When looking to change up your home décor, it can be pretty intimidating to decide how to decorate and which interior design style types to choose. Sometimes browsing Pinterest or Houzz piques your interest, but confuses you. A lot of styles, done well, look great. But, it’s a budget-buster to try them all. So, the real question is, what style is best for YOU and your family?
Considering your practical needs is first. Does your flooring need to be durable? Do you prefer leather seating because it repels sippy cup spills? Does your furniture need to be small and compact and serve multiple functions? Get all the practical stuff out of the way, then you can get down to the work (and the fun!) of styling.
Interior Design Style Types
How a home feels is the most important aspect of interior design. But, some people feel a certain way in some spaces and others have a totally different reaction. So, matching your personality to your interior styling can mean the difference between ultimate comfort and constant frustration.
Let’s go over each of the main style types and talk about how to determine whether it’s right for you.
Contemporary Interior Design Styles
People often confuse contemporary design with modern design. This is because there are some similarities. Both styles tend toward a clean, minimalistic vibe, with unusual, artistic flourishes. You might see a one-of-a-kind gooseneck lamp or a brightly colored vase in both design styles. But, that’s where the similarities end. Contemporary style leans harder into starkness, metallic finishes, no fluff, and strategically-placed furnishings and décor. Nothing is “thrown in” with contemporary design. Flooring is often stone or concrete, since the contemporary style resists warmth and softness.
This doesn’t mean that this style can’t be comfortable. It just means that the styling is reduced to what is necessary. A clean-lined, black leather sectional can be just as comfortable as an overstuffed, down traditional sofa.
If you like things to have a place and feel that a home space should be clean at all times, the contemporary style might be right for you. You won’t be spending a lot of time picking up fifteen throw pillows, re-folding throws and adjusting the many books on the shelf in a contemporary home. It’s easy to dust, it’s simple to clean, and it lacks all traces of fuss.
Transitional Interior Design
This is a common buzzword that many don’t really understand. Transitional design is compared frequently to traditional design. This is because they are related to each other. Traditional design is faithful to 18th century European styling. This means brocade, rich patterns fabrics, tufted and padded furniture, and dark carved wood accents. Think Downton Abbey. While this style is still popular in the strictest sense, transitional takes the best from traditional design and leaves the really old-fashioned stuff behind.
Contemporary or modern surprises abound in transitional décor. In a room with pink satin armchairs and an ornate fireplace, you may find a bronze sunburst clock and a modern glass chandelier. Instead of a heavy oak dresser with gold drawer pulls, you might find a bright white end table with mirrored legs.
This style is perfect for you if you have a relaxed, kinda messy life. Décor can be moved around, pillows don’t have to be perfectly placed or fluffed, a pair of shoes and a coffee mug wouldn’t totally stand out in this interior. In fact, stylists often place these “living life” objects throughout a transitional room for a photo shoot.
But, it’s still proper. This kind of interior cleans up nice. If it’s kept tidy, it’s a lovely and somewhat formal environment. It has enough traditional comfort and enough modern flair to make it interesting and beautiful at the same time. And, it’s family friendly.
Your flooring choices for this style run the gamut, but avoid rustic flooring. It should be polished, of good quality, and regal.
Urban Modern Interior Design
This interior design style is a take on modern. The difference is that it’s geared toward city living. So, revamped lofts with original bricks walls, high exposed ceilings, big windows, an airy feel, combined with the space-saving aspects of small apartment living, create this lean and cool vibe.
Urban modern spaces push the limits of design. That oddly-shaped coffee table with the legs that look like dinosaur arms? That’s a perfect quirky art piece for an urban loft. Glass, metal and some softer wood accents and a giant indoor fiddle leaf tree make this a perfect space for a city dweller. It brings in the exterior atmosphere of the city with a few welcome natural accents.
You don’t have to live in Manhattan to bring this style home, but your existing architecture should support it on some level. If you have large windows and high ceilings, you may be able to make this style work for you. Flooring choices for this design include darker shades of hardwood or polished stone. Remember, sleek is the key here. Like other modern and contemporary designs, resist fussiness.
Mid-Century Modern Interior Design
This style is making a comeback in a major way. From high-end designers to mommy bloggers, almost everyone has adopted this aesthetic. A word of warning, styles that become hot trends can become fads. So, don’t go too deep into the styles that take the world by storm. Today’s midcentury modern could be tomorrow’s Tuscan provincial.
But, classical elements of midcentury modern interiors are pretty timeless. Warm oak and maple wood, stained in light honey colors, white fluffy area rugs, rich green indoor plants, and modern metal accents make up the general framework of this style.
