Your Guide to Interior Design Styles

A rundown of the most popular and familiar interior design styles and trends.  


This guide includes short but succinct descriptions, plus the elements to pull off each style.


From Abstract to Wabi-Sabi Style.  


There are links to more detailed posts on some popular styles.


Take our style QUIZ and see if we can guess yours.

Table of Contents show

Abstract Style

Photo by Ali Yahya on Unsplash
Minimalistic, graphic, artsy, edgy, dynamic, unexpected, intriguing. These are the marked characteristics of this style. 
Inspired by Abstract Art, this results in spaces that are almost unusual, and by being so, they invite you for a closer scrutiny.  Furniture pieces, accessories and other details are “abstracted,” reduced to the simplest terms to achieve a different and interesting look.  
It features lines, forms, colors, shapes, patterns and contrast.
Simplified but not simple. Definitely not mainstream.
The style is a favorite for commercial designs because of its attention-grabbing and thought-provoking qualities.
More examples on Pinterest.

Art Deco Style

Photo by Wesley Tingey on Unsplash
This is a dramatic and striking style of the 1920s to 1930s.  Its main focus is on glamour and luxury.
It’s a style that is diversely influenced by the events of that particular time.
  • Egyptian elements from the discovery of King Tut’s tomb
  • the Machine Age and the advent of air travel
  • Hollywood’s golden age
  • the rise of Modernism, among others. 
The style uses a lot of patterns that can include:
  • vertical lines
  • starburst
  • stepped lines
  • zigzag, etc…
Art Deco interiors are usually dark in color scheme. They typically include black for the added drama. This characteristic can be attributed to the style’s Egyptian influence. 
There is a pronounced use of metals and metallics with refined craftsmanship, a feature contributed by the Machine Age.
More examples on Pinterest.

Dive deeper into Art Deco Style in this post. Includes checklist and Amazon finds.


It’s also mentioned in the post Retro Family of Interior Design Styles.

Art Moderne / Streamline Moderne Style

Photo by Aneta Pawlik on Unsplash
An American style that is closely related to and usually mixed with Art Deco Style.
Both styles showcase the precise and refined craftsmanship on metals. The Machine Age made this possible.
Key difference on their emphasis: 
             vertical lines for Art Deco
         horizontal lines for Art Moderne.
Art Moderne is additionally inspired by aerodynamic design. This is shown by the use of horizontal “speed lines” in regular intervals. 
Architecture, doors, windows and furniture pieces are finished with clean, curved corners.
The related retro Diner Style features these elements in their interiors. As seen in their table and chair designs
More examples on Pinterest.

Here’s a bit more about Streamline Moderne in The Retro Family of Interior Design Styles.

Art Nouveau Style

Image by 139904 from Pixabay
The name translates to “new style.” It was a style that aimed to break away from the influence of other styles that came before it. 
Interiors in this style is mostly devoid of straight lines, and instead include a lot of sinuous and undulating curves.
The style takes inspiration from nature, flowers and foliage, with the designs done in a stylized manner.
The art form is applied to all elements of interior design – from furniture pieces to stairs to doorways, etc.
Materials used: wrought iron, brass, bronze, wood, stained glass. 
More examples on Pinterest.

Arts and Crafts Movement & Mission Styles

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The Arts and Crafts Movement had its roots in Britain.
It was a reaction to mass production of goods brought about by industrialization. This social movement aimed to emphasize artisan craftsmanship. They returned to handcrafting in efforts to bring back quality. The style also highlighted their materials’ natural beauty.
It encompassed architecture, furniture design and decorative arts. The latter included:
  • ceramic ware
  • stained glass
  • surface design in wallpaper and textiles, among others.
Mission / Craftsman Style is its American counterpart.  Southwestern and Native American Styles usually use furniture pieces made in this style.
More examples on Pinterest.

Atomic Age & Space Age Styles

Tokumeigakarinoaoshima [CC0], via Wikimedia Commons
Both of these styles emerged after WWII.
As its name implies, Atomic Age Style was inspired by nuclear science. In particular, the nuclear bomb, as the world came out of the World War. 
Alongside it was the futuristic Space Age Style. It was a style that was in turn inspired by the Space Exploration Age.
Their most recognizable translations in interior design are the:
  • atomic-shaped bubble branching chandelier
  • Sputnik chandelier
  • organic shapes that referred to atomic levels in living organisms
  • plastic furniture pieces
They are commonly included in Mid-Century Modern and Diner Styles of the same period. They all belong to the RETRO umbrella of decorating styles.
More examples on Pinterest.

See how these styles are related to Mid-Century Modern Style

and why it belongs to The Retro Family of Interior Design Styles.

Baroque / Neo-Baroque Style

Bernini Baldacchino Baroque
Image by Jorge Royan, CC BY-SA 3.0 , via Wikimedia Commons

The ostentatious style most famously associated with King Louis XIV of France. 


Uses at lot of:

  • curved forms
  • angel and cherub figures
  • high relief carvings resulting in dramatic interplay of light and shadows
  • twisted columns
  • gilding everywhere
  • crystals
  • mirrors
  • upscale natural stones like marble and granite
  • expensive fabrics such as damask, velvets, brocades

Furniture leg form is primarily heavy, square and tapering.


The style of origin of many other glam styles.


More examples on Pinterest.

Bauhaus Movement
BAUHAUS – a school in Germany, founded by Walter Gropius.
It combined studies of fine arts, crafts and design. But unlike the Arts and Crafts Movement, the Bauhaus Movement used the machines of Industrial Revolution to its advantage. This resulted to the style’s hallmarks: FUNCTION + BEAUTY + MASS PRODUCTION. Emphasis on INDUSTRIAL forms.
What started out as a school became a movement. The school’s ethos were carried along by faculty members as they relocated to other countries during WWII.
Materials used are steel, glass, and concrete. Color scheme is mainly neutral.
The Bauhaus Movement went on to pave the way for other modern styles.
More examples on Pinterest.

Bohemian Style in different interpretations

Classic Bohemian Style

Photo by Fezbot2000 on Unsplash


True Bohemian Style is the ultimate eclectic and maximalist style. 


