Home Decor Styles Explained

by | Nov 16, 2018

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What are the different home decorating styles?

There are quite a few different home decorating styles to choose from including cool and contemporary, Art Deco and Industrial and the list goes on. The choice is yours. We are going to give you a little inspiration to help you along the way. Let me explain the basics of some of the styles in this blog.

Contemporary designs have sleek, clean lines. Colors are very neutral with brown, taupe and grey. The addition of a striking piece of art or a large rug will often feature as a shot of color.  The use of glass and metal is also very popular in the form of coffee tables, accent tables and cabinets.

Furniture is very clean, low to the ground and straight legs. Lighting can be artistic formed in metallic finishes and fabrics for curtains and soft furnishings can be wool, linen and silk with pillows adding a touch of chosen color and pattern.


What defines contemporary design?

Contemporary lounge entertainment room

Contemporary lounge. Source – Pinterest

The art to achieve a contemporary design is to concentrate on more space rather than a lot of things. Lines should be strong and visible including high ceilings, geometric sculptures and wall art. Remember less is more.

An industrial style has evolved from the conversion of old industrial units and factories that have been converted into the now upgraded lofts and commercial spaces you see today. Elements that many of us would have previously hidden like pipes, ductwork and beams are proudly put on display as a feature.


1. Industrial interior design styles.

Industrial design kitchen

Industrial design kitchen. Source Parker House Inc

industrial toilet holderThe combination of wood and metal is important. As you can see in the photograph above, wooden stools are placed beautifully against a stark steel counter top and steel downlights hang over to complement the industrial look.

Most spaces are typically large and open and colors are warm and again neutral. Having these warm colors helps to neutralise the coldness of the metal. In living rooms soft, plush sofas, rugs and cushions will soften the hardness of the look.

You can even add a touch of industrial in the smallest of rooms with this tiered hanging shelf from Home Depot. Be bold, it will be worth the effort.

See our Industrial Style Living Room Design


2. Coastal interior design style

coastal bedroom design

Coastal Style Bedroom. Source Pinterest

 A style that aims to make you feel relaxed and to give you the impression that you are only minutes away from the beach and the salt air. Wall colours start with a very neutral base incorporating pale sandy tones, with sun bleached white, greys and pale blues

Textures feature heavily including wood, stone and textured rugs. The style is loosely based on a contemporary look, bright and breezy with white, light curtain fabrics. Cushions can add small pops of colors in blues, browns and greys as well. Don’t go overboard with the shell or anchor accessories there really is no need. Pick out a washed wooden mirror frame or a bright blue fruit bowl. Done correctly you will feel like you are living on the beach, but could still be in the city. For more inspiration refer to our coastal mood board.

See our Beach Retreat Design


3. Japanese Interior Design Style

Japanese bedroom design

Japanese style bedroom. Homedit.com

The Japanese design revolves around clean, uncluttered living.  Furthermore, zen plays an important part in Japanese design and portrays harmony, balance and relaxation.  Adding elements of nature including wood and plants like bonsai trees, orchids or palms bring the design together. Wood is an essential element in Japanese design with bamboo being one of the most popular. Why not try to dress a corner with dried reeds or lengths of bamboo.

Lighting should be angular and modern, it could even replicate a Japanese lantern. Remember, space is key so when you think about furniture don’t overcrowd your space with too many items.

If you have the room, sliding panel doors are a great addition. You could add them to a wardrobe, an en-suite in the bedroom or maybe even a freestanding screen in a corner.

Check out our farmhouse dining room


4. Rustic Interior Style

Rustic Interior Style

Photo: Tate Interiors

The rustic look is totally achievable. You have to play by a simple rule. Don’t overdo it. If you do, your interior could look like a log cabin or the inside of a cuckoo clock. Too much wood is not good. Mixing contemporary elements with rustic items will balance the look and not become too overbearing. The design is based on natural looking elements and objects like wood, stone and metals.

In the image above you can see all three elements that have been bought into the scheme. The large rustic bed, the ceiling and the door and window frames – all made of wood.  The element of stone is the large fireplace in the corner of the bedroom and to add to the design you have the metal light above the bed.

Paint colors are very much neutrals, so think, brown, beige and creams. There is nothing wrong in adding a warm earth red accent chair, or some pale green to the room as long as the colors tie in with each other.

Rugs on the floor can be simple, nothing elaborate and curtains and cushions can add some texture and pattern to the finished design. Don’t forget accessories like reclaimed wood mirrors, faux fur throws and tree trunk tables.


5. What is the Scandinavian Design Style?

Scandinavian Design Style

Photo: Frank’s Glass.

