Interior Design Styles

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Interior Design Styles

Today, style is all about the mix. The old rules about everything matching no longer apply. The only problem is, without guidelines, where do you start?

We’ve defined some basic categories of furniture styles for you, with examples for each, which can be mixed and matched. Find what you love and make your home an expression of your own personal style.

Old World Estate

  • Traditional furnishings tend to be symmetrical and formal, but they can be used to dress up a more casual environment. Traditional wood finishes are typically dark, cherry and mahogany for example. Updates to traditional style have brought lighter tones into the mix with finishes that resemble antique parchment. Fabrics that work well on traditional furnishings include chintz, jacquard, damask and brocade. Leather in rich brown tones can add an air of classic charm.
  • Old World Estate:
    • medium to dark finishes
    • carved details with twists, fluting and ornaments such as acanthus leaves, flowers, fruit and claw and ball feet


  • Expeditionary:
    • rich dark finishes
    • fewer details and cleaner lines
    • campaign furnishings
    • touches of the tropics are incorporated with wicker, cane, bamboo and leather insets

American Heritage

  • American Heritage:
    • medium to dark finishes
    • painted finishes
    • spindles, finials, classical motifs
  • Tuscan Villa:
    • lighter finishes and earthy tones
    • rich textures including terra cotta, stone and metal
    • sun-washed vineyards

Tuscan Villa

  • Urban:
    • flaring lines with little ornamentation
    • range of finishes
    • leather and microfiber

Tuscan Villa



Art Deco

Mid-Century Modern

Casual Contemporary

California Coastal

Gulf Coast

Atlantic Seaboard

American Country


French Provincial

English Country

Arts & Crafts / Mission Style

Southwestern / Lodge / High Country




Tribal Eclectic

Shabby Chic


whimsical with the kitschy flavor of 1950’s and 1960’s pop culture
boomerang tables and space-age / Sputnik style
Art Deco:
streamlined lines
traditionally light finishes and lacquer, today is updated with medium toned woods that show-off the grain
mirrored and chromed surfaces
mirrors, glass and acrylic
Mid-Century Modern:
form follows function
rectilinear lines long and low to the ground
organic and asymmetrical shapes
little or no ornamentation
Casual Contemporary:
rounded and eased edges
medium oak finishes
soft surfaces with pillow tops and pub backs on sofas
Coastal style, wherever it is found, is breezy and relaxed. Natural fibers are common on upholstery and floor coverings. Sea-themed prints are common on fabrics with of seashells, tropical flowers and light houses common. Finishes are light, weathered or painted. Palettes can be can be light and breezy with blues, greens and whites, or vibrant and tropical with reds, oranges and yellows added to the mix. Recent coastal style trends include seashell encrusted mirrors and tables and coral-form accessories and prints.
California Coastal:
relaxed sophistication with an eclectic blend of Old World European furnishings with dark finishes
comfortable fabrics
occasional touches of Asian style
Gulf Coast:
wicker and rattan
more vibrant colors and tropical influences
modern flare in furnishings with touches of art deco lines and prints
Atlantic Seaboard:
nautical themes
light houses influence palettes with white, black, red, navy blue and yellow
shutters and louvers
traditional, American Colonial forms
Country style has many variations today, but most interpretations contain some common elements. Muted colors, mid-toned woods or painted finishes and vintage fabrics unite this category. A homespun quality is common with florals, checks, calicoes and stripes. Hand-made accessories, pottery and baskets add a homey touch.
American Country:
down-to-earth practical style with a few spare frills
aged patinas
antique reproductions combined with primitives
very home spun in character
often patriotic in theme
colorful variation of country with garden references
dainty decorations
bead board contrasting with wicker and iron furnishings
weathered and aged finishes
touches of whimsy
overtly feminine
French Provincial:
medium-toned wood and painted finishes
casual, but not without ornamentation
ultimately livable in scale and treatment
caned and rushed chairs
relaxed, provincial interpretations of formal French style
natural finishes and vibrant colors
cane and rushed chair seats rather than heavy upholstery
stone and terra cotta accents and accessories
English Country:
Relaxed, comfortable interpretations of traditional English style
Cheery, garden-inspired palettes
more substantial than cottage style with the incorporation of heirloom furnishings and accessories
feminine touches with delicate china and embroidered pillows
Americana styles are decidedly unfussy. Wood is appreciated for its inherent qualities and finishes let the natural character show through. Palettes are muted, yet rich in tone. Fabrics are textured and comfortable, and combine well with leather. Forms are practical and unornamented but not lacking in substantial style.
Arts & Crafts / Mission Style:
mid-toned finishes
beauty in craftsmanship
rectilinear forms with vertical slats
mica lamp shades
artisan-made accessories of ceramic, metal, and glass
designed for efficiency
beauty is found in usefulness
unadorned and spare, but with elegant lines
ladder back chairs
Southwestern / Lodge / High Country:
earth tones pervade in the natural colors of leather
terra cotta and light wood tones
textiles have a rugged, hand-woven feel
wall treatments are rough stucco and adobe
iron and wood carvings used as accents
Native American iconography and art forms
Oriental style has influenced western home furnishings for centuries. The influences of Chinese designs can be found in the late work of Thomas Chippendale in the 18th century. Authentic oriental furnishings mix well with their occidental imitators, united by motifs and palettes.
Japanese and Chinese inspired interiors
highly stylized forms
mid-toned natural finishes and dark lacquer finishes
silky brocades
silk screens with painted screens and rice paper screens as room dividers
inspiration from nature, mythical creatures and bamboo forms
jewel tones
mosaics and colorful ceramics
intricate patterns in textiles and ornately carved fretwork on wood furnishings
layered oriental rugs
gauzy fabrics
an abundance of pillows
paisley and other intricate prints
textiles embellished with embroidery, sequins and small mirrors
saturated colors in jewel tones and vibrant shades like pink and aqua
kilim rugs
Indian god figurines
embossed, colored glass candle holders
Eclectic style is often unexpected, and sometimes daring, in its combinations of elements from different cultures, time periods and style categories. There are many variations within this category. Each projects a distinctive character. Good eclectic design is decidedly not just a hodge podge of items. Furnishings are chosen with intention and attention to unifying design elements such as color, line, texture, mass and form. The use of collectibles is common element of eclectic style, no matter the variety. While there are no hard and fast rules for eclectic style, several distinct trends in this approach have gained traction in interiors.
Tribal Eclectic:
strong elements of texture and pattern
artifacts from Latin America, Africa, and Asia
modern materials re-invented into tribal forms, like telephone wire used to make baskets
Shabby Chic:
white-washed furnishings
tea-stained floral textiles
folk art objects
flea market finds
florals, stripes and patterns used in combination but with a unifying color palette
European folk and gypsy emblems and antiques
vibrant jewel-toned palettes, including ruby, orange, turquoise, purple and vibrant green.
crystal chandeliers
beading and fringe details
exotic fabrics such as silk and velvet
ruched, embroidered or otherwise embellished frabics