MOST POPULAR INTERIOR DESIGN STYLES RIGHT NOW (THE ULTIMATE GUIDE)
Updated: Aug 5, 2022
Style is personal, and style is individual. Interpretation of style varies from one person to the next… and that’s OK.
According to a study by The Wall Street Journal, the most popular interior design styles right now are Scandinavian, Modern, Coastal (Hamptons) and French Country (Provincial). These styles were chosen over more traditional options like English country, Cottage or traditional Country. The main reason for these choices is that they are popular in Europe and North America, where there is a growing trend towards minimalist living. People are looking for ways to save space and reduce clutter, and these three styles fit the bill.
What does your style say about you? Is your style reflected in your home through its interior design? Perhaps you’re not quite sure what your home design style is. With so many different interior design styles out there, it can be hard to know which one is right for you. But if you're looking for some inspiration, we cover below the most popular ones that you need to know and what I love about them.
What is interior design?
Interior design is the process of shaping the experience of interior space, through the manipulation of spatial volume and surface. It encompasses the use of color, light, materials, furniture, textures, and accessories to create an environment that is both functional and aesthetically pleasing. Good interior design enhances the quality of life for those who occupy a space by providing an attractive and harmonious setting in which to live, work, or relax.
The term "interior" in interior design refers to both indoor and outdoor spaces. It encompasses everything from color schemes and furniture placement to lighting and window treatments. A well-designed interior should be functional as well as stylish.
There are many different styles of interior design, but some of the most popular are contemporary, traditional, transitional, and rustic. Contemporary style is defined by clean lines, minimalism, and a focus on function. Traditional style is characterized by ornate details, antiques, and rich colors. Transitional style is a mix of traditional and contemporary elements. Rustic style incorporates natural materials like wood and stone into the design.
How to Choose the Right Interior Design Style?
There are many different interior design styles to choose from, and it can be tough to decide which one is right for your home. If you're working with an interior designer, they can help you narrow down your options and find the perfect style for your space. If you're doing it yourself, it's important to look at different interior design styles and figure out which one speaks to you. Here are a few tips for choosing the right style for your home:
Decide what you want your home to feel like. Do you want it to be cozy and comfortable, or sleek and modern?
Consider your lifestyle. If you have young children, you may want to choose a style that is family-friendly and easy to clean.
Take your budget into account. Some styles are more expensive than others.
Look at pictures of homes that inspire you. This can give you a good idea of the look and feel that you are going for.
What are the most popular interior design styles?
Interior design styles are as varied as the people who inhabit homes around the world. While some homeowners prefer a minimalist aesthetic, others might choose to decorate their home in an eclectic fashion with a variety of different styles.
Read on below of our Ultimate Guide to the most popular interior design styles right now.
1. Hygge (Scandi / Scandinavian) design style
The last two years have made us value our homes more than ever, and that is why the Scandinavian design philosophy known as Hygge sits at my number one spot for interior design styles. Hygge simply means to nurture a feeling of cosiness, contentment and well-being through cherishing the little things. Hygge stems from a Norwegian word meaning ‘comfort’ and is also related to the English word, ‘hug’.
Scandinavian interior designers are known for their ability to create beautiful and functional spaces using a minimal amount of furniture and accessories. In terms of how Scandinavian style applies to interior design, think candles (scent is an important part of Hygge), feather filled armchairs, open fires, cosy nooks and rugs. To me, Hygge is the feeling of a home wrapping it’s arms around you when you enter the front door.
For another example of the Hygge interior design style in practice, visit Rebecca and Jorge's warehouse apartment.
2. Traditional design style
Traditionally, interior design has been focused on creating a comfortable and functional space using largely natural materials. The Traditional design style often features earth tones, wood furnishings, and textiles such as wool and cotton. Furniture in a Traditional home is typically arranged in a way that promotes conversation and relaxation, with many pieces designed to be multifunctional. While the Traditional design aesthetic is still popular today, it has been updated to reflect modern needs and tastes.