Related to the Hippie Movement, it requires individualism and confident disregard of all that’s conventional. 


It emphasizes a back-to-nature, carefree, relaxed, artistic and nomadic lifestyle. 


Uses earthy, subdued colors that are layered into furnishings from different places, eras and styles. 


It exhibits unabashed use of embellishments, patterns and textures. 


Though busy in its overall look, these Bohemian spaces are meant for unplugging and unwinding.


More examples on Pinterest.

Bohemian Chic Style



The more glamorous version of Bohemian Style. 


It is also eclectic and maximalist in nature. 


It also uses plenty of colors, patterns & textures.


Some general differences from true Bohemian: 

  • uses bright or jewel toned colors instead of earthy tones
  • has a more formal or traditional furniture arrangement versus true Boho’s sometimes too random layout
  • use of more blings like crystals versus almost none in true Boho
  • use of shiny metallics versus dull metallics in true Boho
  • an overall more refined look than original Bohemian
Examples on Pinterest.

Modern Bohemian Style

KatarzynaBialasiewicz Getty Images Pro via Canva Pro
The contemporary version of the Classic Bohemian Style. One that has  a fresher overall look.
It’s bright with plenty of whites, but still with a good measure of colors that can either be earthy or jewel-like. 
Also patterned and textured. Uses eclectic pieces of furnishings.  Also comfortable and relaxing.
Includes the same elements and decor as the Classic version.
Just like many modern styles, Modern Bohemian can exhibit a minimalistic trait.
More examples on Pinterest.

White Bohemian Style

Photo by Alyssa Strohmann on Unsplash
Whites, creams, ivories, ecrus, beiges – for a fresh, light and airy Bohemian look. 
In the absence of colors, it focuses on layers of textures and patterns in different cozy items.
Includes plenty of plants and natural materials like wood, wicker, bamboo, sisal. Preferably weathered ones for that carefree, lived-in look. 
It uses low profile furniture pieces. There are lots of rugs, fabrics and pillows to achieve a warm, inviting and relaxing ambience. 
Use of eclectic and different kinds of decor for a collected and well-travelled look.
More examples on Pinterest.


Dark Bohemian Style

Photo by Andreea Ch Pexels
A Bohemian Style with dark overall ambience with use of toned-down colors.
Also with plenty of textures and patterns.  Features eclectic furnishings from different places and collections of all kinds. Includes plants and handmade crafts. 
The style is cozy and like the Classic version, is comfortable and relaxing.
It can either swing from simple and rustic to chic and glamorous – depending on the elements used. Either way, the dark, deep, rich colors cast a moody and mysterious vibe to the style.
More examples on Pinterest.

Black and White Bohemian Style

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A Bohemian style that’s restrained to a black and white palette. Textures and patterns are played up in the absence of colors.  Its boldness comes from the high contrast produced by combining black and white.
Theres an eclectic mix in furniture pieces. Decor includes collections of things in black and white.
Upcycled items and plants of any kind – for the style’s eco-friendly characteristic.
It’s got a simple, carefree, comfortable and cozy vibe. Relaxing and refreshing, despite the busy, contrasting look.
More examples on Pinterest.

For a more in-depth post on the BOHEMIAN FAMILY OF STYLES plus free checklists, click here.


See The Retro Family of Interior Design Styles where Boho Styles is included.


Check out our post on Bohemian pillow combos.




Brutalist / New Brutalist Style

Photo by Joseph Albanese on Unsplash
Brutalism is an architectural style that came about after the Second World War. The war caused a scarcity of many building materials such as steel.
Concrete was durable and inexpensive, so it became the material of choice.  It is also versatile, that it can be shaped and molded very easily. Its use can result in very interesting, artful and sculptural features in interiors. Be it in fixed elements or in stand alone furniture pieces. 
Brutalist Style just included concrete at first. But inevitably, other materials were also used.  Hence came the New Brutalist Style that included wood, steel and glass – in raw or in “as found” state.
The style is both impressive and expressive. It is bold and confident-looking, minimalistic, functional, practical, simplified and statement-making.
More examples on Pinterest.

Brutalist Chic Style

Photo by Paweł Bukowski on Unsplash
Brutalist Chic – a post World War II style. It is a celebration of constructions materials. And their role in the building of the living environment, especially concrete. 
While concrete is the style’s most prominent material, metals are also used. In a molten look for a post-apocalyptic vibe, or in just plain, polished state. Either way, they lend elegance and contrast to all the concrete in the space.
Concrete, versatile as it is, can also be colored for a more fashionable look.
Other materials can also be added to counteract the style’s cold and dreary look, like:
  • area rugs
  • chandeliers
  • warm metallic colors
  • velvet fabrics
  • luxurious furniture pieces, among others. 
More examples on Pinterest.

Check out our Amazon finds below with the molten metal look that exudes an “apocalyptic” vibe.

Side tables and candle holders.


These are affiliate links. #ad #aff

Chinoiserie Style

Photo by Erol Ahmed on Unsplash
The European take on the Chinese and East Asian Style. A more refined version, which differentiates it against the regional style.
Includes elements like:
  • Chinese patterns
  • lacquered furniture pieces
  • blue and white ceramic pottery and table ware
  • pagodas
  • Chinese landscape arts, etc. 
A staple in French Rococo. Espoused by the royalties, especially the females. Chinoiserie became a status symbol of that time. Europe became intrigued by what’s on that part of the world. They regarded all Chinese and East Asian things as exotics. 
It has also become a regular element in upscale styles such as Traditional and Preppy Styles. Yet, it can very well stand alone as a style in its own right.
More examples on Pinterest.

Contemporary Style

Photo by William Sun from Pexels
Most past styles have contemporary versions, but there’s such a thing as Contemporary Style.
It’s one that has all things current and is almost devoid of any influence from past and regional styles.
Color palette is mostly neutral – blacks, whites and grays. Some occasional pops of bright colors as accent. 
Clean and strong-lines are used in the space and furniture pieces. They can be rectilinear and/or curvilinear.
It showcases minimalism but not as extreme as in the Minimalist Style.
It can exhibit innovative features such as smart and green designs.  This is because the style deals with all that is “here and now.” 
More examples on Pinterest.

