Beginner's Guide to Interior Design - Chapter 5: Design Styles



One of the most basic steps you’ll need to take when creating your design plan is decide on your design style. Defining the design style you would like to use for the design of your room will help you a lot in understanding how will you use each element in the design process to get to the desired outcome.

Design style can imply on your lifestyle, profession, your worldview and also where your residence in located. When choosing your design style, go with what feels right for you, what you think that you will feel the most comfortable with when you’re in your room.

There are dozens of different design styles in interior design, however to make as this chapter as concise as possible, we’ve covered the most commonly used styles in interior design in the past few years.



Industrial design is all about taking the raw usually hidden materials and expose them. This design style commonly incorporated with features such as brick walls, steel and metal pipes and lighting fixtures, distressed wooden floor and distressed wooden objects. This style was originally initiated from people converting old warehouses or factories into residential living apartments or into offices. The idea of industrial design style is to keep the spirit of the space former use, while giving it a very new and edgy look.

(Source: Decoist)



Color: Most designs use a Monochromatic or Analogous scheme, with warm colors such as browns, reds and cream colors or in some cases a gentle touch of cold color like light blue. This design style put a strong emphasis on the use of neutral colors, such as black,white, grey and natural wood color

Texture: Use of rough and cold textures. Steel and metal, Natural distressed wood and leather fabric, brick walls.

Line: In most cases, spaces used for industrial design will be high. In this case, creating vertical lines using objects and features will make the room look a bit lower but wider.

Space: Usually industrial style is incorporated with large spaces, and thus need to arrange the objects according to large space practices. However, this style can also be applied on small spaces.

Pattern:  Appear in Area Rugs, Decorative Pillows and wooden floor. Usually as simple stripes


The main idea in Minimalist design style is to focus on simplicity and function. Thus, simplicity of lines, forms, colors. The majority objects and features of the style serve the main purpose of functionality. The style incorporate clean lines, neutral colors, large empty spaces and geometrical forms that are simple for the eye to capture.

(Source: Pinterest)

(Source: Pinterest)



Color: Most Minimalist designs Monochromatic scheme with only neutral colors or just one single color with very delicate touches. Colors such as white, grey, silver, black and natural wood.

Texture: Using clean and modern textures. Glass and laminate wood with high light reflection, steel, leather or linen as fabric.

Form: Geometrical forms and sharp lines are more common in Minimalist design.

Pattern:  Most of the times no pattern is used in this style.

Light: An excessive use of natural daylight, using large windows and glass doors. 


Space: Design your room in Minimalist style require a large space. Designing this style involve in keeping open and large empty spaces. The arrangement of objects and use of space should be functional, meaning focus of the purpose of the room and not a lot more.


(Source: Pinterest)

Scandinavian design was established from the collaboration of the Mid-Century Modern design with the newly trendy Minimalist design. Like Minimalist, it concentrates on clean lines, pure neutral colors, large open spaces and functionality. But more like Mid-Century, it involves more earthy, rustic look less formal appearance, using natural wood, uneven non-geometrical forms, linen instead of leather, Shaggy rugs and painted metal. The main idea in Scandinavian style is to bring a simple, earthy and environment friendly design along with functionality and contemporary features.

(Source: Pinterest)

(Source: Pinterest)



Color: Monochromatic scheme, usually using only neutral colors (white, grey, black, natural wood) with white as the primary color and adding touches of green using live plants, to give the earthy tone. The color scheme can also include a single color with very delicate touches in decor or in the focal point, in any case the neutral colors should dominate in this style.

Texture: Natural wood, painted metal, linen and shaggy fabrics.

Form: Uneven non-geometrical forms in furniture and decor.

Pattern: No use of pattern or very delicate use in Decorative Pillows and area Rugs.

Space: Most Scandinavian designs use large rooms and keep open empty spaces.

Light: Natural daylight is the primary light source, thus the style should incorporate large windows and glass glass balcony doors.


Also been called Coastal or Cottage. The Nautical design style is about creating a relaxing, comfortable and simple interior design of your space. The inspiration to this style is taken from the ocean and therefore involve with textures, colors and objects that relate to sand and water. Common colors in this style are white, blue, light yellow and grey, which interprets to the beach and ocean. This style is creating a very calm feeling in the room and an atmosphere of holiday.