3. Wabi Sabi design style
As our lives are starting to pick up pace again after two years of COVID disruptions and stress levels are rising, the Japanese design style known as Wabi Sabi is perhaps the antidote we need. Wabi Sabi is an interior design concept that denotes a more connected way of living. It values the beauty of imperfection and embraces blemishes caused by the natural process of time.
Look for items in your home that will age gracefully and don’t throw away your broken or imperfect pieces. Embrace the patina on your brass or copper, find the beauty in unglazed pottery and chipped planters. Bring inside large branches foraged from outside and display them in ceramics. Reject symmetry and perfectionism and embrace the wrinkles in your linen sheets and resist the temptation to straighten the slightly uneven pile of magazines or books.
I found a great example of Wabi Sabi interior design applied in a Victorian Terrace in Cooks Hill, Newcastle. Visit Sue Atkinson's home to take a look.
4. Eclectic design style
The Eclectic Interior Design Style is a mix of different styles that are combined together to create a unique and interesting look. This style is perfect for those who want to experiment with different design elements and create a space that is truly their own.
Eclectic design interiors are usually quite colorful and full of different textures and patterns. An eclectic interior designer will often use a bold palette to really make the space pop. Texture is also important this style to create an eclectic home, as it can help to add interest and depth. If you’re not sure where to start, here are a few tips for creating an eclectic style in your space:
start with a color palette and use different shades and tones of your favorite colors
mix patterns and textures by using a variety of fabrics, materials, and finishes
add interesting accessories such as sculptures, plants, or vintage finds
be creative and have fun with it!
5. Mid-century modern (Modern) design style
Mid-century modern design style is making a comeback. As the name suggests, Mid-century modern style incorporates 50’s era optimism, 60’s era earthiness and 70’s era tones and textures neatly wrapped up in the simplicity of Scandinavian design. It’s a wonderfully nostalgic nod to a simpler time where the vibe was fresh, retro, a little bit fun and always practical and beautiful. Perhaps this style resonates with me so much because I love a little bit of quirk to bring a space to life.
A Mid-century modern (also simply known simply as "modern style") house will not only boast a charming interior decor with plenty of teak, chrome, glass and pops of colour, but it will also be practical, durable, unpretentious and easy on the eye. Mid-century modern homes are known for their clean lines and simplicity, free of clutter. Mid-century modern homes are free of excess furniture and accessories, creating a spacious and airy feeling. People often ask if they can combine old pieces with new - yes, you absolutely can in this thoroughly desirable interior design style.
Visit this wonderful renovation of two cottages brought together to make a unified Mid-century modern home in James Street, Hamilton in Newcastle.
6. Minimalist design style
Minimalist design is a home style trend that uses simple shapes, colors, lack of clutter and clean lines to create a sleek and modern look. Minimalist styles are often used in interior design, where they can be used to create a calm and relaxing space. Interior designers often use texture and essential design elements to add interest to a minimalist space. Minimalist designs are popular because they are simple and easy to maintain, and they can be used in any type of space, from a small apartment to a large office.
7. Art Deco design style
This decadent and bold interior design style has been since the 1920's and continues in its popularity. Known for its symmetry, geometric shapes and patterns, luxurious materials and rich jewel toned and strong, bold colour palette, it has both a vintage flair and a sense of approachable luxury.
Art Deco interior design isn’t for the feint-hearted. It’s bold, vibrant and packs a design punch. Think glamour and sophistication with statement lighting, layering, golds and geometry. If bold colours aren’t for you, a softer palette can work when you incorporate sculptural elements and stick with geometric shapes. Art Deco is purposeful interior design that when committed to, results in astoundingly beautiful interiors.
Visit Emma Fensom's Tighes Hill home in Newcastle for a classic application of the Art Deco interior design style.