De Stijl

Staircase in De Stijl Style
By Joseph Kuo Getty Images via Canva Pro
De Stijl, meaning “The Style” in Dutch, was a group of artists and architects from the Netherlands. 
  • vertical and horizontal lines, that make squares and rectangles
  • primary colors blue, red and yellow
  • non-colors gray, white and black
This is as universal as any style can be. 
Their works’ simple outcomes have made DE STIJL still relevant today. Even a century after the group’s founding.  
More examples on Pinterest.

See how De Stijl influenced many of today’s styles in The Modern Family of Interior Design Styles – A Definitive Guide .


Check out why we also consider De Stijl as a Retro Style. 


Diner Style

Photo by Anastasia Dulgier on Unsplash
Diner Style is an iconic American style. It’s used mainly in restaurants that served affordable meals.
Belonging to the RETRO umbrella of decorating styles, it has several influences like:
  • Machine Age and the Streamline Era – use of horizontal chrome strips in its furnishings
  • Pop Art – use of colors and Hollywood stars
  • Atomic and Space Age Styles – use of patterns, atomic chandeliers.
Other elements: checkerboard floor patterns and  booth seats.
It’s graphic, nostalgic and definitely personality-filled.
More examples on Pinterest.

More on the Diner Style in The Retro Family of Interior Design Styles.

Eco Style

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There’s a lot to ECO Style like:  
  • sustainability
  • aspiring for smaller ecological footprint
  • using less resources. Example: by using white paint in interiors. To keep space bright and save on electricity
  • using less toxic materials, processes, etc. 
But the style’s most obvious trait is the use of mostly natural, raw materials to complete the interiors.
It is a style for contemporary and modern times, so comfort is not compromised.
Having “back-to-nature” as the theme, it is rooted in minimalism.
Other characteristics: light and airy, simple, functional, efficient, clutter-free, etc.
More examples on Pinterest.

Greek Mediterranean Style

Photo by Orlova Maria on Unsplash
A style that was inspired by its location, and also by the sky and the sea.
Being in the Mediterranean, it was influenced by other countries in the region. Like Spain and Italy. 
Includes elements like:
  • columns
  • exposed beams and arched entryways
  • white stuccoed walls
  • stone-tiled floor
  • mosaic tiles everywhere
  • wrought iron in furnishings, etc.
A rustic, coastal / beach style, it uses plenty of whites and blues, to blend with the surroundings.
It’s simple, uncluttered, relaxing and comfortable.
More examples on Pinterest.

Hollywood Regency / Hollywood Glam Style

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A style inspired by Hollywood’s golden age, between 1920s to 1960s.
A mix of earlier glamorous styles such as Art Deco, French and English Regency Styles.
Influences: Baroque, Ancient Egyptian and Greek Styles.
Elements can include anything that exude luxurious, worldly vibe like:
  • classic columns and moldings
  • shiny metals
  • expensive crystals
  • sumptuous velvet
  • soft suede, etc.
And of course, elements that are associated with Old Hollywood. Things that are vintage and nostalgic. Examples: Vintage camera, vintage photos of Hollywood stars.
More examples on Pinterest.

Industrial Styles

Industrial Design Style

Photo by Chris Fuller on Unsplash
Inspired by the industrial lofts, previously used as factories. Abandoned when the new processes of the second Industrial Revolution demanded bigger spaces. 
Style’s focus is reclaiming these spaces for other uses. And thus, repurposing and preserving the buildings’ look became the style’s main principles. 
Examples of repurposing:
  • having pallets as bed platforms or
  • wine barrels as table pedestals 
The style celebrates the materials used in building these spaces. Metal, wood, concrete, bricks and glass.
It also includes elements and themes related to the Industrial Revolution. Steam engine and air travel. Machines and their products. 
Mix of old and new, polished and distressed. 
Masculine, nostalgic, practical.
More examples on Pinterest

Industrial Chic Style

Photo by Benjamin Reisner on Unsplash
Industrial Chic is the sophisticated version of Industrial Design Style.
It also preserves the rustic and distressed look of the building. In celebration of its history.
It does not attempt or hide the industrial nature of the space. It instead, deliberately mixes in elegant elements for a contrasting look.
It’s made chic by:
  • using less of salvaged furnishings and more of fresher and comfortable pieces
  • using shiny metals, crystals, carpet
  • adding classic details like herringbone wood flooring
  • luxurious materials like velvet, fur, etc. 
Mix of old and new; distressed and polished; rustic and elegant.
More examples on Pinterest.

Vintage Industrial / Machine Age Style

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A style that celebrates the achievements of man during the Machine Age.
It can be in an industrial space, but doesn’t need to be. Because its focus is on the collection of now vintage things made by the machine and the machine itself.
Same materials as in the Industrial Design Style. Brick walls, concrete, metal pipes, small-paned glass pieces in windows.
Decor include nostalgic collection of items from the Industrial Revolution:  vintage typewriters, telephones, bicycles, radios, etc…
Also travel-related items like: world map, telescope, vintage trunks and luggages.
More examples on Pinterest.

Soft Industrial Style

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This is literally the softer version of Industrial Design Style.
Like any Industrial style, the space is made of hard materials like metal, stone and wood. Some furniture pieces are likewise made of the same.
Addition of area rugs, curtains and plants adds softness in the space.  Plus furniture in comfortable and plush materials.
The rustic, distressed look of the space can be made fresher by:
  • painting the brick walls or
  • replacing weathered wood planks with more polished ones. 
More examples on Pinterest.

Steampunk / Alternative History Style

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A decorating style that’s inspired by sub-genre of sci-fi movies with the same name.
These movies were set in the Victorian Era. And this era coincided with the Machine Age of the Industrial Revolution.
Décor includes those of Industrial Design Style plus Victorian elements.
Its focus is on travel and the speed of machines, especially the steam engine. 
Some science fact and fiction themes:
  • air travel using blimps
  • deep sea travel in submarines
  • time travel. 
Examples of interiors on Pinterest.

