Remodeling and Home Design

Interior Design 101: 7 Popular Design Styles Explained

Looking to decorate your new home and seeking thematic inspiration? Search no more. I am covering seven interior design styles that are popular in modern homes today. In reality, spaces are blended with different elements from several decorating styles, but it’s crucial to identify the key components of each one. 

Obviously, there are far more interior design styles beyond what is highlighted below, but I wanted to focus on the major schools that are currently trending.

1. Mid-Century Modern

The mid-1900s produced some of the most iconic pieces in modern design. It is defined by refined lines, minimalist silhouettes, and natural shapes. From Saarinen, Niemeyer, Eames, Noguchi, Jacobsen, Knoll and many many more, the mid-century modern masters defined creative ways to use new materials like molded plastic, plywood, and aluminum in industrial design. Its pieces are highly versatile and can complement a myriad of design styles. This design style has continued to reinvent itself and resurface over the last 60 years. 


Source: West Elm

2. Industrial

This is a look that dates back to the turn-of-the-century industrial era. It emphasizes use of exposed steel, pipes, ducts with distressed wood elements, often complemented by exposed brick walls. The modern version commonly includes copper-tone accents. Industrial decor ranges from modern rustic with cleaner lines to rugged vintage with elaborate embellishments. Depending on your tastes, you can opt for a lighter, chic look or a darker, antique design. 


3. Nautical

Cool, relaxing, and easy to live in. Nautical decor (also referred to as coastal or cottage decor) reflects the New England beach house spirit and is truly one of our favorites! This interior design style is based on white or sand colored foundation, with blue as the primary accent color. Material-wise, nautical decor incorporates unfinished wood, combined with chic linen upholstery and nautical themed decor. Your options for decorative accents are many: seashells in clear jars, jute ropes, rowing oars, sailboats, navigational maps, and more!

This style is all about bringing the coastal life into your home. 

Source: Furnish Burnish


Scandinavian design introduced a popular minimalist look to the interior design world that has proven its longevity.  A design movement characterized by simplicity, minimalism and functionality that emerged in the 1950s in the five Nordic countries of Finland, Norway, Sweden, Iceland and Denmark.  

Scandinavian design often offers a strong relationship with nature featuring gentle contours, neutral palate with playful accent colors, and a balance of engineered and organic materials, Scandinavian furniture are simple, contemporary, and functional. Many Scandinavian designs employ Bauhaus principles and is characterized by fluid lines, focus on proportions, and populist appeal. 

Source: Decoist


Bohemian decor captures the carefree and adventurous spirit of the avant garde gypsy lifestyle. It features creative application of rich patterns, vibrant colors, and plush texture. The key is to carefully present a purposefully “messy” look. Layer on textiles (throws, pillows, rugs, tapestry, and lots and lots of floor pillows) for a warm and cozy ambiance.

When furnishing, look for pieces that possess ethnic or nomadic vibes. Moroccan, Southwestern, or tribal-inspired designs are currently trending. Composition-wise, Boho chic loves textile, tie dye, wood, animal hide, plants, low beds with canopies, and metallic accents.


Source: Feng Shui Dana


Farmhouse decor is a modern approach to cabin-inspired interior design however it is much more feminine with light and bright qualities. Mostly transitional in nature with some traditional elements mixed in. This style is extremely utilitarian being that it is a live and work space. 

Farmhouse furniture are characterized by distressed wood and upholstered linen. Color-wise, it is similar to nautical or cottage decor with mostly white and beige base colors mixed with key elements such as galvanized pitchers, large hurricane glass, and the most iconic apron sink. Orthodox rules dictate that accent colors should be something similar to turquoise or light yellow.


Source: Homed It 

7.Shabby chic

Shabby chic decor emphasizes vintage elements to recreate the antique flea market look. The furniture is characterized by it's aged appearance, with distressed painted wood which is sanded down to show signs of wear and tear. 

Decorative accents for shabby chic decor should be soft and frilly, often with an affected feel, in order to bring the overall interior design to a contemporary standard. Inspired by the French, Linen is the fabric of choice and is commonly tea stained to enhance the antique feel. Though traditional shabby chic colors are white, ecru and faded pastels, don’t be afraid to apply some vibrant colors. Vintage floral patterns with pastel colors, cotton ticking patterns, or linen in earth tones, are all typical of shabby chic style. Variations of this style are: Cottage Chic, Beach Cottage Chic (yes, there is a difference :)), French Country, and Gustavian which is a Swedish influence.


Source: Houzz

That’s a wrap for the popular interior design styles! Hope this was helpful in getting you started in your next Interior Design project. Remember that all of these styles can be mingle quite nicely and is the best  practice to achieve YOUR personal style, so liberate your mind and approach your design from creative angles. Let me know what you think!

Stay tuned for our next edition of Interior Design 101: Traditional vs Transitional