Interior Design Styles
Have you ever looked at a piece of furniture and wondered “What is that style called?” How about putting together your dream home board on Pinterest? Wouldn’t it be nice to know for sure what your preferred style is without just naming it something like “Traditional/Impressionist art/maybe plants too”?
Wonder no more, because today’s blog post is all about breaking down various popular design styles and seeing what it is that makes each design style so popular, as well as looking at various products we offer that align with those styles to help you further nail down your look.
Let’s get started!
This is one of the most well-known design styles out there. Traditional designs often include ornate detailing in the furniture and architectural elements, such as Queen Anne legs and ball & claw feet, as well as designs like acanthus leaves and grapes. Wood is often stained very dark or painted very light depending on the use. Molding can be very simple, like our picture frame moldings, or very ornate, like our acanthus leaf moldings. Molding is used around the tops and bottoms of walls (crown molding and base boards), but also as decorative elements on the walls and ceilings.
One hallmark of traditional design is consistency, specifically in regards to matching furniture. That’s why we offer a large selection of our legs in varying heights, including coffee, end, chair, dining, and island height.
Traditional design is inspired by 18th and 19th century England and France, specifically in regards to popular furniture choices in Victorian England. Additionally, fabrics tend to be rich in color and texture, including silk, velvet, and damask patterns.
Here’s a selection of our products that fit the Traditional design:
Transitional is considered one of the most popular styles in the design world, and for good reason. It’s a nice middle ground between the ornate and elegant details of traditional and the clean and sleek elements of contemporary designs. In transitional designs, the furniture often makes the statement rather than the accessories. Hallmarks of transitional furniture includes a combination of old-world and new-world. Wood elements are often stained dark or painted light, and curved furniture is common.
This style also mixes masculine and feminine in both the furniture and decor elements, leading to combinations like plain picture frame moulding with tables featuring ornately turned legs, or Victorian style coffee and end tables mixed with contemporary sofas.
In transitional design, colors are usually light and neutral, aiming to inspire a clean, serene atmosphere. This leaves plenty of room for texture, such as the reeded shades in the photo and the linen runner on the dining room table, as well as the beautiful detailing in the wood floor and table.
Here’s a selection of our products that fit the Transitional design:
Contemporary refers to anything in the present moment, and Contemporary design is just that: always present and always evolving. Similar to other design styles on this list, it borrows from other styles to create its own unique look.
Often sleek and simple, Contemporary design features clean lines and open layouts mixed with detailed moldings, a mixture of materials (like metal, glass, and acrylic), and neutral palettes. Patterns are replaced with a deliberate use of texture, and light woods are preferred over dark.
Similar to Minimalism (below), Contemporary design tends to showcase the negative space created in the design, and focuses on color and shape, as well. Contemporary furniture tends to be curvier rather than the straight, strong lines preferred in Minimalism, and Contemporary plays with color more than Minimalism does.
Contemporary design really stands out against Minimalism in its use of decor and accessories. Artistic elements are often incorporated into lamps, vases, wall art, and much more. Some Contemporary homes feature abstract paintings, sculptures, and other forms of artwork, as well.
Here’s a selection of our products that fit the Contemporary design:
Bohemian design can be one of the most difficult styles to describe because it is eclectic and often mixes elements of other design styles, cultures, and aesthetics to create what is, ultimately, a style unique to each person who describes themselves as “boho”. That said, many bohemian designs can be identified with a handful of common traits: ethnic patterns, simpler furniture, and an element of maximalism. “Maximalism” isn’t a design style itself, but rather a concept that is, simply put, the opposite of minimalism.
Boho interior design leans heavily on unusual or unexpected design elements, such as tables with geometric stands or an abundance of brightly-colored furniture and cushions. There’s also a strong emphasis on nature. Elements often found in boho design include: live edge table tops, wool or linen fabrics, leather sofas and chairs, and wood that is stained rather than painted.
Another notable element in bohemian interior design is that it doesn’t have one specific “style” of furniture. Instead, it borrows from other styles. A chair or sofa with Queen Anne chair legs would be equally as “at home” as plain square legs, metal legs, or even acrylics.
Additionally, foliage often plays a heavy role, both in the form of actual plants as well as plant-inspired design elements like wallpaper or light fixtures.