You can find a more detailed post on



Check out URBAN STYLES too as they are largely related to one another.

Japandi / Scandinese Style

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Fusion of Japanese & Scandinavian Styles. 
Easy to combine these two because of their similarities:
  • great respect for nature
  • use of natural materials
  • principles of functionalism and minimalism.
Either uses:
  • distinct Scandi statement pieces + Japanese wabi-sabi philosophy of embracing the imperfect 
  • or the reverse – craggy furniture pieces of wabi-sabi + clean look from Scandi influence
  • or just  a combination of their features.
Color scheme can swing from:
  • bright palette of Scandi to
  • earthier-tones for wabi-sabi vibe. 
More examples on Pinterest.

Japanese Style

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The traditional style of the Japanese people.
Design principle is rooted on great respect for nature. So it uses natural materials like wood, stone, and even paper. Plants, water fountains, bamboo shades. 
Other principles:
  • simplicity
  • minimalism and
  • zen – the relaxed, peaceful, worry-free approach to everyday living. 
Because the region is prone to earthquakes:
  • it uses lightweight materials
  • has open interior space and uses portable partitions instead. 
More examples on Pinterest.

Memphis Style - Postmodernism

Memphis Style is by an Italian group of designers. It was popular in 1980’s and is now back.
It was part of Postmodernism which was a rejection of the Modern Movement.
Principles: ART & FORM OVER FUNCTION and MORE IS MORE – both in opposition to those of Modernism.
Some of its features:
  • unexpected forms
  • graphic patterns, clashing colors
  • cheap materials like plastic.
The style has a distinct signature look. Their designer furniture pieces and playful patterns are now considered iconic.
It’s vibrant, funky, quirky, theatrical and more.
More examples on Pinterest.

Check out this post where the Memphis Style is included in The Retro Family of Interior Design Styles.

Mexican Styles

Traditional Mexican Style

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Mexico is sandwiched between the two Americas. So it is diverse in its characteristics. As diverse in its landscape with mountains, jungles, beaches and deserts.  
It was inhabited by ancient tribes like the Mayans and the Aztecs.
Then later colonized by the Spanish. Spain brought with her, her Mediterranean, Moorish and Christian influences.
Mexico’s geographical location further adds its unique elements to the style. Like the cacti as reference to the desert.
No wonder it’s so eclectic.
Arches, vivid colors, tribal patterns, potteries. Desert and tropical elements. Wrought iron works. Religious motifs. These are just few of the elements used this maximalist and never boring style.
More examples on Pinterest.

Modern Mexican Style

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The minimalistic version of the Mexican Style.
It’s also colorful. But can still be pulled off with few or without colors for an updated version. As long as there are enough elements with distinct Mexican origin.
Like an Acapulco chair, Otomi pattern in upholstery, a Frida Kahlo portrait on display.
Neutrals like grays, blacks and whites can also be mixed in. Combine with colors and patterns for that modern vibe.
Includes potteries, clay tiles, plants, religious artifacts, and others.
More examples on Pinterest.

Mid-Century Modern Style

Photo by Pixabay from Pexels
Mid-Century Modern is a style that was popular in 1940’s-60’s, hence its name.
Its aesthetic is influenced by the migration to US by Scandinavian craftsmen, post-WWII. This explains the similarities between Midmod and Scandinavian styles.
Main differences from Scandi:
  • MidMod is bolder in colors and patterns and
  • darker in overall color scheme.
Other influences: minimalism- Bauhaus, Sputnik lamps- Atomic Age, molded plastics- Space Age, earthy color scheme from Boho. 
Iconic designer pieces as focal point. 
Principles: Simplicity + Functionality. 
Belongs to both MODERNIST & RETRO umbrellas of decorating styles.
More examples on Pinterest.

Minimalist Style

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MINIMALISM – more of a philosophy rather than an interior design style. 
Rooted on the idea that a cluttered space equals a cluttered mind, it takes “LESS IS MORE” to a new level. 
It’s pared down to a few furniture pieces, only to what’s necessary. But does so without sacrificing quality.
Most are “out of sight,” tucked away in sometimes unexpected storage areas or pieces.
In keeping up with the theme, color scheme’s limited to neutrals and ideally just one hue.
It’s intentional, deliberate and a specific way of living.
More examples on Pinterest.

Modern Glam Style - Colorful Palette

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A restrained version of the Hollywood Regency or the Hollywood Glam Style.
It is simpler and less dramatic, because of its dominant use of blacks, whites and grays.
It uses a mix of furniture pieces. Can include transitional, modern and contemporary in style. Upholstered in expensive materials like velvet and silk. In jewel colors for that glam vibe.  Classic detailing are also common, but done in simplified ways.
Accessories include luxurious details like:
  • gold finishes
  • plush area rug
  • crystals and others
but in a notably more modest dose.
More examples on Pinterest.

Modern Glam Style - Neutral Palette

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Modern Glam Style in whites, blacks, grays and browns.
Furniture pieces can include transitional, modern or contemporary pieces.  Upholstered in velvets, silk, fabrics in subtle damask prints.  Shiny wood finishes. 
Decor and furnishings include luxurious elements like:
  • fur, mirrors, plush area rugs,
  • gold finishes, marbles, crystals
  • simplified classic details like moldings, panelings, columns, pilasters, etc.
Result is a tamed version of Hollywood Regency / Hollywood Glam Style. In a neutral color palette.
More examples on Pinterest.

White Modern Glam Style

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An all white glam interior with luxurious elements but done with controlled elegance.
Executed in a white color palette using ecru, cream, ivory, beige, etc.
Includes metals, velvets, fur, mirrors, plush area rugs, marbles, crystals.
Plus simplified classic details like moldings, panelings, columns, cabriole legs, carvings. 
More examples on Pinterest.

Black and White Modern Glam Style

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Modern Glam in black and white color palette. A glamorous interior style using classical, transitional, contemporary and modern elements.
Patterns like stripes, chevron, chessboard, in high contrast black and white. Mixed with luxurious materials and finishes.   
Like any modern styles, it’s minimalistic in nature. Yet still has the bold and dramatic qualities of the more glam version – Hollywood Regency Style.
More examples on Pinterest.

