Trends come and go, but the best interior design styles are here for the long haul. We love championing interiors with wildly different aestheticsat House Beautiful, and we’re always on the hunt for something new. But to put design in perspective, it’s always good to have a grasp of the basics. From midcentury modern and regency to coastal, interior design styles offer a point of identification for a space—and an easy way to define your own style. But don’t feel like you have to fit into one mold: If these designer examples prove anything, it’s that set styles are meant to be riffed on. Because after all, the best design style is your own. Ahead, discover the main types of interior design styles you should know.
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Though it’s recently become a catchall term for anything 20th-century, midcentury modernism refers to modern design from the middle of the 20th century (generally the mid-1940s to early 1970s). Though Frank Lloyd Wright created his own signature style of organic modernism, in this restored prefab house of his design several classic midcentury modern details are apparent: warm wood paneling, brown bathroom tiles, and chrome plumbing. Japanese influence—as seen by the folding screen atop the bed—was also prominent in American midcentury modernism.
Not to be confused with Industrial Design, which refers to work made for industrial purposes, Neo-Industrial, or Industrial-style interior design borrows elements of industrial architecture—like the concrete walls, steel details, and spartan windows in this home by Kathleen McCormick —for use in residential interiors.
Spaces that bridge the gap between modern and traditional—like this kitchen by Toledo Geller—are dubbed transitional. Here, the designers pair classic elements like herringbone floors and Shaker-style cabinets with modern lines on the hood and a fresh, white takes on the iconic Thonet chair.
Studio B’s Betsy Wentz, henceforth, proves there’s also a modern way to do maximalism. In her own Pennsylvania home, the designer incorporated bold color and patterned textiles with the stream lines and horizontal silhouettes associated with modernism.
With an eye towards functional simplicity and elements of Shaker and Colonial design, Farmhouse style “suggests a more humble, vernacular interpretation of American historical styles from the 18th and 19th centuries—whether they be Colonial, Greek Revival, or Victorian,” explains architect Gil Schafer, who designed this kitchen.
Since minimalism often means doing more with less, you’ll often notice the importance of light and contrast in minimalist spaces, like this one by Robson Rak.
For a home on the water in Jamaica, Ishka Designs substituted more graphic contrast for organic elements like wood grain to complement the location while not outshining the view. The result is a combination of organic modern and organic minimalism.
A close relative of maximalism, eclectic design features elements from various styles, periods, and places brought together for a unique space. In Ariene Bethea’s Charlotte home, for example, African textiles, Asian and American art, and contemporary furniture all blend for a personal oasis.
For her decoration of Emily Schuman’s Los Angeles home, designer Katie Hodges looked to stylistic influences from the 1970s, updating them with a minimal backdrop for a fresh take. Standouts include the brown color scheme, oversized bouclé armchair, and the Caprani floor lamp, a 1970s design by Mads Caprani that’s gained newfound popularity in the Instagram era.
Ever since Nancy Lancaster took the reins at Colefax & Fowler, Americans have been obsessed with the English Country House look. The style combines several elements of traditional British country houses, like floral wallpaper, rough-hewn wood, copper pots, and brick floors, and translates it for modern use, like Shavonda Gardner did in her kitchen here.
With roots tracing back to 1920s Europe, Art Deco prioritizes geometric forms and intricate decoration paired with luxe materials like lacquer, mirrored glass, and marble. Modern interpretations, like this hall by Nick Olsen, reinterpret those motifs with contemporary colors.
With rough-hewn wood board siding, exposed beams, textural fabrics, and minimal decoration, this Montana home by Kylee Shintaffer is a case study in rustic design.
Modern Farmhouse style interprets its traditional cousin but simplifies shapes and often incorporates midcentury and industrial elements, like in this kitchen by Alyssa Rosenheck. A more minimal color palette is also common.
It’s all about unpretentious coziness and lots of texture when it comes to Shabby Chic style. Here, Leanne Ford blends rustic and organic elements with imperfections (wrinkled linens and chipped paint) that make the space more inviting.
With sleek, often minimal elements, bespoke furniture, and high tech details (like this bedroom by Catherine Kwong), Contemporary interiors are more streamlined than modernist ones and more textural than minimal ones.
Tall-backed chairs, crystal chandeliers, and ornate gilded mirrors in this dining room by Sasha Bikoff are all callbacks to the Regency style.
Inspired by sandy beaches and blue waves, Coastal style incorporates bright colors, organic (often whitewashed) textures, and summery details, like wicker and rattan, as seen in this beach home by Jess Weeth.
First coined by House Beautiful in 2019, Grandmillennial is a term used to describe a young design lover passionate about revisiting old-school classics, like chintz, trellis, wicker, chinoiserie, allover pattern, and trellis, all seen in this room by Amy Berry.
Started by Italian designer Ettore Sottsass, the Memphis Design movement was a colorful, playful brand of postmodernism designed by a creative group of the same name. Today, it’s often referenced with vintage Sottsass pieces—like the now-iconic Ultrafragiola mirror or the Carlton bookcase—or nods to the group in graphic patterns, bold colors, and square tiles, like in this bathroom by Courtnay Tartt Elias.
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