Interior Design 101 Our 6 Most Popular Design Styles Defined

February 18, 2018 8:13 am by admin
Popular design style trends for kitchens photo by echelon
Transitional design style
Interior Design 101 Our 6 Most Popular Design Styles Defined

Rooted in minimal, true use of material and absence of decoration. A clean, streamlined furniture and architecture style from the 1930s. It’s characterized by a neutral color palette, polished surfaces, strong geometric shapes and asymmetry.

Design by SPI Design.

Modern, industrial, shabby chic….and the list goes on. A significant challenge many of our clients face is a lack of understanding or vocabulary to describe and define their personal interior design style. With an abundance of unique design styles, it can be daunting to decipher which style will work best for you. Some also enjoy combining elements of several styles to create their ideal look.

Whether you are updating a little or doing a full-scale remodel, you’ve come to the right place. Browse stunning spaces created by ProSource trade professional members. Get inspiring tips and advice from experienced design specialists. Share your ideas with friends and family. Stay on budget with wholesale prices on more than 40,000 products.

Colour palettes are neutral and airy; furnishings are simple and streamlined, and nothing is excessive or flamboyant in accessories or décor.

A rudimentary understanding of design fundamentals and styles can be a great help in solidifying your personal design ideals. The ability to identify different interior design styles will help you conjure up inspirational visions of your future home and provide a framework to build your personal aesthetic. With a vocabulary to express your inspired vision, magic happens!

This catch-all style borrows from several other design styles and evokes a sense of imagination and surprise with unexpected contrasts. The style is not simply throwing together everything and anything, but rather relies heavily on the building blocks of design (color, pattern, texture, composition) to make the space look cohesive.

A multitude of fabrics is characteristic, whether patterned, textured, solids or all three. Design by Andreea Avram Rusu.

Think high ceilings, old timber and dangling metal light fixtures with sparse functional furniture. There may possibly be one or two pieces of abstract art or photography to add a dash of colour to an otherwise neutral colour scheme derived from the primary materials of wood and metals.

“I kept hearing the same phrase – rustic chic – from everyone who saw it,” she says. “We modernized our otherwise rustic space with gold accessories like cabinet hardware, light fixtures, and wallpaper.” Carolan said these modern touches helped refine the reclaimed wood beams that defined the open space. 

It’s easy to be swayed by any (or all) of the styles defined above, but what’s right for you? We’ve rounded up six super-simple ways to determine which style is the best fit for your home. You may find that you’re both rustic and contemporary (check out how fabulous they look together!) or that you are a true traditionalist through and through.

Industrial style as the name implies, draws inspiration from a warehouse or an urban loft.

Rustic design is drawn from natural inspiration, using raw and often unfinished elements including wood and stone.

This design style is current and relevant. A contemporary kitchen, for example, might display the latest trend of combining three or more colors in one space. (A pre-2016 contemporary kitchen, on the other hand, would have featured no more than two colors.)

Inspired by the design elements from Japan, China, Vietnam and Thailand. This look fuses natural fiber elements, bamboo and colors taken from nature to create a serene, calm environment. Furnishings may be lacquered or handpainted with ornamental designs, punctuated with brightly-colored accessories or statues of animals or mythical creatures.

Design by Erinn Valencich.

Greene incorporates traditional design in formal dining and sitting areas. “Furnishings are placed in formal arrangements that invite a certain flow of activity,” he explains. “Pieces and fabrics are usually meticulously matched.” 

Before you begin, make sure you’ve created an online account. Then you’ll be able to keep all of your inspiration in one place – right on your myProSource project board – to share with friends, families, and even potential contractors and design pros.

It takes just a free account to get started! Let us know what style you choose! Basement Bathroom Bedroom Dining Entertainment Entry/Hallway Kids Room Kitchen Laundry Living Room Media Room Office Outdoor Design

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Spacious, natural lighting, less accessories and functional furniture characterizes Scandinavian designs.

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Raw, rough hewn woods, inviting fabrics or cozy plaids play up the Western look. Worn leathers mixed with stone hearths or walls and other natural elements. Furniture is usually large scaled and wooden. Design by Shelly Riehl David.

Also referred to as Hollywood Regency, Hollywood Glam is a design style that tends to be luxurious, over-the-top and opulent. It’s a dramatic design style, perfect for a homeowner who enjoys making a statement.

Rustic design may incorporate accessories from the outdoors with warmth emulating from the design and architectural details that may include features like vaulted ceilings adorned with wood beams or reclaimed wood floors.

Warm, earthy colours are indicative of a French Country design style, as are worn and ornamental wooden furnishing. The style has an overarching farmhouse inspiration.