More examples of Modern Glam Styled interiors here.

We also designed an entire condo in modern glam and here are some shoppable glam mood boards.

Moroccan / Moorish Style

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Moroccan / Moorish Style has most of the hallmarks of the Bohemian Style. But it’s dominated by other characteristics particular to that region. 
Morocco’s location caused it to have mix of influences:
  • Islamic
  • Mediterranean
  • European
  • African. 
Distinct elements are: 
  • pointed, scalloped and horseshoe arches, onion domes
  • surface decoration with arabesque and geometric patterns
  • intricate metalworks and leather works 
This style is colorful, patterned and maximalist. It almost always looks very luxurious overall, if not over-the-top.
More examples on Pinterest.


Neo-Classic Style

Copy of Untitled
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The style that came after Rococo.  It flourished during the reign of King Lous XVI of France.
A reaction to the ostentatiousness of both Baroque and Rococo. Neo-Classic was much simpler in design.
It brought back the use of classic Greek and Roman Styles. Because that period coincided with the discovery of the Pompeiian ruins.
It traded the free-flowing curves of Rococo with:
  • tapering, straight fluted legs
  • mechanical, geometric oval and rectangular back rests for chairs.
The French version is simpler than the English (Adamesque) version.
More examples on Pinterest.

Noir Style

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NOIR decorating style was inspired by a film genre of the same name, popular in 1940s to 50s.
The films were shot in black and white, using the principles of chiaroscuro – an interplay of light and dark.
The high contrast produced shadows and silhouettes. These became the hallmarks of this style. 
Words that describe the resulting films are: mysterious, sultry, edgy, dramatic.
Interior design has taken up this style. It includes vintage items as reference to the time it became popular. It uses elements like sheer fabrics and frosted glass to achieve the effect.
More examples on Pinterest.

Parisian Style

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A style that is associated with how the French decorate – that is with effortless elegance.
Spaces with architectural details in classic French style. Like moldings, medallions, pilasters, among others. Mixed with furniture pieces from different eras. Anything from classic to vintage to contemporary.
Best if the space includes at least one French piece like an armoire or a bergère.
Its look is never too decorated nor too curated. This results to a stylish space with a carefree and nonchalant vibe.  
More examples on Pinterest.

Pop Art Style

Photo by Daniel Salcius on Unsplash
Pop Art, a style from 1950s, where anything popular in mass culture is used.
It goes against elitist traditions of fine arts. It does it by using inexpensive, mass-produced materials, making it affordable for all. But it sometimes can border on the kitschy side.
A reaction to Abstract Expressionism – it’s a return to more literal, albeit stylized form of art.
Rooted in consumerism, the style capitalized on the witty, sexy and glamorous. And these translated into big business.
Loud, vibrant, calls attention to itself. At times used as element in Midmod, Space and Atomic Age Styles.
More examples on Pinterest.

Postmodernism Style

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Postmodern Style or PoMo. It was a reaction to what were deemed to be the negative characteristics of the Modernist Styles. These were: austerity, formality, rigidity and lack of interest.
PoMo Style references anything from the past. But does it in a contradictory way, or gives it a different twist.
It is simply the refusal to follow any strict rule of any style that came before it.
Anything goes. It’s ironic, humorous, whimsical and unexpected.  Colorful, asymmetrical and is meant to attract attention to itself. 
A maximalist style, it’s principles are: more is more & less is a bore.
More examples on Pinterest.

Preppy Styles

Classic Preppy Style

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A style associated with the lifestyle and culture of generations of privileged families.
A lifestyle filled with days in country clubs. A life exercised with refined social graces. Also filled with travels and education that in the past, were only reserved for the rich.
These have become the bases for the style’s hallmarks:
  • hand-me-down quality items from different eras, as heirloom pieces from previous generations
  • book-filled libraries and shelves
  • collections brought home from travels
  • expensive area rugs, layered on top of one another
  • symmetry, owing to the style’s traditional roots.
All these elements are gradually added into the space. This results in “collected over time” feel.
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Preppy Eclectic Style

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A fresher version of the Classic Preppy Style. There’s an effort to make some pieces from different eras look updated. To make them look more coordinated with the new space and with the other elements in it.
Usually done by giving some of the heirloom pieces a fresh coat of bright paint. Or a more modern upholstery. Especially those that need repairs or refurbishing.
They’re mixed with some untouched vintage pieces. To keep the eclectic spirit of Classic Preppy Style.
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New Preppy Style

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A style inspired by the Classic Preppy Style. Prim and proper in its overall look. 
Uses layers and layers of bright colors and bold patterns that can be applied in all the elements in the space. Includes classic pieces or classic pieces in modern silhouettes. 
Preppy look from: structured details, trims and pipings, monogrammed accessories, symmetry.
Chinoiserie is also a staple. Since it was formerly used a status symbol in the old wold, elitist Rococo Style.
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Country Preppy Style

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A Preppy Style with a distinct Country vibe. 
All Preppy Styles include layers and layers of pattern. But this iteration of the style uses ones that are associated with Country Styles. Like: plaids, checks, dainty florals. 
Can include architectural details and furniture pieces of Country Style. Examples:
  • exposed ceiling beams
  • black iron details on furniture and furnishings
  • overstuffed sofa and chairs, etc. 
Country Preppy can look polished and refined.  But it can can also take on a haphazard look owing to its Country and Classic Preppy roots.
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Coastal Preppy Style

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A Preppy Style with a distinct Coastal vibe. 
Using different bold and bright colors is a hallmark of most Preppy Styles. But this one uses colors that are associated with Coastal Style such as green, blue, white, sand and tan. 
It also includes an eclectic mix of furniture and furnishings. But will mostly have pieces that are made of natural materials like rattan, wicker, jute, sisal, etc.  
Glass decor especially in sea glass colors are especially appropriate for the style.  Corals and shells add more of coastal feel.  
Other Preppy elements:
  • symmetry
  • Chinoiserie blue and white
  • trims, pipings, pleats
  • exposed nail heads.
More examples on Pinterest.

