Interior Design Styles: All You Need to Know

~ 7 minutes to read

“A house is not only a real estate asset; it is also a form of spiritual consolidation.”

—Mario Benedetti

These words by Mario Benedetti couldn’t be more accurate. Our home isn’t simply a structure to keep us sheltered and protected. It is our temple, the place where we feel safe. And in many ways, it reflects who we are as individuals.

And just like our personal style evolves over time, so too should our homes. Whether you’re looking to make a few small changes or embark on a complete overhaul, understanding the basics of interior design is a great place to start.

Interior design is the art and science of enhancing the interior of a building to achieve a healthier and more aesthetically pleasing environment for the people using the space. It is a multifaceted profession that includes conceptual development, space planning, site inspections, programming, research, communicating with the stakeholders of a project, construction management, and execution of the design.

Classy open pllan kitchen in coastal home

Key elements of interior design

Interior design is all about understanding how we use and interact with space. It’s about creating a functional and aesthetically pleasing environment that meets the specific needs of the people who will be using it.

There are several key elements that go into interior design, including:

Main materials: The main materials used will determine the overall look and feel of the house. Common materials used in interior design include wood, metal, glass, stone, and fabric.

Color palette: The colors used in a space can have a big impact on its atmosphere and mood. Colors can be used to create a feeling of warmth or coolness, openness, or coziness, and much more.

Furniture style: The furniture in a space should be both functional and stylish. It should be comfortable and inviting, while also reflecting the overall style of the space.

Distinguishing features: Every space has its own unique features, whether it’s a spectacular view, an interesting architectural detail, or a cozy fireplace. These features should be highlighted in the design.

By understanding and utilizing these elements, you can create a space that is both functional and beautiful.

Most popular interior design styles

Contemporary

Contemporary interior design is characterized by clean lines, minimalism, and a focus on function. This style is often seen in lofts and apartments, as it makes the most of small spaces. The main materials used in contemporary design are metal, glass and concrete, with furniture typically being sleek and streamlined. The color palette is usually neutral, with pops of color being used for accents.

Classy living room with views to the ocean

Traditional

Traditional interior design is defined by its classic details, luxurious fabrics, and elegant furniture. This style is often seen in older homes, as it encompasses a wide range of design periods (such as Georgian, Victorian, and Edwardian). The main materials used in traditional design are wood and fabric, with furniture typically being ornate and upholstered. The color palette is usually rich and warm, with neutrals and jewel tones being used extensively.

Traditional elegant living room

Rustic

Rustic interior design is all about creating a cozy and inviting space. It draws its inspiration from the countryside, with main materials such as wood, stone and iron being used extensively. Furniture is usually simple and functional, with a focus on comfort. The color palette is typically muted, with earthy tones predominating.

Cozy rustic living room with stone details

Coastal

Coastal interior design is all about creating a relaxed and comfortable space. It draws its inspiration from the beach, with main materials such as wood, wicker and seashells being used extensively. Furniture is usually casual and comfortable, with a focus on functionality. The color palette is typically light and airy, with blues and whites predominating.

Classy outdoor area by the pool in coastal home

Mid-century Modern

Midcentury modern interior design is characterized by its clean lines, minimalist approach, organic shapes, and high functionality. This style is often seen in homes from the 1950s and 1960s, as it was popular during that period. The main materials used in midcentury modern design are wood, metal and plastic, with furniture typically being sleek and streamlined. The color palette is usually neutral, with pops of bright colors being used for accents.

Midcentury interior design style

Industrial

Industrial interior design is all about creating a space that is both functional and stylish. It draws its inspiration from warehouses and factories, with main materials such as metal, exposed brick, wood, and concrete as well as salvaged and recycled materials. Furniture is usually hard-wearing, with a focus on comfort. Industrial design is typically defined by a monochromatic color palette, with shades of gray, black, and white being the most used hues. However, any colors that are found in brickwork, natural wood tones, or concrete will also fit well into an industrial-style home. Red and orange are popular accent colors for accessories and decor items.

Industrial bedroom, bed with black matress and a wall with natural brick colors

Eclectic

Eclectic interior design relies on elements such as balance, rhythm, and proportion and scale. It is all about mixing and matching disparate styles to create a space that is unique and personal. This style allows homeowners to express their individual tastes. The main materials used in eclectic design are wood, metal, glass, and plastic, with furniture being sourced from a variety of places. The color palette is usually bright and vibrant, with neutrals and vivacious hues mixed in.

