How do you find your unique interior design style? Are you a modern minimalist or into eclectic interiors? Let’s find out…
When working with new clients, either developing a room scheme or helping them pick a bespoke sofa, we first need to know their personal style.
This process requires identifying the broad decorating styles that each client is drawn to, as well as unique finishing touches that speak to their personality.
A process of elimination can help many people to understand what they are looking for. Sometimes seeing pictures of various styles helps a client to understand “oh, that’s not me”. This feedback brings us closer to finding their personal interior design style.
If you struggle with finding your interior design style – you are not alone!
All the beautifully curated rooms on Pinterest are usually the handiwork of an interior designer with years of experience. Picking a room scheme takes a lot of skill and practise, and unless you’ve worked in the design industry, decorating can quickly become overwhelming.
The first step is to define your personal interior design style.
The good news is that with patience and practice this is something anyone can achieve!
What are the different types of interior design styles?
Let’s take a moment to define the types of popular interior design styles.
There are so many decorating styles that list is by no means exhaustive but will give you an idea of popular interior design styles that suit every home and can be adapted to any personal taste.
From coastal style to Scandinavian interiors, we’ll walk you through the key features of different styles to help you find interior décor that suits your personality.
Pay attention to which styles spark your interests as you scroll through, and which you’d avoid completely.
At the end will supply you with a few more interior design styles tips to help you hone your personal style.
Transitional Interior Design Style
Transitional designs are often referred to as the happy medium of interior designs.
Transitional interior design combines traditional elegance with modern lines and textiles to create a harmonious combination.
It balances luxury and comfort and often relies on a neutral colour palette, natural materials and comfortable furniture styles to create an overall impression of comfort and sophistication.
A transitional style might suit you if you want an interior style that mixes masculine and feminine and is perfect for large living spaces and growing families.
Modern Interior Design Style
Modern interior design has come under spotlight since the late 20th century.
Clean lines, a monochromatic palette, and minimalistic look are hallmarks of modern interior design.
The modern style keeps decor minimal, with lots of natural materials. Tones are often earthy and warm despite the minimal palette. Soft furnishings can display bold patterns for a flourish of personality.
Modern design is different from contemporary style, having its roots in German Bauhaus and Scandinavian interior design styles.
Contemporary Interior Design Style
Contemporary interior design means anything that is current.
It combines several periods and creates a unique atmosphere that lasts forever. Furniture is characterised by a clean line and sleek surfaces. Some designers prefer metals, chromes or glass.
Contempoary modern is one of the minimalist interiors. It’s an “of the moment” style that contains nods to the past with art deco notes.
Contemporary style often sticks to a strict palate of black, white and grey. The warm neutrals found in modern interior design are absent here. However, both interior design styles share clean lines, neutral palates and an open-plan, minimalist look.
Coastal Interior Design Style
If you long for a living space that recalls easy summer days by the sea, a coastal interior might be for you.
Not to be confused with nautical, the coastal interior design style stands out for its soothing ambiance, which takes inspiration from natural landscapes.
It shows itself in colours and materials used in furniture and other accessories. Neutral colours such as whites are matched with jute tones reminiscent of sand. Likewise, blue colours mimic surf and sunnier summer skies.
Aside from this, it is important to feel comfortable and bright. There should not be much in the space between indoor and outdoor. This allows for a minimal window treatment to let in an abundance of natural light. Coastal interior design style isn’t to be confused with Mediterranean. Coastal style is beachy and breezy, with white as the dominant colour and seaside kitsch kept to a minimum.
Mediterranean Interior Design Style
The next section examines a culturally rich interior design, namely Mediterranean design.
The design originated from the north Mediterranean coast and is inspired by the architecture of the homes found there.
From Spain to Santorini, the typical Mediterranean home is adorned by archways, columns or interior balconies. Furniture is characterised by rich wood colours with ornamental features.
Mediterranean colours mimic those of sea and sky. It differs from the coastal interior design style with its incorporation of warm colours such as terracotta and yellow (in contrast to coastal design’s white palate). Large window frames create a seamless transition between indoor and outdoor, with minimal curtains that allow maximum illumination.
