, inside and out, into your life with the elevation of simplicity into an art form. Every surface, form and line is styled with thought and efficiency , without any frills. Japanese styled interiors are minimalistic and styled purposely with bare essentials.
Zen interiors weave all the elements of design including space, light and shapes into a home creating a peaceful ,relaxed state of mind.
Japanese interiors are designed with
Soft natural colours in earthy tones with chromatic harmony. The same colours repeated to balance spaces and surfaces.
Furniture low to the ground
Natural organic materials found in Japan such bonsai and bamboo.
Water elements and lantern style lighting
Screens and doors made of natural materials and wood
As the name implies Mediterranean style is influenced by countries north of the Mediterranean Sea. Mediterranean homes reflect the culture and climate of Spain, Greece and Italy.
Each country uses specific colours, materials and textures influenced by their local culture, history, available building materials and climate.
In Greece you will find the famous whitewash walls and roofs.
In Spain, wrought iron banisters and balconies are used.
Italy uses it’s well known red – tiled rooftops, with reference to Tuscan architecture.
Mediterranean interior colours are influenced by the sky and sea
Mediterranean style designs include
Columns and curved forms and arches
Stone and brick
Spanning the architectural and artistic era of the 1930s to 1960’s Mid-century interior design gained momentum in the aftermath of World War 2. Mid Century Modern has echoes of Bauhaus and International movement but differs in its crisp lines and vivid use of colour. Embracing the form follows function principle resulted in creations from this time taking up as little space as possible and with purpose in their designs. A connection between the house and it’s natural surroundings with a functional and visual clarity is essential in Mod-century Modern homes. Mid-century modern houses, have large rectangular windows, characteristic flat roofs, and sometimes are cylindrical in structure such as designs by Frank Lloyd Wright.
Visually light Mid-century modern (MCM, for short) interiors are achieved with :
Generous open plan with common shared areas built with reinforced concrete and steel.
Furniture designs in plastic and wood.
White and pale neutral walls to highlight bold accents in the room, making them appear more luxurious and expensive.
Colour tones of brown, orange, yellow and green and sometimes deviations to the colour palette is seen.
Minimalism design style embraces less is more. Originally introduced by Mies van der Rohe a German architect who used steel, glass and wide open spaces to create his unembellished modern designs. Minimalist interiors were influenced by the Minimalist arts movement of the 1960 and 1970’s along with traditional Japanese design and Zen
When well put together Minimalistic interior design is chic with clean lines and open spaces. Minimalistic interiors are free from clutter and distractions , emphasis is on the visual impact and use of the space.
Minimalist design styles are achieved by :
Keeping motifs and elements and motifs to a bare minimum.
Lots of natural light to keep the space light and dynamic.
Design with the repetition and movement of lines.
Having a standout piece of furniture
Displaying a single dominant piece of artwork.
Creating negative spaces
Function is the focus with concealed storage and careful detailing.
Simplified colour palette in hushed tones with one or two accent colours.
Quality items over quantity.
Modern Australian interior styles are humble and simplistic in design. This interior design style is relatively new as is Australia. A relaxed style with a love of the indoor/outdoor living spaces built on natural materials.
Modern Australian shows an appreciation for craftmanship with minimal styling, enjoying functionality and simplicity.
Modern Australian interiors have elegant modern touches alongside rustic, earthy materials with the use of:
Natural colours, stone and wood.
Achromatic colour schemes
Greenery and artwork to bring the outdoors inside.
Large bi-fold windows and doors.
Modern Farmhouse is a mixture of old and new. Modern Farmhouse is the comfortable cosy feel of a traditional home with rustic country elements. The repurposing of furniture and use of natural elements contribute to charming vintage looks. Modern Farmhouse is uncluttered spaces that are cosy and functional.
To create a Modern Farmhouse interior style with:
Mix and match old and new accessories.
Glossy accents and smooth lines in uncomplicated, neutral or monochromatic colour palettes
Rustic beams and white walls.
