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Today’s Style Explained:  Common Terms in Interior Design

Trying to pinpoint your style down in a few words is a difficult undertaking.  Unfortunately, if you want to get the most out of your home renovation without being there to supervise every single detail, it’s also a necessary part of the project.  To help you narrow down your preferences, we’re going to go over some of today’s most popular styles of interior design.  That way, you know exactly how to direct your contractors and designers!

Mid-Century Modern

If you’re a fan of HGTV or other home shows, you probably hear this term get thrown around a lot.  Basically, it refers back to the style of the mid-20th century, or the 1950s and 1960s.  Think of clean lines and neutral tones with bright pops of color.  Typically it’s got just a hint of the retro vibe, but is overall more minimal in design—so less is more.  Designers using this style also tend to rely on natural fabrics like wood and cotton, presenting one main focal point to each room.  This keeps spaces both functional and affordable.  If your home was built around this time period, the architecture should echo this style, making it an easy and natural transition for you!

Shabby Chic

With this type of design, rooms are generally decorated with antique pieces—those that are found in flea markets rather than museums.  Here, the distressed look is in, whether it’s authentic or fabricated.  The color palette is usually softer, featuring whites, creams, pastels, etc., but it’s your house!  Don’t be afraid to add more vibrant hues, if that’s what you like.  Also, you can mix and match pieces, so you can incorporate elements you already own and/or create a more modern feel.  Overall, it should create an inviting atmosphere with lots of soft textiles, interesting pieces, and, of course, your personal touch.


This is the interior design of today!  If your tastes run toward large open spaces with minimal clutter and neutral tones, then this might be the style for you.  Many modern spaces have high ceilings and/or open concept living spaces that can be emphasized with sparse furnishes (which should echo the lines of the space).  Though the color palette tends to be neutral, it also has more contrast, since black or dark gray natural materials are used throughout the space.  If you want to add color, try installing an interesting art piece, or a funky metallic light fixture.  At the cutting edge of interior design, this style goes well with new construction, city living, and/or industrial spaces.


Now there are many other styles than the three we’ve just outlined, so if you don’t see one that screams “you,” don’t despair.  Ultimately, you don’t have to follow any preset designs; you can just pull elements you like from each one to create a style that’s all your own.  These terms are just meant to help you get your point across.  Stay tuned for more!