One of the first questions I will ask you before I style your home will be “what are your preferred Interior Design Styles”. To which, you could say something like “I am obsessed with a minimal Scandinavian style” or else you might say “Ummmmm I have absolutely no idea”. Others may say “I really love an Industrial vibe” but once I start learning more about them and their preferences I will discover that they actually don’t understand what an “Industrial style” really is. My partner inspired me for this blog topic today because he made me laugh when he was pretending he knew what “style” our TV unit was. Below is a picture of our Hamptons Style TV unit that he described as “Neo-Gothic”…. not even joking!
The most important thing to discover before you start designing your interior is to figure out what style you actually like. It is helpful to consider the design of your physical home too in order to understand what Interior style will work best. If you have a very obvious Hamptons home, you should not be considering Mid Century furniture as it will clash terribly.
Turn to Pinterest or Instagram and just start searching for interiors that you like. Keep a collection of these images on hand so that you can look for similarities between the pictures you have saved. Or take a design quiz to discover your true style. There are so many online but I personally liked the quiz by Havenly. Once you figure out your style, stick with it and stay focused because it is so easy to get sidetracked along the way.
This style has been very popular in Australian homes and it is easy to understand why. The style provides a very homely, easy to live in vibe and is not too difficult to achieve. The style literally comes from the Hamptons in New York where some of the most beautiful, luxurious beach houses are built. If you haven’t started watching “Million Dollar Beach House” on Netflix, I highly recommend having a squiz! Not for the cheesy drama between the real estate agents, but for the multimillion-dollar Hamptons homes they are selling! They are jaw-droppingly beautiful!
A Hamptons style incorporates all of the elements you would expect to see at the beach. The main colour palette is a neutral mix of beige, very soft grey and white (like the sand and shells) with accents of Blue from the ocean. Raw wood is a key material used in a Hamptons home reflecting the driftwood washing up on the beach. Furniture is generally upholstered in a crisp white linen or cotton fabric. Natural rope is often used as curtain ties, detailing on furniture or used on ornaments. Sea Urchins are used as decoration to enhance the feeling of being by the beach. And corroded metal can be seen on things like lighting, clocks or the frames of bookcases to mimic the salty corrosive nature of the beach air.
This style works best in large open plan homes with extensive amounts of natural light gushing in through big glass windows. It is common to find an all-white kitchen with natural linen barstools lining the kitchen island. White marble can be used in the bathroom with a beautiful light grey vanity to contrast against it. Natural wooden floorboards line the living areas of the house with soft cream carpets in the bedrooms to enhance that “holiday” feeling between your toes. Your furniture should be of a bigger scale as this style is all about sinking into the furniture and relaxing. A deep-seated sofa is a must and feather filled if possible. And lastly, the most obvious and necessary feature within a Hamptons home are the white plantation shutters over the windows!
AKA French Country style.
This is a style that people often confuse with “Hamptons”. Where Hamptons focuses heavily on a coastal feel, Frech Provincial focuses on the countryside. They are similar in the sense that they use a soft colour palette that derives from nature, but a French Provincial style is typically more ornate and delicate than the simple Hamptons look. This style is also very popular amongst Australians as it gives a very warm, cosy and homely feel. The French Provincial style originated in Provence, south of France during the 17th and 18th Centuries.
In a French Provencial style, the colour palette is often warm neutrals with softer pops of duck egg blue, mint or sage green and custard yellow. This style uses natural materials like carved wood, linen, and wool. While this style is not fussy or pretentious, there is a strong appreciation for the finer details. Everything is thoughtfully designed within this style.
In a bedroom, you could achieve this look by adding an upholstered, tufted bedhead with crisp linen bedsheets and a thick woollen throw. The rustic wooden bedside tables would be very ornate, with carved detailing and antique brass table lamps. In a dining room, you will find a wooden trestle table or pedestal table with imperfections in the wood it was carved from. A table runner made from natural linen would draw the eye to the fresh flowers displayed in a porcelain vase. A living room might display some ornately carved armchairs with high backs and multiple cushions of different patterns spread across the sofa. Ornaments with chipped paint would not be uncommon to find in this wonderful style.