Wide plank floors and barn doors.
Tongue and groove paneling, shiplap and butt boards
Open shelves and cabinets
Large open plan dining and kitchen space
Vintage furniture with a rustic feel mixed with modern furniture.
Morocco interior styles is influenced by the cultures surrounding it in North Africa, with coastline along both the Mediterranean and Atlantic, nestled between Europe and Africa.
Moroccan styling is a blend of French, Portuguese, Spanish, Persian, Islamic, Mediterranean and African influences.
To create a Moroccan styled interior style with :
Sensual Moroccan Scents
Beni Ourain area rugs
Coloured glass and cut metal in lamps and pendants
Furniture with no armrests and low backrests
Fabrics with strong jewel tones
Intricate mosaic or terra cotta tile details
Ornately carved wood
Furniture with mother of pearl inlay and elaborate wrought iron scrollwork
Loud, busy and energizing, Retro interior design is from the 1950s, 1960s and 1970s. Retro styles are known for the popular flower power, pop music and pop art along with the boom of advertising. With a varied look of plastic fantastic, disposable and low maintenance to psychedelia. Retro styles are suited to a certain personality and bold approach to complete the look.
Create a Retro Interior design with:
Textures and fabrics in crushed velvet, soft vinyl and shas carpets.
Linoleum flooring in black and white.
Juke boxes, record players and old phones.
Rustic style is popular style that’s stays in trend with it’s classical simplicity and warm homey feel. Rustic is similar to Country style, with the charm of a family home in the country that many long for in the city. This style is found in various buildings in both country and urban apartments. Modern rustic interiors are interesting with a mixture of contemporary design and rustic design. An emphasis on unrefined, natural elements and objects is found in rustic interiors.
To create a Rustic design use:
Oversized sturdy furniture with a classical design, often chunky and weathered.
Solid, dark stained timber furniture with matching upholstery of natural leather and rougher fabrics.
Natural raw elements
Floors with wider planks
Paneled walls and ceiling beams
Rock and stone
Natural neutral colour palette varying from whitewashed tones of neutral colours to darker shades of brown.
Repurposed, salvaged, handcrafted items.
Accessories made of wood, natural fibres, wood, rattan, wicker and wrought iron.
Scandinavia is a well known for it’s interior design style. Scandinavian style embraces simplicity, efficiency, functionality and affordability. Influenced by it’s by democratic design ideals, this style has created a balance between warm personal invitations and minimalist efficiency. Scandanavia design styles originated in Northern Europe covering Sweden, Norway and Denmark.
Scandanavian interior design can be divided into two styles.
The first is the Scandinavian mid-century design style, that began in the 1930’s by the modernist movement and is used today. Born from the principles of modernism and made with local materials, joining clean lines, simplicity, flawless craftsmanship and understated elegance. These principles have made Scandanavian mid-century style long lasting and still used today.
To create a modern Scandinavian interior style with:
Mid-century designed furniture (see Arne Jacobsen , Hans Wegner, Alvar Aalto)
No clutter and clean lines
Plants and greenery
Plenty of natural light
Accents in timber such as pine, beech and ash
Light muted colours – baby blue, mint green, blush pink and the use of soft greys sparingly.
The second style is Swedish Gustavian country style, similar to the French neoclassical style of Louis XIV, but less extravagant. King Gustav lll visited the Palace of Versailles in the 1780’s and decided to replicate the style at home. The Gustavian style is a paler version of the French style , with soft furnishings in a muted color palette. To brighten up dark rooms in the long Scandanavian winters , the colours of pale blues and greys were used.
Creating a Swedish Gustavian country style use
Barrel back chairs
Carved wooden settees
Carved woods in pine, birch and beech.
Organic textures and linens creating a cozy environment
Starting in the 1980’s Shabby Chic combines a vintage inspired style with soft , feminine elements. Designed with light, airy spaces, creating a balance between a weathered looking English Cottage and the finer things in life.
