What are the major interior design styles in use today, and into 2022?
Need a guide to the styles most frequently referenced by architects and designers?
Look no further.
In this post we are going to give you an ultimate list of 30 of the biggest interior design styles across the traditional-modern spectrum.
This is a visual reference of the most common interior design styles as agreed upon by sources across popular media.
The best part? The reference images are mood boards!
In a hurry?
All of the major interior design and decorating styles in one place!
Hunting Down the Most Common Interior Design Styles
Have you ever wished you had a cheat sheet for interior design styles?
I know I have.
I haven’t been able to find the depth of information I want for style reference easily enough, and so I set about creating my own.
“Ultimate” lists of decorating styles are common on the web, but here I have tried to do something different.
Rather than give you one image for each style, my approach here is to use style “mood” boards to give you a sampling of rooms in each of the major interior design and decorating styles.
This way you can preview multiple examples of a style, which can help you get a feel for the overall look without getting stuck on one example which might not be a perfect example.
Let’s just say it’s a little bit more scientific.
On Mood Boards
It’s not just a cliche.
As a designer I create mood boards for just about everything.
Even stuff not related to interior design.
It’s a simple way to categorize items visually and save them for easy reference.
I am happy to share my interior design style research and style collections with you here.
How to use this interior design style reference
Each interior design style mood board below comprises anywhere between six and twelve images.
I’ve done my best to make sure that a fair bit of variety is represented within the style to give the most well-rounded impression.
On first glance it might seem overwhelming to take in so much information at once.
The idea here is to look for the similarities between examples and pick up on common threads and elements.
It’s also helpful just to give you the basic feel or vibe of a style.
Having all the styles in one place also makes it easy to compare styles and spot the major differences between them.
The pictures speak for themselves, but I will add some basic commentary about the style.
In the future I hope to publish a basic guide for each style.
Watch this space, and please enjoy!
The 30 Major Interior Design Styles of 2021-22
An earlier article on these same 30 design styles with outbound links to helpful websites is provided below:
If you are interested in knowing how to categorize styles according to their modern and traditional design elements, the following series of articles might be helpful as well:
All images are kindly referenced for educational and style discussion purposes only. All boards were created by the author.
30 Interior Design Styles Mega List A-Z
- Art Deco Style
- Asian Zen Style
- Biophilic Design
- Bohemian Style
- Chalet Style
- Coastal Style
- Colonial Style
- Contemporary Style
- Eclectic Style
- Ethnic Modern Style
- French Parisian Style
- Glamorous (Luxe) Style
- Global Style
- Gothic Revival Style
- Hollywood Regency Style
- Industrial Style
- Italian Modern Style
- Japandi Style
- Mid-Century Modern Style
- Minimalist Style
- Modern Classical Style
- Modern Farmhouse Style
- Organic Modern Style
- Period Styles
- Rustic (Country) Styles
- Scandinavian Style
- Traditional Style
- Transitional Style
- Vintage (Shabby Chic) Style
1. Art Deco Style
If you watched the Great Gatsby or Titanic and appreciated the interior architecture and overall design style of those movies, you are a lover of Art Deco.
Coming out of an age of heavier ornamentation, there’s not a lot not to love in this early modern style.
2. Asian Zen Style
An ambiguous name for an ambigous style (Chinese and Japanese architectural elements and features are fairly distinct from one another), all most of us can tell is that there are some strong Oriental influences going on in rooms of this design ‘style’.
With inspiration drawn from traditional Japanese and Chinese interior architecture and often combined when applied to interiors outside of the Asian Pacific rim, this is a style which is enduring because of its innate serenity and harmonious elements.
3. Biophilic Design
This is not actually a design ‘style‘ as far as I strict classification goes, but hey, it could (and probably should) be!
Biophilic design is a philosophy of design incorporating sustainablity, eco-friendliness and natural elements, and thus, it could theoretically apply to any interior design ‘style’.
While it doesn’t only apply to having more greenery in a space, plants look equally great in an old Victorian home or in an uber modern one.
4. Bohemian Style
Bohemian style is probably the easiest style to get right.
Throw in enough pattern and don’t shy away from color and you’re looking pretty Boho already.
Bohemian interiors are never afraid to experiment with or to blend vastly different elements together into a cohesive scheme.
The motto will always be to let your free spirit reign in an interior like this, and besides, what could be more comfortable and inviting than soft furnishings galore in a setting that seems timeless in its familiarity?
5. Chalet Style
This style is so architecturally heavy that it almost doesn’t matter how much the decor disagrees with the architectural shell, its rustic ‘bones‘ are still going to come through to ultimately dominate the scheme.
