10 interior design styles every designer should know

Interior decorators and remodelers need to be familiar with all popular interior design styles in order to meet the needs and wants of their clients. Most of the time, customers have no idea what specific design style they want.

This is where your knowledge and expertise regarding different interior design styles comes into play. After talking with your clients and taking a look at the inspiration images they have collected, you should be able to identify their design style.

This top 10 best interior design styles will help you easily identify the specific styles your clients are referring to.

10 popular interior design styles in detail

1. Modern

Modern design

The modern style comes from the modernist movement, which emerged in the 1920s. It should not be confused with the adjective “modern”, which refers to current trends. It is also different from the contemporary style which refers to current design trends. The modern design style is very specific and is said to have been created by the famous German-American architect Ludwig Mies van der Rohe. 

Main materials  : wood, metal, glass, steel

Color palette  : Monochromatic, neutral, earth

Furniture style  : simple, exposed legs, raised, satin finishes

Distinctive characteristics  : clear lines, simple furniture, absence of clutter and ornaments, “form follows function”

2. Traditional

Traditional design

The traditional style draws inspiration from older, more classic European design styles. It is a style that brings comfort and security into a room, making the space feel warm and welcoming. A house with a traditional design contains no surprises: everything is clean, calm and calculated.

Main materials  : wood

Color palette  : neutral walls, warm, rich, dark colors, gold and silver furniture/accessories

Style of furniture  : elegant, majestic, floral motifs, wood (mahogany, maple, cherry), upholstered, heavy, with curved legs, velvet, silk 

Distinctive features  : symmetrical, columns, ceiling moldings, detailed woodwork

3. Contemporary

Contemporary design

Contemporary style should not be confused with modern style. If your client wants a contemporary home, that means it fits in with current design trends. It is not a static trend, but rather an evolving trend, which adapts to the current times. Contemporary style is generally based on simplicity, sophistication and purity of lines. It is clean, elegant and bright. 

Main materials  : light wood, glass, stainless steel

Color palette  : brown, taupe, cream, white, black

Furniture style  : exposed legs, neutral tones, natural fibres, two-tone prints, no outlines or superfluous fabrics

Distinctive characteristics  : open space, uncluttered, airy, emphasis on line and form

4. Industrial

Industrial design

The industrial style draws inspiration from the industrial age, where machine, metal and brick predominated. Nowadays, it celebrates the raw and exposed materials of a building. It’s not just for people who live in lofts though; any space can be transformed into an industrial-style home with the right color palette, materials, and furnishings.

Main materials  : weathered wood, metal, brick, concrete

Color palette  : neutral tones – maroon, brown, black, cream, gray

Furniture style  : mix of wood and metal, vintage/antique look, weathered, functional

Distinguishing features  : open concept, high ceilings, exposed materials, uncluttered, functional, mix of old and new, negative space

5. Transitional

Transitional design

The transitional style is a mix of traditional and contemporary. It offers the best of both worlds by combining comfort and elegance. This style emphasizes texture and material rather than color. 

Main materials  : wood, glass, lacquer, steel, mirror

Color palette  : neutrals – brown, taupe, brown, cream, gray

Furniture style  : curves combined with straight lines, lacquered finishes, modern fabrics, subtle prints and patterns

Distinctive characteristics  : light ornaments, clean lines, welcoming, dominant wall, neutral colors

6. Rustic

Rustic design

The rustic style is all about bringing natural elements into a home. This style is often used for cottages but is increasingly popular with city dwellers. The rustic style incorporates outdoor accessories such as branches, logs and reclaimed wood.

Main materials  : wood, stone, organic textures

Color palette  : brown, green, gold, gray, beige

Furniture Style  : Aged/Raw Wood, Leather, Rough Edges

Distinctive features  : wooden beams, stone fireplace/ambient wall, warm colors, natural materials, wooden counters and furniture, worn finishes

7. Bohemian

Bohemian design

The bohemian style is suitable for people who adopt a lifestyle out of convection and who like bright colors, vintage furniture and layering of materials. This style is a mixture of beauty, chaos and culture. It allows the owner to express their individuality and often incorporates accessories from travel or flea markets. This style of interior design is exemplified by an orderly form of clutter.

Main materials  : wood, metal, dyed textiles 

Color palette  : brown, green, metallic, gold, purple, orange, blue

Furniture style  : used/vintage, cozy, saturated colors, pouffes, mismatched, comfortable

Distinctive Features  : Colorful, Layers, Varied Textures and Patterns, Vintage, Tapestries, Cluttered

8. Minimalists

Minimalist design

The minimalist design style stems from the “less is more” theory. There is less furniture, less clutter, fewer accessories. Even the elements used are minimalist in that they are airy and surrounded by empty space. If your client is a fan of the minimalist style, you will have to work with open spaces, little furniture and a lot of white. 

Main materials  : glass, wood, marble, concrete, metal 

Color palette  : monochromatic, white, black, gray

Style of furniture  : clean shapes, functional, simple, sober colors

Distinguishing characteristics  : clean lines, clutter-free, lack of ornamentation, quiet, spacious, airy, lots of light

9. Hollywood Regency

Hollywood regency design

This style dates back to the 1930s when Hollywood was booming. The Hollywood Regency style suits clients who love glamour, opulence and are not afraid to take risks. It is also for people who like to entertain their guests and have an active social life. This style of interior design opposes minimalism and aims for extravagance.

Main materials  : glass, mirror, metal, lacquer

Color palette  : daring – purple, red, turquoise, gold

Furniture style  : velvet, felted, Victorian style, lacquered, silk, satin, tufted

Distinctive characteristics  : luxurious, extravagant, glamorous, dramatic, daring accessories 

10. Scandinavians

Scandinavian design

The Scandinavian style comes from the Nordic countries. It emphasizes natural and artificial light to create a bright and neat space. Scandinavian design has many similarities to minimalist design, where functionality, simplicity and clean lines reign supreme.

Main materials  : wood, plastic, metal

Color palette  : white, black, grey, brown

Furniture style  : functional, simple, natural fibers, clean lines, smooth and rounded edges, natural colors

Distinctive features  : spacious, few accessories, natural light, light floors, clutter-free, minimalist

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