When you talk Scandinavian design you think of Ikea. The basics of the design are modern mixed with traditional, simple lines and not cluttered. The style is light and breezy with the use of light wood in the design, light wood floors and modern sleek furniture and again very pale colors.

Scandinavian design also requires a lot of light, so if you are fortunate to have large windows this will be an ideal choice when designing your chosen room. Accessories should be kept to a minimum as you are trying to achieve the uncluttered look. An important point to remember is that Scandinavian furniture is quite ‘leggy’ so choose your items carefully as it could overdo your design.


6. Spanish Interior Design Style

Spanish Interior Design Style

The Spanish style has elements of Morocco in it.  Having lived in Spain for 10 years, in a typical Spanish villa in Valencia you get to understand why nearly in all homes the floors are completely tiled. Some homes do have wood floors but due to the heat, tiles help to keep the rooms cool in the hot Spanish summers.

Terracotta plays a big role in the design of the houses. The roofs have terracotta tiles and the floors as well, so think warm reds and oranges. Walls are mostly painted, or have a stone or stucco finish. Many houses have large open stone fireplaces and wood also plays an important role in the design.

Wrought iron features in balustrading and stair designs and doors, whereas windows and frames consist of dark wood. If you have high ceilings then faux wooden beams are very authentic coupled with wrought iron ceiling lights.

To soften the look and bring some warmth into the room, soft furnishings, rugs, tapestries and accent colours are a perfect combination. Kitchen and bathrooms feature hand glazed tiles, marble and porcelain.


7. Victorian Interior Design Style

Victorian Interior Design Style

Image Alexander James Interiors

A Victorian style, although very elegant with antique furniture mixed with modern items, can look exquisite if thought about carefully.  The image that you are trying to portray is one of luxury. A statement wall with a colourful or bold pattern can help your journey in achieving the modern Victorian look.

Furniture, like for instance a velvet couch will help make the room look more opulent. If your budget cannot stretch to a velvet couch then pick out some velvet cushions or a throw to give the look of luxury that you are trying to achieve.

The fun comes in with the lighting, if you have high ceilings make a bold statement with a large gorgeous chandelier. If not, find something a little smaller with some decorative crystals, something a little elaborate.

Sophistication with accessories can be in the form of ornate mirrors, candles at differing heights and antique accent tables. Beautiful long custom-made drapes to tie in with the colour scheme and if you have the room on the walls, large paintings and tapestries. Walls can also be finished with decorative cornices and ceiling roses, beautiful to set off the chandelier. Intricate moulding can also be used on walls to make panelling and enhance artwork.


8. Moroccan Interior Design Style

Moroccan Interior Design Style

Photo I Max Studio

Beautiful mosaics, metal lanterns and luxurious fabrics are just some of the elements that make up a Moroccan design. The architecture consists of curved doorways, arches and outside stunning courtyards with foundations and ponds.

A subtle background of delicate whites and greys can be brought to life with vivid orange, vibrant reds and lush blues.  Plenty of cushions, ottomans and fabrics can work the color into the room.

The Moroccans are well known for their rugs and have created some of the finest ones in the world. These rugs will bring an element of pattern into the room as geometrics and abstracts feature heavily in their design. If the budget does not stretch to an original rug look for a reproduction.

Moroccan glass top table

Delicately carved furniture in the form of coffee tables, accent tables and bench seating will add interest to the room.  Puji’s glass top coffee and lamp tables paired together give off a certain sense of Moroccan luxury. Perfect in a living room with a themed Moroccan interior.

For added pattern hang Moroccan lanterns from the ceiling or place them on the floor in the corners of rooms. These beautiful pieces cast in metal will throw lovely patterns on the walls and ceilings when lit. Other accessories such as metal vases and ornate mirrors will finish the look.


9. Gothic Interior Design

Gothic Interior Design

Photo – Pinterest

Gothic design should not drum up Dracula, creepy hallways and bats in the belfry. Done correctly it can look very eye-catching. The actual gothic architecture is very striking and many people now replicate it in their homes with amazing results as well.

Gothic first appeared in the 12th century, celebrating light and grandeur in churches with arches, pointed windows and beautiful ornate decorations. A few famous examples of Gothic architecture include the Milan Cathedral, Westminster Abbey and the Cologne Cathedral.

gothic chandelierOne of the first buildings to be built in the Gothic style is considered to be the Basilica of St Denis in Paris, an important church where French kings were buried from the 10th to the 18th century.

However the Gothic style of the Victorian era embraced motifs and dark colored walls. Not necessarily black but brown, burgundy and navy as well.

Furniture is normally solid, heavy wood, either intricately carved or very simple. Ideal items would be those with turned legs, plush upholstery and arched detailing. Accessories can include crosses, wrought iron candlesticks, a gargoyle and wall hung tapestries.