Your choices are:
a) Traditionally inspired furniture (very vintage looking)
b) Super modern furniture as a contrast (very fresh looking)
c) A mix of the two, or some middle-of the road, transitional, ‘modern-yet-rustic‘ arrangement (tasteful, but not overly unique or dramatic)
An industrial vibe could work with this style quite well, too, as is evidenced in the far bottom right interior in our board above.
6. Coastal Style
Coastal style at its roots has a traditional seaside vibe to it.
Think of old English seaside towns or beach towns in Maine, New England.
In more recent times it has become a staple style of modernists from Cape Town to L.A. and Sydney.
Here it is depicted in its more historical context.
The main idea with coastal interiors is that they complement the natural land and seascape.
Thus, they should not compete (too much) with the view!
7. Colonial Style
Another broad and slightly ambiguous style term, Colonial can mean many things, depending on your geographical location.
Even as the sun never set on the British flag, it never set on variations of British, French, Portuguese and Spanish architecture exported abroad.
Foreign lands boasting colonial influences lie as far afield from one another as Cuba, Argentina, Macau, South Africa, India, Australia and Tahiti.
8. Contemporary Style
Contemporary style is any style that is fairly well known or in vogue and of the now.
Obviously not every room in 2021 is actually contemporary style since there may be many other elements in present day spaces that do not fall in line with a very current room.
This is an interior that keeps up with fashions, and fashions are always about tomorrow.
Did I say of the now?
These days contemporary interiors are probably always about what’s next.
9. Eclectic Style
Eclectic style is supposed to confuse you as to what style it actually is, because that’s its job.
It is not supposed to define any particular style perfectly.
Eclectic style, instead, is a happy amalgamation of varying styles upon which have been enforced a type of harmony.
Eclectic can be deliberate, but it is often accidental or even circumstantial.
It happens to make up the largest category of style types, simply because it is not always a ‘designed‘ or intentional style.
If you’re confused, you’re not alone.
So is eclectic.
10. Ethnic Modern Style
Ethnic modern is a beautifully lively and livable type of modern.
Incorporating strong pattern and bold use of color against what is often a stark white background gives the cultural elements and the artwork a real ‘pop’.
This style is welcoming, grounding and deeply centered on human expression throught the arts.
11. French Parisian Style
The classical architectural features that give apartments in Paris their cultured vibe make for an elegant backdrop.
Whether the furniture is classical, transitional or pure modern, the style is always slightly restrained (so, not overly decorated) and usually employs a muted color palette.
The room’s “shell” is often a neutral color or white.
Furniture selection choices are streamlined, and even whimsical, but the arrangements always on point.
The French have a wonderful aesthetic sense and their interiors tend to give off an effortlessly elegant vibe.
Many of these rooms can be considered to be eclectic, transitional or simply modern classics.
12. Glamorous (Luxe) Style
Glamorous or Luxury style is more of a central stylistic theme or a modifier to a style than a pure decorating style.
What I mean by this is that it can be applied to a range of interior types from traditional through eclectic and modern.
-The glamorous aspect can be another layer to an already established style, or it might, in fact, be the overarching feature in the design.
-Thus, we might have a Hollywood Regency style become Hollywood Glam, or perhaps the style is a different sort of fusion, such as Neo-traditional Glam or Contemporary Glam.
-Glamorous or luxury interiors are often classic styles, but just as often they are transitional or pure modern.
-Glamorous style is seen often in high end hospitality interiors.
This ‘style’ is all about expensive finishes, ostentatious choices in decor, and rich, soft furnishings.
A luxury room should feel as though no expense has been spared, but in order not to seem too excessive, some modesty and restraint is advised to achieve a tasteful effect.
13. Global Style
Have you ever found yourself envying those world travellers you’ve seen on your instagram feed?
We all know that traveling has been much harder to do of late.
Even so, you can pretty safely bet that this style is going to see a comeback in some form in the near future!
Global style is closely related to Bohemian style in its overall vibe. It is considered an eclectic style, meaning that it draws from multiple inspirations, including those of different time periods.
The focus with a Global Style interior should be to incorporate as much diversity and interest as possible from style sources of different cultures.
Often times fans of this style collect art work, sculptural pieces and even furniture over time.
Each piece tells its own unique story and adds to the happy, colorful cacophony of elements.
This style can be incredibly warm and welcoming when done right.
You’ll feel more cultured just sitting in a Global Style living room, and there will always be endless conversation pieces to keep the company lively.
14. Gothic Revival Style
As a revival style, Gothic Revival is a style which is inspired and often recreated from history.
The Gothic period of architecture is best remembered for its cathedrals (Notre Dame and La Sagrada Familia are two examples of Gothic cathedrals).