Here’s a selection of our products that fit the Bohemian design:
On the opposite end of the spectrum from the maximalist nature of Bohemian is Minimalist. Minimalist design is clean, light, and open, embracing the negative space created and intentionally using it as its own design element. Minimalism typically incorporates neutral colors, such as white, light grey, and taupe. If color is used, it’s often a single primary color added as an accent color. Patterns are rejected in favor of rich textures, like a light gray tile floor with a fuzzy white rug.
Wood elements are typically painted to fit the color scheme, though occasionally a light-stained floor or carefully-planned piece of furniture can add some texture to a neutral-colored minimalist living room. Furniture is modern, sleek, and sometimes very simple, with straight, strong lines, and metal pieces often playing a large role in the room’s decor.
When it comes to standard design elements like corbels or crown molding, these elements are often not found in minimalist homes, and if they are, they’ve been drastically simplified or skillfully hidden. Additionally, when it comes to storage space, there often isn’t much to go around, so storage is built into furniture, such as in the form of a coffee table with a lifting top that you can store blankets and other necessities in.
Here’s a selection of our products that fit the Minimalist design:
Industrial design takes much of its inspiration from factories and warehouses. When factories would close down at the end of the second industrial revolution, people would move into those abandoned factories and repurpose them into apartment buildings, lofts, and other living quarters. These buildings often had exposed brick walls, pipes, or other architectural elements that new homeowners would work around or work with instead of trying to cover up.
Industrial is a very masculine design style, often using elements like vintage furniture and decor and a combination of wood and metal on the same furniture pieces to bring a room together. Weathered wood is also popular, as it fits with the aged, rough appearance.
Even though it doesn’t sound like it, one hallmark of Industrial design is that it’s warm and inviting. Yellow light is preferred over white, and large sectionals are used regularly to help break up large, open spaces and define separate areas. Large windows also help to let in natural light.
Kitchen islands are hugely popular in Industrial design, as well. These islands further help separate areas by providing a defined kitchen area. These islands are also often paired with bar stools and popular Edison lighting or overhead racks for hanging pots and pans.
Here’s a selection of our products that fit the Industrial design:
Mid-Century Modern design began in post-war America in the 1950s. The design industry began trying to break away from the stuffier traditional designs and move toward the modern era. It can be difficult to define, as it’s usually used in reference to architecture, furniture, and graphic design all in one. However, there are several hallmarks of Mid-Century Modern that can make it easier to define.
One such hallmark is a reemergence of wood, especially warm tones. Rich woods like teak and walnut are popular for this design, and used often in all sorts of furniture, from coffee tables and TV stands to bookshelves and dining room sets. Mid-century modern table legs might feature cylindrical tapers or hairpin legs.
Popular colors in the style include mustard yellow and avocado green, along with other kitchy colors like oranges and muted reds. Furniture includes various elements, such as peg legs (both vertical and slightly slanted), warm wood stains, and abstract prints and patterns. Additionally, Mid-Century Modern styles also take advantage of sliding glass doors and large windows.
Here’s a selection of our products that fit the Mid-Century Modern design:
Farmhouse design is known for its warmth and simplicity. It’s rooted in rustic country charm and mixes in elements of other designs, such as contemporary and industrial. Joanna Gaines of Fixer Upper fame has almost single-handedly made this style as popular as it is right now.
Farmhouse design is most often characterized by an abundance of white in the flooring, cabinets, walls, and furniture, though other light tones such as grey or ivory are also used. These are mixed with farmhouse elements, such as the ever popular farmhouse sink, shiplap, large overhead beams, stone fireplaces, and accent walls. Benches paired with dining tables are popular, as is giving antique furniture a new life with fresh stain, or giving it a distressed look with paint and new upholstery.
Common architectural elements like corbels and crown molding are popular, though usually simple and often painted. Butcher block counters and table tops are common, as are reclaimed wood table tops. These are often either painted or simply given a clear coat and left with their natural color, depending on the color palette in the house and the condition of the reclaimed wood.
One of the easiest ways to identify farmhouse style is through ample use of vintage farmhouse elements, like mason jars, old signs, lace or gingham prints, aluminum containers, natural fabrics like linen and cotton, and more rustic foliage like cotton pods or wildflower bouquets. Barn doors are also popular, and rougher textures like burlap and wicker abound.
