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Discover Your Interior Design Style: A Guide to Finding Your Unique Decor Aesthetic

Whether you’re a home-owner who’s dabbled a bit in décor, or you’re a beginner to pro level Interior Designer, the design process can become overwhelming. Look no further though, we are always here to help you through.

Just Like How The Clothes You Wear Make You Feel A Certain Way... does the type of space you’re in.


Remember though, our style is ever evolving as the design industry grows and we’re influenced by trends and even what’s going on in our personal lives. Once again, think of fashion. The clothes you wore 5 years ago is probably so not your style now, and that’s okay. When it comes to your interior style, it will go through the seasons of life just like you are. However, once you are able to identify which style you are currently loving, trust me, the power is in your hands.

How are we going to help you find your style though? 


Create a Pinterest Board.


Evaluate your Pinterest Board.


A Design Learning Session about 10 popular styles!


Clarity. You have knowledge and understanding moving forward. 


Are you excited? Let's jump into it!

Create A Pinterest Board

If you don't already have a Pinterest account, I advise you go make one right now. Pinterest is the ideal visual platform for Interior Design. This is where I get 90% of my inspiration from!

Here's what I want you to do:

  • Make a Pinterest Account.

  • Create a board.

  • Name your board. "My Design Style"

Invite me to your board! (Don't be shy) @MellaDesignLtd

Now, I want you to search Interior Design related terms. A few examples are:

- Living Room, Table Design, Interior Design, Bedroom

Whatever comes to your mind, get creative!

With each search, start saving images you LOVE into your board. When I'm sitting with a Client, I don't want them to "like" something, I want them to LOVE it.

Feel free to go a bit sideways from Interior Design and pin images of Artwork, things in nature, hobbies you enjoy etc.

If you're confused with these steps about creating an account and saving items to your board, send me a message or a simple google search can help.

Just have a carefree creative session!

Evaluate your Pinterest Board

When you feel as though you've got plenty of content on your board, let's move closer to finding your style. Take a step back and look at your board.

Do you see clean lines, large glass windows, smooth surfaces and a layering of materials? You may be a Contemporary person! Or do you see a layering of eclectic pieces, handmade accessories, planters and woven fabrics? Then the Bohemian style may suit you!

But wait, there are SO many more styles out there.

A Design Learning Session about 10 popular styles!

Knowledge is power and when you learn about various topics, you're able to make better decisions moving forward. That said, we want to educate you on the various Interior Design styles out there and make this a fun learning experience for us both.

Are you ready for a Mella Design learning session? Snuggle up with a cup of tea and let's get to scrolling. Let's go through 10 popular interior design styles and I'm sure you'll be able to define your style further.



Now, we're starting you off with an interesting style, which many persons confuse with the Modern style. Contemporary and Modern are actually different from each other. We'll break this down for you. Don't worry, by the end of this post, you'll leave filled with lots of new knowledge you didn't expect to learn about Interiors!

Contemporary design began around 1970 when Post Modernism became popular. The Contemporary style has since grown influenced by several artistic movements such as Futurism, Art Deco, Deconstructivism, etc.

This style is generally referred to as the here and now of design, meaning that as designs evolve, the current style will be identified as contemporary.

I know that sounds tricky, so lets look at some examples.

As you can see from the above examples, the Contemporary style consists of:

  • Smooth surfaces

  • Clean lines / linear forms - A more architectural approach.

  • Strong curved lines can also be seen.

  • Neutral color palettes.

  • A layering method of various materials.

  • Large glass windows.

  • Metals are often incorporated, as well as natural stones.

  • Wood finishes tend to be smooth.

  • An open space feel.


Here's where we shake things up for you. Again, Contemporary Design is not Modern Design. The Modern era has passed. In fact, a good way to always remember this is instead of saying, "This is a very Modern space", you can say "This is a very Modernist space". Sounds more like a thing of the past, right?

The Modern Design era actually began in the early 1900's through the 1950's. Of course, like all design styles, they don't just cease to influence the industry. Instead, traces of their characteristics bleed into the next couple decades.

The Modern Style began with influences of Scandinavian design, morphed into Mid-Century Modern (the most popular Modernist style) and then stretched into the 1970's as post-modernism. This is where we just highlighted the birth of the Contemporary Style.

Is it all starting to make sense now? Do you see why we confuse the two because of their similarities?