The style is complex and filled with decorative detail.
The mood tends to be dark. Something we can expect from a style which got its start in the Dark Ages in Europe.
It would be hard to have a truly Gothic style without adding a lot of architectural elements. True Gothic architecture would be hard to cover up!
As an interior style, fans of Gothic architecture may try to mimic architectural elements and focus on strong millwork and built-in cabinetry as well as furniture that represents the style.
Much of this would have to be custom designed by talented craftspersons to achieve realistic results.
Australian “Gladiator” star Gerard Butler worked with a designer to create a New York loft which uses elements of Gothic style, mostly furniture. The interior also includes classical and rustic features, ornamental pillars, beams, arches and “antiqued” style elements.
15. Hollywood Regency Style
Just hang a picture of Marilyn and you’re good to go, right?
Old world celebrity portraits do have a solid place in Hollywood Regency style, but there are other important features, as well.
The style began with designs for the mansions of American movie stars who were enamored with Hollywood film sets depicting the glamor and style of classical Europe.
Combining elements in a new and fresher way, the style is bold, dramatic and thoroughly American vintage.
Look for bold, geometric patterns on floors, walls and even ceilings, jewel tones, classic furniture and glamorous decor in generous scale.
16. Industrial Style
Industrial style is what we get when we embrace the rustic architectural envelope of a previously commercial or industrial building.
For this style to give the right impression, the walls and celings should be left mostly untreated. Exposed brick is a common backdrop to the style.
Industrial salvage and retro or vintage pieces are common in industrial style interiors.
As this style grew in popularity, so did more furniture and decor find its way into the market that offer the industrial aesthetic.
Industrial features and fixtures are commonly made of metal and are untreated, unfinished or matte.
They tend to be sturdy and give off a hardy, masculine vibe.
Today industrial elements are frequently seen in the modern farmhouse aesthetic.
17. Italian Modern Style
Italian Modern is also sometimes called Italian “Mode”.
The style tends to incorporate chunky, modern Italian furniture pieces into classically inspired or modern rooms.
Furniture which is characteristically Italian mode bears vague similarities to earlier Italian classical styles.
Modern Italian furniture can also tend to be bold and make a strong statement.
For good examples of Italian modern interiors, have a look at some B&B Italia catalogues and get some serious design inspiration.
18. Japandi Style
In the early part of the 10s decade if someone had asked you what Japandi style was, you would have met the question with a very confused look.
Japandi, which is a blend between traditional Japanese design and the ever-popular Scandinavian style, only made its first blips on the design world’s radar in 2007.
By the end of 2011 it had largely disappeared from popular consciousness, only to come back in full force in 2020 when most of the world was stuck at home and browsing the web for new, fresh styles.
The two styles which make up this fusion style share a lot of similar guiding principles, such as the use of natural elements and simplicity.
Where Japanese design can seem too austere for Westerners, the Scandinavian focus on comfort, warmth and atmosphere adds that little extra.
This is a style marriage made in Heaven!
There’s not a whole lot more to know about Maximalism than that it is fully maxxed out in every way.
There are many ways to create a maximalist interior, but they always involve the design mantra that “more is more“.
Maximalism may seem like a nightmare to proponents of the opposing style compass point minimalism, but there is room for all styles in broad spectrum of design styles.
One thing to remember: Maximalism shouldn’t equal unnecessary clutter.
If you are going for this style it makes sense to work in layers, and mood boards are your best friend while planning to help you make sure all the loose ends come together.
Maximalist interiors should still be carefully curated.
Good examples of the style come from designers such as Martyn Lawrence Bullard and Kelly Wearstler. This is a good place to explore fantasy styles.
My personal favorite? Jungalow style as made popular by designer Justina Blakeney.
20. Mid-Century Modern Style
The most important thing to know about mid century modern style is that it is iconic.
It’s enough to know that many of the furniture items invented at this time (50s-60s) were first created by some of the foremost founders of modern architecture.
Many of these pieces continue to be produced under license, while the originals fetch a pretty penny, even though they are not yet antiques!
Mid century modern is classic ‘modern vintage’ and has a large following of people who collect and furnish in the style.
Accessible, sophisticated and with an emphasis on material and ergonomics, it’s not hard to see why it’s so popular!
It’s an easy style to decorate in, and it’s a largely appealing style across the board.
21. Minimalist Style
The best thing to do with minamalism is to simply let it speak for itself.
There’s something sacred about empty space.
It present possibility and is ‘untainted’ by clutter and accessories.
Whether this style is for you or whether you give it a hard pass comes down to your personality and learned preferences.
Many people who embrace minamalism are people who wish to embrace a simpler, almost zen type of lifestyle.
