Types of interior design
The 7 elements of interior design explainedIf you understand the elements of interior design, you can craft any space to make it your own. Here are seven key elements to bear in mind as you build a cohesive space.
- Texture refers to how something feels. You can use texture in your design through textiles like rugs or wall hangings.
- Space refers to the layout of the objects in a room. Generally, you can aim for a 50/50 balance of furnishings and empty space to avoid clutter.
- Pattern refers to patterned materials like floral wallpaper as well as repeating elements among a room's objects.
- Light is controlled with tools such as drapery and lighting fixtures so you can properly illuminate your space.
- Form is the shape of a room or any objects in it. It can range from sharp geometric shapes to curved organic shapes.
- Line is an element that adds structure to a room. For example, an accent chair or a bookcase adds horizontal lines.
- Color is everywhere in a room. Most spaces stick to neutrals and use features such as an accent wall or statement furniture to add color to their interior.
5 trending interior design styles for 2024With so many popular interior design styles to choose from, it might seem hard to know what’s on trend. But there are certainly some types of interior design that are having a moment. Here are the top trending styles we’re seeing in 2024.
1. BohemianBohemian style, often shortened as “boho,” pulls together a variety of textures and patterns to create an effortless look. While boho interiors mix bold patterns, they’re grounded by key neutrals with simple pops of color. There’s a lot of texture in boho style, often using materials like rattan which adds a unique look that doesn’t clash with bold patterns.
- Interior design origin: 19th-century France
- Interior design history: This interior style was started by French artists — also known as bohemians — who valued creativity over luxury.
- Key interior design elements: Texture, pattern
2. MaximalistAfter years of minimalism and hygge reigning supreme, it should be no surprise that homeowners are now embracing the opposite end of the interior design spectrum: Maximalism. These interiors are typically full of statement pieces that are tied together with a broad theme or motif. It can be tricky to pull together so many different colors and contrasts, but the result creates an incredibly interesting space.
- Interior design origin: 2020s, international
- Interior design history: Pushing back against minimalism, maximalism gained traction on social media
- Key interior design elements: Pattern, texture, color, form
3. CottageCottage interiors combine classic and rustic features to evoke a simpler time, making this style perfect for a second home. Features like wood furnishings and natural stone help pull cottage spaces together, but you can transform any space into a cottage with details like handmade textiles or vintage furniture.
- Interior design origin: 18th-century Germany
- Interior design history: This style is very traditional and calls back to historic German farmland, appealing to anyone who wants a traditional-feeling space.
- Key interior design elements: Light, texture
4. Mid-Century ModernMid-Century Modern design is characterized by its mix of lines and soft forms. It shows what people thought the future would look like, making this a timeless choice.Choose bold Mid-Century Modern furniture and blend another type of interior design into your decor to keep the perfect balance of old and new.
- Interior design origin: 1950s United States
- Interior design history: Although this style has been around since the 50s, Cara Greenberg was the first to name it Mid-Century Modern in her 1984 book, “Mid-Century Modern: Furniture of the 1950's.”
- Key interior design elements: Form, pattern, line
5. OrganicOrganic interior design is very dependent on form. It’s characterized by a light neutral color scheme, natural decor and soft edges. These spaces use these elements to create an open and airy space.Though organic rooms are often bright, they’re not overwhelming. This is because beige and cream tones are favored over bright white colors. Working in lots of plants via biophilic design is another way organic design can be more grounded.
- Interior design origin: 1930s United States
- Interior design history: Organic design’s popularity is often credited to architect Frank Lloyd Wright, whose signature style integrated natural elements into his structures.
- Key interior design elements: Form, space, light, color
More types of interior designTrends come and go, but finding an interior design style that suits your personal taste and stands the test of time is key to feeling comfortable in your space. Here are some other styles to consider in your home or second home.
6. CoastalCoastal style is a popular choice for, well, coastal or waterfront properties, as it brings the beachy atmosphere inside. Use features like sheer curtains and pops of light blue to keep your space feeling light and flowy.The key here is to lean into aquatic-themed decor so you always feel the same peace of lounging by the waves, even if the sand’s not right on your doorstep.
- Interior design origin: Unknown
- Interior design history: Coastal design is one of the oldest interior design styles. Its origin is hard to pin down, as it’s developed from many sub-styles of worldwide coastal regions.
- Key interior design elements: Space, color, light
7. Art decoArt deco is characterized by its use of geometric patterns, jewel tones and accentuating lines. It’s common to fill the space with many statement pieces by using their similar patterns to tie an interior together.Another distinctive feature is interesting lighting like geometric chandeliers or floor lamps. While many interiors are colorful, they’ll usually stick to just one contrasting color to keep the color from overwhelming the space.
- Interior design origin: 1910s France
- Interior design history: Though art deco design reached its popularity peak in the United States in the 1930s, it originated in France a little earlier.
