Types of Interior Design

If you’re at all interested in interior design, you probably have heard a couple of terms before: mid-century modern. Contemporary chic. Industrial. Art noveau. Transitional. Bohemian vintage-inspired minimalist. Feng Shui. It gets overwhelming fast! What do all those different words mean? How many different types of interior design are there?

Well, the short answer is a lot! You can break them into broader categories – such as modern and vintage – but even those categories have plenty of their own sub-sections with tons of nuances according to their sources of inspiration. With shape, size, lighting, color, and plenty of other factors to consider, it can be hard to keep track of them all. What that in mind, here are some of the more common types of interior design, listed in no particular order because we can’t get enough of any of them!

  • Industrial. This theme is inspired by the historical industrial revolution, and as such is most popular for furnishing older buildings that were newly converted into residences (though plenty of people decorate their “regular” homes in this style as well). To create this illusion, think rough surfaces, unfinished materials, and metals. Leave walls or surfaces unfinished and bricks exposed, if you can. Old and interesting wood-and-metal pieces (especially those that have been recycled or renovated) add an authentic good touch. Look for neutral, warm tones, dark wood, and large artworks for your walls.
  • Art Deco. This design is inspired by the Roaring 20’s, the historical period that took place after World War I and lasted until the Great Depression. Art Deco design is all about luxury, exuberance, and lavish decorations. You’ll want wall scones for a sultry glow, polished chome or shiny brass metal trimmings, stepped designs, polished wooden furniture, and similar patterns. Think about glossy paints, sleek textures, bold curves, and more. Art Deco can turn your home into a museum – or a swinging Gatsby-esque party.
  • The Modern design theme has its roots in modern art, beginning with impressionism, abstractism, and other decorative art forms. In interior design, the Modern style is all about clean lines. Rigid rectangles and smooth ovals are some popular shapes, keeping in line with the idea of minimalism, or simplicity. Modernism seeks to replace the clutter and clashing colors that were seen in most American houses up until about the 1950’s. As such, even the smallest homes focus on creating the illusion of wide, spacious rooms with bright, natural light. Modern design also incorporates occasional splashes of bold color or funky shapes to add some contrast to the otherwise smooth lines. Natural wood grain is not often seen in this theme (but to each their own!), replaced with glossy materials such as stainless steel, glass, and even plastic.
  • Gothic. This is the perfect design option for you if you like your home to feel mysterious, huge, and complex. Gothic design is maybe not the best option for those whose homes are a bit smaller, as the dark coloration can be intimidating or foreboding for some guests. Dark colors are the supreme here, but accented with Victorian-esque designs like gold crosses, vivid paintings, or intricate sculptures. Dark natural wood floors with large area rugs is a good option for this theme, with the walls colors such as burgundy or navy blue. The dark colors of the Gothic design are accompanied by ornate details, such as stonework. A wrought iron chandelier or some wall scones will serve as the perfect finish.
  • Zen. Inspired by the Japanese art of meditation, zen interior design is meant to reflect harmony, relaxation, and balance. Zen is really meant to be a lifestyle, but the interior design it has inspired reflects its core values in creating a welcoming and peaceful home atmosphere. As a result, zen often incorporates elements of minimalism, celebrating the purity of clean lines. Think large windows with white curtains or slatted shades. Think leafy plants and flowers stationed all around the home and funky, low-seated chairs. Think soft, natural color tones, white sheets, and as much natural lighting as possible to avoid those harsh artificial glows: candles, floor lamps, and decorative lighting is a better alternative.
  • Finishing up this list is a crowd favorite: the rustic look! Inspired by country homes instead of those in the city, these rural-esque styles emphasize nature and nostalgia rather than technology. Family heirlooms should be on prominent display. Rugged wood floors or a stone fireplace are just what you need. Hand-crafted items, wooden furniture, and soft throw rugs make great decorations. If you can, your home should have exposed wooden beams and columning, as if you’ve just finished building the home yourself.