Often these people are introverts looking for a respite from the noise of life.
Visual noise comes in the form of too much clutter and ‘stuff’. Minamalism requires mindfulness as everything that is on display is very carefully chosen.
So much so that furnishings can read as artwork.
Whether you love or hate this “extreme” style, it’s easy to see how it strikes a chord with those who are less ‘worldly’ and possibly slightly more esoteric when it comes to their design choices.
22. Modern Classical Style
Updated classical style is what ‘modern classical’ style is supposed to be all about.
The big question is how it’s different from eclectic (which is a possibly broader classification) and transitional.
Since I don’t have a good answer for this question at present, I will go with saying that modern classical is an almost perfectly eclectic style and that it is sometimes transitional.
This will likely be the first style to give way to a new one on my list.
Tell me something about modern classical to help change my mind.
It’s definitely pretty.
23. Modern Farmhouse Style
This style is a lot like Shania Twain in the late nineties.
Modern Farmhouse broke the mould when it became popular because country hadn’t had a moment in interior design fashion in awhile.
Then it was overplayed and everyone got sick of it.
As tends to happen with styles, modern farmhouse got so popular that it is necessarily seeing some backlash now.
My personal take on this style is that it is fairly timeless.
Country is always going to appeal to a certain type of person who wants the feeling of retuning to nature and a simpler time.
Modern farmhouse is an updated, sophistated version of that sentiment.
As such it is likely going to remain a classic despite the haters.
24. Organic Modern Style
Adding to the endless expressions of modernism, this style tries to get back to naturalistic roots through a focus on unrefined, raw and “organic” materials and a palette that is sandy and serene.
Warm and comforting, like a nurturing womb, this is a simple, fairly minamalist style that is cozy and soothing.
25. Period Styles
Way too broad of a category to cover in a couple of paragraphs, let’s just say that lovers of history will find much to adore in these styles.
This is the realm of classical art, antiques, the legacy of the Beaux Arts, and also the aristocracy.
This is where Greek and Roman styles and all their many resusitations and revivals ended up in the 21st century. To understand period styles is to understand your history and to appreciate it.
When you personally discover the works of some of the rennaissance’s most celebrated designers, architects and artists on a foray into the recent past of western civilization, you too might find yourself swooning.
26. Rustic (Country) Style
For those who really want to leave innovation behind, there is rustic style. With interiors that look as though they might have been untouched since they were built, the one small exception to this is some modern-day furniture.
When the modern information-age stresses are getting you down, this is probably the best remedy. Simplicity, calm and peaceful harmony with the past.
27. Scandinavian Style
Stylish but laid back, aesthetic yet carefree, Scandinavian modern style manages to look visually on point while also being inviting and homey.
Many of the most popular
28. Traditional Style
Traditional style today is used for any interior that has strong pre-modern cultural influence, even if it was built and furnished in modern times.
Many people ‘inherit’ traditional style, while others choose traditional as a starting point for their own exploration of style.
Plenty of contemporarily-produced furniture on the market is made in a traditional or transition style.
Most of the interior architectural features are custom made by local carpenters and craftspersons.
Thus, this is a more expensive style to produce or reproduce.
29. Transitional Style
Transitional style, to me, is perfectly executed eclectic style.
It could also be though of as a modern classical style.
The balance between modern and traditional is so perfect in many instances that the whole room just sings.
Although I am very fond of modern styles (and often the modern the better!), still, to me, this is a style that is often quite visually perfect.
Personally, I would like to see more plants around, but otherwise perfect.
30. Vintage (Shabby Chic) Style
Decorating with vintage is an art, but a good vintage piece can really liven up most interiors, especially if they are in the eclectic range!
The problem with too much vintage furniture is that arrangements can look a little stale and dated if you don’t allow them to breathe or play off other items.
Think about inheriting your great-grandmother’s house.
In order to make it your own you probably will want to reference some of the cultural elements of your own age.
Unless your great grandmother is Picasso, then by all means.
Don’t. Touch. Anything.
And there you have it!
I should add that this is NOT representative all the styles that exist. There are many more! However, most of the major styles you will come across in popular media are represented here.
As is the case with new and commonly used styles styles, there may be new twists on some of the names of these styles.
For example, warm minimalism is having a moment at the time of writing. This style is really minimalism (which is represented here), and there may be organic modern (also here) elements to it as well.
It could also potentially be minimalism which is confined to a warm color palette.
If you have any requests for boards, feel free to comment below.
There will be lots more discussion on styles as well as more focus on international design styles and (my personal favorite) tropical styles coming up on future posts here on Design Baddie. Stay tuned!
Happy style hunting, Style Lovers!