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Toombs incorporates “woven materials such as sisal rugs, banana-leaf baskets, and seagrass wallcoverings” in coastal rooms, while Greene utilizes “stucco, tile, and painted wood in open, breezy floorplans.”  

Shabby chic is vintage-inspired style, but compared to Bohemian and other styles, tends to be more feminine, soft and delicate.

Transitional – A Perfect Blend of Traditional And Contemporary Styles

ProSource offers thousands of products, from lustrous chrome faucets to striking white carpeting, that meet the definition of “transitional.” Visit our Room Inspiration page to view amazing projects completed by ProSource members from all across North America. Simply select the room you’re designing, choose a budget, click “Transitional,” and get inspired!

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The intention is to create a relaxed and comfortable environment that is inspired by the beach and ocean.

Blue and white striped patterns for pillows, large windows, white plush sofas, and painted white wood are also common fixtures of the classic Coastal/Hampton style.

Transitional is a very popular style because it borrows from both traditional and modern design to facilitate a space that’s not “too much,” in terms of one style or another. There’s a sense of balance that’s appealing and unexpected.

The gorgeous modern bathroom pictured above maintains clean, simple lines but is anything but boring. The deep dark cabinetry stands out brilliantly amid the glass tile and shower. Get a similar dramatic look at incredible wholesale prices with Teagan slab cabinets, brushed nickel cabinet pulls, and stunning mosaic tile from ProSource Wholesale. 

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Scandanavian design pays homage to the simplicity of life demonstrated in Nordic countries. Scandinavian furniture design often feels like a work of art, although it is simple and understated. There’s functionality in the furniture along with some interesting lines, many of which have a sculptural influence.

Bohemian homes may include vintage furniture and light fixtures, globally inspired textiles and rugs, displays of collections, and items found in widely varied sources including flea markets and during one’s travels.

Coined in 1980 by Rachel Ashwell, this cottage-inspired look includes weathered white-painted furniture, painted motifs, floral prints in muted colors, white slipcovered sofas and vintage accessories. A sense of brightness and airiness is always evident in these interiors.

Photo Courtesy of Miles Talbott’s Shabby Chic® Collection.

Modern and contemporary are two styles frequently used interchangeably. Contemporary is different from modern because it describes design based on the here and now.

Modern design employs a sense of simplicity in every element, including furniture. A word that’s commonly used to describe modern style is sleek, and there is not a lot of clutter or accessories involved with a modern style.

When you picture your dream home, what comes to mind? Is the space open and airy or cozy and inviting? Does it feature classic or modern lines? Would it include loads of color or simple neutral hues? If you were to list the fundamental characteristics of your ideal space, you’d soon discover that they come together in a specific design style.

Shabby chic furnishings are often either distressed or appear that way; paint tends to have antique-style finishes. The Shabby Chic colour palettes include white, cream and pastels. Light light fixture and wall hangings may be ornate and continue the feminine vibe of shabby chic design.

“Traditional style incorporates a lot of rich wood tones and deep colors that can make a space feel more formal,” says Toombs. Characteristics include ornate finished wood, oriental rugs, tapestry fabrics and upholstery, and significant draperies or window coverings. 

The transitional look bridges contemporary and traditional design. Offering a deep rooted sense of history in some pieces, while furniture often gets an update with cleaner lines. Leather ottomans used as coffee tables is very popular in this decor.

Crate & Barrel and Pottery Barn could be considered transitional looks. Design by Tracy Morris.

Larry Green of Case Design/Remodeling Indianapolis agrees and says, “The seamless blend of the two design aesthetics is characterized by simplicity and a timeless feel.” Use this style in the kitchen or living areas, pulling in defining materials such as iron and wood.

Transitional design also includes relatively neutral colour palettes, creating a calming and relaxed space that manages to feel both stylish and sleek, as well as warm and inviting.

Streamlined, geometric style of home furnishings popular in the ’20s and ’30s featuring rounded fronts, mirrored accents, sleek lines and wood furniture with chrome hardware and glass tops. Design by Erinn Valencich.

French Country design may include soft and warm tones of red, yellow or gold and natural materials like stone and brick. French Country design can include collections of ornate porcelain dishes and heavy linens and bed coverings.

Contemporary design often has clean, sleek lines and is marked by solid colors, predominantly muted neutrals or bold punches of color in furniture and accessories. Furniture is sleek, lower to the ground and often has metal frames or straight legs with an emphasis on basic shapes and forms.

Graphic elements in artwork or as accents work well with this look. Design by Josh Foss.

A rustic elegance is characteristic of this look. Some country looks are marked by extensive use of white wood paneling and soft floral patterns, muted hues and pops of red, black or pure white accents.