Renaissance / Renaissance-Inspired Style

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Renaissance is the revival of Classical Greek and Roman styles from the Age of Antiquity. 
It’s the style that emerged as the world came out of the Middle Ages. It was an era of great artistry and creativity that got its start in Florence, Italy. 
A style that’s more focused on architectural features. And these architectural elements are applied in the interiors. Some examples:
  • domes, arches, high and coffered ceilings
  • columns, pilasters, balustrades, wall panelings, moldings
  • murals, niches and carvings. 
Décor can include paintings, sculptures, busts, Greek potteries and other works of art.
It’s symmetrical, elaborate, luxurious and dignified with emphasis on comfort and beauty.
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Rococo Style

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The style that flourished during the reign of King Louie XV of France. It overlapped with the Baroque Style, hence their similarities. It also has carvings but to a lesser extent. Furniture are smaller and daintier. 


Key differences from Baroque: 

  • Rococo’s shell motif
  • curvy cabriole legs for furniture instead of straight
  • use of chinoiserie (Chinese motifs) and singerie (monkey motifs) in decor as interest in the East increased.  

Rococo Style is lighter, more feminine and simpler than the Baroque Style. It’s also more comfortable and practical.


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Rustic Styles

Country Style

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Belongs to RUSTIC umbrella of decorating styles, meaning rural or close to nature.
Its look can be mostly rustic- or mostly fresh-looking or a mix of both. 
Though difficult to differentiate, it can be English or French. The latter generally having a more glamorous and well-put-together feel. 
Emphasis: comfort and simplicity with rural-life charm. 
COUNTRY’s difference from FARMHOUSE: latter has industrial / workplace vibe. 
CABIN / LOG- more rugged and masculine. 
SHABBY CHIC focuses more on chic vintage finds.
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Country Chic Style

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The more elegant version of Country Style. Its look can be mostly rustic- or mostly fresh-looking or a mix of both. 
It shows obvious restraint and looks more orderly than Classic Country Style.
Furnishings and details lean more on the classic / classical instead of the nondescript. 
Examples: addition of vintage black iron chandelier with crystals or wall panelings.
It’s refined overall. But Country Chic still exudes a simple and laid-back feel of the provincial life.
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Modern Country Style

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The more up-to-date version of Country Style. Takes the elements of the style and gives them a fresh, new overall look.  Or mixes rustic pieces with modern ones plus modern amenities for a contrasting vibe.
Like any modern style, it’s clean and can show some minimalistic trait. 
Simple yet comfortable furniture pieces. Examples: spindle back chair, ladder back chair, overstuffed sofa or other nondescript pieces. 
Collections of any kind on display. Folksy arts and handcrafted décor. 
Patterns like checks, plaids, florals, stripes. Brighter color palette for that fresh ambience.
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Classic Farmhouse Style

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This style also belongs to the RUSTIC umbrella of styles.
A farmhouse would naturally be located in the countryside. So it would have many characteristics of Country Style.
Some differences: farmhouse is a workplace. So it’s more rugged, simpler and includes industrial elements and plenty of metals.  And because of this characteristic, the style is used in kitchens and restaurants. Or in spaces where a lot of “work” happens.
It’s very functional. There’s a heavy emphasis on practicality. Nothing hard to maintain nor too expensive for everyday use. 
The style uses repurposed salvaged items, mixes old with new and vintage with modern.
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Modern Farmhouse Style

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Modern Farmhouse Style takes inspiration from classic farmhouse style. But is executed in a sophisticated, refined way. 
A mix of modern and rustic, with modern as the overpowering of the two. 
Glossy and polished over raw and distressed. 
Cabinets preferred over open shelves and curtains as under sink cover. 
Stainless or porcelain apron sink. Shiny metals for an elegant vibe. 
It should use enough vintage and industrial items for it to still exude the farmhouse charm. And not be lost in all the modern elements.
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Cabin / Lodge / Log Style

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These style names speak more of the kind of architecture of the space. In particular, “log home” where the exterior features are carried into the interiors.  The raw, unprocessed logs.
A cabin can be located in the mountains, lakeside or countryside – anywhere close to nature. 
Some characteristics: cozy, handcrafted, connected to nature.  It uses lots of wood, textures and rugs.  The rugged and fortified look of the style gives the interiors a feeling of security for those who use it.
Architectural elements include exposed logs as main material. Others: natural stones like fieldstone and terra cotta. 
They could be done in themes like:
  • Native American
  • Cowboy / Southwestern
  • Coastal or Farmhouse, among others.
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Modern Cabin / Lodge / Log Style

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Cabins with a less of the rustic vibe and has a more polished overall look.
It use surfaced, heavy planks and lumber instead of the usual unprocessed logs.
It’s airy and bright, can sometimes be painted for a fresh look instead of the usual woodsy vibe.
Includes modern or contemporary furniture and furnishings. Uses modern technology and amenities, not just in appliances. But in outfitting the space with safety features using smart design. For a “safe and secured” feel amidst the wilderness where cabins are usually located.
Like any other modern style, can be restrained and can have minimalistic traits.
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Coastal / Beach Style

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Coastal / Beach Style takes cue from its surroundings. Its common color scheme may include sand, tan, white, blue, green.  This results in an a light and airy, refreshing and relaxing vibe.
This style is sometimes mixed with other themes like nautical and regional influences.
Like any other rustic styles, it’s casual and comfortable.  Can be raw and weathered or otherwise.  Also uses elements such as:
  • skirted sofa
  • farmhouse-inspired chairs
  • wicker furniture
  • shiplap
  • exposed beams.
The decor usually includes elements from the beach. Like corals, driftwoods, sea glass, seashells and others.
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Coastal Chic Style

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The more elegant version of the Coastal / Beach Style. 
It has less or none of the rustic vibe and more of refined elements. Uses the same materials, furniture and furnishings but more upscale in overall look. They can range from the classic to the transitional to the contemporary.
Adding a statement lighting fixture quickly adds an elegant touch to the space. Be it beaded, wrought iron or crystal chandelier.
They can include influence of affluent regions where these spaces are located. Like the Hamptons, Nantucket, Martha’s Vineyard in the U.S. 
Uses the same color scheme that include sand, tan, white, blue, green. But can also use an all-white scheme for a very sophisticated feel.
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The RUSTIC FAMILY OF STYLES in focus in this post.

