Perhaps the most common theme in home décor is uncertainty. Figuring out your style is harder than it sounds. A collection of items you love may not come together pleasingly. It’s time to figure out your décor style so you can create spaces that look and feel great.
The first step is learning about common interior design styles. Being able to identify the style or styles that appeal to you is the key to creating rooms that feel both personal and cohesive. It’s easy to overlook an element that might bring your style together, like a color palette that is more complementary to your furnishings.
There are more décor styles in the world than we could possibly list. Some are perpetually popular while others go in and out of fashion.
Let’s take a look at some of the most common and beloved décor styles. The list is in alphabetical order because we would never play favorites! Rule number one in home décor is that you get to choose what you like.
This guide is all about giving you the tools you need to identify your style and bring it to life.
Contemporary décor is not the same as modern décor. It’s a common misconception. Contemporary décor incorporates the latest trends and styles. This makes it a little hard to pin down.
The ever-changing nature of trends makes Contemporary décor fun, but the style is also quite minimal. Open spaces and neutral base color palettes leave room for pops of whatever is new and interesting.
Contemporary décor is filled with clean lines and conscientious simplicity. Trendy furniture or accents are few and notable. They draw the eye and give a pared-down space a personal feel.
Eclectic décor is governed by very few rules. It’s a mix of styles, curated to complement and surprise. Eclectic décor tends to be colorful and fun, borrowing at will from other styles and traditions.
Eclectic décor can be difficult to do well. It can look haphazard and chaotic without any unifying elements. But it’s also undeniably fun and appealing. Bold pieces and color palettes are often combined with softer textile elements.
The best way to identify an eclectic décor style is by the curated nature of its many elements. You will see pieces from many different styles, perhaps only unified by a paint color or fabric.
French Country décor has underpinnings similar to those of the Modern Farmhouse style. Inspired by homes in the French countryside, this décor style features the distressed surfaces and natural wood of Modern Farmhouse.
But French Country décor incorporates elements of elegance and refinement. Color palettes including reds and golds add warmth and comfort while offsetting rather formal furnishings.
French Country décor comes with plenty of embellishment. Classic wood functional items fit in well, being both practical and elegant. When combined with natural wood and other elements, this traditional style becomes charming and cozy.
Don’t worry! Industrial décor does not look like a factory floor! But it is inspired by factories and warehouses. Converting these spaces into lofts and apartments led to an appreciation for exposed surfaces and rough materials.
You can identify the style by its embrace of open spaces, neutral color palettes, and exposed raw materials. Stone floors, metal beams, and brick walls create the framework of these spaces.
Within that framework, Industrial décor incorporates found, recycled, or reclaimed elements. This environmentally friendly approach to furnishings makes Industrial décor timely and increasingly popular.
It may seem that Industrial style spaces are cold and spare. They are open and can veer towards the masculine. But choosing salvaged and reclaimed pieces carefully can warm up this rough-hewn style.
Mediterranean décor is inspired by Greek, Spanish, and Italian styles. It tends towards sturdy furniture, colorful tilework, and ornamental details like wrought iron.
The traditional Mediterranean color palette is all warm, earthy tones. Newer designs bring in lighter blues and greens to lighten the spaces.
Mediterranean décor is often described in architectural terms. Interior balconies, archways, and columns are hallmarks of the style.
Modern versions of Mediterranean décor have plenty of white space. This both highlights the tile, natural wood, and warm colors of the furnishings and keeps the space feeling breezy and light.
Mid-Century Modern décor is one of the most recognizable styles. Think of it as an “I know it when I see it” style. Born in the 1950s and 1960s, this décor style emphasizes an easy transition between outdoor and indoor spaces.
Mid-Century Modern décor tends toward simple furniture in functional, organic shapes. Natural woods, clean lines, and graphic patterns are all hallmarks of this style. Rooms tend to be uncluttered, with clean lines.
Mid-Century Modern is one of the few décor styles that incorporate specific designers and pieces of furniture. Eames molded fiberglass chairs and egg chairs are still made and used in this classic American décor.
Minimalist décor shares some features with Mid-Century Modern, including clean lines and functional furniture. An enduring style, Minimalist décor is sparse and modern.
Minimalist décor is pared down to the essentials. Everything is functional, streamlined, and there is an emphasis on open space. Colors are generally neutral with an occasional splash of something brighter.
Minimalist style is marked by a distinct lack of clutter and few decorative items. Those items are chosen with care. Textural elements add visual interest to this style that incorporates the trending ethos of reducing consumption and waste.
Modern décor seems like a broad description rather than an actual style of interior decoration. But in this case, Modern has some specific meanings.
Originating in the early 20th century, Modern décor features clean lines and sleek silhouettes. Influenced by modernist art, Modern décor is uncluttered, with strong shapes and smooth surfaces.