Floral, checked and striped vintage fabric patterns are standards, and elements have a handmade, rustic quality: wood, handmade pottery, baskets and hand-forged metal to name a few. Primitive furnishings have history to them, and are bought in antique shops and flea markets.

Design by Lori Dennis.

Megan Carolan is not a certified interior designer, but she is a “self-proclaimed home décor obsessee.” She loved the idea of incorporating a farmhouse style but was compelled to make it her own with some modern touches.

Minimalism is ultimately defined by a sense of functionality and ultra-clean lines.

Coastal style also dubbed Hamptons style, hails from the iconic U.S. beachside area. Common features include light, airy colour palettes with cool neutral shades paired with blues and greens. Furnishings are often white or beige. The room can contain elements of wood and accessories are often inspired by the sea.

Nothing defines pure rustic styling better than a log cabin. Picture slate floors, reclaimed wooden furniture, and metals with a patina finish. “This style puts an emphasis on natural textures and materials and often goes hand-in-hand with a cozy, warm aesthetic,” says Greene.

Moyer encourages homeowners to reinforce the theme by selecting pieces, such as cabinets, made of clean polished walnut, oak, or rosewood. ProSource’s line of solid wood cabinets is impressive and provides the perfect start to a room with truly traditional style. 

Arts and Crafts style furnishings became popular in the United States between 1910 and 1925. The focus was simple in form, without extraneous decoration, often showing the way pieces and materials were put together.

Architecturally speaking, Arts and Crafts covers Craftsman style, work by Frank Lloyd-Wright as well as the bungalow style popularized by Greene and Greene. “Truth in Materials” was very important to Arts and Crafts designers, who often used local materials.

Design by Thomas A. Conway.

Traditional homes often feature dark, finished wood, rich colour palettes, and a variety of textures and curved lines. Furnishings have elaborate and ornate details and fabrics, like velvet, silk and brocade, which may include a variety of patterns and textures.

There’s a sense of unfinished rawness in many of the elements, and it’s not uncommon to see exposed brick, ductwork and wood. An iconic home with an industrial design theme would be a renovated loft from a former industrial building.

“Transitional style steers clear of formal and stuffy without necessarily being casual,” says Liz Toombs, owner and president of Polka Dots & Rosebuds Interiors in Kentucky. This is the style most often requested by Toombs’ clients “because it allows them to play with elements from various other design styles and not be pigeon-holed.”

Modern is a broad design term that typically refers to a home with clean, crisp lines, a simple colour palette and the use of materials that can include metal, glass and steel.

There’s depth, layering and dimensionality within most traditional designs.

It’s not uncommon to spot floor pillows and comfortable seating spaces when incorporating the bohemian style. This eclectic style can incorporate an ultra-glam chandelier paired with a well-worn rug and a mid-century chair. Within the Bohemian style, there’s a laissez-faire attitude where anything goes as long as you love it.

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The bedroom above is an excellent example of transitional design. It has a classic appeal without feeling too conventional; and it’s grand, but not pompous. The monochromatic color scheme is anchored by creamy, neutral carpeting that sets a calm tone from the bottom up.

A feminine look, with lush rose patterns, extensive uses of greens, reds, pinks and blues are characteristic of an English Country home. Ornamental, fine carved wood furniture, overstuffed sofas with tufting and skirted furniture mix with antiques and lots of small decorative accessories.

Design by Phyllis Harbinger.

Inspired by the coastal regions of Spain, Greece and Italy, this look favors colors that echo the sea and also include terra cotta, yellow and lavender. Furniture pieces are short with ornately turned legs and feet; hardware is heavy and often burnished.

Velvets, linens and textured fabrics mix with textured walls. Design by Ammie Kim.

  While the two styles are often confused, “the modern aesthetic is a bit more industrial than contemporary style and often incorporates clean shapes and surfaces,” explains Greene. Modern is particularly popular in kitchens and bathrooms, as well as on home exteriors. 

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  “As the name suggests, coastal style is inspired by the ocean,” says Toombs. You’ll often see a blend of tranquil sea colors – blue, aqua, white, tan, cream – complemented by whitewashed or gray-washed woods that resemble driftwood.

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  “Contemporary describes the design of the 20th century that isn’t quite as architectural and geometric as you would find in modern style,” says Greene. Start with hardwood flooring, and add glass elements via backsplashes, tables, and décor. 

Traditional design style offers classic details, sumptuous furnishings, and an abundance of accessories. It is rooted in European sensibilities.

Furnishings are usually 18th-century English, 19th-century neoclassic, French country and British Colonial revival. Use of classic styling and symmetry to create a calm, orderly decor. Color palette is usually in the mid-tones and fabrics are muted, usually simple florals, solids, stripes or plaids.

