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Finding Your Design Style

By Rachel

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Last Updated on November 6, 2021 by Rachel Granholm

Once, someone asked me about my design style and I didn’t really know how to answer. I’m here to help you on finding your design style!

Until I really took some time to learn about all the different design styles, I didn’t really know I had one. In fact, you can have a blend of different styles that makes for an original, cohesive look in your home. The guide below will hopefully help you hash out the styles that you are drawn to, how they differ from one another, the materials and color palettes, and the type of decor that works well with each. Hopefully this encourages you on finding your design style.

Types of Design Styles

  1. Modern
    This is a fairly broad term that refers to a home that has crisp, clean lines, infuses simple colors and uses materials such as metal, glass, and steel. There is not a lot of clutter or accessories involved in modern design because it is very simplistic. Minimalism is often an underlying focus here.
  2. Contemporary
    This design is fluid and can adapt with less adherence to one particular style. Because of its very nature, contemporary design is ever changing. Contemporary and modern are two styles that are typically used interchangeably. Contemporary differs from modern design because it pulls design from the present; what is popular and trendy here and now.
  3. Minimalist
    The minimalist style takes modern design but simplifies it further. Colors used in this style are neutral with an airy feel. Furnishings are simple and nothing is excessive or cluttered. Minimalism design style is defined by function and clean lines.
  4. Industrial
    This style picks up inspiration from urban architecture, warehouses, or even factories in some cases. There is a feeling of rawness, many times using exposed duct work, brick, and wood as statement pieces. Imagine tall ceilings, old timber or metal and dangling light fixtures with Edison bulbs. The furniture used in industrial design is typically extremely functional, with every piece having a specific purpose. Sometimes, a large piece of artwork or photography may be used to add color to an otherwise neutral space.
  5. Mid-Century Modern
    This style is a throwback to the design style from the mid-1900’s, primarily the 1950’s and 1960’s. There is a retro feel and a nostalgic presence in this style. Function is the main theme for this design style and incorporates some minimalistic elements. It puts importance on natural and organic shapes, such as the egg-shaped chair. The designs in this style are easy to use because they are contemporary in nature while also incorporating the use of simple fabrics.
  6. Scandinavian
    Here we have a design that pays respect to the simplistic life shown in the Nordic countries. Scandinavian furniture may look and feel like a work of art even though it is understated and clean. The furniture is functional while still containing interesting lines, almost like a sculpture. Other characteristics include using all white and integrating natural elements such as form-pressed wood, bright plastic, steel, enameled aluminum, and wide plank flooring. Pops of color in Scandinavian design comes from artwork, throws or pillows, simple decor such as a vase, or lighting.
  7. Traditional
    This style, rooted in European taste, imbues classic details, lavish furniture, and a plethora of accessories. Traditional homes feature dark woods, rich colors, and a variety of textures. Furnishings in the traditional style are fancy and ornate, using textiles such as velvet, silk, and brocade. The Traditional style infuses depth, layering and dimension.
  8. Transitional
    Transitional style is popular because it uses elements from both traditional and modern design but not feeling too much of one style over another. There is an appeal that is unexpected yet balanced. This style blends modern materials such as glass and steel with plush furniture and decor. It includes neutral colors which creates a comfortable space that is relaxed and inviting.
  9. French Country
    This style uses warm colors such as red, yellow, and gold and includes elements such as stone and brick. French Country design is ornate, incorporating porcelain dishes and heavy linens.
  10. Bohemian
    Bohemian design takes on a carefree feel with few rules, only to follow what your heart desires. This design style might include vintage finds such as furniture or light fixtures, globally influenced rugs or textiles, displays of collections and pieces found at flea markets or on travels. You can pair glam with mid-century modern and a vintage rug and it works because it is an eclectic style where anything goes!
  11. Rustic
    Rustic design pulls inspiration from nature by using many elements of raw wood and stone. This design imbues a lot of warmth by featuring exposed, unfinished beams on the ceiling and natural or reclaimed hardwood floors. Many individuals today mix rustic elements with modern furnishings and decor.
  12. Shabby Chic
    This style is a mix of rustic and vintage while also being feminine and delicate. The furniture used in this style tends to look weathered or distressed, giving it an antique appearance. Colors in this style include whites, creams, and pastels.
  13. Hollywood Glam
    This is a design style that looks and feels over-the-top, posh and ritzy. It is a statement-making style and is quite dramatic. This design pulls inspiration from Victorian design including velvet and tufting in the furnishings. Bold colors are used in this style, such as bright pinks, reds, and turquoise.
  14. Coastal
    Coastal design is inspired by the ocean with a light and airy feel, including light hues of blues and greens. Furniture is typically white or beige with home accessories pulling in raw wood elements. This style can also feature blue and white stripes on pillows or curtains, large windows, and white wood. It is has a relaxed and easy feeling, letting the sea breeze flow throughout the home!

Design In Your Home

Phew! That was lengthy but I hope it gives you a great overview of each design style and I hope that you find it helpful in solidifying your style. At the very least I hope it points you in the right direction. I find that it’s useful to have a sense of your style when looking for antiques too because it helps you to get inspiration for what your space could look like. Finding your design style is a journey. It takes time but that’s part of the fun so don’t get discouraged if you don’t know right away.

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Let me know in the comments below what your design style(s) is!

Looking for more inspiration? Check out more home decor posts here!

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Rachel from The Antiqued Journey blog

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