Modern Farmhouse Interior Design Style
Our interior design style guide is incomplete without a modern farmhouse interior. Joanna Gaines has been recognised as the elegant farmhouse queen, combining rustic farmhouse design with sleek, modern elements.
Modern farmhouse interior design has several qualities of the traditional farmhouse design. A warm-hearted, relaxed style with natural wood finishes and simplicity creates a cosy, family-friendly and timeless atmosphere.
Wide floor plans and open floor living with sleek lighting are some common identifications in modern farmhouse interior design.
Eclectic Interior Design Style
The eclectic designs have a lot of misperceptions.
Instead of incoherent, consider it an intense collection of carefully chosen objects that combine to create a diverse interior. It can be a tricky style to get right, but is perfect for those who find inspiration everywhere.
To avoid an overload of visual noise, combine neutral colour palettes with accent colours to give a room pizazz. Play with patterns and don’t be afraid to clash and create a personal style that’s true to you.
Eclectic interior design is made for gallery walls, bold patterns, and unusual art pieces found on your travels.
An eclectic interior can be aesthetically harmonious if interior colours and textures are balanced. The result is an ideal mix of old and new.
Bohemian Interior Design Style
Bohemian style is synonymous with the artistic and literary scene of 19th century Paris.
These creative ‘bohemians’ rejected the conventional standards. Because they placed the pursuit of art above money they often lived in poverty and embraced a simple lifestyle that was nontheless beautiful in its own way.
The radical outlook of the original bohemians sparked an interior design trend that has been popular ever since.
Bohemian style today is defined by a lack of clean lines and a relaxed, carefree atmosphere. Lots of layered rugs, cushions and throws in natural materials are popular, as are rattan, wicker and wood. Floor cushions in place of seating and fabric room dividers are also common.
Jewel tones and bright colours reflect the bohemians’ pursuit of beauty and textiles can take inspiration from all over the world.
Handmade pieces such as macrame, pottery and quilts make sense in an interior design style inspired by artists. Plants also add natural beauty and a sense of lush simplicity.
Bohemian style is one of the most popular interior design styles, and due to its lack of conformity you don’t need to worry about breaking any ‘design rules’.
Scandinavian Interior Design Style
If your decorating style leans towards ‘cosy minimalism’ then look to Scandi interiors for inspiration.
Scandinavian style can be identified easily by its clean lines, calm atmosphere, and minimalist feel. Scandi design contains elements mid century modern style blended with traditional craftsmanship.
At its core the Scandinavian interior is minimal yet functional, making it perfect for those who want style on a budget.
Its reliance on traditional design came from the need for well-crafted furniture that served a purpose. There’s no room for redundant pieces in Scandinavian style!
A neutral colour palette is also associated with this interior style. Pops of colour and high contrast will keep these room interesting. You might pick grey and white as base, for example, to contrast with bright and bold sofa. Or hard, clean lines contrasted with curved furniture styles.
One of the exciting things about Scandinavian style is that you can easily mix it with different styles. Minimalist styles, eclectic design and shabby chic design all work well here.
Don’t forget a sprinkle of hygge – a Danish word that loosely means ‘cosy togetherness’ – which will prevent your interior from feeling too stark.
Traditional Interior Design Style
Traditional design can be summed up in one word: timeless.
It’s a home decorating style that’s rooted in the past without belonging to one specific time period.
Traditional furnishings feature tables and seats constructed from hardwood with ornamentally detailed detailing. Rooms usually include elegantly upholstered sofas and chairs. Classic reproductions area popular choice for this style, like Queen Anne chairs and Howard sofas.
Traditional style fabric has many patterns too. Among the most commonly recognisable patterns are florals, damasks, and stripes. Many traditional homes add sparkle by installing crystal chandeliers. Personal touches like bold artwork or an impressive centrepiece will prevent this style from looking bland or stuffy.
