Often when I am working with clients, they say they like a certain design style. I always like to make sure that their idea or definition of that style matches up with my idea. I thought it would be fun to nail down my own definition of some of today’s popular styles and show examples of what I think are some of the defining characteristics. I’ll also put some links to good places to shop for each style!
To me, Bohemian style is characterized by an eclectic mix of rich textiles with vibrant patterns that might be described as “Southwestern”, “Tribal” or “Moroccan”; flowy fabrics; bold colors. In Bohemian design or Bohemian Chic, as some say, you’ll see tie dye living with macrame and animal hides. This is a free spirited, mismatched design style.
Look for Bohemian design elements online at Anthropologie, Urban Outfitters Apartment and World Market.
The characteristics of Coastal style are warm, weathered woods; natural neutral fibers like jute, seagrass and sisal and lots of natural light. The color palette is mostly grays, blues and beiges, but may include a pop of color (usually just one per room). This is a casual design style with clean lines. Coastal, to me, is beachy, but a little moodier.
Some great places to find Coastal design elements are Pottery Barn and Pier 1 Imports.
I think Farmhouse is the evolution of what was once “country” or “French country”. It is less kitschy and cluttered. The base of this design is beige and white. It’s close to “coastal” if you take the rope and sand of it and put in metal and repurposed old items like baskets, mason jars and old farm tools. Farmhouse is painted kitchen cabinets (mostly white), Shiplap walls (Hello, Joanna Gaines!) distressed woods and barn doors.
Good places to look for Farmhouse Decor are Birch Lane, Pottery Barn, and the slightly more pricey Arhaus.
Industrial/Urban design is probably my favorite! Think high ceilings and open floor plans since this design style is often found in city lofts and converted warehouses and manufacturing plants. It is bare bones (exposed brick, concrete, steel) often with a hit of something softer or more elegant. It is both organic and utilitarian. The basic palette is gray and metal with salvaged accents.
Look for Industrial/ Urban design elements at West Elm, CB2, and the higher priced Restoration Hardware.
5. Mid-Century Modern
Mid-Century Modern design is a call-back to the designs of the middle of the 20th century, roughly the mid 40’s to the mid 70’s. Think Brady Bunch or Mad Men. Mid-Century is when we really began to see mass produced furniture made from plywood, molded plastic and aluminum with straight , clean lines and no ornamentation. The Mid-Century palette was pretty much natural woods paired with bright bold colors: orange, avocado, turquoise, gold and strong, graphic patterns. Mid-Century Modern is a combination of any of these Mid-Century elements mixed with some elements from today- any elements from any of these other design styles. Without the addition of current elements you just have Mid-Century and that can look dated.
Great places to find Mid-Century Modern pieces would, of course, be flea markets and vintage stores or online at West Elm, DWR, Design Public.
Scandinavian design is extremely close to Mid-Century Modern since this minimalist, simple style that focused on functionality emerged in the mid 20th century. I think of white and gray as the basis for this style layered with natural elements and maybe some pops of color. This style is cozy and has lots of natural light with white or light window treatments (a necessity for long Nordic winters with short days).
It will not surprise you to hear that the best source for Scandinavian design is Ikea.
What is your favorite design style? Share with me in the comments and don’t forget to hit the “follow” button on the far right bottom corner of your screen!