5 Interior Design Styles

Published on
May 18, 2021

In addition to the last post, Quick guide to 5 fundamental interior design styles, the Bold Interior Group have compiled another set to help you find inspiration in designing your next project. Our goal is to introduce foundational vocabulary and tools typically used in the world of interior decorating and design. Happy designing!

Mid-Century Modern

Roots. As the name implies, this concept is based on the design style of the mid-1900s — predominantly the 1950s and 60s (quick reminder: the modern design style is based on trends at the turn of the 20th-century). Although representing the era following World War II, the design style wasn’t distinguished until the mid-80s. As seen with the modern design style, mid-century modern design has some elements of minimalism.

Themes. This design concept is reminiscent of simpler times and can be described with one word — versatile. This style is characterized by simple shapes, refined lines and modern designs. The vibe of a mid-century modern space is fun and fresh with a touch of vintage design. As with the other minimalist design styles, functionality is important — keep accessories to a minimum. Characteristic to this style is the more liberal use of contrasting materials (traditional and non-traditional) — wood, plastic, plywood, vinyl, glass and metal are juxtaposed to create a mid-century modern space.

Colors. A range of colors can be used — neutrals as well as bright colors are favored; as is the use of black and white.

Contemporary

Roots. Contemporary is defined as “occurring at present”. Contemporary design has roots dating back to the 1970s with a design style that is continually evolving to live up to its name. Thus, the contemporary design concept is not tied to any specific time period.

Themes. Since contemporary refers to the here and now, this design style refers to current design trends with touches of the past — classic yet thoroughly of the moment. The main concept within contemporary design is to create harmony with the natural environment. Similar to the modern design concept, contemporary style has minimal aesthetics with clean architectural lines and use of natural materials such as wood, cork and stone. Glass, metal and concrete are also abundantly used in contemporary design style. In contrast to modern design lines that are crisp and sharp, contemporary design uses curves and sweeping lines. Contemporary style has an open space feel to it, which is emphasized with white walls and monochromatic furniture. Avoid patterns and detailed ornamentation.

Colors. Strict palette of black, white and gray are characteristic of contemporary design. Stick to a neutral foundation, then subtle hints of color may be used to add personality to a contemporary space.

Minimalist

Roots. Made popular in the early 90’s, minimalist design takes the modern concept and simplifies it further.

Themes. This style has one main mantra — less is more. Minimalist design is defined by simplicity and elegance with a sense of functionality. This style includes cozy and comfortable designs with less details (think simple artwork and hidden window treatments) and ultra-clean lines. The design layout is typically an open floor plan with lots of light and furnishings with simple lines — all of which should be functional. A minimalist design space is more planned out and devoid of decorations than any other style.

Colors. Neutral color palettes, mostly monochromatic, such as warm and calm shades of beige, white and gray with color only used as an accent.

Industrial

Roots. Although the origin of industrial design style is unknown, it undoubtedly draws inspiration from warehouses and loft-style living with its no-frills décor.

Themes. The quintessential industrial design home space is the conversion of a former industrial space into a residential space. Characteristic of this design style are exposed and unfinished raw elements — exposed brick, pipes and ductwork. The design space typically has an open-concept floor plan with stone or concrete floors and high ceilings. Furnishings are simple in design and made of natural materials (wood and leather) with a subtle mix of stainless steel and other metals to complement the exposed structural elements. Minimalism is a key feature; limit the use of accessories. The overall feel to an industrial space should be cool and masculine (think glamorous factory).

Colors. Earth tones and neutral color palettes that consist of gray, black and white, which balance the natural colors of wood and metals in the space.

Shabby Chic

Roots. This laid-back California cool style gained popularity in the mid-80s and 90s. With inspiration from antique and vintage French design, this style exudes a feminine lived-in feel.

Themes. Shabby chic spaces are soft and warm with a sense of comfort. A mix of vintage furniture and accessories with feminine touches (think lacey tablecloths and soft floral fabrics) is the signature of this style and necessary to create the French countryside feel. Over-sized and overstuffed upholstered furniture (antiques or new pieces given a distressed appearance) provide for a welcoming and inviting space. The use of layered accessories such as blankets, pillows and throw rugs — mixing and matching is key — complete the cozy space. Finally, the space should have a good amount of natural light to create an airy and elegant feel. Natural elements such as plants can be added to complement the airy ambiance.

Colors. Neutral color palettes that include white, pastels and creams; paint tends to have a distressed or antique look.

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