Modern décor often features open spaces and a simple color palette. It isn’t always a neutral palette but tends to pair neutrals with simple, bold colors. You won’t find much in the way of knick-knacks in a Modern décor space. It’s spare, angular, and tends to be asymmetric. Chrome, steel, and glass are prominent materials of Modern décor.
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Modern Farmhouse style has blossomed in popularity in recent years. That’s certainly due in part to popular television programs emphasizing the style, but there’s more to it.
Modern Farmhouse décor has the heart of historical rural simplicity. Sturdy, functional furniture combines with a natural color palette and practical textiles. Mixing in modern touches increases the functionality of the spaces and gives them a new appeal.
Combining new and old pieces gives Modern Farmhouse décor a timeless feel. The old-fashioned aesthetic is intentional and benefits from structural elements like exposed wood beams and brick fireplaces.
Distressed or otherwise imperfect surfaces and finishes also grace Modern farmhouse décor, lending it an extra element of rustic charm.
Scandinavian décor is open, light, and simple. This inherently cheerful style incorporates natural materials and elements into its functional simplicity.
This is a casual décor style that mixes new pieces with old ones. Natural shapes and a light color palette are accented with warm textiles. Textural blankets and rugs keep spaces cozy in cold Nordic winters.
Minimal and airy, Scandinavian décor is not without playfulness or color. Geometric patterns and pops of color in wall art add another dimension to this light and open style.
Pressed wood furnishings combine with simple, elegant designer pieces for an eclectic look that stays true to its functional, simple roots.
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Traditional décor can cause confusion because the word means different things to different people. Traditional décor draws inspiration from English and French styles from the 18th and 19th centuries.
Featuring ornate antique furniture, dark wood, and heavy fabrics, traditional décor can be quite formal. Patterned textiles mix with symmetrical furniture placement. There is little room for spare or sparse spaces in traditional décor. It’s all about elegance and abundance.
More than any other style, traditional décor comes together over time. Finding the right sumptuous pieces for each room is part of the joy of this style rooted in history.
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Transitional décor lives in the lovely space between the opulence of Traditional décor and the sparseness of Modern décor. It’s a popular style, but one without some of the distinctive elements that mark other décor styles.
Transitional décor may bring elements like heavy, patterned textiles from Traditional styles and combine them with furniture with clean lines. It might pair intricately embellished antique pieces with a neutral color palette and few accessories.
Because the combination of Traditional and Modern can encompass a vast expanse of design territory it can be hard to identify. Generally, it tends toward the intricate, curved furnishings of Traditional and the neutral colors of Modern.
A Vintage décor style may have some elements of an Eclectic style. It often has pieces from different eras, curated to create an appealing whole. Vintage, however, tends to be a bit more spare and minimal than its Eclectic cousin.
Vintage décor feels comfortable and homey. You might notice some elements of Modern Farmhouse or Rustic styles. Open shelves and framed Vintage pictures are common in this décor style. Items are curated everywhere from thrift stores and garage sales to high-end antique shops.
Vintage décor sometimes reflects one era or area of interest. In other cases, a Vintage style is based purely on what the individual finds appealing. The overall feeling of Vintage décor is of a crisp, comfy, functional collection.
My Décor Style Isn’t On the List!
Identifying different décor styles and finding one for you are very different endeavors. Being able to look at a space and identify the décor style is a very useful tool.
You may discover, as you explore different styles, that you are consistently drawn to styles that share certain attributes. Maybe it’s neutral colors, natural wood, or sustainable sourcing.
Now you know which styles are a natural fit for those preferences and you can mix and match at will. Even identifying one unifying feature that you love is a step toward establishing your décor style.
You’ll never complete your décor in a day. It’s always a work in progress and is likely to evolve over time. Even if you never put a precise label on your own style, it’s a lot of fun to be able to identify styles you see elsewhere.
Choosing Your Décor Style
The most important thing to remember about any guide to décor or interior design is that you don’t have to follow the rules. If there is a style here that feels like a good fit, that’s great! You can use the guidelines to find new and interesting additions to your space.
Most of you probably found yourself drawn to more than one style. The beauty of home décor is that it’s for your home. You get to decide which elements of which styles you incorporate.
Your décor needs to fit your life, not the other way around. You may love minimalism but have a house filled with children and pets. There are always ways to bring décor elements you love into the life and space that you have.
Practicality, functionality, and budget are likely to have a significant impact on your décor. Nearly every style features wood pieces, making them versatile choices that can be both practical and decorative.
Neutral colors are also extremely versatile for textiles, wall colors, and other fundamentals. If you aren’t sure what best suits you, keeping it neutral while you experiment gives you a great foundation for most décor styles.
No matter what your style, surround yourself with furnishings, colors, and accents that make you happy. Everything else is, as they say, just window dressing.