25 Interior Design Styles Explained

 March 25, 2020 by Happy DIY Home Staff


There are so many options when it comes to selecting an interior design style for your space. And it’s an important choice! The interior design style you choose has the power to improve your life, reflect your personality, share your tastes with friends and family and bring you endless pleasure. But where to start?! What’s the difference between the shabby chic style and French provincial anyway? Do you see yourself living in a Bali inspired laid back tropical fitout or letting your individuality shine through with the bohemian style? Do you want a masculine and mature space or feminine and soft space? What works for you? This article is your first step to finding a style that suits, with 25 of the most popular interior design styles broken down and explained, with simple steps for you to follow to realise in your own home. Let’s jump in!

1. Scandinavian


  •         Simplicity

  •         Whites and greys

  •         Warmth with textiles

  •         Designer Scandinavian furniture

  •         Natural light


2. Industrial

(Industrial loft refurbished by #HoutwerkBV by design milk / CC BY-SA 2.0 The industrial interior design style is trendy in the lofts and warehouses of the Big Apple. It’s a masculine and mature style that can be adopted in your space to capture that warehouse cool. Here’s how: In the industrial interior design style you want to make a feature of the structural elements of a building, so consider exposing the following: raw brick, wooden beams, distressed timber or concrete floors. The exposed elements become the focus of the space, and you can then layer in other design elements to complement. For instance, you can accentuate with metallic elements, add graphic artwork for a touch of colour, and reinforce the warehouse feel with salvaged furniture. The classic graphic print leaning against the wall is perfect for the industrial style. Décor wise find pieces which go with the vibe, such as, antique metals or factory pieces. For the colour palette of the walls, stay neutral and minimal. Want to paint like a pro, here’s a step by step guide. Sparingly, use textiles and rugs for warmth but remember you don’t want softness in this look; it’s all about that masculine harshness. Key Points:

  •         Make a feature of structural elements

  •         Masculine and mature

  •         Graphic art work and metal accents

  •         Salvaged furniture

  •         Neutral colour scheme.

3. Bohemian


(NYC Bedroom update by Stacie, CC BY-SA 2.0) The Bohemian interior design style has been everywhere in recent times, books have been published, retail stores stock it and TV makeover shows celebrate it. It is a truly popular style because it’s all about expressing your individuality in a fun and playful way. We want to capture that free spirit in your space. Here’s how: The most important thing about the bohemian style: there are no rules to follow! Go crazy expressing your personality through decoration. Show off your collections of knick-knacks, travel finds, and flea market discoveries. It’s a busy style, with textiles being layered on top of textile and bursts of colour matched with pattern. Be bold, messy and adventurous! Animal hides, tribal and nomadic textiles are very popular. Himalayan salt lamps are popular too, make sure to select the best kind for you. The unifying principle of the bohemian style is to create a laid back space that you feel comfortable being yourself in.  So floor pillows and hanging chairs for comfort are a must! Furniture wise, mix modern with vintage. Anything goes! You can layer in glam elements too. Key Points:

  •         Express your personality

  •         Layer textile on textile

  •         Match colour with pattern

  •         Display your collections

  •         Keep it laid back


4. Art deco


(Dining Room Conservatory by Lizzie Benton / CC BY 2.0) Bring back some of the glamour of the roaring 20’s in your space, with the Art Deco interior design style, a must for those who like things a bit opulent and larger than life. Here’s how: Ideally, you would fuse art deco with more contemporary styles, to avoid working on a history project. But if you are going to do art deco style here’s the lowdown. Firstly, you want to aim for symmetry in your space, so find a sense of balance in your decorating. Source traditional art deco decor, accessories, and furniture from auctions, antique stores or thrift shops, and feature them. If you can’t afford or find any, reproductions of the art deco era are fine too. Ideally, you want streamlined and statement sized furniture (glass furniture is popular) and lots of antiques displayed. Work with bold colours with contrasts, or contrast softer colours with the lacquered wood common in art deco furniture. Layer your space with fabrics featuring geometric patterns, animal prints or nature motifs. Make the space appear bigger with large mirrors. Finally, accent with precious metals such as gold and silver, choose chrome lighting fittings and finish the look with nude and animal statues. Key points

  •         Source art deco era décor and furniture

  •         Bold colours with contrasts

  •         Mirrors

  •         Accent with precious metals

  •         Statues


5. Coastal


(Interiors (Coastal design) by Irene Baya Casal / CC BY 3.0) Coastal interior design style is a popular look in the beach-side suburbs of Long Island in New York, U.S.A. However, even if you don’t live beside the ocean, it is still an option for creating serenity and tranquillity in your space. Here’s how: Coastal is all about letting the peacefulness of nature into your space. So consider opening up to create an airy and light space. You might want to install plantation shutters or decorate with white curtains that can blow in the breeze. Select a colour palette that reflects nature, with shades of blue, yellow, green and white, popular choices. You want to evoke the colours of the beach and create a light tone for your space. Furnish with wooden furniture, like wicker chairs or rattan and pair with a plush sofa. You want to layer the space with organic textiles. However, it is important to avoid decorating with nautical or beach items (such as oars and shells), this was popular once, but is now considered passé. Key Points

