Interior Style Definitions

living room

Interior décor often involves following a specific style or trend. But what do they all involve? And which one is right for your home? 

Scandinavian Style

Scandinavian styling is often very muted. It involves a lot of soft colours and tones. Delicate dove greys paired with neutral oak wood, for example. You will also find a lot of matte blacks and whites in this style. That’s not to say that you won’t find colour. But the colours you do find will often be natural greens or soft pastels.

Mercer Armchair, Mirage Grey - Scandi style

Another defining aspect of this look is its distinct lack of clutter. A Scandinavian (or Scandi for short) home loves open areas. Negative space is your friend here. Long slim legs on your furniture and only a few accents will go a long way. Along with a Scandi styles goes a Scandi way of life. Minimising clutter in your life and brain to exude a calm aura within as well as without. This style is perfect for those who need a little chill in their lives.

Deco Luxe Style

As the name might imply, this look involves a lot of modernist, luxury elements. One of the first elements you’ll spot will be the use of metallics. This fashion also has roots in the art deco style of the post-industrial, turn-of-the-century, modern movement. This also means a lot of dark tones and bold blacks. A very strong contrast to the delicate Scandi-interior.

Manhattan Quilt Cover Set - deco luxe style

If you were upset to learn that Scandi homes don’t have a lot of colour then Deco Luxe might be the look for you. Deep emerald, royal blue, ultra violet purple (Pantone’s Colour of the Year)—these colours thrive in Deco Luxe homes. If you prefer to play with material instead of colour though, you can’t go past modern elements like marble and mahogany. Deco Luxe is a very vintage-mod style so if you’ve been longing to add a little splendour to your space, this is the look for you.

Coastal Style

Not to be confused with Hamptons style, coastal is one of our favourite forms. As you might expect, this look has a lot to do with the ocean and oceanic themes. But that doesn’t mean a coastal home has to be all shades of blue. Coastal interiors can reflect the rugged, natural look of the style alongside or without an aquatic colour palette.

Weathered woods that hark to a driftwood aesthetic are perfect in coastal homes. Combine that with rope-look finishes reminiscent of the ropes seen on ships and boats and you’re ready to sail away in style.

Of course, if you are a fan of incorporating blues, you’re in for a treat with this style. One of the simplest ways to conquer this look is by combining deep blues and stark whites. This can be really simple to do in your tableware. Whether it’s a full dining set or the perfectly placed coffee mug, these subtle accents are a near-effortless way to ensure coastal good looks.

Tropical Living Style

Tropical living is like coastal in a lot of ways. However, the tropical living look has a lot more green. Like, a lot more. This style has a massive focus on plants and organic elements and depictions. While some of the furniture you use could be transferable between these two trends, those softer home elements aren’t making the tropical living style its own look.

Image features

A large aspect of this look is its colour palette. Imagine spotting a tropical bird through the trees. That’s your colour palette for the most part. Not that your walls need to be painted green, but that your décor should be.

Along with colourful cushions and the like, you can also incorporate plants (real or artificial) to create a tropical-style interior. For a more in-depth look into this style, have a look at our piece all about it here.

Modern Rustic Style

Following the trend of organic elements, modern rustic brings its own take to classic materials. One of the defining aspects of this look that differentiates it from its peers is its emphasis on darker tones. Dark stone and concrete wouldn’t look out of place in a modern rustic home. Modern rustic spaces also generally boast a slightly-unfinished look. Handmade pieces with perfect imperfections are ideal.

artisan bowl modern rustic style

In terms of tones for furniture, if you’re a fan of wood try to stick to the darker varieties. Walnut is a great option that is also versatile enough to complement other styles, should you decide to make over your space. Accent these dark wood features with complementary dark fabrics or even hides and leathers to enhance that rustic sense.

French Provincial Style

Remember when Belle walked into The Beast’s manor in Beauty and The Beast, and she was just blown away by his interior style. (OK, yes also because he was a beast but the guy had style!)

This look is all about fine linens, gentle tones, and ornate furnishings. If you can find some delicate detailing on wooden furniture, you’re well on your way to a French provincial home.

Corbeille Tufted Queen Bed French Provincial Style

This look is easily finished off with a few key decorative elements. You could reflect the French origins of the look with a few continental accents. Things like a decorative Eiffel tower, some wall art, linen, cushions, or anything else that takes your fancy with French scrawl across it; and a chandelier will never look out of place here.