Modern Design was meant to be much simpler than Traditional Designs. It was time to move away from the ornate elements and create spaces that breathe a little better.

Before looking at some examples, let's talk about some characteristics of Modern Design.

  • Lots of whites began to be incorporated, alongside with grays, black and rusty accent colors.

  • Warm Wood Tones.

  • Surfaces Tend To Be Smooth & Clean.

  • Natural stone accents.

  • Clean Lines, Strict Forms. Mostly Linear, Architectural Elements.

  • Slight Minimalist Approach.

  • Functional Pieces Of Furniture.

  • Connecting Interiors With Outdoors.


During the Modernist era, Mid-Century Modern was born around the 1930's. This style is more of a product of the Modern movement. Both styles are very similar, but Mid-Century Modern often speaks a more 'masculine' appeal.

This style followed characteristics of the Modern style as we just mentioned, but defined colors and finishes differently.

Let's look at some examples of Mid-century Modern Design.

Let's discuss some characteristics of the Mid-century Modern Style.

  • White continued to be used on walls, allowing furniture and decor to pop.

  • Pops of color created interest and contrast. These colors often had a dull or pastel tint, creating a retro vibe.

  • Lots of warm woods were used.

  • Clean Lines were consistent.

  • Furniture legs were usually wooden or metal, but had very angular forms.

  • Continued to incorporate natural lighting by blending the outdoors with the indoors.


Traditional Interior Design is all about extravagance and detail. This style originated in the 1800's into the 1900's.

This style has borrowed designs from many eras, being rich in history and heavily reflects the sophistication of European decor.

Let's look at some examples of Traditional Interiors.

Traditional Design Characteristics:

  • Classical Art is used.

  • Very ornate moldings and picture / art frames.

  • Ornate details in furniture pieces.

  • Tufted Upholstery.

  • Layered drapes are seen on windows.

  • Lots of gold is incorporated.

  • Color is used to add to the vibrant gold and ornate details.

  • Unique antique decor pieces.

  • Dark wood furniture pieces.

  • Extravagant crystal chandeliers and table lamps with shades are popular.


Transitional Interior Design is the happy medium between Traditional and Modern or Contemporary. Some may feel as though traditional style is too cluttered and ornate for them, while the modern style may be too bare and cold.

However, if you appreciate a life of moderation, the transitional style may be for you.

This style will give you the best of both worlds.

Hopefully from the photos you can see the merge between styles which create Transitional Designs.

Here are some characteristics:

  • Colors are usually neutral with slight pops of color.

  • Accessories are placed, but nothing too scarce nor over the top.

  • Typically a harmonious appeal to spaces.

  • Patterned rugs are used under bold furnishings.

  • Will often see a contemporary element merged with wall molding in a space.

  • Mirrors and metals are frequently used.

  • Spaces usually have a focal point or focal wall.


Minimalism is a way of life that has made its way into Interior Design. This style is an easy one to identify as it looks exactly the way it sounds: minimal.

But isn't design supposed to be extravagant? Not really. Design is a reflection of your lifestyle and some of us prefer a space free of clutter to maintain a clear mindset and self-liberated way of living.

Minimalism mimics elements of Contemporary Design, but distributed by only the essentials. A good method to use when creating a minimalist design, is to ask yourself, "What does this space need in order to function?", and do just that, tastefully.

Minimalist Design Characteristics:

  • Clean lines. Strong Architectural forms.

  • Functional furniture pieces with storage.

  • Open Space.

  • No Clutter.

  • Monochromatic color palettes.

  • If multiple materials are used, they have similar tones.

  • An overall simplistic aesthetic. "Less is more".


The Bohemian style is pretty much the complete opposite of the previously mentioned styles. Instead of a structured, architectural approach, this style is more about the freedom to layer elements. Let's put it this way, for a Minimalist, the Bohemian style would be a true nightmare as one can find this aesthetic somewhat 'cluttered'.

The Bohemian style was created by nomadic artists in 19th century Paris, who wanted to toss the rules and revolt against conformity. A 'Boho Interior' is tends to be very personalized to the user of that space. It's a reflection of artistic authenticity and 'peace, love and good vibes'. Some can call it, the Hippy's Interior.

Bohemian Interiors usually follow certain characteristics:

  • A layering of eclectic elements.

  • Patterns and soft furnishing textures are heavily used.