Design by Tracy Morris.

Pulling in elements such as sleek laminate floors and steel accents, modern design exudes coolness. “Think Jetsons,” says Toombs. “Silhouettes are sharp and can be funky, and the use of glass and silvery metals is prevalent.”

Many designs now integrate rustic design with more modern furnishings and accessories.

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An ornate, fanciful and decorative style is characteristic of this look. Colors range from rich, sun-drenched Mediterranean hues to softer, muted shades. Often, one color or fabric is repeated throughout the space.

It’s characterized by rich details and extensive use of gold, bronze and gilt. Antique or heirloom furniture, layered dramatic window treatments and abundant fresh flowers fill out a French home. Design by Camilla Forte.

Dan Moyer, Jr., national director of social media for Closet Factory, says that most furniture nowadays is made of pressed, engineered wood. “Incorporating real, high-quality wood furniture reminiscent of the 1950s can help achieve a traditional look,” he says.

A look originating in the ’50s and ’60s and epitomized by the Rat-Pack days in Palm Springs. Scandinavian designers and architects were very influential at this time, with a style characterized by simplicity, functionality and natural shapes.

Architecture shows off its minimalist design with walls of glass. Pops of deep colors such as orange, yellow, olive green and chocolate brown add to decor. An updated version of this look is found at stores like Jonathan Adler, marked by fun, colorful and quirky furnishings.

Mid-century modern is a throwback to the design style of the mid-1900s—primarily the 1950s and 60s. There’s a retro nostalgia present in Mid-Century Modern Design, and also some elements of minimalism. Functionality or “fussy-free” was the main theme for Mid-century design. It emphasis on pared-down forms, natural or organic shapes such as “egg-shaped” chair, easy-to-use contemporary designs and simple fabrications. It easily complements any interior and also helps with seamless transition from interior to exterior.

A transitional design may incorporate modern materials, such as steel and glass, and then unite them with plush furnishings.

This design style can incorporate some features of Victorian design, including plush, velvet furnishings, tufting and antiques. The colour palettes are particularly bold—think purples, reds and turquoise.

The minimalist concept is one that’s popular here in Australia. It takes notions of modern design and simplifies them further.

The room featured above includes a spectacular combination of dark brown, white, and pale green cabinets. The sleek, marble island and the quartz countertops are beautifully complemented by the silvery accents of the appliances, bar stools, faucets, hardware, and pendant lights.   

The primary difference separating modern and contemporary design style is that modern is a strict interpretation of design that started in the 20th century. Contemporary on the other hand, is more fluid and can represent a sense of currency with less adherence to one particular style. For example, contemporary style may include curving lines, whereas modern design does not. You can refer to modern vs contemporary article for more information.

This look is inspired by the ocean. It evokes a light and breezy feel by way of airy fabrics for window treatments, and the emphasis on nautical or beach-themed accessories such as lighthouses and seashells.

The classic Ralph Lauren-inspired palette of navy and white with gold accents is a striking look for any home. Design by Layla Palmer.

When you’re ready to connect with a trade pro in your area, ProSource can help. Since 1991, we’ve grown to a network of more than 320,000 trade professional members and over 145 showrooms, offering the perfect team to make your projects successful.

Bohemian is a popular style for home design and fashion. It reflects a carefree lifestyle with little rules, except to follow your hearts desire.

A heavily layered look consisting of intricately patterned fabrics, colorful mosaics, metal lanterns, textured walls, bold, jewel-toned colors, layers of Oriental rugs and pillows in luxurious fabrics and ornately-carved wooden accents.

Design by David Bromstad.

Here, we elaborate on the six most popular styles trending on prosourcewholesale.com. The next time you hear terms like “transitional” or “rustic” or need to know the difference between “modern” and “contemporary,” you’ll have a solid vision and understanding of what they mean. Armed with that knowledge, you’re ready to plan, shop, and create that space you’ve always wanted!

A great starting point for an interior design project is to learn a bit about each of the styles and how they differ from one another.

Contemporary – Clean Lines That Reflect Design’s Most Current Trends

A look inspired by beaches of Hawaii, French Polynesia or other tropical destinations. Thatched furniture, heavy prints of palm leaves and bright colored flowers find their way onto upholstery. Muted colored rugs or sisal and seagrass carpets cover the floor.

Design by Linda Woodrum.

Other common characteristics include all-white colour palettes and the incorporation of natural elements like form-pressed wood, bright plastics, and enameled aluminum, steel and wide plank flooring. If there are pops of colour it often comes from the use of art, natural fibre throws or furs, or a single piece of furniture.

Together, we make homes beautiful. If you would like to consult with Rochele Decorating on design elements to enhance your home décor, please contact us!

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