Traditional interior design will suit homes with lots of natural light and period features.
Mid Century Modern Interior Design Style
Mid century style is characterized by muted colours, the use of both natural and manmade materials and the integration of indoors and outdoors.
There’s some similarities between mid century modern style and the Scandinavian interior design style.
Mid century modern borrows from German Bauhaus design. Its interior style could be summed up as functional, futuristic and organic.
Vinyl, plastic and fibreglass often contrast with wood, glass and marble in a mid century modern style room. Retro colours like olive green and burnt orange are common. Lots of natural light and potted plants bring an organic element to this somewhat eclectic interior design.
Industrial Interior Design Style
The industrial design style is a bold choice that takes inspiration from factories and workshops.
Exposed brick walls, metal, wood and exposed beams and pipe ducts give this style a utilitarian and ‘unfinished’ look.
Metallic filing cabinets replace wooden drawers and surfaces and walls glitter with stainless steel or burnished metallic accents.
After western European factory closings in the early 19th century, many buildings remained unoccupied. Population increases meant that people began to convert industrial buildings into residential districts.
Brick or concrete gives space an authentic character. It’s often seen as a masculine style with spare or distressed decorating techniques. Think bare Edison bulbs, caged lighting and draftsman task chairs.
If traditional style leaves you cold, industrial interior design might be for you.
Shabby Chic Interior Design Style
Now here’s a contrast to all that industrialism!
Shabby chic originated during the 1980s, an era of glamour and decadence. It began as a reaction to the opulent penthouses and corporate consumerism rampant during that decade.
For that reason, old furniture remains central to the shabby chic style interiors. Traditionally, people passed furniture to others. Nowadays you can buy bespoke upholstered sofas to create a vintage look.
Upcycled furniture and vintage accessories feature strongly within this popular interior design style.
Similar to its design sister, French Country, Shabby Chic offers an elegant, feminine look with a timeworn element.
This feminine design style uses painted furniture and distressed furnishings, using pale colours and floral pattern that work beautifully with white textured floors and walls.
Minimalist Interior Design Style
Contemporary style and minimalist style possess many similarities. Both offer simple form, clean lines and an uncluttered finish.
Ultimately minimalism is about clearing clutter and making space for a few choice elements that truly matter. If you feel overwhelmed by the amount of interior design styles then a Minimalist route can offer a calm haven.
While many minimalists opt for a neutral colour scheme, accent colours can add a stunning pop of brightness in an upholstered sofa or cushion covers. Patterns aren’t typically used, which is where lots of texture is necessary.
The less is less approach makes functional furniture one of Minimalist interiors’ most vital design elements. Furniture that can double-up as storage, like ottomans are commonly used.
Rustic Interior Design Style
Rustic interior design’s main characteristics are natural material, industrial touches, and farmhouse charm everywhere.
The traditional rustic design is originally inspired by romantic styles. It emphasizes nature’s simplicity and can be influenced by Tuscan and Mediterranean styles.
For rustic interiors there is often an emphasis on living rooms centered around the central fireplace. Wood is softened by adding cowhide or sheepkin rugs to provide comfort. Textiles have no loud patterns and organic shapes and textures are everything.
Modern Country Interior Design Style
In recent years, this fashion is becoming mainstream thanks to renovation tv programmes. This timeless look is influenced by country living, but you don’t need to live on a farm to adopt this rustic style.
The modern country interior design style employs found and recovered materials but with a modern twist. Exposed beams painted white and a farmhouse style table without the tea cosies and lace doilies.
Colour-wise think plaid, blue, green and plenty of black. These interiors are inviting, comfortable and with hints of tradition. It’s a blend of rustic style and elegance – perfect if you find yourself caught between two styles!
More tips on finding interior design styles that suit you
Now that you’ve found which interior design styles speak to you, here’s more tips on incorporating your personal style into home decorating.
Analyse what aesthetics you’re drawn to
Which of the above interior design styles are you drawn to?
