How to Define Your Home Decor Styles

Have you discovered your home interior style? It’s time to learn more about the different interior design styles and what defines each one.

By now, you should have a good idea of what you love in your space and why, as well as what you don’t love and why. The why is important because, people, we are focusing on feelings here. Specifically keying in on the good feelings you get from the space and doing more of that.

Having thought about this will really help you with the next step (get ready to dive into it today) which is defining your interior design styles and taking the first step to editing what you have.

I’m also hoping that if you have to consider someone else’s opinions when it comes to decorating your home (I know- not always fun,) that they too are on board and took a bit of time to discover their type of design style.

I know when we were in the discovery stage I mentioned that I didn’t want you to get hung up with too many interior design guru technical terms because let’s be real here, they can make you feel like you aren’t on the right track if you belong in more than one style category. But we are going to take what we discovered about our personal home decor style and put it into words today. Yep, we are going to define different types of home decor styles.

Don’t be scared. It will help you in the long run.

Why do you need to define your home decor style?

For a couple really solid reasons, actually.

Defining your home style design will…

Make all decorating decisions easier. Yes. All of them. Let’s face it, there’s multiple different types of decorating styles. Decisions like what to keep and what to let go of, what bigger design elements or projects you may want to start saving for, and most importantly if you really NEED that pretty pillow that called your name in HomeGoods because it will add to your space appropriately, or if you just appreciate it for its beauty. In other words, it will help you edit your choices and not let you end up with a bunch of things that look good, but don’t make sense together. #leaveitontheshelf

It will help you understand how to mix the types of interior design styles represented in your household. It is possible to have different home decor styles present in a home and actually it is really important to do so because it creates a ton of interest and ends up telling the story of everyone who lives there.

and actually it is really important to do so because it creates a ton of interest and ends up telling the story of everyone who lives there. And lastly, it will allow you to know which ideas and inspiration to actually act on because you will have guidelines . Not every awesome idea or look needs to make it into your home decor.

Defining the Top Interior Design Styles

For the sake of keeping it simple we are going to stick with just the main different types of interior design styles because most people fall into the different degrees of these popular interior design styles.

Traditional or Classic

Traditional or classic home decor is full of details.

Lots of furniture with curves like rolled sofa arms, tufting, and curved legs on tables.

Floral or organic patterns which mimic those same curves.

Items are typically placed in pairs like matching table lamps on either side of the sofa.

The color palette is often muted.

The classic end of the spectrum typically includes a lot of dark wood tones.

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Modern

In modern home decor you’ll find a lot of clean lines and not a lot of detail.

Not a lot of texture.

Asymmetrical layout.

Limited use of accessories.

Use of graphic patterns with clean lines.

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Rustic or Industrial/ Urban

Rustic and industrial home decor includes a lot of texture and nods to unfinished or raw materials.

tons of texture: wood, stone, metal.

exposed elements like wiring, pipes, brick walls, and beams.

non-functional re purposed items used as decorative accessories or features.

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Ok. So now you’re probably thinking, “Corey, there are elements to each one of those that I like.” I totally get it. Me too!

Go back to discovering your own interior design style and see if what you loved leans toward one of these different decorating styles. Keep in mind that there are definite variations and degrees of each of these styles.

Focus on the elements that I listed for you under each style and see which of those elements pops up most frequently in what you collected or in your favorite room.

Writing Your Personal Home Decor Style Definition

Start with the overall feeling you want in your room.

the feeling you want the space to have

the main decor style (from above) you were drawn to the most

the runner up decor style from above or your significant other’s winner.

Here’s mine as an example:

Comfortable Modern Traditional

Clean lines are definitely my go to when it comes to choosing the larger (expensive) items for my home, and you know I’m a sucker for geometric patterns, but I definitely don’t want my home to feel stark or cold. Instead I want it to feel comfortable and adding in some elements of traditional decor will bring out that feeling because there will be some details thrown in that I also love.

For example, the sofa in my family room is charcoal grey with square arms (super clean lines.) It sits on a large area rug with a graphic pattern (also clean lines,) but the cabinetry on our build in has some detail on the doors, which adds just a hint of traditional and brings in some comfort.