  • Colors are usually neutral but also can include vibrant hues.

  • A very personal space, created through layers of elements.

  • Not so concerned with lines and shapes, but rather, how a space feels to its user.

  • Woven fabrics, rattan, wicker etc are popular.

  • Plants are typically used in various forms (potted, hanging, etc.)

  • Spaces are usually very comfortable looking, as lots of throw pillows and throw blankets are used.

  • Authentic hand-made pieces are used to accessories.


The Industrial look is rough and raw and you can't mistake it for any other style. This style is all about exposing your deep dark side in a bold and brave manner.

This style is often seen in re-purposed warehouses or old factories, merging the old with the new. You'll often see lots of vintage or rustic elements combined with modern and sleek components.

Industrial Interiors usually include the following characteristics:

  • Large open, double-height spaces, with tall windows and doors, often re-purposed warehouses are used.

  • Mezzanines are popular.

  • Exposed beams on ceiling and exposed pipes on ceiling and walls.

  • Rustic wood finishes, brick, dark metals combined with slight chrome accents are popular.

  • Unfinished surfaces are incorporated such as unpainted walls, or concrete walls and ceilings.

  • Large sectionals are used to compensate for the open space.

  • Bright colors aren't used, however neutrals, dark browns, black and grays are used.

  • Accessories tend to be very unique, vintage pieces.

  • Artwork is usually incorporated as large abstract pieces to compensate for the open space.

  • Open concept / floating furniture layouts.

  • Modern sleek lines / very architecturally strong. Curved lines are almost never used.

  • Plants are incorporated to add warmth and accent the heavy, masculine and concrete jungle feel.


Farmhouse Interiors are the chillest of the styles all while being elegant and full of character. When we say full of character, we don't mean clutter. Actually, this style is all about finding the perfect balance of the elements to achieve a relaxed yet well curated interior.

This style could be described as a mix between modern, traditional and boho.

Let's look at some examples and then we'll get into the characteristics.

Farmhouse Interiors usually include the following characteristics:

  • Rustic elements, such as rough/aged wood finishes, natural stones, aged metals, recycled pieces.

  • Chic elements such as tufted bedheads, ornate furniture pieces.

  • Very cozy appeal created through soft furnishings, large sofas and arm chairs, layers of throw pillows and blankets.

  • Texture plays a huge role in both hard and soft furnishings.

  • A balanced curation of accessories, nothing looks randomly placed or themed.

  • In fact, spaces tend to look very themed and harmonious.

  • Neutral colors and whites are used.

  • Plants are often incorporated minimally.

  • Items tend to be reused and repurposed or DIY.

  • A mix and match of elements, but in moderation.

  • Avoid large glass windows, but encourage sufficient natural light into the space.

  • Often see an 'X' form on furniture pieces.


Coastal Interior Design is a chic, modern approach to seaside homes. The style is very relaxed, cozy and when done right, feels like a high-end beach house getaway.

Through pattern, color and texture, this style can sweep you off to the oceans, ideal for a vacation home where the family can take a break from the hustle and bustle of city life.

Coastal Interiors usually include the following characteristics:

  • Lots of white and neutral tones are used to allow decor and accent colors to pop.

  • Blues are the most popular accent colors, reminiscent of the ocean.

  • Cozy soft furnishings are incorporated like multiple throw pillows and blankets.

  • Accessories incorporate greenery (but not too much) and nautical / seaside elements, in moderation.

  • Spaces tend to be free of clutter, allowing for a breezy atmosphere with natural light.

  • Patterns tend to be floral or botanically inspired.

  • Raw woods are used, but not overly rustic. Wood finishes tend to be lighter / warmer.

  • Furniture pieces and light fixtures can be crafted of wicker, rattan, woven ropes etc.


At this point, you should be filled with knowledge and power. You have a better understanding of what you like and what you definitely don't like. Take this moment to go back to Pinterest and explore a bit more. Remember though, Pin images you LOVE!

Your board is going to have various styles of interiors saved, but there has to be that one style that rules. That is your type of space.

If you see an equal amount of two different styles, THAT IS OKAY! Different styles can always be mixed, which may be challenging at first, but with practice, it will become a breeze to mix and match, curating your perfect space.

I hope you enjoyed this post as much as I enjoyed creating it.

Don't forget to invite me to your Pinterest Board, I'm sure you have great taste and I'd love to start a conversation!




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