8. Modern Farmhouse design style
The modern farmhouse interior design style is a unique and popular style that combines the best of both worlds – the rustic charm of a traditional farmhouse with the sleek and contemporary look of a modern home. This style is perfect for those who want to add a touch of country flair to their décor without sacrificing any of the comforts and conveniences of modern living.
There are many different ways to achieve a modern farmhouse look, but some common elements include using natural materials like wood and stone, incorporating vintage and antique furniture and décor, and adding rustic touches like exposed beams or distressed finishes. If you're looking for some inspiration, take a look at some of the most popular modern farmhouse interior design ideas and see how you can incorporate them into your own home.
Many current design styles can be traced back to Bauhaus, a design style developed in Germany in the early 1900s. The Bauhaus movement was originally founded to unite fine arts with applied arts, ie, painting and sculpture with industrial design. It produced designs that were simple, beautiful and above all else, functional.
Today, elements of styles such as Mid-century modern and Scandinavian can be traced back to Bauhaus. Interior design characteristics include functional shapes, abstract shapes used sparingly, simple colour schemes, holistic design and basic industrial materials like concrete, steel and glass. It’s about simplicity, pared-back spaces and streamlined forms. The good news is that if you’re wanting to introduce some Bauhaus interior design style to your home, it’s about reducing things and taking a minimal approach. It could just take one or two items that transform your space.
I found this Whitebridge Garden House to have a fantastic application of the Bauhaus interior design style. It's simple colour schemes, holistic design, use of industrial materials like glass and concrete provided the base on which the Bauhaus style could form with its grand, open but functional spaces and pared back interior decor.
10. Shabby Chic design style
Shabby chic interior design is a popular style that incorporates vintage and antique furniture and decor. It's often characterized by its soft, feminine look with lots of pastels and floral prints. Shabby chic design can be used in any room in your home, but it's particularly popular in the bedroom and living room. If you're looking to create a shabby chic style in your own home, start by shopping for vintage furniture and home décor at flea markets and thrift stores. Then, use soft colors and feminine accents to complete the look.
11. British Colonial design style
Holiday at home with this fusion of British, West Indian, Caribbean, Indian and African interior design style. Layering, textures, colour and pattern all feature heavily in this timeless design style that can make your home feel like a five star resort.
Achieve this look at home by introducing natural textures such as bamboo, wicker and rattan, pared with exotic art on the walls or wallpaper featuring palms, jungle inspired or animal prints. Arrange your furniture in a way that promotes interaction with family and visitors and don’t hold back on the ornaments. Clashing patterns, pops of colour and relaxing tones of wood and wicker combine for a winning formula in this fun, yet sophisticated interior design style.
12. Southwestern design style
The Southwestern Interior Design Style is a popular style for homes in the southwestern United States. This style incorporates elements of both Spanish and Native American design, with heavy use of earth tones and natural materials. Furniture is typically rustic and ornate, with lots of carved wood and intricate details. Rugs are often colorful and patterned, and artwork often features traditional Southwestern themes like horses or cattle.
13. Hollywood Glam design style
Hollywood glam interior design style is all about luxury, elegance, opulence and glamour. This style is often associated with the golden era of Hollywood, when movie stars were idolized and lived in lavish mansions. The Hollywood Glam home decor style is style is often used in high-end homes, apartments and hotel rooms. It features lots of velvet, gold, and silver accents, as well as mirrors and crystal chandeliers. If you're looking to create a luxurious and glamorous look in your home, then this is the style for you!
14. Rustic design style
Rustic style is all about embracing the natural world in your home. It’s a great way to feel connected to the land, no matter where you live. Rustic design is often used in farmhouses and other rural settings. The key elements of rustic style are earthy tones, natural materials, and simple shapes. This look can be achieved with a few simple tips.
Start by using natural materials like wood, stone, and metal. These materials add texture and warmth to your space. Keep your color palette simple with shades of green, brown, and beige. These colors are inspired by nature and will help you create a cozy and relaxing environment. Add textural elements like sheepskin rugs, woven baskets, and carved wooden furniture to give your space some personality.