Moroccan Bazaar Style

In case you missed it, we actually did a full piece all about the Moroccan Bazaar trend which you can find here. But for a quicker, more immediate look at this style, the most important thing to know is that it’s all about those warm tones. Deep reds and browns with gold accents. This look is inspired by the aesthetic of a bustling bazaar in Morocco, so ‘bold’ might be an understatement. Of course, a lot of these warm reds, oranges, and browns are contrasted with deep blues. Yes warm blues are rarely a thing, but they flourish in Moroccan Bazaar-styled homes. Whatever colour you lean towards more, the most important thing to remember for this aesthetic is patterns. Intricate, repetitive, recurring patterns.

Amara Quilt Cover Set moroccan bazaar style

It’s these patterns that mark this trend, differentiating it from other potentially similar looks. Bed linen with patterns; large, intricate rugs; home accents like plant pots, mugs, and even side tables with textured surfaces are simple ways to conquer this aspect. Plus, you don’t have to change your whole home to incorporate them. Win-win.

Mid-Century Modern Style

This style stems from the aesthetic popular in western societies from around 1933 to 1965. That’s right, it’s that quintessential, modern American dream style. This means plenty of colours and clean, simple lines.

Mid-century styles are all about organic, flowing style. Not ‘organic’ as in something fresh out of the jungle, but as in naturally forming. Anything too manufactured, any lines too harsh, any décor accents too outspoken won’t work in this style at all. Colours; however, are very forgiving in this trend.

Astoria Cushion, Blue mid century modern style

The two base colours in the above image, the dark blue and the tan orange, give a great example of how you can experiment with colour in a mid-century styled home. These two colours come from opposite sides of the colour wheel, yet complement each other fabulously. If you’ve been looking for an interior style that will let you expand your creativity, mid-century modern might be right for you.

Romantic Floral Style

The name says it all really. This interior style focuses on decorative floral elements. Behind these elements sits grounding, soft, often pastel, colours. You’ll find a lot of pinks in this trend, no doubt. But you won’t be restricted to just the more traditionally feminine colour palettes, don’t worry.

Marselha Quilt Cover Set romantic floral style

Plants come in pretty much every colour of the rainbow, right? So what’s to stop you from trying the romantic floral trend with an emphasis on blue tones? Absolutely nothing is what. Just remember to pair these floral features with matching, delicate accents. A soft, textured cushion; a light, linen throw; and, of course, vases of flowers (real or artificial — they’re all good) to anchor your home. And remember, just as you can use any floral tone, so can you use any background tone. If the dark walls thing isn’t for you, there’s no reason that you can’t use light grey (or really, any neutral colour) as a base for romantic floral styling.

Earthen Luxury Style

Earthen luxury can be many things. (Read our in-depth piece all about it here.) One of the defining features of this aesthetic however, is its sense of natural glamour. We’re talking sheepskins, furs, leather, marble, stone, linen, cotton, and luxe-look metals. All these materials are natural, organic, earthen. But they’re also high-luxury.

marion earthen luxury style

Earthen luxury can be as impactful or as subtle as you like. It’s all about what makes you feel pampered in your own home. What feels like organic glamour to you. If furs and leathers (real or faux) are a part of your preferred way to relax then they’re perfect. What about high-thread count linen? Well, I think we all would consider that a bit of luxury. Just remember to keep it grounded and where possible, reflect an organic colour palette.

Contemporary Style

Contemporary is ever-changing. It’s particularly hard to define this trend as, by definition, it is always ongoing. Contemporary styling is unique as it is both informed by all the styles that have come before it and anticipatory of the future. If we look at what appears in most contemporary homes, at the time this is written, we can see a lot of monochrome and organic accents. Blacks, whites, and greys in upholstery and walnut and oak legs.

Carmack Occasional Chair, White contemporary style

These looks bear a lot of similarity to homes with Scandi influence, but are less restricted to follow trend guidelines. You might even spot a modern, metallic accent or two in a contemporary home, despite the two styles being quite different.

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There are plenty of different ways to style your home. The adventurous styler may even incorporate multiple styles. It’s all about finding the right look for you.

Paige Riddiford is a writer and editor from Sydney, NSW with a degree in Creative Writing from the University of Wollongong. When not writing, Paige is often found reading, baking, playing video games, playing board games with friends, or binge watching whatever's new on Netflix.