5 Interior Design Styles

June 03, 2013 / by / In

When was the last time you gave your home a decorating update? A HomeGoods survey found that 47 percent of Americans haven’t changed home décor in the past five years. If you are among the near-majority, a better understanding of interior design may help you know where to start when it comes to updating your home.

While interior design styles are as varied as the people who create them in their homes, there are some basic elements that can help determine the feel of a particular space. Take a look at these five common types of interior design:

Traditional: This style of design actually incorporates many more specific ones. French country, British Colonial revival, and 18th century English styles are all housed under the traditional umbrella. What draws many people to traditional design style is the warm, inviting feel that is evoked through wood tones and bronze accents. Patterns are often mixed between pieces of furniture and accessories like pillows. Art often includes still life prints and crystal items.

Contemporary: People who favor contemporary design often take a minimalistic approach to decorating. Expect to see a lot of smooth textures and “clean” lines, as opposed to ornamentation. Subtle fabrics and color choices are often found in homes with contemporary design themes. Natural light and space are valued in this design category which adds to the minimalist approach.

Modern: This design style is often used as a synonym for contemporary but the two are actually different. The modern school of design stems from a specific movement that began in the late 19th century. It has strict guidelines of using natural or neutral colors and strong lines. Like contemporary styling, modern interior design favors simplicity and open, uncluttered spaces. When it comes to modern furniture, expect to see exposed legs and surfaces made of glass or metal.

American Craftsman: Also known as the American Arts and Crafts movement, this style of interior design that emphasizes unique, handmade items. The movement had its origins in England as a reaction to the Industrial Revolution and mass-produced items. The American version of the Craftsman movement was especially popular in the 1910s through the 1930s and still has a strong influence in design today. American Craftsman design makes use of hand-crafted stone, woodwork, and mixed materials throughout the structure. Many people associate the geometric, “square” designs of Frank Lloyd Wright with this school of interior design, architecture, and landscaping.

Eclectic: The best way to define this category of design is that several styles come together to form an individual look. While the term is often associated with a “no rules” approach to interior design, people tend to gravitate toward just one or two styles based on preference. Design experts recommend a 60-30-10 formula when it comes to eclectic taste. Make 60 percent of the room one particular style, another 30 percent a secondary style and the final 10 percent an accent style. Use the 10 percent part of the formula for your absolute favorite style technique so your statement pieces really stand out.

Don’t let the world of interior design intimidate you. As you decorate—and redecorate—your home over the years, you will start to see patterns in your own taste. Start to pay attention to the interior design types you favor and look for complementary ways to step outside your décor comfort zone.

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