Eclectic interior design style

Bohemian

Bohemian interior design is unconventional and free-spirited, it’s all about creating a space that is relaxed and comfortable. It draws its inspiration from the carefree lifestyle of the bohemian culture, with main materials such as wood, fabric, and plants being used extensively. Boho design is a blend of things from many different cultures. It’s the antithesis of minimalistic, contemporary, and polished in every way imaginable. “More is more” is an important element of Boho design. Each piece of furniture should be unique and have a story behind it. Second-hand and vintage items are a perfect choice. The colors used are typically light and airy, with a combination of both muted and vibrant shades.

Bohemian interior design style

Minimalist

Minimalist interior design is defined by its clean lines, simplicity, and functionality. This style is often seen in homes, as it creates a space that is both stylish and comfortable. The main materials used in minimalist design are wood, metal and glass, with furniture typically being sleek and streamlined. The color palette is usually neutral, with pops of bright colors being used for accents.

Minimalist interior design

Nordic

Nordic interior design is all about creating a warm and inviting space. It draws inspiration from the cold climate of Nordic countries, with common materials including wood, wool, and fur. Furniture is usually simple and functional, with a focus on comfort. The color palette is typically light and airy, headed by whites, grays, and muted tones with soft contrasts.

Nordic style interior design

Mediterranean

Mediterranean interior design is all about creating a space that emulates the summer, sun, and sea. It draws its inspiration from the Mediterranean countries’ sunny climate, with stone, tile, and stucco used frequently as main materials. Furniture is usually simple and comfortable, with a focus on functionality. The color palette is fresh and cheerful, with a natural and serene aesthetic of white and blue tones.

Beautiful classy breakfast room

Rustic

Blending cozy comfort with stylish design, rustic interiors often incorporate large windows to bring the outdoors in. This style draws its inspiration from the countryside, with main materials such as unprocessed wood, heavy stone, and real brick. Jute, burlap, and canvas are popular textiles used in rugs and other accent pieces throughout the home. Furniture is often very large and is meant to look comfortable and inviting. The colors in this palette draw inspiration from nature during the autumn, including the deep green of leaves, fiery orange sunsets, and rich brown mud.

Rustic interior design style

Wabi Sabi

Wabi-sabi is a Japanese interior design philosophy that emphasizes the beauty of imperfection. “Wabi” embodies rustic simplicity, understated elegance, freshness, and stillness. On the other hand, “Sabi” is the beauty and serenity that comes with age when an object’s life becomes evident through its wear and tear. This style offers a sense of peace and calm in our daily lives by creating a serene atmosphere. The main materials used in wabi-sabi design are wood, paper and bamboo, with furniture typically being simple and understated. Rather than being hidden, cracks in walls or objects show the wear and tear of time. The wabi-sabi’s color palette inspiration comes from nature, with a focus on creating tranquil and harmonious spaces that feel natural and warm. The colors in the palette–beige, brown, warm gray, sage green, and muted pastel hues–create a feeling of tranquility.

Wabi sabi interior design style

Most popular interior design styles in Miami

Not only is Miami home to beautiful beaches and excellent weather, but it’s also known for its Art Deco architecture, designer fashions, and nightclubs. Interior design in Miami has been heavily influenced by the city’s vibrant culture and tropical climate. Modern, contemporary, and eclectic are the most popular styles, with a striking white color palette punctuated by bright pieces of furniture and decor. Furniture is usually simple and functional, with a focus on comfort. Common materials used in Miami interior design include wood, ratan, metal, glass, and stone.

Beautiful outdoor area by the pool in huge coastal home

Thank you for reading!

Let us help you create your personal sanctuary. After all, you deserve the very best.

Kathryn Interiors is a Miami’s Award-Winning, Full-Service Interior Design Studio.

 

Hi, I'm Kathy!

Hi, I'm Kathy!

I am an expert color consultant with over 30 years of experience in interior and fashion design. I help both residential and commercial clients create unique looks for their homes and businesses.
Clients often come to me seeking sharp attention to detail, reliable work, and an excellent sense of design--all of which I pride myself on delivering.

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