Here’s a selection of our products that fit the Farmhouse design:
Rustic design can best be described as raw, rugged, and unrefined. It uses natural elements like wood and stone, focusing on things like large exposed ceiling beams and fireplaces that become the focal point of the room.
Wood, especially reclaimed wood, is ideal and used liberally throughout the home. Pine and oak are most common, while cherry, alder, and hickory are also popular. Most importantly, wood is rarely if ever painted, opting instead for warm, medium stains. Wood accents are used in the window panes, staircases, exposed beams around doorways and in the ceilings, and in many other areas. (Here at Osborne, we offer a weathered wood service for Pine and Oak only that gives your brand new wood that reclaimed look.)
Wrought iron is a popular accent in Rustic looks, especially in smaller details like door knobs, cast iron bands or strips, and in lighting fixtures. Also popular are various natural accents, such as deer antlers, multiple kinds of stone, hair-on leather rugs, and much more.
The primary emphasis with rustic design is bringing the warmth of the outdoors inside. This includes thick rugs, cozy blankets, tapestries on the walls in natural colors, and pillows and other accents that complement these elements. Patterns, textures and artwork are also used often, and a skillful combination of them (such as a chunky cable knit blanket, buffalo plaid, and deer artwork) can really bring a room together.
Here’s a selection of our products that fit the Rustic design:
Shabby Chic mixes antique furniture with feminine elements like pastels, lace, and florals. It’s soft, dreamy, and easy to achieve.
Shabby Chic as a design style is unique because the focus is on getting that appearance of wear and tear in the furniture. Often, items are either thrifted and upcycled or bought new and distressed to achieve the desired look. Antique furniture is almost exclusively used or vintage in feel, which means Queen Anne legs paired with rich fabrics, but in pastel colors. It’s common to find chaise lounges and Victorian style writing desks painted white with a distressed appearance, or painted a light pastel with a floral applique or motif painted on.
Due to this style’s bright yet antique nature, it’s easy to mix in a variety of furniture styles, or even have mismatched pieces that still feel cohesive and purposeful. Table legs are often turned and ornate, including hand carved elements or fluting/reeding. Bun feet can give old vanities or dressers new life (along with a coat of antique white paint), and chairs can be reupholstered to match a room’s palette.
One of the most notable elements of this design style is in the decor. Shabby Chic’s focus on feminine accessories means an abundance of lace table cloths, curtains, and doilies, fresh flower bouquets to complement the floral motifs in fabric or painted onto furniture, elaborate mirrors, and crystal chandeliers. What would be considered too much decor to some is instead considered just enough to Shabby Chic decorators.
Additionally, Shabby Chic is also one of the most popular wedding themes currently, which is likely due to the ease with which brides can find furniture and other elements to use in their decorating.
Here’s a selection of our products that fit the Shabby Chic design:
There aren’t many who have never heard of the Art Deco style of interior design. Short for Arts Decoratifs, Art Deco is characterized by rich colors, bold geometry, and decadent details. The iconic style began in the early twentieth century in France, then made its way to the US in the 1920s. If you’re having trouble visualizing it, just think The Great Gatsby!
Popular elements of Art Deco include sunburst motifs, zigzags, chevrons, and stepped patterns, as well as wood products with a dark stain and a high-shine finish. Notably absent from Art Deco is floral or plaid patterns, as this style favors geometric and blocky styles, especially in wall hangings and wallpaper. Also prominent in this style is various metals, such as chrome, brass, and silver, as well as mirrors that often acted as focal points in the room.
In regards to furniture specifically, Art Deco is almost strictly streamlined, symmetrical, geometric, and modern. Plain tapered table legs and furniture feet abound, as well as more eclectic designs, which were often statement pieces themselves.
Here’s a selection of our products that fit the Art Deco design:
For more inspiration and ideas, check us out on Pinterest! We have a board dedicated to each of these design styles with carefully curated pins to help inspire you.
Have questions regarding a particular product? Have a design in mind for a product, but no clue how to make it? Give us a call! Our friendly customer service team is happy to answer any questions you have. We also offer custom products, and you can either fill out our quote request form, or give us a call at 800.849.8876.