Furniture is given a weathered or aged look such as sanded milk paint with signs of wear and tear.
The more modern take on Shabby chic is a little more chic and a little less shabby
To create a Shabby Chic interior style with:
Soft cottons and French linens in whites, creams and pastel colours , with pink, light mint green and cool blue being the favorites.
More weathered wood with distressed painted furniture, less wicker and wrought iron
The introduction of some darker colors alongside the softer pastel and whites.
Sophisticated floral prints
Dried flowers and quilts with a mix of modern art
Traditional interior styling is inspired by the past, with the indulgences and comfort of classic European décor from the 18th and 19th century.
Today, Traditional interiors are styled with more modern, elegant elements. This process brings time tested elements, motifs and proportions to fit into a modern lifestyle.
Traditional styled interiors are achieved with elaborate furniture pieces and other design elements with reference to 18th century Neoclassical, French Country, English or Colonial styles
Wing back chairs and couches, claw foot tables.
Queen Anne, Sheraton and Chippendale Styled furniture in dark wood.
Architectural embellishments with ornate cornice, architraves and skirting boards.
Wall Scones, candelabras and chandeliers
Table lamps and side tables
Silk and velvet fabrics and leather
Fireplaces and bookcases
Pale and simple walls with rich colours and lines and other elements bringing a luxurious feel to the space.
Tropical interiors are inspired by nature with the colours of the Tropics and an abundance of natural materials. Think tropical beaches of the French Polynesia and Hawaii , with romantic beaches, lush jungles and vibrant colours. Tropical interiors reflect a comfortable and relaxed atmosphere.
To create a Tropical Design with animals and plants as focal points, style with :
Bamboo, rattan and teak and mahogany in furniture and doors.
Lush tropical foliage and organic shapes
Large leaf plant prints and bright floral patterns eg. Hibiscus plants
Lush green shades with shades of blue on larger surfaces and warm vibrant colour in pink, purple, orange yellow, brown , coral accessories and fabrics.
Chic originates from fashion, indicating trendy elegance and fashionable.
Urban is characteristic of a town or city with suggestions of sophistication. It first appeared as trendy but is presently associated with lower socioeconomic status, calling up images of steel, concrete, and brick for the masses, which has now become dated and common.
Mix the two together, with traditional and trendy style touched and old and new décor and you get Urban Chic. Reflecting the development of cities and towns, Urban Chic spaces are open plan, multifunctional. Lots of creativity can be seen with the transformation of old warehouses , townhouses and city houses into new office spaces and trendy apartments.
To create an Urban Chic design style with:
Graphic Print Wallpaper
Leather furniture , vintage style
Billboards and signs
Exposed bricks and pipes
Victorian interiors are still popular in the modern 21st century. Modern Victorian combines modern styling of contemporary pieces with original Victorian architecture. Victorian home décor is luxurious and abundant. High ceilings and well pro-portioned rooms with bold colours and large artworks are found in Victorian styling.
Victorian interior are styled with
Dark walls with ornate skirting and cornices.
William Morris-eques wallpaper
The mixing of new and old such as modern styling on an original fireplace.
An ornate ceiling rose with a modern chandelier
Dark, moody colours
Contemporary statement furniture
Wabi-Sabi a Japanese term meaning finding beauty in imperfection. Wabi-Sabi interiors are different to others in that they don’t have specific colours, shapes or décor that define them. Wabi-Sabi design is a cultural extension in basic design following the guiding principles of the Wabi-Sabi philosophy of natural, effortless, lives in, perfectly imperfect.
To create a Wabi-Sabi interior embracing imperfections use:
Textured pendant lamps
Wow, you’ve made it to the end. Congratulations, you are on your way to creating the interior design style that fits in with you and your family.
There sure are a lot of interior design styles. We will add more detailed info in the coming weeks along with extra design styles. Vintage and Transitional Interior Design Styles will be added soon.
Please get in touch if you would like more info on a particular interior design style.
- Tags: Interior Design Styles
- Sandra Da Silva