Guide to Understanding the Characteristics of Interior Design Styles

Modern | Midcentury | Contemporary

Interior design offers a range of styles that most consumers can’t get a clear understanding of their characteristics.  Styles include Modern, Mid-Century Modern, Contemporary, Country, Farmhouse, Minimalist, Urban, Bohemian, Traditional, Transitional, Rustic, and more. Some of the style characteristics are very similar and can cause confusion.

Each style presents its own flavor that makes every space unique.  Thus, having knowledge about the various styles may be easier than you realize. My goal is to help you find and create your visual perfection with confidence without pulling your hair out.  Because of the vast varieties of styles, I will breakdown the topics in a series of posts. Feel free to add your email to our mailing list to receive post updates straight to your inbox.


Modern designs were born at the dawn of the 20th century.  It was the reinvention of how we connect with our interior environment.   This style rejected the “noisy” design. Meaning, it’s characteristics consist of simplicity, sparse interiors, and bold colors, as opposed to the typical ornate and over-decorated design aesthetics.  Instead, it offers careful compositions, articulated lines, geometry and is prominent on visual unfussiness.

Modern Interior Design Styles



When I think of mid-century design, the first thing that comes to mind is the “Mad Men” television series.  It displayed a stylish visual flair of midcentury life. Mid-Century Modern design came about after World War II, shadowing the Bauhaus movement.  The government drove entities to build appealing homes for everyone, and not just the well to do.

The characteristics are similar to the modern style, crisp lines, and geometric forms. But what sets it apart is the dialogue it has with nature.  The use of hues found in nature, like oranges, greens, browns wood finishes.  With its generous open plan concepts accenting the importance of common areas, you can prepare meals and keep an eye on the kids.  A modish space where guests can roam from the living area to the patio with large, plate glass windows.

Midcentury Interior Design Styles



Contemporary style is fused with an ever-evolving palette that echoes modern and midcentury characteristics.  This style became popular in the bottom half of the 20th century.

Contemporary characteristics offer a more balanced approach to interior design.  Such as bold and neutral hues, natural and metal finishes, and rounded lines.  The design elements borrowed from its predecessors compose a room for visual form and functional efficiency.

Furniture pieces feature clean lines and smooth surfaces without any heavy carvings.  Natural fabrics are used to add a textural aspect or present an opportunity to infuse patterns through pillows, rugs, or throws.

Click here to view one of my favorite examples of contemporary design designed by Fresco Interiors Design Group Inc.

Contemporary Interior Design Styles
source: Fresco Interiors Design Group Inc.

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