What Is Your Design Style?

There are many design books that try to define design styles. One thing they all have in common, is that they want you to decide your own design style. I disagree, you can like what you like without choosing one style. So what are design styles good for?

Understanding your design style can be helpful in two ways:

1.) If you know the style you like it can help you achieve a more cohesive look. This helps your home look more put together and designed. It looks like you have a plan, even if you don’t.

2.) It can help you when you are shopping. The choices can be somewhat overwhelming, especially if you shop online. Choosing a style can help you narrow the field of infinite choices to a handful of stores in your price range.

Design Styles

There are many different design styles but these are the ones that are the most common. One of the best ways to see which one you are drawn to is to take an online quiz. There are several free ones.

Don’t worry if you get different answers when you take them. I did. That’s fine. Your style is unique to you. No one else will like exactly what you like and your style can be a mixture. You will find that over time your design style can change completely.

Havenly’s Design Quiz

HGTV’s Design Quiz

Sometimes it is easiest to identify which store draws you in. Many home decor stores are aimed at one design style primarily. If you see a store mentioned below that you like, that might be a good clue about your style preference. Many retailers, like Pottery Barn, carry more than one style. But often they are best known for one type of design.

What is Transitional Style?

This one is the easiest for me because I think this is where I find the most things I like. This style is a combination of other styles. It is traditional with touches of modern. This is a style for people who can’t commit to one style, like me.

Transitional homes have lots of neutral with most of the color coming from accessories. Most of the furnishings have clean lines.

The retailer that nails this style best is Ballard Design. They have a mix of traditional pieces and more modern accessories.

What is Traditional Style?

Interiors by Steven has a great description what a traditional style means. Traditional style furniture comes from 18th and 19th century Europe. There are lots of deep woods and emerald tones. This style typically includes antiques and oil paintings, things with a very rich luxurious feel.

Traditional homes often have neutral walls. Traditional fabrics include toile, paisley, floral, stripes and plaid. Oriental rugs are also very traditional.

The retailer that nails this style is hard to pin down because traditional designs include lots of older pieces. This Design Magazine has an article that perfectly illustrates this style.

It’s hard to accomplish traditional style on a budget unless you are very patient and willing to collect some antique furniture over time. You can get many traditional knock offs at places like Joss & Main.

What is Mid Century Modern Style?

In Mid Century homes the furniture lines are simple, clean and minimalist. The style originally came about in the 1950s to the 1970s. You will often see colors like olive and orange. There are lots of natural wood elements.

The fabrics that are popular in Mid Century styles are graphic, geometric prints. Otherwise you will see a lot of solid fabrics.

This style is easy to spot, and there are many great retailers who capture it inexpensively. My favorites are West Elm for everything from dining tables to night stands and Joybird for upholstered pieces.

What is Farmhouse Style?

Other bloggers may punch me for saying this, but I think Farmhouse is the 2019 version of shabby chic without the pink. Rooms have lots of white and neutral fabric and lots of light. It’s a very casual and comfortable style.

The fabrics that are typically seen in a farmhouse are floral (back to shabby chic) or gingham. Lots of word art, baskets, distressed wood and rustic metal finishes. Bless’er House is one of my favorite blogs. I love her DIY ideas and her look is very farmhouse, and of course there is Joanna Gaines.

If you want to find farmhouse goods for sale, try Target and Walmart for accessories and even furnishings.

What is Contemporary Style?

Contemporary style is very bold and striking. The rooms are often very open with stark colors, like a solid white room. Contemporary rooms are about what is new at the moment, which means this style is always changing.

Contemporary rooms are more likely to be white, black or grey. There have very limited decorative items and the ones that are there are bold. The fabrics are also very stark, either solid or geometric.

Two retailers that seem to have more contemporary merchandise are Z Gallerie and Jonathan Adler. You normally see this style executed in very large homes or modern apartments.

What is Modern Style?

Modern style is very minimalist, open looking with clean straight lines. People who like to live without a lot of clutter or nick knacks can pull off this look. There are often bright colors, but they are often monochromatic.

Modern decor often includes wood elements and earthy colors, blues, greys and browns.

The retailer that has this style covered is Restoration Hardware. You have to have a large room to hold most of their furniture. If you don’t have a large space try allmodern.com.

What is Rustic Style?

Rustic, as the name sounds, includes natural unfinished furniture. The kind of decor that would look right at home in a cabin. This style likes natural fibers. The color scheme is earthy tones with leather and cream fabric.

A rustic room is not complete without lots of wood elements and a fireplace. This style is embodied in a local (for Dallas) store called Anteks. They deliver and if this is your style, I recommend taking a look. Woodlandcreekfurniture also specializes in rustic furniture.

What is Industrial Style?

Industrial style is what you might see in a loft apartment. Furniture has a factory/industrial style. Bookshelves might be made from pipes or steel rods.

In industrial rooms you often see exposed pipes or ductwork. One place to find industrial style furniture is world market.

What is Coastal Style?

Coastal style typically has lots of blues and whites, with comfortable looking casual upholstery pieces. There are typically lots of baskets and warm wicker. When you think of a beach house with shells and driftwood, that’s coastal.

This style I think is defined by one retailer in particular, Serena & Lily. I love to walk through the store but I can’t afford what’s there.

What is Boho Style?

When I think of Boho Style I think of Emily Henderson, a blog I read as soon as it comes to my email. Her style is so unique that I can always see something new.

A Boho room will have lots of color and different patterns, that you might not think to put together until you see them. There are lots of plants and texture.

Boho rooms have lots of culture. Many people who like to collect and display treasures they collect from world travels are drawn to a Boho style.

The retailer that does this style to a T is Anthropologie and Ikea for some pieces.

What is your favorite style? Or are you a split personality like me. Before you go, you might enjoy Mixing Antiques with Modern Decor or Mixing Design Styles If you Don’t Agree with Your Spouse or Roommate.

Do you know what design style you like best?  Is it modern, farmhouse, traditional, boho, coastal or a combination?

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  1. Andrea, it seems like my style changes daily. I do love classic, cottage, European, and mostly, comfortable. Wish I was a little more focused, but any time I’ve used or consulted with an interior designer, they tend to do what they want vs. what you want. Livable, pretty and comfortable pieces that work with an active family (and pets).

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