INTERIOR DESIGN STYLES I CONSIDER PERFECT
BY EMILY NIGHMAN | FEB 22, 2023
Every few years, there are a handful of trends that seem to explode out of nowhere and then vanish just as quickly — take the 180º turn from granite countertops and Tuscan-style accents to the infamous all-white kitchen, for example. But there are many styles that are evergreen and specific pieces that are truly timeless. If you’re not sure what your style is, read on for the interior design styles I consider perfect and hopefully you’ll find one that speaks to you!
An Eames chair and ottoman in a wood-panelled mid-century modern bedroom, by Woods + Dangaran. Photo: Dezeen
Mid-century modern style is inspired by a design movement encompassing everything from interiors and architecture to graphic design and pop art that flourished from 1933-1965. It sprang out of Modernism, an earlier movement shaped by the First World War and the civil unrest of communist revolution. This style tried to present visions of equality and utopia through functional everyday pieces. (A great example is the Bauhaus school in Germany, known for its simplicity and geometry.) Mid-century modern interior design, which softened the sometimes austere minimalism of Modernism, peaked after World War II as more people moved into urban cities and smaller homes.
If you want to incorporate this style into your space, Sara Tardiff at Architectural Digest’s site, Clever, suggests keeping a look out for furniture or accents by Danish, Japanese, Italian, and American designers like Arne Jacobsen and Charles & Ray Eames. Mid-century modern is also characterized by organic materials like wood, functional design, and simplicity, as well as staple pieces like credenzas, PH pendant lights, and stylish armchairs. (Give me a shout if you can find a good quality dupe for the classic Eames chair seen above!) Home goods stores like West Elm, Structube, and Design Within Reach are all good places to start.
A bohemian bedroom with a wicker chair, vintage finds, unique accents, and lots of plants. Photo: Masterclass
My appreciation for bohemian interior design is probably the closest I’ll ever get to promoting maximalism. This mix-and-match aesthetic can sometimes look cluttered, but if done properly, it’s a fun way to get creative with your space. The word ‘bohemian’ dates back to 19th-century France and referred to artists, travellers, writers, and social outcasts who led unconventional lives full of art, free love, and anti-establishment political and economic views. This lifestyle is brought to life in bohemian interior design through furniture and accents with contrasting patterns, colours, and textures, decor from around the world, vintage pieces from flea markets and antique stores, and lots of photos and artwork.
According to Lauren Flanagan at The Spruce, you could consider layering throws and rugs, hanging tapestries and macramé, and filling your space with plants to bring the outside in. Organic materials like burlap and wicker combined with plush couches and poufs for comfy floor-seating, as well as ambient lighting from lanterns and candles, create a relaxed ambience. Finish off the space with personal photos, family heirlooms, fun trinkets, and souvenirs from your adventures.
I'm Emily Nighman, an arts and culture writer, digital content creator, and founder and editor of this website. I set out to discover everything I can about movies, TV shows, music, books, food, travel, design, and more. Then I bring it all together and share it right here with you.
Soft textures and personal items soften the weathered wood, exposed brick, and iron staircase in this industrial loft by Studio 6F. Photo: Ryan McDonald
On the other end of the spectrum from bohemian style, industrial interior design combines minimalist Modernism with the raw elements often found in converted lofts, influenced once again by the Bauhaus school’s emphasis on functionality. Designer Jessica Davis tells The Spruce that this style became particularly popular when ‘more historic commercial buildings and factories began to be converted into residential spaces.’ Some of Toronto’s most popular neighbourhoods like Liberty Village and the Distillery District, for example, took over converted factories and warehouses and made the area’s historic style part of their unique characters.
Industrial spaces tend to bring the inner architectural workings of the building out into the open instead of hiding elements like bricks, air ducts, piping, and wood beams. But if you don’t live in a converted loft, you can still incorporate this style into your home. Focus on raw materials like wood, metal, and concrete, as well as black metals for hardware and leather for couches or chairs. Neutral, monochromatic colour palettes are also popular and, instead of trying to warm up the space with too many accessories, introduce different textures to give your space some life.
Check out A Guide to Toronto’s Coolest Spots to find sources of inspiration for the industrial design aesthetic.
Exposed wood beams, mahogany and brass accents, pastels, and potted flowers in this personalized English country kitchen. Photo: Oberto Gili
If you find industrial style a bit too cold or minimalist, you might prefer transporting yourself to the English countryside. The emphasis here is on making your home as cozy as possible and channeling your inner Kate Winslet/Cameron Diaz from ‘The Holiday.’ You may think it’s too dated with its frequent use of carpeting and wallpaper, but this is all part of the fun of this unpretentious style. And though these elements persist, as Ros Byam Shaw writes for House & Garden, contemporary English country design has done away with excessive chintz and clutter if that’s not your thing.
Whether you moved out to the country to fully embrace cottagecore or you want to bring the country to you, find timeworn, well-loved pieces like overstuffed upholstered couches and armchairs, antique furnishings, and fabric lampshades. The kitchen can be less polished with mahogany and brass features, utensils and pots out on display, and a big wooden farmhouse table. Don’t forget flowers everywhere from the wallpaper to pots on the windowsill. And extra points if you have exposed beams, a gas stovetop, and a wood-burning fireplace. Just pick and choose your favourite elements to keep it clean, simple, and, above all, cozy.
The Runner-Up – Japandi
A Japandi bedroom that combines Scandinavian hygge with Japanese natural materials and simplicity. Photo: MENU Space
Japan and Scandinavia both have incredibly rich traditions in interior design, so picking just one of their styles for this list was impossible. Lucky for me, one of the most popular aesthetics in the past few years has been a hybrid style dubbed ‘Japandi,’ which Lindsey Lanquist at My Domaine explains balances ‘the earthy elegance of Japanese design with the playful coziness of Scandinavian design.’ Japanese style is known for its natural elements, emphasis on structure and symmetry, and minimalist ethos, while Scandinavian style focuses on simplicity, a neutral colour palette, and the creation of hygge. These philosophies coexist in harmony due to their shared belief in clean lines, organic materials, and above all, thoughtful design.
To give your home a Japandi makeover, try to start with the basics: natural colours (browns, greens, beige, off-whites, blacks), natural materials (wood, bamboo, hemp), and lots of natural light where possible. From there, place furniture thoughtfully to create clean lines, to play with symmetry, and to introduce curves and shapes like spheres and arcs. Maintain a Japanese-style minimalism with your choice of accessories while incorporating hygge with cozy blankets and throw pillows. Finally, embrace the style’s emphasis on natural materials and sustainability by adopting plants into the space (this is a common theme throughout and an easy way to make a space feel like home). This design aesthetic is guaranteed to bring you peace and balance.
The Winner – Eclectic
Frasier's eclectic apartment featuring the famous Eames chair and ottoman and a replica of Coco Chanel's sofa. Photo: NBC