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  • Writer's pictureKori Steigerwald

Interior Design Styles – Which One Is Right for You?

With so many decorating styles to choose from, it can be a challenge picking the best interior design and then communicating your ideal look to a designer. And of course, there’s a different interior design style for every taste.

To inspire you with ideas, I’ve compiled a list of several interior design styles you should know about. And when you have narrowed down your list, contact me so we can put your ideal look to work. I’ve got you covered!

Kori Interior Designer & Owner of Horizon Interior Design LLC
Kori Interior Designer & Owner of Horizon Interior Design LLC

8 Different Interior Design Styles

Let’s consider how to describe different interior design styles and what elements make up each. We’ll compare some styles to each other and go over simple ways you can include a particular style into the spaces of your home.

1. Contemporary Design Style

Contemporary Design Style Living Room
Contemporary Design Style Living Room

I made Contemporary first on the list because of its timeless quality. You may find it hard to describe because it’s forever changing! Contemporary takes current trends in interior design and combines them in sleek, open spaces. With this style, you’ll see lots of clean lines, classic details, and texture.

People often confuse Contemporary with Modern or Minimalist. Contemporary can have elements in common with these styles, like a neutral color palette and simple shapes. The difference is that while other styles take from groundbreaking trends of the last few decades, contemporary will always take from trends of the moment.

You’ll have more wiggle room with Contemporary interior design over other styles because it can be more eclectic. Drape an oversized knit blanket on a sharp-lined platform bed. Position a trendy wicker pendant lamp over a modern glass dining room table. Use classic elements like traditional moldings or bright pops of color to soften a space.


2. Traditional / New Traditional Design Style

The comfort of the familiar combined with elegant beauty is what Traditional offers. For Traditional interior design, think of cohesive color schemes and prints. Think plaid, floral, dark wood and ornate details on furniture and window treatments.

Traditional is where to look for well-known pieces like Persian rugs, gold-filigree mirrors, Louis VI chairs, and tasseled curtains. For example, combine 19th-century furniture and a Persian rug with contemporary pieces and an oversized abstract work of art. And don’t take the formality of Traditional style as cold or stuffy – this design does not have to be your great grandmother’s house. It can make a room warm and inviting with a muted, calming color palette and symmetrically placed furniture.

Traditional / New Traditional Design Style Living Room
Traditional / New Traditional Design Style Living Room

If you’re looking for a happy medium between Traditional and Modern, you might like New Traditional. New Traditional is a modern take on the old and tends not to be quite as fussy in its detailing and the wood tones are a bit lighter. New Traditional switches out things like Persian rugs for sisal or animal hide. And New Traditional isn’t matchy-matchy, so free to mix and match furniture and metallic finishes!


3. Transitional Design Style

Transitional Design Style Bedroom
Transitional Design Style Bedroom

Sure, after exploring what traditional interior design styles mean and then looking at the next style, you’re probably asking yourself what’s the difference between traditional vs. transitional interior design?

What makes transitional interior design ideas stand on their own are the combinations of tried-and-true décor styling utilizing traditional furnishings mixed with modern elements that keep a room from looking like too much of one particular style.

This is especially helpful if you’re trying to blend interior design styles say after getting married, or if you’re moving into a larger home. The best of transitional style interior design boasts balance in the unexpected mix while lending home warmth and a relaxed feel.


4. Modern Design Style

Modern Design Style Bedroom
Modern Design Style Bedroom

Modern style gets its name from being cutting-edge design when it was popularized during the Modernism movement of the early 20th century. Here you’ll find stark lines and dramatic monochromatic color schemes in neutral tones. And unlike in Minimalism, you’ll find pops of color in Modern interior design. This style is all about square furniture, sleek light fixtures, and less decorative pieces.

In classic Modern style, you’ll come across a lot of metal, glass, and processed wood. This still is all about clean shapes and bold juxtaposition of deep, earthy colors. Think about other parts of Modernism: striking art by the likes of Picasso, Henri Matisse, and Jason Pollock.

Different interior design styles have been born from Modern style. The biggest change with each sub-style is the materials:

  • Desert Modern – The cornerstone of this style is warm oranges, and tan elements in simple designs brought together with materials like plaster, terra cotta, bleached wood, and stone.

  • Lux Modern – Modern interior design gets a monetary makeover here with shiny metallic finishes, upholsteries in soft furs, supple leather, and velvets. Furniture is wide with simple lines.

