Interior design helps you create a good feeling in your home. Sometimes it's driven by artistic inspiration or personal philosophy. Other times it's just about small adjustments that create a more homey vibe.
Most of us meld a variety of approaches, but a few general design styles can help shape your aesthetic ideas. Here are some of the most enduringly popular.
1. Minimalism, Zen, Scandi, Japandi
The trickle of water, sleek designs, and elimination of clutter are central elements to the minimalism trend. It’s about filling your space with the ability to move freely without being weighed down by stuff. A Zen atmosphere feeds creativity and personal growth.
Some Scandinavian style blends so well with aesthetics informed by Japanese sensibilities that the two influences have joined forces as Japandi design. These styles tend to celebrate natural materials, with warm calming tones and thin, tree-like lines.
2. Retro, Kitsch
The retro or kitsch interior design style comes from combining a variety of patterns, textures, and colors to create a classic look. Furniture is functional but also makes a statement.
According to the 2021 HGTV Designer of the Year Winners, Rumor Designs, the ’80s are alive and well in the world of interior design. They say Boucle upholstered furniture is a central element.
Rely on the heavy woven material to bring texture and visual interest to the space. Use it to refurbish sofas, chairs, barstools, and throw pillows.
3. Cottagecore, Rustic, Grandmillenial
Cottagecore is a relatively new interior design style that is characterized by a combination of pieces from different eras. It includes lace and flowers, antique furniture, distressed pieces, metal and wood all in the same space. While blocky, heavy, and dated all fit the bill here, rounded edges have their place too.
Rumor Designs' lead designer and design guru, Valerie Stafford says, “Curves are back! Curvy furniture adds a softness, organic feel to any space and easily fits into any design style.
You will see curves in architectural home details such as doorways, casegoods, legs of nightstands, headboards, and chests. But remember, curved furniture does take up more space and doesn't always fit flat against a wall.”
This back to basics approach might celebrate older items and patterns.
4. Modernism, Futurism
Heading into the other end of the spectrum, some interior design is strictly focused on the future.
This is an easy design style to pick out, distinguished by long lines that create a sense of speed and urgency.
It might feel like walking into a spaceship, or the home lab where you and your hologram assistant develop miracle technologies.
5. Mid-Century Modern
It’s a style that never really seems to go away. Mid-century modern is all about the types of furniture that was common throughout the 50’s, 60’s and 70’s.
Look for tufted couches, dark tapered legs on chairs, curved coffee tables and geometric design elements. MCM is mostly about a focus on functional elements with clean lines and pops of color.
For the past ten years or more, the farmhouse style has resonated everywhere from the city to the suburbs.
Perhaps it’s a way to bring the farm into the urban lifestyle or maybe it speaks to our need to incorporate elements of the outdoors in the home, but there’s just something homey about the farmhouse style.
Distressed wood, old picture frames, chicken wire accents, chalkboard walls or signs, and wire baskets are all popular choices here.
While interior design styles take on certain colors, shapes, and textures, sometimes it's also about a vibe or feeling. Sometimes it’s about function.
For example, Stafford says there’s a strong focus on equipping homes for myriad uses. We live busy lives and since the beginning of the pandemic, ask a lot more of our homes.
She summarizes, saying, “Multi-use spaces are a must. With many people working from home, adding a desk/workspace is becoming more essential than ever. Barn doors, room dividers, shelves, and building platforms are all ways to divide a space for multi-functional use.”
Valerie also says nature continues to be a strong source of inspiration for homeowners and all types of interior design styles.
“Bring the outdoors in," she says. "Believe it or not, nature-inspired design is still making a comeback. Add greenery to complement a natural wood tone or add shades of green for the feeling of Zen. Greenery also helps purify the air!”
And if you're drawn to more eclectic, playful design, consider some cluttercore for your home spaces. This vibrant style celebrates color and pattern with a playful, zany energy.