Heavy wrought iron chandeliers will be a very good focal point, the below is available on Amazon.com. Floor coverings can be wood, tile or stone to add to that dramatic effect.


10. Italian interior design

Italian interior design

Photo CIstudents.org

Italian style designed homes are based on glitz, luxury and ornate, with the highest quality of furnishings.  Older style Italian homes decorated with crystal chandeliers, beautiful marble floors or glossy wood and panelled walls.

Whereas the more modern Italian inspired homes have a very minimalist look consisting of high gloss furniture, very clean lines and gilt gold trim on mirrors and cabinets.

Floors can be varied from terracotta to marble and stoneware. Not only do they sometimes cover their floors in marble but also the walls. If you are searching for a more rustic Italian look choose terracotta for your floors instead of marble.

Italy are well known as trendsetters, so if glamour and glitz is your thing – start by looking at Italian design but be prepared to spend some serious money on furnishings.


11. Mexican Interior Design Style

Mexican Interior Design Style

Photo House style design

If you are not afraid of color, Mexican interior design is the way to go, remember it is not all Mexican sombreros and chilli con carnes.  The use of bold, vivid colors and rich woven and textured rugs are not for the faint hearted though.

Keep the walls simple as the Mexican vibe can be brought in with the accessories, furnishings etc.  When choosing the wall color opt for something that is warm and neutral, possibly a sand tone. Wood beams are a great addition, faux beams can be used to add to the authenticity.

When it comes to the fabrics and soft furnishings look for golden yellows, deep blues and vivid reds and fabrics should have prints and patterns on them as well.  Mexican hand painted tiles are very popular in areas such as kitchens, bathrooms and courtyards and on the floor terracotta is a good choice.

Cushion from madeit.com.au

Wall hangings such as paintings, ornate mirrors and decorative plates will help to add to the look and feel. Some even display a selection of hats, or even chilli peppers hanging in the kitchen. Choose some small cacti and plant in brightly colored pots for decoration on shelves.

Furniture in Mexican inspired interiors consist of reclaimed wood and wrought iron with a very rustic appearance.


12. Bohemian inspired design ideas ‘Boho Chic’

Bohemian inspired design

Photo – Dedishop

Bohemian comes from the French word (La Boheme) gypsy and relates to those that live artistic lives. If you are a great believer in simple, uncluttered and structured rooms then you may want to give this style a miss. The unusual mixture of colors, textures and patterns creates a more interesting and personal choice in interior design when choosing boho style.

The thing about this form of design is that there are no hard and fast rules to stick to. Colors can be warm and earthy tones including browns, terracotta and some metallics. Whereas when it comes to accessories you can get going with electric blues, vivid reds and fiery oranges. You can decorate with a scheme of white and start layering up different fabrics, like throws on furniture and cushions which can help when thinking about boho bedroom ideas.

Rug from Rugs USA Furniture can be from second hand shops, antique and worn but not damaged. Mismatching furniture will not cause a design issue as this is part of the style. Victorian style furniture is a great match for this type of design. Find a second-hand chaise lounge or an old weathered swivel chair. Another tip to remember is to fill every space. Pick out objects to accessorise that have color and form. Not just cushions, rugs and plants, look out for sculptures, lamps, books and whatever else you feel will fit the style that you are trying to achieve. Remember the style is about the art of individuality. Choose handmade objects like coasters, an oil painting or a one-off piece of fabric to hang on the wall. Whereas I would normally say less is more, in this case, less is less and more is more. Lighting should be a little softer creating a sense of serenity and a free spirited space. There are no main rules with this design, if you are a collector, you have a good head start.Rug from Rugs USA

Furniture can be from second hand shops, antique and worn but not damaged. Mismatching furniture will not cause a design issue as this is part of the style. Victorian style furniture is a great match for this type of design. Find a second-hand chaise lounge or an old weathered swivel chair.

Another tip to remember is to fill every space. Pick out objects to accessorise that have color and form. Not just cushions, rugs and plants, look out for sculptures, lamps, books and whatever else you feel will fit the style that you are trying to achieve. Remember the style is about the art of individuality. Choose handmade objects like coasters, an oil painting or a one-off piece of fabric to hang on the wall.

Whereas I would normally say less is more, in this case, less is less and more is more. Lighting should be a little softer creating a sense of serenity and a free spirited space. There are no main rules with this design, if you are a collector, you have a good head start.

See our Bohemian Style Bedroom ideas


13. Art deco interior design style

Art deco interior design style

Photo LuxDeco

Art Deco began in the early years of the 20th century. In the 1930s it took a hold and was mass produced so everyone had the opportunity of decorating their home in the art deco style. Art Deco is about making a big statement.

