14 key interior design styles: what sets them apart?

Modern, industrial, Scandinavian, shabby chic – the list of various interior design styles is oh so long! Unfortunately, for many, selecting a favourite style for your home and combining different styles is a real challenge. To make things simpler, an Australian interior design company Rochele Decorating has put together a brief introduction into key interior design styles. Thanks to this, finding your way in the world of style has become much easier.


    Modern style typically refers to a home with clean, sharp lines, a simple colour palette, where the choice of materials, most likely, includes glass and steel.

    Modern style highlights every element, including furniture. There is no chaos, no mess, no clutter. „Sleek“ is an appropriate word for describing the modern style.

      Modern style Source: rocheledecorating.com.au


      Modern and contemporary are two styles that are often used interchangeably and mistaken for one another. The primary difference separating modern and contemporary design styles is that modern strictly stands for the design movement that started in the 20th century. Contemporary, on the other hand, is more fluid and does not constitute a single particular style. For example, contemporary style may include curved lines, whereas modern design does not.

      Contemporary Style Source: Pinterest


      The minimalist concept stems from the modern design and simplifies it even further. Colour palettes are neutral and smooth; furnishings are simple, so features and accessories are in no way excessive.

      Minimalism is ultimately defined by functionality and ultra-sharp lines.

      Minimalist Style Source: Pinterest


      As the name suggests, industrial style draws inspiration from industrial warehouses and urban lofts.

      Features have an unfinished look that catches the eye. In a home like this, it is not uncommon to see unplastered brickwork, uncovered pipes and wood. A textbook example of an industrial-style home is a converted industrial building.

      Imagine high ceilings, old timber and metal light fixtures that illuminate sparsely placed functional furniture. A few photos or pieces of abstract art add a bit of colour to an otherwise neutral colour scheme.

      Industrial Style Source: Pinterest

      1. MID-twentieth CENTURY MODERN

      Mid-century modern celebrates the style of the 1950s and 60s with retro nostalgia and some elements of minimalism. The key theme for mid-century design is functionality.

      This style emphasises clear shapes without any excessive features, and easy-to-use design, as well as simple mechanisms, are the key. In addition, attention is given to natural shapes such as an egg-shaped chair.


      Mid-century modern Style Source Pinterest


      Scandinavian design is based on simplicity and crispness characteristic of Nordic countries. Items of Scandinavian furniture often look like a work of art, while still being simple. The furniture is functional, yet it has some interesting lines which give it a sculptural feel.

      Other common features include all-white colour palettes, accessories that are made of form-pressed wood, bright plastics, and enamelled aluminium. In addition, this style often includes wide floorboards.

      The inclusion of colour comes from the use of art, natural fabrics, furs, or a single piece of furniture.

      Scandinavian design is also about spaciousness, natural lighting, sparse use of accessories, and functional furniture.

      Scandinavian Style Source: Pinterest


      Traditional design style offers classic details, homely and luxurious furnishings, and accessories. This style is rooted in European sensuality.

      A traditional home often features dark finished wood, rich colour palettes, and curved lines. Furniture has finished and decorated details. Fabrics include velvet, silk and brocade, which may include a variety of patterns and textures.


      Traditional Style Source: neals.com


      Transitional is a very popular style that borrows from both traditional and contemporary design creating a space that is not dominated by either of the two styles. There is a sense of balance that is appealing, yet also unexpected. This style allows experimentation, for instance, combining modern steel and glass with plush furniture.

      Transitional design includes relatively neutral colour palettes, creating a calm and relaxing space that manages to feel both stylish and sleek, as well as warm and inviting.

      Transitional Style Source: riverbendhome.com


      Warm earthy colours (mostly brownish-tinted shades of soil, wood and rocks) are indicative of the design style inspired by country houses of France, as are worn and ornamental wooden furnishing.

      French Country design is characterised by soft and warm tones of red, yellow or gold as well as natural materials like stone and brick. French Country design can include ornate porcelain crockery and stately tablecloths and bed covers.

      French Country Source: Pinterest

      1. BOHEMIAN

      Bohemian is a popular style in home design and fashion. It reflects a carefree lifestyle with few rules, except for those that are necessary in order to follow your heart’s desires.

      A Bohemian-style home often includes vintage furniture and light fixtures, as well as textiles and rugs inspired by cultures from different corners of the world. Displayed items come from a variety of sources, including flea markets and trips abroad.

      In the case of the Bohemian style, it is not uncommon to see comfortable floor pillows. This eclectic style can incorporate an ultra-modern chandelier, which goes well with a worn rug and a set of 1950s chairs. The Bohemian style is dominated by a laissez-faire (leave it be, let it happen) attitude where anything goes as long as you like it.

      One can add that this style is often associated with people whose lifestyles are artistic and non-conventional.

      Bohemian Style Source: digsdigs.com

      1. RUSTIC

      The rustic design draws inspiration from nature using olden-day and often unfinished elements, including wood and stone.

      The rustic design may incorporate such features as arched ceilings decorated with wooden beams or restored wooden floors. Many design elements combine contemporary rural design with modern furnishings.

      Rustic Style Source: ELLE Decor

      1. SHABBY CHIC

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

      Shabby chic furnishings are often either used or distressed or appear to be that way. Painted surfaces resemble antique furniture finishes. The Shabby Chic colour palettes include white, cream and pastels. Light fixture and wallpaper may be ornate, reflecting a feminine vibe.


      Shabby Chic Style Source: Pinterest


      Hollywood Glam is also referred to as Hollywood Regency (resembling colonial times). This design style tends to be over-the-top luxurious and rich. It is a strong design style that is perfect for a homeowner who enjoys taking firm positions and making a statement.

      This design style can incorporate some features of the Victorian design, including plush and velvet furnishings, tufting and other decorative elements, as well as antiques. The colour palettes are particularly bold, including purples, reds and turquoise.

      Hollywood Glam (Hollywood Regency) Style Source: lonny.com


      Hamptons style originated from the iconic U.S. beachside area design trends. For both styles, common features include light and airy colour palettes with unique neutral shades combines with blues and greens. Furniture is often white or beige. The room may contain wooden elements and accessories that are inspired by the sea.

      Blue and white stripes on pillows, large windows, white plush sofas, and painted white wood are also common characteristics of the classic Coastal/Hampton style.

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

      Coastal/Hamptons Style Source: Pinterest