Color: Monochromatic scheme using blue, white and sometimes grey. Or Complementary scheme, using blue, yellow and white.

Texture: Linen as fabric, natural or painted wood, glass objects, wicker objects and painted metal.

Pattern: Appear in Area Rugs, Decorative Pillows and wooden floor. Usually as simple stripes or motifs.

Line:  Vertical line is more often used in this design style, since it creates a feeling of calm and harmony.


Also referred as Vintage. Shabby chic style is about creating a soft peaceful design using white and pastel colors, aged worn wooden objects and rustic metal. Shabby chic is about taking the antique flea market furniture and give it trendy interpretation that fit to our modern day lives.



Color: Using neutral colors such as white and light grey along pastel colors light colors such as blue, green and pink.

Texture: Linen as fabric, distressed and antique wood with decorations and samples. Sometimes also wicker is used as a material in this style.

Pattern: This design can make either extensive or delicate use of patterns. Usually floral patterns are used. Pattern could be set on any object of the design: sofas, bed linens, wall coverings, window curtains, decorative pillows and rugs.

Form: Using uneven and non-geometrical forms in this style furniture and decor. The objects forms in this style are similar to the ones used in the Traditional design style.

Space: This style can be made on both large and small spaces, working according to spaces best practices.



Also called Modern style. Was originally initiated in the middle of 20th century. This style incorporates clean straight lines, curved forms and objects, Natural or painted wood and shiny aluminum,metal and glass. Modern style is guided according to simplicity and function but offers a variety of options that stick with this design. Various color schemes and color combinations from neutral, cold or warm colors can be set. Low to medium use of patterns in the design objects, and the use of curved lined furniture and and decor along with clean texture such as metal and aluminum.





Color:  This style doesn’t have a common scheme or colors. Each scheme can be incorporated to fit to the modern style.

Texture: Use of linen or leather as fabric for chairs and sofas, metal and aluminum in objects, natural or brown painted wood, glass objects.

Pattern: Can use a low to medium rate of patterns in this style,  mostly abstract motifs which are usually incorporated in rugs, decorative pillows and walls.

Form: Uneven non-geometrical forms with curved and soft lines.



Many are mislead to think Modern and Contemporary are the same style, which is not correct. Modern and Contemporary - although sharing many common features - are two different styles. The main difference is that modern has a strict and static design format, whether contemporary style refer to the here and now. Contemporary style is related to what’s trendy and what’s popular in the interior design at this time. Thus, Contemporary style is changing all the time, and what’s consider contemporary today may not be contemporary in 20 years from now. Today’s contemporary style had common features of Modern style as well as in Minimalist style, it concentrates on clean lines, simple forms,functional objects and open spaces. However, Contemporary style can also mix features from other and have a more bold approach as regards to colors, shapes and fabrics. Thus, Contemporary style can either use very bold or very delicate color schemes, only geometrical or only curved forms or both.





Color:  Can vary from delicate or neutral colors to bold and externalized color scheme. All colors schemes can be used.

Texture: Clean textures, either linen or leather as fabric, natural or laminated wood, painted or clean metal.

Pattern: Low use of patterns or no use at all. Contemporary style may not use patterns at all, or use patterns in decorative pillows and rugs.

Space:  Use of large spaces and keeping spaces open. Not in the same intensity as Minimalist though.


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The presentation of the common design styles in this chapter was made for 2 primary goals:

1. Decide on the style that is the most favorite, most fit or desired for your space.

2.See how the elements interprets in each style, once separating the to each element and understanding the factor it brings to overall appearance of the design style.

There is also a possibility to mix between different design styles, however it should be done delicately and in good taste. In the case you chose to use more than one design style in your room, make sure to have one primary style and others as enrichment.

The end of this chapter concludes all the theory we learned about interior design in this guide. In the next and last chapter of the guide, we will learn how to make a practical plan for the design of our room and put it into action.

This guide was written by Amit Roznak and Mathew'z team