  • Urban Modern – City living makes sense with Modern style. Bring them together with Modern style’s neutral palette and sleek lines, industrial-style fixtures, leather, and concrete.

Whatever your take is, you’ll need to ditch the knick-knacks. Instead, focus on big art installations and bursts of colors that go with your interpretation of sleek Modern style.


5. Minimalist Design Style

Whereas Modern interior design is about sleek lines and minimal décor, Minimalism is about the value of empty space. They seem similar, but Minimalism takes simplicity a step further by keeping rooms looking light and airy, with neutral tones and no patterns or prints. Color palettes should be strictly one or two tones. This is a massive element of minimalist design because function is the key and beauty is kept simple. And this style is a perfect choice for kitchens. Soft light reflects off sleek, empty countertops. The lines of cabinets are admired for their storage as much as for their design.

Minimalist Design Style Living Room
Minimalist Design Style Living Room

While purists love the starkness of true Minimalism, it has become popular to introduce an extra element from other styles. For example, finish a Minimalist dining room with an oversized Persian rug, and then add color by introducing a single large piece of abstract art. The simplicity of the style allows for some mixing but keep it minimal as a way to stay true to the heart of Minimalism.


6. Midcentury Modern Design Style

Midcentury Modern Design Style Dining Room
Midcentury Modern Design Style Dining Room

There’s just something about Mid Century Modern, or MCM, that has become timeless. It’s incredibly popular, combining warmth, organic shapes, and simple lines in a way that works in all kinds of spaces.

Lovers of vintage furniture and the retro designs of the 1950s and 60s will love MCM. Look for hairpin furniture legs, warm wood finishes, shell chairs, and simple coffee tables with flat stone or Formica tops. Look for saturated colors of the era like burnt orange, avocado green, mustard yellow, and midnight blue.

Sofas will be overstuffed but streamlined. To add an element of MCM to your home, look for sunburst mirrors, postmodern vases, or a floating egg chair. The style can be found everywhere, from flea markets and antique shops to current home furnishing manufacturers and box stores.


7. Rustic Design Style Design Style

Rustic Design Style Design Style Living Room
Rustic Design Style Design Style Living Room

Taking inspiration from the outdoors and a combination of farmhouse and industrial interior design styles, Rustic décor places an emphasis on natural and weathered finishes, raw wood, stone, and leather, with unexpected touches and an overall sophisticated bent.

I love how the room featured fuses a varied mix of statement-making furnishings like the custom plush Sherpa sofas, the industrial inspired wire pendants, and unique leather chairs. That said, we’re all for modern interior design styles which combine various elements to create a beautifully realized, one-of-a-kind room.


8. Industrial Design Style

This interior design style has roots in the post-industrial era when factories and warehouses were suddenly empty and being bought up for housing. This style leans on found items, large statement pieces, and a neutral color palette. Go for Industrial if your home has an open floor plan, high ceilings and windows, and wood or concrete floors.

Industrial Design Style Living Room
Industrial Design Style Living Room

Industrial style evokes a more masculine feeling than most others. This is put in check by supple leather, large house plants, and art pieces meant to bring in softness. If you like the Industrial style, go with a honey-colored leather sofa on wooden floors.

Choose stainless steel counters in a kitchen with exposed brick and highlight exposed ductwork instead of covering it up. Worn wood furniture and unfinished metal accents immediately evoke the style in any room. Keep in mind that Industrial style can make small spaces feel even smaller.


So, which one is for you?

I’ve highlighted just a few styles for your consideration, but there are numerous designs to choose from. Contact me to get started (248)-805-1980. Remember – I’ve got you covered!


I'm the Queen of combining bold colors, pops of bling and vintage treasures, allowing you to reinvent and reconnect with your home. Layering textures and stylish patterns that inspire and excite. With nods to modern and glam, to create unique designs that are perfect for my clients.❞

Kori Owner of Horizon Interior LLC
Kori Owner of Horizon Interior LLC

Ready to improve the flow, feeling, and functionality of your space?

Space planning is crucial for designing the best home possible. If you're not able to make the most of your home because it doesn't look, feel, or function how you want it to, it might be time to call in a professional interior designer to help.

At Horizon Interior Design, we can make you excited to come home again, knowing your space is perfectly crafted to suit your life and make it better.

Horizon Interior Design

Phone: 248-805-1980

Address: Rochester, MI 48306 or Southeast Michigan Area


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