The next step in the series is learning to mix home decor styles!

A Guide to Identifying Your Home Décor Style

Many of us peruse home décor books, magazines, websites, and blogs and like much of what we see there…but when it comes to decorating our own homes, we aren’t sure which way to turn.

How to Find Your Home Décor Style

Look at your wardrobe

One quick way to get an idea of your own personal taste is to look in your closet. Take note of your most loved pieces. Find a common theme. Do you love simple black pieces?

Maybe a Contemporary vibe is right for you. Do you have a dozen cozy wool sweaters? Consider Traditional and Classic décor. Perhaps you wear a lot of floral dresses. If so, you’d probably like Country décor.

Pick through décor magazines

Grab a handful of popular home décor magazines and sit down while you go through each one. Mark the pages and pictures that stand out the most to you.

Use Pinterest

Pinterest is a great tool. Pour over millions of visual bits of inspiration and create digital vision boards until you’ve narrowed down your personal style. The algorithm will even start showing you more tailored items based on what you like.

Create a vision board

Get a corkboard and use clippings from those magazines to play around with a vision board. Add and remove items until you’ve got a nice, well-rounded theme.

Window shop

Take your camera and head out to home stores around your town. Take pictures of pieces and inspiration that appeal to you. Then, go home and go over all the images to see the common themes.

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It can certainly be overwhelming, figure out what you like and what works in home décor. Which is why we’ve created this guide to helping you identify your own home décor style (or the mix of styles that resonates most with you).

Once you identify your décor style, it’s much easier to go about studying what makes that style click in certain spaces.

And, as an added bonus, each style below includes a link to an in-depth Homedit article about how to create that specific style in your space.

You’re already on your way!

Different home decor styles

Bohemian (“Boho-Chic”) Style

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Bohemian, or boho-chic, style is all about meaningful individuality. It embraces free expression, unconventional displays, and colorful collections. The boho-chic space is where your own personal style and aesthetic shines. Learn more about how to achieve a bohemian style here.

Coastal Style

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Coastal style incarnates everything we love about being on vacation at the beach – the sun, the surf, the sand (although not literally). The style is comfortable and inviting and aims to put people at ease with its genuine charm and serenity. Learn more about how to achieve a coastal style here.

Contemporary Style

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Contemporary style is based on the concept of the present, the here and now. This style is neither warm and fuzzy nor cold and harsh; it simply is. Clutter is nonexistent in a contemporary space, while the design elements of neutral, clean, smooth, and subtle reign supreme.

Cottage Style

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Cottage style is cozy and charming, like something out of a fairy tale. The quaint style hinges on the simplicity of treasured pieces, whether they are innumerable, tattered, mismatched, or all of those at once. Life feels fuller yet simpler amid a cottage styled space.

Eclectic Style

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Eclectic style embraces freedom of expression, breaking rules, and mixing and matching. The eclectic look, more than any other type of home décor style, combines bits and pieces of many other styles and stirs them together into a space that simply, yet ultimately, aims to please the owner.

French Country Style

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French country style effortlessly blends elegance with simplicity. The style has an almost old-world aesthetic that is made beautiful and comfortably familiar by the rustic finishes amid refined details. Learn more about how to achieve a French country style here.

Industrial Style

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Industrial style embraces rawness, a bit of the edgy hardness that one associates with primitive surroundings. It’s textural, it’s grey, and it’s worn down…yet it’s also full of repurposed and recycled vitality.

Mid-Century Modern Style

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Mid-century modern style was borne of a time of geometric shapes, contemporary patterns, and unique accents. Pieces in this style tend to be fairly straight-forward and uncomplicated, and large parallels are drawn between nature and man-made functionality. Learn more about how to achieve a mid-century modern style here.

Minimalist Style

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Minimalist style most closely resonates with what is uber modern. That is, it’s a style that embraces the aesthetic of essential simplicity. A minimalist space is well edited and contains only those pieces that will assist in achieving the maximum décor effect.

Moroccan Style

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Moroccan style is rich in history, color, and texture. The patterns and architectural components on display in a Moroccan space evoke the life well traveled and a global appreciation for good design. Learn more about how to achieve a Moroccan style here.