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This is the characteristic style of the region, which includes Denmark, Finland, Sweden, Norway and Iceland. 
The style is known for its principles of simplicity and functionalism.  It’s minimalistic and uncluttered with emphasis on nature and natural materials.
Their furniture pieces are almost sculptural and art-like. And exudes an air of understated elegance.
Scandinavian designers and their works have become iconic. In the likes of Hans Wegner for the Wishbone Chair and Poul Henningsen for his pH series of lighting pieces.
Its color scheme is mostly light to keep room as bright as possible during long winters. Uses textured and patterned materials like blankets, pillows and area rugs. They are layered in into the space to achieve a warm and cozy vibe.
The Scandinavian people’s post WWII migration to US largely influenced US furniture makers. Hence the similarities between SCANDI and MIDMOD furniture. 
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Scandinavian Style in Colorful Palette

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A colorful version of the usually mostly white Scandinavian / Nordic Style. 
It’s typical for this style to use colors of the related Mid-Century Modern Style. Like turquoise blue. Other Midmod colors are used too, but in brighter versions.  
Some distinctly American pieces like the Eames Eiffel chair are normally mixed in. Whether in white or in any other hue. 
Adding more colors to this style is the use of graphic and folksy patterns in the decor. The regional, folksy patterns are done in whimsical and stylized manner. Drawing inspiration from nature – moose, birch trees, flora and fauna –  for its theme.
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Black and White Scandinavian Style

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Scandinavian / Nordic Style in black and white palette.
The contrast produced by mixing black and white lend a bold vibe to this usually light and airy style.
Graphic patterns, a black accent wall or a wall art that’s also in black and white add more visual interest.  
Play with the proportions of blacks and whites to include in the space. And achieve the desired degree of boldness.
Keep the space uncluttered to stick to the style’s minimalistic trait.
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Find tips on decorating in SCANDINAVIAN STYLE here.


Getting a sofa for your Scandi project?  We have tips for that, too.

Shabby Chic Style

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Shabby Chic is a style inspired by the abandoned English manors. Abandoned during hard times in the past centuries. The stately things were left inside, exposing them to the elements.  
The style is achieved by collecting the worn pieces. Usually from scavenge hunts in flea markets or antique shops.  These finds can be mixed together with fresher elements. Or be included as furnishings in newer spaces.
It’s feminine in color scheme, mostly light neutrals. Decorative elements include frills, laces and other soft, delicate things.
With roots in the countryside, it has cottage, country and farmhouse elements. Metals are added for decoration as opposed to utilitarian use for farmhouse style.
SHABBY from worn state of the manors over abandonment. CHIC from manors’ expensive style in furnishings. They can be in classic Baroque, Rococo or Neo-Classic styles.
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Southwestern / Santa Fe Style

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The regional style of the Southwestern part of the US. It is partly inspired by the desert landscape.
An eclectic mix of Spanish, Mexican and American styles. These all came together due to area’s location and history.
Tribal touches of Aztec and Mayan origins from Mexican influence.
Arched entryways and windows, equipales chairs from the Spanish.
Wild west, ranch theme, Native American elements, Mission style furniture pieces. These are the American contributions to the style.
Earthy tones, cacti decor in reference to the desert. Turquoise stones and turquoise as a common color included in decor. Because this material is naturally abundant in the area. 
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Spanish / Spanish Mediterranean Style

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Spain had many settlers. From the Moors, French, Italians and the English. This caused the Spanish Style to have many facets.
The most notable is the style’s pronounced mix of Moorish and Christian elements. This happened as their leadership changed over the centuries. Leaders of different beliefs added their own religious motifs to the exiting ones.
They also have Indian and Chinese influences. Due to her commercial relations with the East. 
Not to mention Spain’s location in the Mediterranean, adding to the style’s richness.
Arches: Roman semicircular, horseshoe, pointed and scalloped.  Other architectural features: courtyards, fountains, arcades. 
Decorative elements: 
  • earthenware, clay tiles, metal works, wrought iron in furnishings.
  • Majolica and Azulejo tiles.
  • tooled leather, nail heads, turned legs.
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Modern Spanish / Spanish Mediterranean Style

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An up-to-date version of the Spanish Style. 
A mix of old and new elements.  Airy in its overall brighter ambience. 
Like any other modern styles, it’s minimalistic in nature. So may include only a few pieces for a spacious look.
Includes distinct features like:
  • Roman, horseshoe and pointed arches, in simplified forms
  • graphic tiles
  • wrought iron in furniture and furnishings
  • Oriental rugs
  • a few furniture pieces with carvings, turnings, leather upholstery
  • or any piece that has clear reference to the Classic Spanish Style.
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Traditional Style

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Traditional interiors are based on European historical styles. And also on other important styles of past eras. Renaissance, Rococo, Neo-Classic, Queen Anne, Chippendale and Sheraton Styles, etc. 
They exude opulence, grandness and luxurious character. Albeit in lesser dose than their original counterparts.
The style includes classic architectural details, metallic accents, crystals and expensive materials. There’s symmetry in furniture arrangements and decor. It gives formality and grandeur to the space. 
The wood materials used lean towards darker tones.  The color scheme richer in nature. 
Everything is made with quality in mind, with fine details and sumptuous accessories.  It’s a style that like its classic inspirations, stands the test of time. 
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Neo-Traditional Style

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The newer version of Traditional Style.
It has the same characteristics: also formal, has symmetry, luxurious, glamorous, among others. But is simpler in overall look. 
Furniture pieces have same silhouette, but come in cleaner lines. It can also include classic architectural elements but done in a more modern vibe.
Traditional interiors have neutral, rich colors.
Neo-Traditional can have brighter or fresher dose of colors, or blacks as accents. 
Elegant patterns like damask, paisley, florals are used for both Traditional and Neo-Traditional. 
But Neo-Traditional can use more modern patterns. Like stripes and geometrics for a fresher look.
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Transitional Style