Maybe more than one interior design styles appeal to you, and that’s ok. Notice what you like, and most importantly consider what you couldn’t put up with!
Knowing, for example, that a bright white, airy space will make you anxious about spills and mess means a minimalist aesthetic isn’t for you. Conversely, if a crowded, eclectic room stifles then you can discount bohemian.
Noting what you don’t like will help you narrow down the quest for your personal style.
Use moodboards or Pinterest to gather inspiration. Sift through the images and only keep what truly speaks to you.
How do you want to feel?
It’s easy to get distracted by all the beautifully designed rooms on Pinterest and Instagram. But how would it feel to live permanently in one of those rooms?
Could you embrace the distinctive look of mid century modern or does an eclectic style appeal to your magpie personality?
The feel of a room is perhaps the most aspect when it comes to finding your personal interior design style.
Think about friends’ homes or hotel rooms you’ve enjoyed staying in. What made those rooms special? Even you’re favourite spot for a cosy pub lunch can provide clues as to what feeling you want to evoke in your home design style.
You might be a keen gardener. If so, an interior design style that incorporates natural elements can bring the outdoors in.
Different interior design styles have different merits, and it’s important to consider which is most practical for your lifestyle.
If you’re struggling try writing a list of three to five words that describe how you want to feel when you enter your home.
Pick a colour palette
Sticking to a colour palette you find appealing is one of the quickest routes to a cohesive personal style.
If you’re colour shy, we recommend starting with a neutral base and adding accent colours to brighten things up.
Depending on your lifestyle, location and aesthetic preferences, you’ll want to know whether your home decorating style is warm or cool.
Even within a neutral colour palette you can have warm or cool toned whites and greys.
Warm colours will create an inviting, cosy atmosphere whereas cool tones suit a more contemporary style.
Form versus functionality
Design for the life you live today instead of your fantasy life and you’ll save a lot of headaches.
If you’re prone to mess a minimalist interior design style might feel restrictive. And an industrial-inspired room with exposed bricks and hard edges might not be suitable for young families.
Paying attention to who you are as a person and shaping a room that meets your daily needs is a sure-fire way to inject personality into your home.
Take inspiration from your wardrobe
If you’re really stumped take a peek in your wardrobe. What textures do you like to feel against your skin? Is there a dominant colour palette? Do you prefer comfort over style?
Your clothes hold lots of clues as to what kind of room you’d like to live in.
There’s no end to interior design advice online. Too much, maybe!
If you’re feeling overwhelmed by Instagram and Pinterest or are drowning in interior design magazines, take a step back.
Ask yourself what draws you to a particular interior design. Is it the rustic style that reminds you of a holiday in rural France? Or does a velvet sofa remind you of an elegant, boutique hotel you spent a romantic weekend in? Perhaps a coastal style will bring the beach to your living room and help you unwind?
Trust your instincts. And remember that interior design is hard, it takes a lot of practice and patience to get it right!
Work with an interior designer
If you’re really struggling to see the woods from the trees, an expert can give you clarity.
The best interior designers won’t impose their style on your home. Instead, they’ll help you find a style you feel at home in.
No designer can tell you what your personal style is. Only you know that. What they can do is streamline the process to give you a clearer idea of what you want.
Working with interior designers can save you time and money in the long run, and you’ll also pick up valuable tools when it comes to designing your next room!
Give it time
Know that it can take years of considerate curation to find your personal style.
Don’t be afraid to experiment, especially with accessories. Exploring different patterns and colours in your soft furnishings is a great, low-cost way to find what styles you love, and which were just passing fads.
Everyone has their own unique interior design style. Finding yours will take patience and curiosity. Your style will also evolve over the years, so try not to stress about pinning down to one uniform aesthetic.
Remember that you already have everything you need to find your signature interior design style. From travels to hobbies, your unique tastes and interests will inform how you decorate your home.
Keep experimenting, pay attention to what textures, colours and moods delight you, and above all, have fun! Once you’ve discovered your unique interior design style, you might find our Living Room and Open Plan Dining Designs ideas helpful.