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  • Writer's pictureEmma Penney

Interior Design 2021: 8 popular types of interior designs explained

Updated: Mar 22, 2021

8 popular types of interior designs explained

Are you looking to style your new home but have no idea where to start? Do you want to create a warm and cosy Scandinavian theme throughout or is your design style more industrial minimalism? How do you choose between one interior style and the next? Fear not, today we’re demystifying 8 popular types of interior design for you.

Interior designers often blend several design styles together, but it’s essential to distinguish the core elements of each one to get to your desired aesthetic. There are many types of interior design but we want to focus on the top 8 interior styles that The Rug Story Designers are asked to recreate the most. So, let’s dive in...


Whilst the interior design types described in this article are classic design styles that will continue to remain popular, interior design styles change and evolve with each new season, just as fashion does. According to Homes and Gardens some of the top interior design trends to look out for in 2021 include:

1. Yellow and grey: this year Pantone took the unusual step of naming two colours as their shades of the year; Illuminating - a zingy yellow and Ultimate Gray - a pale grey.

Pantone Colours of the Year 2021

2. Cottagecore - picture ginghams and checks, vintage prints and motifs set amongst a muted, pastel palette.

3. Distant shores - a trend which features tropical brights, subtle monotones and soft lemon.

4. Vintage - a layering of antique, repurposed, salvaged and retro pieces.

5. Global influence - inspired by earthy colour palettes and warm, natural textures.

6. Eco chic - colours and textures have a hint of craft with warm tones coming to the fore.

7. Luxurious interiors to retreat to - a feeling of sumptuous that redefines the home with all the comforts and refinements of boutique hotels. Think luxury bespoke rugs.


For those who are looking for an in-depth explanation of the more traditional interior styles, look no further. Below we look in more detail at what exactly mid-century modern composes of and how to distinguish between Scandinavian and Bohemian styles.


Mid-Century Modern Interior Design Style

The mid-1900s produced some of the most iconic pieces in modern design. It was an era of sleek lines, minimalist silhouettes, and natural shapes. Furniture designers such as Arne Jacobsen, Euro Saarinen, Florence Knoll and Verner Panton found creative ways to use new materials like moulded plastic, plywood, and aluminium in industrial design. Its pieces are highly versatile and can complement a myriad of design styles.

Get the Mid-century Modern look

To bring mid-century into the modern day, we recommend mixing classics such as a teak sideboard or Eames Lounge Chair with modern prints and brightly coloured pieces to keep your home looking fresh rather than dated.


Industrial Interior Design Style

Industrial design originates from the turn-of-the-century industrial era. This design style became very popular in the early 2000s when impressive spaces such as old factories were being turned into fashionable lofts. The use of exposed steel with distressed wood is often used to complement rough, exposed brick walls.

Today, industrial designs commonly include copper-tone accents with an overall rustic and mature aesthetic which lends itself well to masculine apartments and professional office spaces.

Get the Industrial look

The industrial look is incredibly versatile and can be paired with almost any interior design regardless of budget. To create this design style try to create clean lines with muted colour tones. When it comes to furniture, look for traditional chesterfield sofas, wooden table tops with metal legs and minimal decorative touches.


Bohemian Interior Design Style

Bohemian in it’s very essence brings to mind floaty textiles, laid-back moods and a soft, relaxed environment. Bohemian as a design style is very much that; earthy tones set amongst chalky whites, bold yet muted patterns, floaty fabrics, clusters of green plants in contrasting ceramic pots with lots of design elements thrown in for extra interest. It is one of the interior design types favoured by creative industries for inspiring its employees and delivering an instantly pleasing aesthetic to clients.

Get the Bohemian look

Mimic this avant-garde look by leaving walls a blank canvas and then introducing vibrant red and purple colours in rich patterns into your rugs, scatter cushions and other soft textiles. The key is to purposefully present a ‘messy’ look by layering textiles (throws, pillows, rugs, wall hangings) and creating a warm ambience. When it comes to furniture, look for pieces with ethnic or nomadic vibes. Moroccan, Southwestern, or tribal-inspired designs are a good source of inspiration.


Scandinavian Interior Design Style

Anyone who has ever visited IKEA will be familiar with Scandinavian design. Light wood, playful accent colours, minimalist features and gentle contours all feature in this popular design style.