Keep your furnishings simple and streamlined to maintain the rustic aesthetic. Choose pieces with clean lines and minimal details.
15. Shaker design style
If you love the simplicity of minimalist interior design and the natural tones of Scandi design, this just may be the style for you. As with Bauhaus, the defining principle of Shaker design is that function comes before all else. In contrast though, Shaker interior design follows a neutral colour palette of tans, greys and off-white.
When using a neutral colour scheme, it’s important to follow the 10-30-60 rule to add interest to the space. Choose one colour for 60% of your space (usually your walls); another colour for 30% of your space (usually your furniture) and 10% for the remainder of your space (soft furnishings and accessories).
Introduce the Shaker interior design style into your home by eliminating clutter, adopting a neutral colour palette, consider shaker-style cabinetry in your kitchen and wet rooms, and incorporate useful additions such as peg rails into your decor.
16. French Country design style
When most people think of French Country interior design, they think of the Provence region of southern France. This rustic style is typified by its natural materials such as stone, wood, and wrought iron, and its muted color palette of blues, greens, and yellows. Furnishings are typically simple and functional, with an emphasis on well-crafted details.
The French Country style can be adapted to any size or type of home. Whether you're looking for a cozy cottage or a grand estate, these simple tips will help you create a warm and inviting space that reflects the beauty of the French countryside.
17. Transitional design style
Can we have our metaphorical cake and eat it too? Yes, we absolutely can with this wonderful interior decorating style. The Transitional design style refers to the successful union of traditional and modern interior design. It features an eclectic mix of both old and new elements, resulting in a timeless look that is both stylish and comfortable.
Starting with a foundation of minimal pattern, a largely neutral colour palette and traditional mouldings on your walls and joinery, then start to build your interior design with a combination of quality, traditional pieces and complementary modern pieces. Whilst a 50/50 balance is not necessary, try not to skew too heavily either side.
As colour is kept to a minimum, use texture to build layers and create visual interest. Embrace space, consider scale and choose your decorative accents thoughtfully. If your preference is to add colour, choose warm tones with sleek silhouettes to strike the balance between traditional and modern.
You would expect an interior designer would nail their own interior design style, and Stewart Horton has done that with the Transitional style. I was lucky to interview Stewart and write about his beautiful home in leafy and hilly New Lambton Heights, Newcastle. Stewart's interior design pays homage to the house's construction era, and his execution of the style is beautifully on point.
18. Mediterranean design style
The Mediterranean style is one that is often associated with warmth and welcoming environments. The Mediterranean interior design style is characterized by its use of light colors and natural materials. While the Mediterranean design style is often used in coastal areas, as it evokes the feel of the Mediterranean Sea, it shouldn't be confused with the Coastal design style. It can be used in both residential and commercial spaces, and incorporates a variety of design features.
Interior designers who specialize in this style often use a light color palette and incorporate natural elements into their designs. Colors, textures, and materials are all important elements of this particular style, as well as furniture that is both comfortable and stylish. In the Mediterranean style, it is important to create a space that feels like home.
19. Modern coastal (Hamptons) design style
Modern coastal embraces a combination of the coastal style and the Hamptons style. Modern coastal creates a nautical and tropical vibe with a contemporary neutral colour palette and plenty of natural textures. Whites, greys and beige tones feature heavily, with the addition of soft blues and greens. Consider terrazzo tiles in your bathroom, wicker light fixtures and furniture that brings the outdoors, in.
Forget putting oars on the walls and starfish ornaments on your side tables. Modern coastal is a part modern, part laid back style that relies on textures and materials to create a calming and sophisticated space.
Visit Luke and Justine Orton's home for a fantastic modern take on the coastal, or beach side home style. Their Orton House, as it was known succeeded perfectly and their interior design carried the external aesthetic into the interiors to create the unified story they were aiming for. The interior design here is modern, laid back with neutrals and naturals aplenty, and not an oar or starfish in sight!
20. Chalet design style
If you're looking for a cozy and rustic interior design style, chalet decor is the perfect choice! This look features lots of woodsy elements, such as natural fabrics, earthy colors, and carved wooden furniture. To get the chalet style just right, add some faux fur throws, pinecone garlands, mountains of snow outside and a roaring fire to your space.
21. Japandi design style
According to Leni Calas of Ward 5 Design,
“Japandi Design is the combination of Scandinavian functionality and Japanese rustic minimalism to create a feeling of art, nature and simplicity.”
This fusion of cultures results in both beautiful and functional interior designs. An emphasis of Japandi style is sustainability, through the use of natural materials and simple design. With its green, eco-friendly decor style, it’s little wonder that this interior design style is rapidly gaining in popularity.
To achieve this look in your home, think about combining the warmth of the timber tones that come with Scandi interior design, with the elegance of Japanese decor. Use muted colours, plenty of greenery and focus on natural materials including unfinished woods or bamboo. Consider partition screens to keep your space free of clutter and aim to create a Zen like sense of calm in your space.
22. French design style
The French Interior Design Style is a classic style that has been around for centuries. It is known for its elegance, simplicity and refinement. The rooms are usually light and airy with plenty of whites and pastels. Furniture is typically sleek and simple, with curves rather than sharp lines. Accessories are often minimalistic, with only a few pieces of art or flowers to add interest. This style is perfect for those who want a sophisticated, timeless look in their home.
23. Bohemian design style
I often ask my clients to describe their ideal interior design style as a personality. If you were to describe a Bohemian interior as a personality, I imagine it would be relaxed, eclectic and adventurous. A Bohemian interior design is inviting, warm and interesting. Loads of layering, greenery, natural textures, pattern and an abundance of vintage pieces and colour are all hallmarks of this enduringly popular design style.
Forget structure and symmetry and go for a carefree, whimsical and earthy aesthetic. Display your old books, travel collections, art and plants and embrace curated clutter and your very own bohemian sanctuary will emerge.
One of my most memorable interviews in the last few years was Sophia Flegg, who executed a Bohemian interior design style renovation for $5,000 in 5 days. The results will amaze you.
24. Country design style
Country Interior Design Style is a style that is inspired by the simple life of country living. This style is all about comfort and relaxation to create a warm and inviting atmosphere. Furniture is usually oversized and upholstered, with lots of throws and pillows. Colors are soft and muted, with lots of earth tones and natural materials used. Flooring is typically hardwood or tile, with area rugs to add warmth. Windows are often large and let in lots of natural light. Country interior design is perfect for those who want to relax and escape from the hustle and bustle of everyday life.
25. Contemporary design style
Contemporary interior design is essentially, the style of the moment and will evolve every couple of years. It is currently defined by architectural lighting, statement art, curved lines, open plan living and plenty of natural light. In the Contemporary design style, windows are dressed with full height sheers, furnishings are crisp and luxurious. Surfaces include terrazzo, marble and concrete and the colour palette is somewhat neutral.
Achieving a contemporary look in your home can begin with updating your lighting fixtures, door hardware and reducing clutter. Create a feature wall with a scene stealing piece of art and limit your accent colours to one or two.
For a close look at this style, I found the home that Jacqueline and Andrew Harvey built in Bar Beach, Newcastle to be a sensational example of the Contemporary interior design style.
26. Asian Zen design style
Asian Zen design is an extremely popular style for interior design, incorporating elements from Asian and Zen philosophies. It is based on the principles of simplicity, functionality, minimalism. and a focus on the connection between the indoors and the outdoors. The goal is to create a peaceful and harmonious environment that is both beautiful and relaxing.
Colors are typically muted and natural, with an emphasis on wood tones and earthy hues. Furniture is typically sleek and simple, with clean lines and minimalist designs. Asian Zen interiors are perfect for those who are looking for a calm and serene space to relax in.