  •         Open up to outside

  •         Beach tones for the colour palette

  •         Wooden furniture

  •         Organic textiles

  •         Avoid nautical decorations


6. Shabby Chic DIY shabby Chic furniture project Indulge your romantic side by choosing the Shabby Chic interior design style, popular in the 1980’s with artists and bohemians and inspired by 18th century France. Shabby chic is all about DIY projects and upcycling furniture to create a soft, feminine vibe in your space. Here’s how: Begin by whitewashing your walls and wooden floors with a pale colour palette of whites, creams and pastels. Then source some furniture from thrift shops that you can get DIY crafty on and age with paint. See the above video on how you can create shabby chic inspired furniture in simple and easy steps. Or read these articles on chalk painting furniture and coffee table makeover ideas. Decorate with floral prints, flea market décor, and display your hand me down fabrics, collectibles and furniture. You want to make the space not only feminine but also comfortable and inviting. Use linen and soft cotton. Finally, add a special touch by dressing up with some glamorous choices like a chandelier, opulent gold mirror, ornate light fixtures or some delicate vintage French furniture and décor. Key Points

  •         Colour palette of whites, creams and pastels

  •         DIY project: age your furniture

  •         Display hand me downs

  •         Linen and soft cotton

  •         Add glamorous touches


7. Mid-century modern


The mid-century modern interior design style is an all-time favorite for a lot of people. It’s all about bringing alive the nostalgia of the 1950’s and 1960’s. A lot of people mix furniture and décor from the mid-century modern style into a contemporary fit out with much success, so that is always an option. However, if you want a pure mid-century modern style read on. Here’s how: Mid-century modern promotes inside/outside living so you want to open your space up with large windows to let the sun and breeze in. Open plan living is a must, allowing a fresh flow of air to gently waft throughout your house. Hunt around for original mid-century modern furniture pieces at auction, or if you’re lucky at seconds and thrift stores, to get that classic look. Mid-Century modern furniture is all about functionality and choosing natural, organic shapes that are simple. Teak furniture is popular. Focus on a colour palette of blues, greens and oranges, and accent with rusty metal and molded plastics. You want to emphasise wood and clean lines in your interior design. Key points

  •         Inside/outside living

  •         Source  original furniture

  •         Natural organic shapes

  •         Colour palette of blues, greens and oranges

  •         Wood


8. Minimalism


  •         Rugs and throws for warmth

  •         Let in natural light

  •         Furniture that doubles as storage

  •         Monochromatic or neutral colour palette

  •         Allow bursts of colour in artwork


9. French Provincial

Styling a french provincial bedroom If you like classic elegance then the rustic and refined French provincial interior design style might be for you, no matter where you live. It’s a celebration of the traditional and antiquated, think old world charm! This is the style where you can happily display your antiques. You want to style with luxurious and elegant objects, think iron or ceramic.  Patina on metals is a nice touch. Select worn, antique and lived- in furniture to evoke a classical past. Louis IV chairs are a popular choice! You can start a DIY project and reupholster some furniture using white linen. Also remember that to create mood, contrast different tones in your wooden furniture. Paint the walls with a colour palette of white and neutral hues, whilst showcasing any natural stone on the walls or floor. Furnish with toile curtains. Finish it off with oil landscape paintings and fresh uncut flowers in a vase. Here’s a guide to making a cheerful spring vase. Key Points:

  •         Antiques

  •         Lived in and reupholstered furniture

  •         White and neutral colour palette

  •         Natural stone

  •         Landscape paintings


10.  Hollywood Glam Decorating  in the hollywood glam style Feel like a star from the golden age of cinema with the lush Hollywood glam interior design style. Here’s how: The Hollywood glam style is all about being dramatic and getting noticed. You want to bask in glamorous, decadent and luxurious living with this style. It’s perfect for people with a plus size personality. Firstly, choose a bold colour palette of high contrast colours, such as dark purple and hot pink. Or you can paint your walls monochromatic and add bursts of these high contrast colours. Then, go over the top and be bold with your decoration. You can add chandeliers, antiques, extravagant curtains, fine crystals, zebra rugs, patterns, plush and velvet etc. Avoid too much furniture and keep the space clutter free, focus on displaying your décor instead. Pintuck furniture is popular in Hollywood glam style. If you want to make a stunning DIY vanity mirror with lights and side table, here’s how. Use marble bench tops in the kitchen, here’s a guide to costing a new kitchen in 2020. Accent the space with glossy metals like brass and gold. You can also take inspiration from other interior design styles and mix in some Victorian, art deco or mid-century elements. Art deco geometric patterns are popular! Overall, you want to create a comfortable space that is open plan living at its finest. Key points:

  •         Be dramatic

  •         High contrast colours

  •         Minimal furniture

  •         Bold decoration

  •         Glossy metals like brass and gold


11. Urban Modern


(Urban interior by pxfuel / CC .0) Cutting edge meets tradition in the urban modern interior design style, perfect for high-rise apartment and city living. Here’s how: Urban modern is all about modern living with an open plan and flexible space. You want to create a sense of space, softness, femininity and chic living with this style (especially if you are decorating a smaller apartment). Personalise with a few vintage finds but avoid clutter if you can. Softness can be evoked with furnishings, with rugs especially helping soften wooden floors or tiles. Keep furniture to a minimum, and don’t be afraid of using cutting edge furniture design, urban modern calls for it. Select a warm colour palette to make the space inviting, with abstract paintings bringing a cool modern vibe. You can also create lighting displays that showcase your artwork. Feature walls are popular too, here’s how to choose a paint for your feature wall! House plants are a nice touch. You can take inspiration from the industrial and contemporary interior design styles with urban modern, but remember to keep it soft and feminine. Key Points:

  •         Soft, feminine and chic space

  •         Furnishings to soften harsh elements like tiles

  •         Cutting edge furniture

  •         Abstract paintings