Scandinavian design is the ideal choice for busy family homes in need of simplistic and organised storage solutions combined with a cosy and easy-to-clean space. It is also a great choice for minimalist bachelor pads, wherein the use of fluid lines and foundation colours of white and grey have a populist appeal.

Get the Scandinavian Look

Create the sense of minimalism and functionality often found in Scandinavian design by choosing mid-century furniture with simple, clean lines and natural hues. Keep your windows naked and let the light flood in for a maximum Scandinavian vibe. Because of the functionality aspect of Scandinavian design, using beautiful storage pieces that double as stylish décor is at the core of this design type. Anna Decilveo, a merchandiser at the Swedish-founded company Tictail says “The shelf or basket you would've likely hid in your closet is, instead, a work of art in itself.”


Nautical Interior Design Style

Nautical as an interior design style has been around for many years and whilst it is a popular style in any season of the year, it really explodes when the weather warms up and people start to get design ideas from the coastal places they visit throughout the summer.

The nautical design style instils a carefree, coastal feel into an interior. This often begins with a carefully chosen colour palette and distinct materials associated with sailing, ships and the sea.

Get the Nautical look

There are some essentials to stick by when it comes to achieving a nautical look in your home. From blue and white colour schemes to rope accents and washed wooden furniture, each element brings its own element to the overall beachy aesthetic. Think plain walls dressed with brass light fittings, the essential striped patterns and opulent woven fabrics and baskets to bring that rustic feel into the mix.


Urban Modern Interior Design Style

Urban modern styles stem from a Cosmopolitan influence. Open loft spaces in cities such as London and New York are the hub of urban modern living. Fusing together opposing yet complementary design styles is at the heart of this look. Expect to see contemporary design pieces and edgy artwork combined with a softer aesthetic of scatter cushions and fluffy rug designs.

Get the Urban Modern look

Have fun playing with the scale of items in an urban modern setting. Think oversized light pendants, large gilded mirrors that take up an entire wall or use a mix of oversized pieces, such as a picture frame, storm lantern and ornament, in one area to make an impact. Choose relaxed fabrics and patterns set against strong pieces of furniture.

If you need help choosing the perfect rug for your urban modern décor, don’t hesitate to contact our team of experts who can help you select the perfect piece for your space.


Farmhouse Interior Design Style

Farmhouse is still having its moment, but it's evolving into something more sophisticated and less cliché in 2021. You don’t need to live in the countryside to bring this look into your home. With the clever combination of large wooden furniture and delicate collections of antiques and pottery, this design style is preferred by families looking for a cosy aesthetic in which to enjoy lazy Sunday afternoons and creatives looking for a blank canvas as a backdrop to their one-of-a-kind artistic pieces.

Get the Farmhouse look

Look to find rustic charm in heavy wooden furniture pieces in natural wooden tones or go black which will pop against stark white walls. Think woven textures but find them in new ways such as a modern chair frame with reclaimed leather webbing (pictured above). With the farmhouse style trend you want to bring the outdoors in, so think lots of greenery in rustic pots. Colours and fabrics should be understated in farmhouse design; let the furniture and design pieces take centre stage.


Shabby Chic Interior Design Style

Embrace shabby chic but not as you know it. Long gone are the days of chalk paint and French signage and instead it's all about creating an aged look in your home; a rustic country vibe that's wholesome and charming. But be careful, less is definitely more when it comes to an updated shabby chic look in 2021.

Get the shabby chic look

Skip the floral prints, the super sweet pastels and overly distressed furniture and just incorporate the worn wood and natural textures that also come with the shabby chic aesthetic. Colours are still pastel but make sure they are more powder pink than bubble gum! Create cosy reading nooks with all your favourite books and well-curated displays of vintage items are still allowed.


We hope our article 8 popular types of interior designs explained has shone some light on the most popular ‘classic’ interior design styles. Whatever your preferred design style, there is so much inspiration available on platforms such as Pinterest and Instagram. Go wild collating mood boards which will help you when shopping for colours and soft furnishings or to give your interior designer a visual feel for what you are trying to create in your home.

If you’re looking for an interior designer based in Great Britain or Ireland check out our affiliated interior designers for a quality service you can trust.

The great thing about our rug designs is that they are completely bespoke to you and your design style. We can create any look to compliment your room. See some of our most recent bespoke client orders in our gallery and get in touch if you would like to discuss your design needs in more detail.

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