Do you know how to describe your design style?
If you’re working with a designer to create a new kitchen, it pays to be able to explain what you’re looking for. We’ve pulled together some of the most popular design styles so you can quickly learn how to describe your likes and dislikes. Once you see what you’re drawn too – clean lines vs. intricate details – you’ll be able to discuss the options with confidence.
Transitional borrows elements from both traditional and modern or contemporary design. It’s a mix of natural and man-made finishes and textures. Using the building blocks of design – colour, pattern, texture, and composition – it makes the space feel cohesive. You will see a decorative, historic detail next to a clean-lined, sleek metal piece. It can be both stylish and sleek, as well as warm and inviting. Eclectic style evokes a sense of imagination and balance with unexpected contrasts while Bohemian style goes a step further still. It’s a little more carefree and has fewer rules, except to follow your heart’s desire. There’s a laissez-faire attitude where anything goes as long as you love it!
Modern or Contemporary
Contemporary design is often described as simple and unfussy, with clean, crisp lines. It combines sleek horizontal lines, and minimal ornamentation, often mixing more man-made materials like stainless steel and glass. It gives a sense of simplicity to each design element. The term Modern or Contemporary are usually used interchangeably. While there are differences (e.g. Contemporary allows more curving lines), for most people’s design discussions, they can be combined. Mid-Century Modern comes primarily from the 50’s and 60’s with a nostalgic and retro feel. Its fussy-free theme emphasizes more natural and organic shapes then Modern geometric shapes. Scandinavian, Danish Modern, Miami Modern, Art Deco, are also types of Modern design.
Industrial or Urban design includes a sense of unfinished rawness and a laid-back cool vibe. Inspiration comes from inner-city warehouses, often incorporating wide-open floorplans and large metal windows. It uses texture, tonal contrast, and layering of neutral colours to create its ambiance. Exposed brick and ductwork, high ceilings, dangling metal light fixtures, and sparse furniture help define this style. Urban décor often describes a softer, airier, and more comfortable version of the starkness of Industrial style.
Traditional design creates a warm welcoming, and orderly décor that is easy to live with. Because this style uses symmetry and balance, soft curved lines, and plenty of texture, it has a more formal and elegant look. Dark wood finishes, conservative but rich colour palettes, luxurious furnishings, and ample accessories give depth and dimension to the space. