Your Guide to the Most Popular Interior Design Styles
Your interior design style reflects your personality. For some, clutter and bold colors or designs are major distractions. For others, ample use of color, texture, and accessories is energizing.
Whether you love the welcoming breeziness of coastal décor or the clean, uncluttered look of minimalist interiors, the most important thing is creating a space that feels comfortable.
We’ve compiled a list of some of the most popular interior design styles for ideas and inspiration.
Minimalist at its core, Asian-inspired interiors create a sense of calm and balance. Clean lines and neutral color schemes are hallmarks of the style, and spaces are free of clutter. Square, rectangular, and circular shapes are prevalent, along with natural materials like wood and woven fibers. Floor cushions and low-profile sofas, coffee tables, platform beds, and end tables all speak to the style. Paneled room dividers and interior sliding doors help maintain a clean, clutter-free look.
Often confused with modern or contemporary interiors, minimalism is more a movement than a style. It’s defining characteristic is simplicity. Minimalist designers strip a room of unnecessary furnishings and clutter to create a space that’s focused purely on function. This doesn’t mean a room has to be cold or sterile. “Warm minimalism” adheres to minimalist principles of simplicity and function while still creating an elegant, inviting space. Designers can embrace minimalism by choosing toned-down décor with clean lines—and only what’s necessary for the space.
Born during a time of rapid urban and suburban expansion after WWII, mid-century modern design is simple and unpretentious. It celebrates functionality, keeping superfluous ornamentation at a minimum. Mid-century modern furniture has sleek, clean lines. Organic and geometric patterns are prominent. Natural materials like wood, metal, and glass are used liberally, along with manmade materials like vinyl and Plexiglass that emerged in the 20th century. It’s not difficult to find new furniture pieces in the mid-century modern style, but even a single vintage piece can help a room stand out.
Light, breezy, and inviting, coastal interiors create a relaxing, carefree atmosphere. Floors are typically white-washed wood or light stone. Natural fibers, including cotton, linen, and woven rugs and baskets, dominate. Symbols of the sea like seashells, lighthouses, and nautically themed accessories help define the look. Designers may opt for the classic navy and white color scheme or a color palette of earthy neutrals with splashes of blue and green on accent pieces and accessories.
Originating in the Nordic region in the 1950s, Scandinavian design has become increasingly popular in recent decades. Natural materials, clean lines, and pale colors define the style. Organic materials like woven rugs, wood paneling, and wood chairs are common. Balance is an important principle of Scandinavian design, so interiors are lean on clutter and free of excessive ornamentation.
With roots in antique and vintage French design, shabby chic interiors have a unique appeal all their own. Delightfully feminine, shabby chic style marries farmhouse elements with vintage French décor for a style that is simultaneously artistic, elegant, and relaxed. Shades of distressed white-painted wood dominate, complemented by soft blues, greens, and pinks. Designers can create the look with a combination of traditional and farmhouse décor. Ornate touches like a gilded mirror or crystal chandelier create interesting focal points.
Inspired by 18th– and 19th-century European décor, modern traditional interiors are elegant and orderly—but that doesn’t have to mean stuffy or uninviting. Elements of traditional design include upholstered furniture with soft lines and understated fabrics. Neutrals and softer flowery colors are common. Furniture is typically arranged facing or perpendicular to a fireplace (another common feature of traditional interiors). Window treatments are usually floor-to-ceiling drapes in a neutral shade. Traditional interiors appeal to people of all ages and backgrounds and—when done well—are timeless.
Especially popular in loft apartments and restaurants, industrial interiors expose building elements that are normally hidden, including pipes, ductwork, ceiling beams, and brick walls. Floors are often unfinished concrete or wood. Open, airy floor plans with large windows and space-saving features like frosted glass pocket doors define the style. Industrial-style spaces typically feature neutral colors and textures like rustic wood, sheet metal, and leather.
Modern farmhouse interiors are warm, inviting, and relaxed. Given its down-home roots, practicality is at the heart of the farmhouse style. Restraint is key. Neutral colors, natural fibers, unfinished wood, and weathered metals like oil-rubbed bronze, matte black, and brushed nickel help shape the look. Practical accessories like woven baskets, mason jars, and hand-painted bowls are useful and add simple beauty. Sliding barn doors are also increasingly popular with modern farmhouse interiors.
Sleek lines and sharp angles define contemporary style. Furniture has clean lines, often with exposed metal or wood legs. Neutral, non-pattern fabrics made of wool, cotton, or linen are common, but designers may use punches of color or graphic artwork to add flair. Accessories are sparse. Light fixtures are made of sleek materials like polished metal or glass. Contemporary interiors represent the here and now, so they tend to have universal appeal.
Hollywood glam/regency interiors are unmistakably flashy and bold, with dramatic décor at every turn. Common elements of the style include opulent crystal or glass chandeliers, plush, velvety furniture, metal accents and glossy surfaces, and vibrant colors like deep reds and blues, purples, and bright yellows. Hollywood glam interiors are focused on entertaining, so low-profile seating is a hallmark of the style.
Reflecting a free-spirited lifestyle, bohemian interiors are comfortable and eclectic. Globally inspired textiles and accent pieces, vintage furniture, woven wall hangings, and patterned throws and pillows create a bohemian look. Vibrant, nature-inspired wallpaper is also a common feature. Perhaps no designer better exemplifies the style than Justina Blakeney, who (literally) wrote the book on bohemian design.
Transitional interiors are the perfect choice for those who love both traditional and modern décor. By utilizing both styles, transitional interiors are at once familiar and fresh. Transitional design elements include a mix of furnishings with both curved and straight lines, neutral colors, limited use of accessories, and a mix of textural elements like wood, glass, woven fibers, and metal. Newly married or cohabitating couples often inadvertently create a transitional look by blending their furniture.
Inspired by the outdoors and farmhouse design, rustic design emphasizes natural materials like leather, stone, unfinished wood, and metals. Designers often incorporate industrial elements like lightbulb pendant lamps and exposed plumbing into rustic interiors. A wood-burning stove or stone fireplace, exposed wood beams, and wood flooring are also hallmarks of the style.
Are you (or your client) still on the fence about which style to choose? Take this quick and easy design style quiz to nail it down.
Put the Finishing Touch on Your Space with Contemporary Sliding Glass Doors
Whether you’re redecorating a single room or building a home from the ground up, The Sliding Door Company can help you create functional, beautiful spaces. Our interior sliding glass doors and room dividers are unrivaled for their simple sophistication and refinement. They’re an ideal choice for the modern home.
Whatever style you love—Asian Zen, traditional, or industrial—we can create custom doors and room dividers to your specifications that perfectly suit the space. Choose from an ample selection of frame designs, glass types, and hardware to create the perfect look.