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Interior design styles: the basics

We know you hear a lot about japandi, soft minimalist and other trending styles - but what about the basics? In fact, these newer styles are all (at least partially) based on the classic interior design styles - so it’s time to learn more about them and see what made them timeless.

What are the key elements of each style? Where do these styles fit? Let’s see how you can match your home with an interior design style - and also with the current trends. Read further to have an overview of the 9 most well-known interior design styles.

Boho / bohemian

Bohemian interiors are full of life - in bohemian homes you won’t really find large empty spaces or sophisticated minimalism. Bohemian style is much more about collecting and traveling. Habitants of bohemian homes get inspired by their travels and adventures, this is why their furniture and decor are based on these memories. Common elements: natural decoration, art, macrame, woven rugs, vintage furniture and often creative DIY projects.

As a result of these, bohemian style is also one of the most cost-efficient interior design styles and it is always popular amongst young generations. Bohemian homes are always cozy and bright - while the details tell us a lot about the owners and their joy of life.

Mid-century modern

It’s one of the most frequently mentioned interior designed styles, originating in the US between 1940 and 1970, with very typical style and pieces of furniture. Sometimes also referred to as retro, but it can be easily combined with current home trends as well.

Mid-century modern furniture is usually made of (or stained) mid-tone or darker wood colors and thanks to their well-known style, they can be identified in an instant. Furniture legs that get thinner at the bottom, metal or hairpin legs - each furniture is quite functional. There are many cabinets, storage spaces, console tables, chairs, etc. Besides wood material, plastic is also common (typical material for chairs, for example).

Mid-century modern style prefers various metallic materials like copper, gold, chrome surfaces, and some brave colors, too: green, blue, orange - at least one of these is usually present in a mid-century modern interior.

Decoration is usually kept at a minimal level, mid-century modern rather focuses on the function - and imports some futuristic elements, too.


Farmhouse style has great popularity - maybe even greater that it should be. We don’t have any problem with this style, but one thing should always be kept in mind: this style does not fit in all homes! If you force a style into a place where it does not fit well, you will reach only the opposite effect. So assuming it is used well and in such homes where it really fits - let’s see the key elements of farmhouse style.

Huge wood beams, X-shapes on furniture, worn-out / washed painting and various rustic elements, natural and light colors and decorations are the key attributes of the farmhouse style.


Since there is IKEA, Scandinavian style has a worldwide popularity - everyone knows it on some level. But what makes it scandinavian?

This style originates in Northern-Europe, it is most frequently used in Denmark, Sweden and Finland. Its key is simplicity, coziness and this style does not overcomplicate things (it is not very far from minimalism).

Its colors: white and light colors, but also black (in contrast with the light colors, but usually with less presence), and many light-tone, natural wood colors (birch, oak, etc.).

Scandinavian homes are always focusing on convenience and coziness (the Danish/Norwegian term ‘hygge” is also related to it), so a soft couch is almost obligatory, but various fur things (like rugs, chair blankets) are also frequent parts of scandinavian homes.

The focus is on simplicity, storage, practical details - and satisfying our everyday needs.

Modern / minimal

Simple and sophisticated lines, large windows and spaces, minimal furniture - and with the least possible amount of decoration: that’s what you can expect in a minimal interior.

Colors: white, black, shades of gray and various natural colors. Minimal style utilizes various materials such as metal, chrome, glass, marble - sometimes in exclusive editions. If you are dreaming of a minimal home, keep in mind that it’s one of the least wallet-friendly styles (however, it is one of the most current ones, too).

Minimal interiors feature big, even surfaces, furniture reduced to rectangles and other base shapes, sometimes also a few remarkable pieces of art.

Our brand, mybettershelf is also an example of minimalist style - our furniture is designed with minimalism in mind.


We can refer to it as the opposite of modern as well, as it is full of ornaments, delicate decorative details, elements inspired by the 18th and 19th century interior design.

Traditional armchairs, classical style upholstery, carved furniture legs, plasterwork (stucco), antique chandeliers, large interior height (with large and decorative windows and doors, usually in white color) - these are the key elements of the classical style. It often features gold as a decorative color and classic floors are usually made of solid wood parquet, maybe with some marquetry, too.

On the walls of classic homes you can often find classic oil paintings and portraits, of course, in antique / classic frames.

Transitional / mixed

The transitional interior style, as its name suggests, is a mix of classic and modern - not insisting on either of these styles, rather selecting those features of both that work well in the given space.

There are endless ways for transitional style, depending on the ratio of classic or modern elements: think of a modern lighting with some pieces of antique furniture, or just the opposite: a huge antique chandelier, with a minimal sofa and coffee table. The result is exciting and modern, keeping those elements of the past that we praise a lot while not restraining ourselves even from the latest trends.

Industrial / loft

It won’t be surprising that the industrial style works the best in such spaces that have some industrial characteristics too. These are, for example: blank brick walls, visible pipes, large windows with metal frames, often with large internal height in the room.

Rougher textures work well in industrial interiors: such as leather, wood and metal. You can often find black, gray and wooden colors in loft interiors, and various typical furniture and decor: Edison-style bulbs, furniture made out of plywood or pipes and larger plants.

Contemporary / trending

This style incorporates everything that is currently trending - changing year by year. To get more familiar with the details, check out our recent article - but if you would rather stay here, we list the most typical attributes below.

Arches, curves, asymmetrical shapes, minimal design, spaces with contrast, but also lighter (soft beige-brown) interiors, terazzo, fluted wall panels and furniture, finger tiles, and more… We may also mention floating furniture as a trend that seems not to be losing its popularity.


Did you find this article useful? These were the basics - but we have not covered japandi, neotenic or the soft minimalism style… you’ll learn about these in our future articles. If you are interested in interior design and would be happy to receive ideas and inspirations, subscribe to our newsletter.

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