Modern? Contemporary? Traditional? Transitional? What does it all mean anyway?? Honestly, I feel like most people, are a mix of several design styles. They like a little bit of this and a little bit of that. Today, I’m going to unpack what each of these styles mean and give you lots of examples of each so you can actually have an answer to this question when asked.
Why Should I Know my Design Style?
Knowing your style comes in handy in many ways. Some of you may never work with a designer, but if you do, chances are they will ask you this question. Knowing styles that you like and don’t like are extremely helpful in choosing the right design and pieces for your space. For those of you not working with a professional, knowing your style helps you to pick pieces that stay within a certain look. We might like a certain piece from a random design style, and many times, mixing design styles can create an interesting and beautiful space, but it’s important to make those decisions intentionally. Buying random products from all different design styles sometimes creates a very confusing and non-cohesive space, that will leave you never really feeling settled. There are many people who will complain that their space just doesn’t “feel right,” and many times, this is exactly the reason why.
So let’s jump into the different types of design styles shall we? I’ll start with some of the more popular ones of today.
This style encompasses so many of us. When I think of traditional style, I think of oriental area rugs, more intricate furniture design, tailored window treatments and fabrics, and detailed room mouldings. This style is a bit more formal but you can always relax it down a bit with soft textures and a blend of other design styles. When shopping for traditional design pieces, think Pottery Barn. For lots of examples of this type of design, check out my Traditional Style Pinterest Board.
A very popular design style nowadays, and one of my personal favorites. This style dates back to the 1950’s when architects and designers were creating cutting-edge designs characterized by clean simplicity and integration with nature. When shopping for mid-century pieces, visit West Elm, Joybird, and Article. You can also score great authentic mid-century pieces at antique stores. Check out some more samples of this style on my Mid-Century Modern Pinterest Board.
This design style features lots of light, airy fabrics, whites and blues in paint colors and decor, slipcovers on furniture, natural wood tones, indoor/outdoor area rugs, and natural elements. While I’m not typically into the “beach house” style, I am OBSESSED with the California Casual style. This is a variation of the coastal design but with a bit more color and an overall relaxed, lived-in vibe. See below for a great example of this style, curated by Emily Henderson.
While some people are scared off by the term “Modern,” this design style does not have to be stark and cold. It actually can involve lots of color and texture. This Modern Office I designed last summer was designed with kids in mind and includes lots of color and fun. When shopping for Modern furniture and decor, check out All Modern and CB2. Also check out my Modern Pinterest Board for more inspiration.
This is one of my favorite design styles. It is characterized by clean lines and neutral colors. Sometimes you will see a fun pop of color in Scandinavian design, and it’s one of my favorite things. For the most part, you will find white and natural wood tones, with very modern and purposeful furniture. Think IKEA. To see lots of examples of this style, check out my Scandinavian Pinterest Board.
Many people confuse Contemporary and Modern design styles. Both styles involve clean lines and minimalist elements. Contemporary design, however, normally keeps a stark, black and white color pallet. This design is also constantly evolving, as “contemporary” refers to the period we’re living in at the moment.
Once upon a time, there was a design style called “Country.” That isn’t really a thing anymore. Today, mostly thanks to Joanna Gaines, we have this design style called Modern Farmhouse. Those farmhouses of yesterday are getting a fresh, clean, and classic makeover. This style includes lots of black, white and wood. For lots of modern farmhouse inspiration, check out this Pinterest board.
Bohemian (Boho) / Eclectic
This design style is characterized by lots of layered texture, jewel tones, and a “collected look” of pieces from around the world. Boho style is NOT afraid of color and in my opinion, looks best against a white walled backdrop. I tend to head to Pier 1 and antique stores when trying to pull this kind of look for a client.
So What’s Your Style?
Now that you’ve seen examples of today’s popular design styles, which ones are your favorite? Remember, it’s okay to have more than one! And feel free to blend these in your spaces at home, as long as they complement each other. If you’re not completely sure whether the styles you are choosing complement each other, that’s what I’m here for, friend! Feel free to contact me with any design questions on your plate!