This style dates back to the 1930s during Hollywood’s “Golden Ages”. There is nothing casual about this style as it celebrates the decadent and fabulous from Hollywood. Everything about this design trend is opulent, luxurious and excessive…it’s great! If you feel like you are overdoing it, then you are doing it right!
It is easy to see a connection to the Mid Century style through the clean lines and silhouettes on furniture. But the materials used in a Hollywood Glam style are nowhere to be seen in a Mid-century look. You will not find wood in its raw form in a Hollywood Glam interior as the design style does not believe in “less is more”. The shinier it is, the better (think lacquered)! You can also find references to the Art Deco style through the geometric patterns, metallic accents and bold colours used.
There is no distinctive colour palette to the Hollywood Glam look. But usually, you’ll find bold pops of colour instead of muted tones. Think Emerald Green, not Sage Green. Contrasting colours are commonly found in this style. In one space, you might find Fuschia Pink, Azure Blue and Canary Yellow against a black and white tiled floor, complete with gold accents. Bold patterns are often repeated within accessories and wallpapers. The furniture within a Hollywood glam setting tends to be smaller as this era was all about entertaining and preserving the available space for entertaining guests. Rich velvets, silks and animal hydes are very common materials used in this style.
It seems like this is the one style that everybody tends to understand! It sticks out, but not in a demanding way. Its simplicity, minimalism and attention to texture are what really attract people to this beautiful design style. According to Domain, “the style emerged in the 1950s as part of a modern movement in Nordic design (i.e. Sweden, Denmark, Finland, Iceland and Norway) that prioritised function and affordability over preciousness and luxury”. The complete opposite of the design trend we discussed previously!
A true Scandinavian inspired home will revolve around natural lighting. The colour palette will have plenty of bright whites and soft pale colours. Light leggy furniture, sheer curtains or blinds, and an array of natural materials will feature in these homes. In Winter, the Scandinavian countries lack natural lighting as they experience shorter days and long winters. Incorporating white and lighter furniture provides an overall brighter feel to space. The furniture is very simple in this style as ornate and decorative pieces tend to add more ‘weight’ to a room. Less is more in a Scandinavian look.
To achieve this look, make sure you stick to a light and muted colour palette. Work with simple and light pieces of natural wood furniture. Layer some animal furs and thick knit throws to your sofa/bed for a textural look and place a handwoven wool rug on the floor. Make sure you highlight your sofa with thick, textured, mismatched cushions and use an open bookshelf instead of a closed one. Last but not least, declutter!
The Modern Interior Design style can be confused with “Contemporary” design but they are quite different. Contemporary design refers to what is new and trending right now whereas Modern refers to an actual era during the late 19th Century. Modern style furnishings and decor celebrate natural materials, a neutral colour palette, and the elimination of unnecessary detailing. The quote “form follows function” comes from this era where designers preferred to adopt a “no fuss” approach. In other words, all furniture and decor should simply serve its purpose and the beauty is just that.
A modern style is perfect for those who don’t care for clutter and appreciate an architectural look. The modern style employed new materials like reinforced concrete and steel for building structures. As a result, houses were able to have larger windows, flat roofs and could be cubic or even cylindrical.
To achieve the modern look aim for straight and simple lines within your space. Expose building materials such as concrete, stone, metal, wood and glass. Natural light should rush in through large, unadorned windows. Your colour palette should be monochromatic (mainly black, white and grey) with a single pop of a primary colour if desired (Red, Yellow or Blue). Keep your furniture low, simple and purposeful using natural fibres like cotton or leather. Use glass and chrome accents around your home to complete the look.
There you have it. The most common Interior Design styles my clients want. There are heaps more that I didn’t mention such as Boho, Country Chic, Mid-Century, Mediterranean, Industrial, British Colonial etc. There are so many styles out there so make sure you are picking a style that you truly enjoy. For those of you who are under the illusion or have been told by someone else that you cannot mix styles together, you are wrong. You most certainly CAN mix Interior Design styles, you just need to understand how! Perhaps that’s a topic for another blog! I often work with a “Glamptons” style which is a mix of Hamptons and Hollywood Glam.
Let me know if you found this blog useful or if you need help figuring out your own Interior Design styles. Feel free to read more of my blogs HERE.