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8 Popular Interior Design Styles Explained

1. Mid-Century Modern

The mid-1900s produced some of the most iconic pieces in modern design. It is marked by elegant lines and chic minimalism, with frequent use of molded plastic, natural wood, and aluminum. Its pieces are versatile and can complement other design styles. Check out our Mid-Century Modern Design Guide to learn how to get the look for your home.

For your shopping and inspiration needs, the Mid-Century Furniture collection offers curated products matching this look. Most of the products found at DWR and Design Public are mid-century classics.

2. Industrial Modern

This is a look that hearkens back to the turn-of-the-century industrial era. It emphasizes frequent use of raw steel with exposed brick elements. It also relies heavily on rustic wood pieces. The modern variant commonly includes copper-tone decor.

3. Nautical/Cottage/Coastal

Warm, relaxing, and positive. The nautical look reflects the New England beach-side cottage spirit. White, blue, and sand colors should be used. Seashells in clear jars, unfinished wood pieces, and ropes are the traditional decorative accents.

4. Scandinavian

An offshoot of the mid-century movement, Scandinavian design brought a populist, minimalist look. Although most people associate it with IKEA, there’s a lot more to the style (we covered stores like IKEA before). Featuring gentle, rounded contours and warm colors, Scandinavian design regularly bends and moulds various materials.

5. Bohemian

The Bohemian (or Boho) design captures the carefree and experimental essence of the namesake lifestyle. It features heavy use of vibrant colours, especially those with red or purple tones. The key is to carefully present a purposefully “messy” look. Layer on textiles (throws, pillows, rugs, tapestry) for a warm feeling.

6. Contemporary Chic/Transitional

Contemporary and transitional are distinct, but related design styles that share many commonalities. The main focus is on balance: not too cold, not too formal. Contemporary chic aesthetic is more fluid than ‘modern’ design, and is cleaner than the ‘traditional’ look.

7. Japanese Zen

A therapeutic and refreshing design, Zen decor emphasises natural wood/stone elements, low ground level furniture, and open breathable spacing. It is one of our favorite, having covered an acclaimed NYC penthouse and how-to guide in the past.

8. Vintage/Shabby Chic

Seemingly a soft cross of industrial, Boho, and traditional elements, the vintage design style recreates the rustic flea market look. Use wooden furniture, with a bit of colour peeled off to expose the wood underneath. Accents should have traditional flair with light colours.