- Key Interior design elements: Pattern, line, color
8. MinimalistThis type of interior design is characterized by bright spaces, simple decor and open concept interiors. Usually, these interiors are mostly white to maintain a clean look.The minimalist style is about keeping things simple, so less is truly more. Your space doesn’t need to be completely devoid of decor, but it shouldn’t feel cluttered. Focus on creating clean lines so there’s nothing to distract you from your peace.
- Interior design origin: 1950s Germany and United States
- Interior design history: Many consider minimalism to have evolved from the utility of Bauhaus design but with pared-down decoration.
- Key interior design elements: Space, line, light
9. ModernModern interior design has a lot of similarities to minimalism, but it typically features more decor and pops of color. It still has the clean, bright feel of a minimalist space, but the inclusion of some more decor can help it feel more like home for people who aren't ready to commit to a minimalist lifestyle.Still, modern design focuses on clean lines, and your decor should be carefully selected to create interest without overwhelming your interior.
- Interior design origin: 1950s United States
- Interior design history: Modern design evolved at the same time as Mid-Century Modern but it takes inspiration from minimalism instead of art deco.
- Key interior design elements: Line, space, color
10. TraditionalThe traditional interior design style has remained popular for centuries. It draws inspiration from European elements such as rich textiles and carved wood. Many home design elements that come from traditional interior design — like crown molding — are desirable for any homeowner.These interiors feature an array of textures, from grand window furnishings to detailed woodwork. Choose furniture that showcases wood grain in rich tones to keep this style feeling cozy and personal.
- Interior design origin: 18th-century England
- Interior design history: Traditional interiors descend from 18th-century home design and have clear influences from colonial design as well. This design style is highly stylized and showcases natural materials and craftsmanship.
- Key interior design elements: Texture, form
11. TransitionalTransitional interior design warms up modern design with its traditional influences. Spaces like this typically feature traditional style furniture. Then, the style is elevated with modern touches like geometric lamps or a gallery wall.Transitional interiors often use neutral tones and muted color palettes.
- Interior design origin: 1950s Germany and Scandinavia
- Interior design history: Transitional style developed around the same time as modern and Mid-Century Modern styles as another interpretation of the contemporary interior design style.
- Key interior design elements: Texture, line
12. French countryFrench country interior design combines rococo and rustic design, which were the two most popular styles from 17th- and 18th-century France. Rococo design features pastels for a lighthearted extravagance, while rustic design features lots of dark wood and rich furnishings like furs.As a result, French country is known for its mix of dark wood furnishings and pastel textiles. You’ll often see delicate patterns, such as florals contrasted against darker furnished features.
- Interior design origin: 18th-century France
- Interior design history: French country combines rococo and rustic styles to create an elegant interior style that still feels cozy.
- Key interior design elements: Color, texture
13. ScandinavianScandinavian interior design style has its roots throughout Scandinavia but is usually attributed to the Danish Selskabet for Dekorativ Kunst — or the Danish Company for Decorative Arts.Scandinavian style is a twist on modern design that adds some organic elements. This interior type departs from the elements that can make the modern style feel sterile to some people.Liven up your Scandinavian space by integrating natural materials like rattan and rich textures like a faux fur throw. Another key feature of Scandinavian design is its use of color; muted colors like mauves and olive greens are common.
- Interior design origin: 1910s Denmark
- Interior design history: What’s now known as Scandinavian interior design was first featured in the 1914 Danish magazine titled “Skønvirke,” which translates to “graceful work.”
- Key interior design elements: Color, texture, line
14. IndustrialIndustrial design is characterized by exposed wood, brick and metal elements with little color. It works well in open or lofted spaces with large windows and lots of natural light.Industrial design mixes a vintage and modern feel. Its furniture and accessories typically have modern shapes but vintage-feeling materials like unpolished metal or raw wood.
- Interior design origin: 1920s Germany
- Interior design history: Industrial interior design also has its roots in the Bauhaus movement, but it was solidified as its own style later in 1944 with the founding of the Society of Industrial Designers.
- Key interior design elements: Line, texture
15. EclecticEclectic design refers to spaces that take influence from multiple design styles. While it originally referred to combining more traditional styles, many people add modern touches to their eclectic designs.Eclectic interior design is all about building your ideal space, so feel free to play around and choose your favorite characteristics of multiple styles to decorate your interior.
- Interior design origin: 19th-century France
- Interior design history: While eclectic design doesn't have a clear origin, it became popular at the end of the 19th century because of the widespread appeal of combining traditional interior design styles.
- Key interior design elements: Texture, pattern, color
16. Modern farmhouseAs the name suggests, modern farmhouse style combines elements from both the cottage and modern styles. It brings all of the traditional comfort and coziness and adds a modern twist, integrating clean lined and a bright feel.This style bridges the gap for people who find modern design too clinical and farmhouse design too traditional for their tastes.
- Interior design origin: 2010s United States
- Interior design history: While versions of modern farmhouse style have been around since the 2000s, one of the first mentions of this style is from a 2016 New York Times article. After this was published, the modern farmhouse style shot to popularity and it remains popular today.
- Key interior design elements: Texture, form, line