Popular Interior Design Styles Explained

A significant challenge that people often face when designing or redecorating their home is understanding the large vocabulary that is used to describe interior design style. Determining what interior design style works best for you can be a daunting task. Often, a variety of these styles are combined to create the perfect blend, reflecting the client’s personal style.

As you begin your design journey by searching magazines and the internet for inspiration, having a fundamental knowledge of the various styles is essential. Below, read about elements that create the foundation of each design style.


Traditional design reflects consistency and attention to detail. It evokes a comfortable feel with rich wood furniture, muted or conservative colors and soft edges. Fabrics are usually classic patterns such as floral or plaid. Traditional spaces are decorated with an abundance of accessories and a variety of textures and layers to create dimension.

Apartment Therapy Interiors



The opposite of traditional, contemporary design is fluid and regularly evolving. Unlike the rest of the styles on this list, contemporary does not have a definitive design style. Rather, it follows the design trends of the moment. Sometimes confused with modern design, contemporary is rooted in the here and now whereas modern design strictly follows the minimalist design style developed in the 21st century.



Mid-Century Modern

Most recognizable by the clean, simple lines, pops of color, and a combination of woods and metals. This design style was born in the interior design boom of the 1950’s and 60’s.  Look for pop art, geometric shapes, and retro nostalgia. Mid-Century Modern pieces are known for being highly versatile and can make for a seamless pairing with other design styles.

Ragley Hall Residence Living Room



Transporting you to a farm-like setting or the French Provence, the exposed beams, reclaimed woods, and neutral colors bring a rural state of mind. Traditional country style pieces like rocking chairs, picket fences, and apron front sinks are complemented with mismatched quilts, unfussy linens, and nature inspired accents. The warmth and coziness of this style can be created even in the middle of the city through chalkboard paint, lantern lighting, or a claw-foot tub.

Kirby Ridge Barn House



Relaxing, airy, cool neutral shades, and accessories inspired by the sea are at the center of this design style.  Whites or beiges are paired with unfinished wood and classic linen upholstery. Green, blue, and glass accents accompany classic nautical accessories like jute rope, sailboats, oars, and nautical maps to create the feel of a classic New England beach house.

Kate Marker Interiors



Based on the industrial era, this style emphasizes generous use of exposed structural materials, brick walls, and distressed wood. Inspiration is drawn from the unfinished simplicity of a warehouse or urban loft. Typically seen with high ceilings and open concept floor plans, this style is compliant with any taste whether it is soft and feminine or dark and chic. Unique items are often repurposed as accessories such as old trunks into tables or ladders into shelving.




A cohesive blend of styles, colors, textures, and trends, eclectic design is about breaking the rules and having fun. However, the lack of guidelines can make this a tricky style to achieve because it is often confused for “anything goes.” While giving the immediate appearance of chaos and disarray, the pieces chosen in eclectic design often have a thoughtful connection with one another and are a true reflection of the homeowner’s personality.

Eclectic Living Room



The resident of a bohemian home reflects a carefree, adventurous, and unconventional lifestyle. Typically styled with nomadic, tribal, and global tapestries, it is not uncommon to find floor pillows, well-worn fabrics, and flea market collection style accessories. Presented with a purposefully messy look, textiles are layered and chosen in vibrant colors, mixed woods, metallic, and animal hide.

My Houzz: Bohemian Home Inspired by Organic 1970s Design


Discovering your personal interior design style is an exciting part of the design process. It is not surprising to find that your style does not fit perfectly into one of the molds listed above. Often we find individual aspects of each style that are considered “must haves” and blend them to create a truly one-of-a-kind space.  If you are having trouble defining your personal interior design style, the talented designers at Babel’s will help you to discover new ways to approach each design style to fit your specific needs.


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