27. Industrial design style
Inspired by warehouses and factories, industrial interior design is characterised by open plan living, large windows, a minimalist aesthetic and a blend of rustic and natural materials. Pipes, beams and ducting are largely left exposed and floors left raw. Contemporary industrial design now includes hidden luxuries such as underfloor heating beneath honed polished concrete.
Concrete or brick walls are left unpainted and unplastered with blemishes showcased using clever lighting. Kitchens in industrial styled homes have a commercial aesthetic, with the use of black metals, exposed pipes, concrete and open shelving. Whilst this design style is largely defined by its lack of glamour, it also lends itself to creativity. Brighten up what could be a potentially muted colour palette with bold pops of colour. Paint an old wooden cabinet bright red, buy that green sofa you’ve been lusting after. This is a design style where you can afford to go big and bold.
Exemplifying everything about the Industrial interior design style above, and worth a closer look for the application and execution is Craig McGaffin's warehouse apartment conversion in Islington, Newcastle.
28. Classical design style
Classical interior design style is often considered the most formal of all the styles. This style features symmetry, straight lines, and classical details such as pilasters and cornices. Furniture is typically heavy and upholstered, with rich fabrics, textures and intricate details. Colors are typically muted shades of gold, beige, green, and blue. Flooring is usually marble or wood.
29. Cottage design style
Quaint, utterly charming, hospitable and welcoming is how I would describe this timeless design style. A cottage styled home has vintage charm, comfort and relaxed sophistication. Sofas are over stuffed, timber abounds on both the floors and in furniture, and the colour palette is neutral. Favour warm white over cool whites and introduce soft beige, warm greys and an abundance of natural fibres.
Fill your walls with vintage pictures and family memorabilia, bring out your book collection and display hand cut flowers in milk jugs on your counter tops. A cottage home feels loved and lived in. Consider your local op-shop to find eclectic cottage style pieces, but be sure to keep your colour scheme consistent to achieve a calming space. VJ panelling, barn doors and shaker style doors would all suit this deliciously cosy interior design style.
For a closer look at the Cottage style, you can't go past Gow House. Originally built in Merewether, Newcastle this house was relocated to Pokolbin in the Hunter Valley where it now exemplifies a precise execution of the Cottage interior design style.
30. Grandmillennial (Granny chic) design style
If anything warms the heart, it would be this delightfully nostalgic nod to the past, honouring a bygone era before life became impossibly fast paced and technology ruled the roost. Grandmillennial chic is said to be a millennial rebellion against the sleek minimalism of modern design. As this design style increases in popularity, expect to see traditional wallpapers experience a resurgence and even needlepoint craft, ruffles and pleated bed skirts.
The Grandmillennial interior design style is about a contemporary interpretation of Grandma’s living room. It’s purpose is to exude comfort and warmth and evoke memories of the scent of home baked biscuits and cups of tea around the formica table. If you’re fortunate enough to be in possession of some of Grandma’s collections, combine them with blue and white china, large-scale florals and an abundance of cheerful colour.
You may well think there would be few examples of the Granny chic aesthetic for you to delve further into, but you would be wrong. My fellow interior designer Stewart Horton, who featured above as having executed a sublime Transitional interior design style in his New Lambton Heights, Newcastle home also qualifies - by his own admission - for a great execution of Grandmillenial.
So, what's your style? Which of the different design styles outlined above do you relate to and connect with? I hope that after reading this I have ignited your imagination about the unique design style options available to you and your space. Have fun with it, and if you're inspired to start your own new interior design journey why not give me a call or touch base and see what I can do to help make your space realise it's full potential and for your heart to sign when you're in it.
Julie Evans Design is a Newcastle based interior design studio and creator of beautiful spaces. We service the New South Wales areas of Newcastle, the Hunter Valley, Lake Macquarie and Port Stephens. Our goal is to make the potential of your space come to life, so much that it makes your heart sing when you're in it. Check out my interior design services, learn more about me or contact me to have a discussion about your space and your needs.
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