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A mix of Traditional and Contemporary Styes. 
It’s arguably similar or interchangeable with Neo-Traditional Style. 
Some ways to pull it off: 
  • using classic furniture pieces with simplified silhouettes
  • mixing simplified classic pieces or elements with obviously contemporary pieces.
It’s less extravagant-looking than Neo-Traditional Style. 
There are prominent modern features. Airy color schemes and restrained use of decorations. 
It can use asymmetry in layout for more of contemporary style. Or it can use symmetry for a more traditional vibe.
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Tribal Trend

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A showcase about the lifestyles, culture and artworks of indigenous people worldwide. 
TRIBAL trend uses either vivid or earthy colors. Also intricate and/or graphic patterns in making their artworks using natural materials.
These handcrafted products have rich historical and cultural backgrounds. They’re made using processes that have been handed down from generation to generation.
A space in this style shouldn’t be limited to one tribe. Instead, it should feel global, curated and collected.
It can swing from minimalistic to maximalistic depending on the desired effect.
It’s eclectic, authentic and storied.
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Tropical / Botanical Trend

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A style that can be used whether or not your space is actually in the tropics. It’s refreshing and relaxing with its back-to-nature and unplugged ambience. 
There are many ways to execute the style, depending on the desired effect. Some examples:
  • using wicker furnishings or overstuffed sofa upholstered in green fabric
  • or a mix of the above
  • use real, live plants or have them on wallpaper, pillow covers or art works 
  • Or use tropical-themed accessories as accents for a more subtle vibe.
The tropical theme is not limited to greens.  Sub-themes like exotic animals, flora and fauna. Insects are also sometimes included for added interest.
This trend is very flexible – can be colorful, dark, elegant, glamorous.
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Urban Styles

Urban Industrial Style

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It’s the polished version of Industrial Design Style.
The word “urban” implies “city or town.” So the style omits or lessens the distressed and weathered look of an industrial space. 
It has the same materials like metals, wood, concrete and glass, but are given a cleaner look.
The result is a more refined and sleek version of Industrial Design Style. One with a very cosmopolitan vibe.
Other urban traits:
  • comfortable
  • modern
  • maximized and multi-use spaces – owing to smaller-sized city homes. 
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Urban Modern Style

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A style associated with today’s urban city life. Meaning life in small spaces, especially condominium units.
The word “urban” is also associated with industrialization.  So these spaces can also be in industrial lofts. But the style can be applied to any kind of space.
It incorporates contemporary, modern and industrial styles.
  • maximized, multi-functional spaces,
  • but is still comfortable to come home to after a tiring day.
Other hallmarks:
  • clever use of space
  • smart storage systems like built-ins, bookshelves, etc
Principle – form follows function. Practical, polished, cosmopolitan.
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Urban Chic Style

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A style associated with elegant city living. 


“Urban” is this context can mean “industrial.” On the other hand, it can also mean “city life” which means comfort and amenities that modern times have to offer.  It can also mean having to deal with small city spaces. 


CHIC means some elegant and luxe elements are thrown in. The result being a mix of many styles. 


And it doesn’t have to be in industrial loft / warehouse. 




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See a post where URBAN STYLES are discussed at length.

INDUSTRIAL FAMILY OF STYLES is recommended for related reading.

Victorian Style

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The Victorian Style came about during Queen Victoria’s reign in Britain. 
It coincided with the Industrial Revolution. It boosted the economy and increased the middle class population.  But mass production of goods resulted in a decline in quality.
The Victorian Style was a demonstration of new found wealth. Low quality goods combined with unsophisticated taste by the new-rich. This resulted to what others consider as gaudy interiors. 
The style has a dark color scheme. It was to combat the air pollution caused by the Industrial Revolution.
Victorian Style is carefree, eclectic and maximalist. 
More examples on Pinterest.

Wabi-Sabi Style

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More of a philosophy rather than a style, the Wabi-Sabi Trend is the Japanese way of:
  • embracing things in their most authentic form
  • finding beauty in all things natural and simple
  • appreciating the character that comes with aging. 
Some features:
  • raw and craggy natural stones
  • unfinished, weathered wood planks with cracks and other natural defects
  • the art of Kintsugi, where damaged pottery pieces are repaired with precious metals
As the style celebrates what’s imperfect, it doesn’t mind a lived-in and relaxed look. 
Wabi-Sabi is a component in a minimalistic Japanese interior. But as a style, it’s not as extreme.  Instead, it strikes a balance between simple and complex.
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Take or STYLE QUIZ and find out which style suit your next decorating project.

16 thoughts on “Your Guide to Interior Design Styles”

  1. Atomic and space age should not be combined given their distinct aesthetics… Shame on you for relegating two of the most sublime styles while paying lip service to only-slightly different subsets.

    • Hi, John. I agree with you that Atomic Age and Space Age are two distinct styles. Thank you for your comment. It has inspired me to create my own images that depict their individuality. They’ll be up in the future if not sooner. 🙂

  2. thanks a lot!! i love this article because it gives me enough understanding of each style. not too long, not too short. hope you can continue provide content like this in the future 🙂

    • Thank you for your comment, Winny. It means a lot! If you have any particular topic you want to see here, feel free to let me know. If you haven’t yet, please take our style quiz. Hope it manages to guess your style correctly. 🙂

  3. A brilliant and really interesting breakdown of all possible styles…interesting too that maximalism didn’t get a mention, though appreciate that this can present itself in any number aesthetics xx

    • Thanks very much, Sarah. You’re right. I have Minimalist Style here but not Maximalism. I’ve never given it a thought until now. And yes, I agree with you that maximalism is a trait of a number of styles, such as Classic Boho, Classic Country, Hollywood Regency, Postmodern, Preppy, Baroque, among others. Minimalism has just been the rage in the past years that it has taken a life of its own as a style. I’ll keep an eye out for maximalist interiors without obvious leanings on other styles. And maybe I could add it in. Thanks again for your insight. 🙂


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