Rustic Style

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Rustic style embraces the organic, straight-from-the-earth way of life. Pieces in a rustic styled space have lived a good life – they are, or at least seem to be, repurposed, hand-built, used and reused (heaven knows how many times), and perfectly imperfectly rough and worn. Learn more about how to achieve a rustic style here.

Spanish Style

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Spanish style strives to bridge the gap between man and nature. Combining the richest color hues with the humblest of natural materials creates a total effect that is much more than the sum of its parts. A Spanish styled space is simultaneously grand and grounded.

Swedish (Scandinavian) Style

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Swedish style, also commonly known as Scandinavian style, is at its simple core warm and cheerful. Casual and worn (even downright chippy) elements blend effortlessly and seamlessly with pieces that are delightfully light, clean, and refined. Learn more about how to achieve a Swedish/Scandinavian style here.

Traditional Style

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Traditional style was born in the colonial era and takes its décor cues from such a time. However, although structure and predictable order play a part, the traditional style is ultimately about comfort, warmth, and familiarity. Learn more about how to achieve a traditional style here.

Tropical Style

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Tropical style is evocative of the feeling of the islands – a lifestyle whose essential elements are relaxation, comfort, ease, and genuine hospitality. Learn more about how to achieve a tropical style here.

Tuscan Style

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Tuscan style is based on the old-world decorating style, full of rich colors and textiles and substantial and historical elements. The style merges elegance and drama with a sense of rustic comfortability.

Vintage Style

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Vintage style is as broad a style as the term “vintage” itself. The style is typically associated with pieces from a particular era that have withstood the test of time. Ultimately, a vintage styled space incorporates collected pieces and items that bring individual pleasure.

14 Most Popular Interior Design Styles Explained

Modern, industrial, shabby chic….and the list goes on. A significant challenge many of our clients face is a lack of understanding or vocabulary to describe and define their personal interior design style. With an abundance of unique design styles, it can be daunting to decipher which style will work best for you. Some also enjoy combining elements of several styles to create their ideal look.

A great starting point for an interior design project is to learn a bit about each of the styles and how they differ from one another.

1. Modern

Modern is a broad design term that typically refers to a home with clean, crisp lines, a simple colour palette and the use of materials that can include metal, glass and steel.

Modern design employs a sense of simplicity in every element, including furniture. A word that’s commonly used to describe modern style is sleek, and there is not a lot of clutter or accessories involved with a modern style.

2. Contemporary

Modern and contemporary are two styles frequently used interchangeably. Contemporary is different from modern because it describes design based on the here and now.

The primary difference separating modern and contemporary design style is that modern is a strict interpretation of design that started in the 20th century. Contemporary on the other hand, is more fluid and can represent a sense of currency with less adherence to one particular style. For example, contemporary style may include curving lines, whereas modern design does not. You can refer to modern vs contemporary article for more information.

3. Minimalist

The minimalist concept is one that’s popular here in Australia. It takes notions of modern design and simplifies them further.

Colour palettes are neutral and airy; furnishings are simple and streamlined, and nothing is excessive or flamboyant in accessories or décor.

Minimalism is ultimately defined by a sense of functionality and ultra-clean lines.

4. Industrial

Industrial style as the name implies, draws inspiration from a warehouse or an urban loft.

There’s a sense of unfinished rawness in many of the elements, and it’s not uncommon to see exposed brick, ductwork and wood. An iconic home with an industrial design theme would be a renovated loft from a former industrial building.

Think high ceilings, old timber and dangling metal light fixtures with sparse functional furniture. There may possibly be one or two pieces of abstract art or photography to add a dash of colour to an otherwise neutral colour scheme derived from the primary materials of wood and metals.

5. Mid-Century Modern

Mid-century modern is a throwback to the design style of the mid-1900s—primarily the 1950s and 60s. There’s a retro nostalgia present in Mid-Century Modern Design, and also some elements of minimalism. Functionality or “fussy-free” was the main theme for Mid-century design. It emphasis on pared-down forms, natural or organic shapes such as “egg-shaped” chair, easy-to-use contemporary designs and simple fabrications. It easily complements any interior and also helps with seamless transition from interior to exterior.

