Top Decorating Styles Demystified

The top decorating styles demystified.

For many of us, home decor just happens. Choosing decorating styles just isn’t a priority, but free furniture sure is.

That first apartment was filled with a thrifted, gifted, and sifted modge podge we gleaned from family, friends, and Craigslist. Then, one day we decide to actually exert some control over our space and decorate. It doesn’t matter whether that impetus is moving into a new home, or because you get tired of your college-era furniture.

But what if you’re ready to make a change, but not sure how to get started?

Well, there’s good news. The starting point is pretty simple: you decide among the decorating styles and go with the ones which you most identify. This will give you a frame of reference from which to begin your decor transformation and add furniture, finishes, and flourishes.

Are you not exactly sure what decorating style best describes your taste? Read on for a breakdown of some of the most popular decorating styles.

Top Decorating Styles Broken Down


The top decorating styles demystified.

Image: Couch via Shutterstock

Contemporary is the style of now and is sort of the absence of all of the other decorating styles. It’s about comfort with somewhat of more of an emphasis on function over form. Neutral colors with pops of color predominate.


The top decorating styles demystified.

Image: Modern Room via Shutterstock

Minimal design is the defining trait of modern style. Streamlined furniture, minimal furnishings, and neutral colors are other staples. Modern interiors are very uncluttered and there’s an emphasis on form and function. Modern is different from contemporary, as it is fixed in time from when it was first seen in the mid-twentieth-century.

Shabby/Cottage/Vintage Chic

The top decorating styles demystified.

Image: Shabby Chic via Shutterstock

This style places an emphasis on repurposing and features distressed furniture pieces with lots of character. It’s a casual, charming, and comfortable style that looks “lived-in.”

French Country

The top decorating styles demystified.

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French country reflects a laid-back European-style that also has an emphasis on distressed pieces and repurposing, but with a definite nod to the old world. Furniture pieces will be in the European as opposed to American styles.


The top decorating styles demystified.

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Of course everyone thinks of IKEA when thinking of Scandinavian style and that’s not actually too far off the mark. Scandinavian style can be defined as a minimalist style that takes both form and function into account. White and neutral colors are key, as are clean lines and uncluttered interiors.


The top decorating styles demystified.

Image: White Chair via Shutterstock

Coastal as a style had its roots in vacation decor, but it has emerged as a mainstay among home decorating styles. And while there are certainly elements that give a nod to coastal living, the goal is to create a calm, comforting, and inviting space and not a kitschy seaside-themed space.


The top decorating styles demystified.

Image: Anthropologie

Eclectic, or bohemian decor, combines bits and pieces of many other styles and is about creating a creative space. It features lots of patterns, textiles, pillows, and exotic touches. The boho home is packed full of visually appealing colors and textures.

Industrial Chic

The top decorating styles demystified.

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This style is a blend of the utilitarian style of iron, and other metals, with the warmth of aged woods and worn textures. It’s another subset of modern design.


The top decorating styles demystified.

Image: Ethan Allen

The classic American style features simple and tailored lines and furniture styles, as well as muted and neutral colors. Symmetrical groupings and high-quality fabrics and simple patterns are also important.

Which decorating styles resonate with you? Let us know on our Facebook page!

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