Stylistic guidelines make it easy to design a harmonious interior space  

 Story by Meredith Coopman

There are so many different interior design styles that it can be difficult to keep track. Each style has its own look or practice, and it’s important to know the basic design types and core aspects before blending different elements from several styles together. While this is encouraged to help make a space personal, it can go wrong and become costly if not implemented correctly.


There seems to be a minimalism movement at the moment: own less, experience more. Minimalism is often perceived as stark and cold, although it’s quite the opposite. Think clean, edited and simple: the necessities and not much more. This isn’t to be confused with the Marie Kondo method of purging anything that doesn’t give you joy. Instead, it’s the idea of not having or buying things you don’t need. Minimalism isn’t uncomfortable. It can be modern and sleek with clean lines, where comfort and functionality meet. Color palettes are neutral, furniture is simple and nothing is excessive.


As the name implies, almost every style is rooted in traditional interior design ideas. The classic details, lavish furnishings and an abundance of accessories reflect European influences. Traditional homes often feature dark woods, rich color palettes and a variety of layers.  Furnishings frequently have curved lines with elaborate and ornate details. Fabrics include a variety of patterns and textures and seem expensive. There is typically a lot of depth, layering, dimension and, often times, many accessories.


Transitional design has a relatively neutral color palette, creating a space that manages to feel stylish, sleek, warm and inviting to most people. Pottery Barn is a great example. It is appealing to the masses. Most people can see themselves in the setting of a Pottery Barn living room or bedroom. It’s comfortable, relaxed and aesthetically pleasing. It is basically traditional furnishings mixed with modern elements, offering a good balance with a neutral base so that is easy to add other elements and personality.


French Country is a hybrid of antique French, shabby chic and farmhouse interior design elements. French Country design may include tones of red, yellow or gold and natural materials like stone and brick. French Country design can include collections of ornate porcelain dishes and heavy linens and bed coverings.


Shabby chic is a vintage-inspired style that tends to be feminine, soft and delicate. With roots in antique and vintage French design, it presents a timeless lived-in, vintage-inspired appeal. Shabby chic furnishings are frequently either distressed or appear that way. The color palettes include whites, creams and pastels. Light fixtures and accessories are often ornate and continue the feminine vibe of shabby chic design.


Bohemian décor is one of the most timeless and endlessly popular interior design styles. It represents a carefree freedom and lifestyle. Bohemian homes may include globally inspired textiles and rugs with a relaxed mix of exotic finds and vintage furnishings found between flea markets and travels. The eclectic style also touches on hints of glamour through crystals, beads and rich jewel tones. Bohemian is a popular style for interior as well as fashion. It reflects a carefree lifestyle with few rules and the attitude where anything goes, as long as you love it.


Mid-century modern is a throwback to the design style of the 1950s and 1960s. It evokes a retro nostalgia, as well as elements of minimalism. Functionality was the main theme for mid-century design. Simple, straightforward, and often with organic shapes, mid-mod furnishings look great in most rooms and easily complement any interior. As far as interior trends go, you can’t go wrong with this one, making it a great option for updating most spaces.


Industrial style draws inspiration from warehouses, industrial buildings or factories. There is a sense of unfinished rawness in many of the elements. Exposed brick, ductwork and wood are not uncommon, and the primary materials are of metals and woods. Industrial designs lend a clean, somewhat masculine and minimal essence to any space. Typically, an industrial setting features a neutral color scheme, reclaimed machinery, moody hues, raw woods and unfinished metals.


People just can’t seem to get enough of the Modern Farmhouse, and for good reason. The movement conveys a relaxed spirit that’s warm and inviting without pretention (and it’s easy to replicate on your own). Modern Farmhouse provides a warm, cozy, practical, comfortable and down-home environment. Rustic, country elements and natural textures and materials are used to create a fresh take on the country living-inspired style and an overall simpler way of life.

Of course, this is just a short list of many. It’s fun to incorporate décor items that are meaningful into personal spaces, no matter the style. If you love it, keep it, and it will work with your décor.

Meredith Coopman has over 25 years of experience in architecture and interior design. She is currently the Design Director at InnSpace in Kalispell. You can reach her at