Midcentury modern has Scandinavian influences, with a sort of bare, yet warm and homey vibe. Simple, clean lines, varied textures, and bright colorful accents are common in mid-century modern interiors. Furniture should be simple and compact with a modern silhouette.
If you love the modern or contemporary look, but crave little softness, this might be the interior style for you. Midcentury modern is also great with pets and kids, because it allows for some “living,” and doesn’t demand perfection at all times. Great flooring choices for this style are lighter colored hardwoods or vinyl plank flooring.
Industrial Interior Design
The name of this interior style speaks for itself. Elements of industrial design include finishes you might find in a factory, old or new. Rustic industrial design might have old carts with weathered wood and rusted wheels. Modern industrial design would have stainless steel, straight utilitarian lines, and other elements of a factory setting.
Rustic industrial styling is very unique and usually involves hunting for authentic, antique pieces from actual mills or plants. There are some good replicas too, but nothing beats the creak and age of an actual antique from the 1800’s. In homes with this style you would find architectural elements like exposed beams, brick or stone walls, and hardy flooring. Exposed shelving in the kitchen disposes of superfluous cabinet doors, getting down to the basics of storage. Imagine textile mills and printing presses from the early 1900’s.
Imperfection is key, and this is reflected in the flooring as well. Beaten farmhouse hardwood or worn out brick pavers go well in a rustic industrial home. This style matches your personality and needs if you enjoy age and character and you feel honored to preserve history in your space. It can be really fun to spend a weekend searching for the perfect antique piece for your living room.
Modern industrial design is more polished and less vintage. Concrete, polished metals, and glass are commonly found in these interiors. Consider what materials you would find in a forensics lab other modern spaces. It’s sterile, somewhat cold, but can also be really interesting. If you like no-nonsense spaces, easy to clean and super long lasting, this is the right interior style for you.
Coastal Interior Design
This design style sounds just like it is. Coastal homes have a beachy flair, sometimes to the point of being kitschy. But understated interiors in this style just have a hint of traditional beach homes. Weathered wood accents, ocean colors (different shades of blue and white), soft white furniture, thin, airy curtains, and other elements add up for a classic coastal interior.
If you like a weathered, relaxed atmosphere, coastal styling could be right for you. Think about how you would style your home if it was right on the beach. Consider sand, wind, and salt water. Think of the wildlife, the sunsets, the beach activities like surfing and sailing. All of these could play a role in your home.
Avoid making your home into a “theme,” however. It’s easy, with this interior style, to go too far. You don’t want to end up living in a surf shack or a seashell graveyard. A glass bottle full of shells or one conch is probably as far as you want to go. Think about more subconscious clues to the coastal theme. Soft blues, down-stuffed pillows, white and cream curtains, wood that looks like it was left outside in the salt water wind too long, and other hints can make you feel like you live in a coastal home without going too far with the theme.
What type of flooring would a coastal home have? Probably durable, since people would be tracking in sand and salt water. Stone or sturdy hardwoods look great in this type of home. Jute or worn tribal patterned rugs can be excellent in this space as well.
French Country Interior Design
French Country style is cozy, warm, and full of country accents. It’s not a style for people who like clean lines and a space where “everything has a place.” It’s ok for the rug to be askance, the picture frames to be plentiful and cluttered. You can move things around, build a whole shelf of figurines, and use rustic or antique pieces throughout the space.
In a French Country home you might find checkerboard flooring, roosters, rusty red accents, soft worn furniture, fluffy throws, and a big yellow Labrador. Imagine a kitchen from the French countryside.
If you like a very comfortable, relaxed environment, French Country interior design might be a better fit for you. Signs of life are welcome in this interior. And there are many flooring choices. A worn, honed stone floor with irregular pieces of stone, a wide-plank hardwood, or even more stylistic ceramic tile in a checkerboard pattern looks great in a French Country style home.
Use Your Imagination
When searching for the right interior style for your home, really try to imagine living in each type of home. What would it feel like? How would you do everyday things there, from cooking to cleaning to relaxing? If you don’t spend much time at home and like to entertain, a modern or contemporary space might be better for you. If you spend every possible moment on the couch watching Netflix and have kids and a few pets, a softer, more lived-in style might be better for you. But, mostly, you have your own preferences that originate from your childhood and later experiences. Respect those preferences and model your home after the style that makes you happiest.
Need a little help from an expert?
For many of the Gainey Flooring customers, the project begins way before ripping up flooring or tearing down an old shower. We’re proud to kick off the project with a design consultation that helps us to understand the look you’re trying to achieve.
Not sure about the look you want yet? We can help explore that together. Give us a call to set your free design consult.