6. Scandinavian

Scandanavian design pays homage to the simplicity of life demonstrated in Nordic countries. Scandinavian furniture design often feels like a work of art, although it is simple and understated. There’s functionality in the furniture along with some interesting lines, many of which have a sculptural influence.

Other common characteristics include all-white colour palettes and the incorporation of natural elements like form-pressed wood, bright plastics, and enameled aluminum, steel and wide plank flooring. If there are pops of colour it often comes from the use of art, natural fibre throws or furs, or a single piece of furniture.

Spacious, natural lighting, less accessories and functional furniture characterizes Scandinavian designs.

7. Traditional

Traditional design style offers classic details, sumptuous furnishings, and an abundance of accessories. It is rooted in European sensibilities.

Traditional homes often feature dark, finished wood, rich colour palettes, and a variety of textures and curved lines. Furnishings have elaborate and ornate details and fabrics, like velvet, silk and brocade, which may include a variety of patterns and textures.

There’s depth, layering and dimensionality within most traditional designs.

8. Transitional

Transitional is a very popular style because it borrows from both traditional and modern design to facilitate a space that’s not “too much,” in terms of one style or another. There’s a sense of balance that’s appealing and unexpected.

A transitional design may incorporate modern materials, such as steel and glass, and then unite them with plush furnishings.

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

9. French Country

Warm, earthy colours are indicative of a French Country design style, as are worn and ornamental wooden furnishing. The style has an overarching farmhouse inspiration.

French Country design may include soft and warm tones of red, yellow or gold and natural materials like stone and brick. French Country design can include collections of ornate porcelain dishes and heavy linens and bed coverings.

10. Bohemian

Bohemian is a popular style for home design and fashion. It reflects a carefree lifestyle with little rules, except to follow your hearts desire.

Bohemian homes may include vintage furniture and light fixtures, globally inspired textiles and rugs, displays of collections, and items found in widely varied sources including flea markets and during one’s travels.

It’s not uncommon to spot floor pillows and comfortable seating spaces when incorporating the bohemian style. This eclectic style can incorporate an ultra-glam chandelier paired with a well-worn rug and a mid-century chair. Within the Bohemian style, there’s a laissez-faire attitude where anything goes as long as you love it.

11. Rustic

Rustic design is drawn from natural inspiration, using raw and often unfinished elements including wood and stone.

Rustic design may incorporate accessories from the outdoors with warmth emulating from the design and architectural details that may include features like vaulted ceilings adorned with wood beams or reclaimed wood floors.

Many designs now integrate rustic design with more modern furnishings and accessories.

12. Shabby Chic

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

Shabby chic furnishings are often either distressed or appear that way; paint tends to have antique-style finishes. The Shabby Chic colour palettes include white, cream and pastels. Light light fixture and wall hangings may be ornate and continue the feminine vibe of shabby chic design.

13. Hollywood Glam

Also referred to as Hollywood Regency, Hollywood Glam is a design style that tends to be luxurious, over-the-top and opulent. It’s a dramatic design style, perfect for a homeowner who enjoys making a statement.

This design style can incorporate some features of Victorian design, including plush, velvet furnishings, tufting and antiques. The colour palettes are particularly bold—think purples, reds and turquoise.

14. Coastal/Hamptons

Coastal style also dubbed Hamptons style, hails from the iconic U.S. beachside area. Common features include light, airy colour palettes with cool neutral shades paired with blues and greens. Furnishings are often white or beige. The room can contain elements of wood and accessories are often inspired by the sea.

Blue and white striped patterns for pillows, large windows, white plush sofas, and painted white wood are also common fixtures of the classic Coastal/Hampton style.

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

A rudimentary understanding of design fundamentals and styles can be a great help in solidifying your personal design ideals. The ability to identify different interior design styles will help you conjure up inspirational visions of your future home and provide a framework to build your personal aesthetic. With a vocabulary to express your inspired vision, magic happens! If you’re interested in this look, we recommend you to read our post “Everything you need to know about the Hamptons Style“.

Together, we make homes beautiful. If you would like to consult with Rochele Decorating on design elements to enhance your home décor, please contact us!

Maryan Barbara
Maryan Barbara

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