Starting with the floor and working up you would have glossy floors and geometric patterns – black and white tiles being very popular. Furniture would consist of black lacquered cabinets, ebony veneered dining room tables, brushed steel and glass to contribute to the sleek modern look. Materials would include zebra and shark skins. Think of the Great Gatsby. The style brings in glamour and luxury.

Combining colors in your room such as black, white, gold and silver act as the perfect backdrop. Furnishings should be of a bold solid color and then accessories such as cushions and throws that have geometric patterns. Don’t think you can pull off a nice floral pastel pink cushion in this design, it doesn’t have a place in Art Deco design.

Choose strong furniture such as cabinets and tables that are streamlined made from exotic woods and feature inlaid geometric and symmetrical patterns. Art Deco furniture is again about making a statement so choose bold, large pieces including chairs, sideboards and cabinets.

Glass and chrome were brand new materials at the time of the Art Deco period and lights were often made of these materials.

art deco lighting lighting art deco

Lighting by Universallighting.co.uk


14. Tropical interior design

tropical interior design

The Hawaiian home of Marion Philpotts Miller

The tropical interior design style involves natural materials like rattan, teak and bamboo. Hollywood homes that have the tropical ‘look’ usually opt for the high gloss furniture and add the ‘tropical’ element in with fabrics and soft furnishings that feature cane motifs and palm leaves. The aim of the design is to use colors from natural elements, the sand, the sea, the plants to create a warm and soothing room.

If you are on a budget opt for sheer curtains to dress the windows in shades of pale blue or white. If money is not an object then long lush silky curtains will look amazing.

Rattan can work its way into the design in the form of a coffee table, an accent chair or a vase. Bamboo mats and large palms in simple vases are perfect to get the look.

cabinet and palm palm cushion


Cushion from Amazon. Picture on the left – Creativity Exchange.

Large pots placed on wooden cabinet as you can see from the photograph above is a great tropical theme and cushions can be fun palm prints or earthy, sandy tones.

Floors are typical to those that you find in a tropical retreat, something that can be brushed and scrubbed, so look at wood,  brick or tile. Lighting can be a large wooden fan centred in the room and accessories on the walls can include rope framed or bamboo mirrors. Have fun.


15. Transitional interior design

Transitional interior design

Photo Freshome.com

Mix the masculine with feminine and voila you have a transitional interior design look. Mixing contemporary with traditional furniture will help you to achieve this particular look. Colors can include taupes, greys and creams and blacks.

Furniture in the room should have clean, straight lines and be bold and use fabrics such as leather, chenille and suede, you are trying to get a sophisticated look.

Hold back on accessories – if nick-nacks are your thing this style is not for you. Soft colored carpets or wooden flooring with a textured rug is all you need on the floors. The art of transitional is not too manly and not too girly.

Light fittings can make a statement all worked around a neutral backdrop. You are aiming to mix the old with the new in a cohesive design. Windows treatments should be long, classic, crisp drapes which pull the room together


16. Indian interior design style

Indian interior design style

Photo Grig Stamate

Indian interiors are decorated with a vibrant color pallet and includes reds, ochres, yellows, blues and browns. Take it easy on the color as it could end up like chaos rather than Indian interior design.

Solid wood plays an important part in the design and this is found in carvings, furniture, screens, tables and chairs. Purchase carefully picked pieces of Indian craftmanship with curved legs and carved inlays.

It is a good idea to buy two stunning pieces of furniture and complement them with other furniture that is more understated. A nice touch which is also commonly seen is different levels of seating like diwans, footstools and high chairs.

Flooring in India is normally marble, tile or granite and is easy to look after and keep clean an keeps the house cool in the hot Indian summers.  Traditional accessories include statues, embroideries, statues and wall hangings with oil lamps and mirrors in traditional brass, copper or bronze.

Hand woven fabrics, embroidery and block printing is seen on curtains, cushions and panels that hang over the side of the armchairs made of cotton, jute or linen. If you really want to push the boat out try hanging an intricate piece of fabric over a bed as a canopy, or use as a throw over a piece of furniture.

Indian lights Indian furniture    

This Manak pendant light has an Indian design and is available at Horchow. Handcrafted in iron and glass they have a diffuser which glow and shimmer when lit.

So there you have it. Quite a list to be getting on with and plenty of options to choose from when decorating your rooms. Eventually we will try to feature a room decorated in many of the styles above. There are still plenty more to list but these are some of the most common ones that we have highlighted.

If you need help with your interior design please do not hesitate to contact us at info@stylishinteriordesign.com

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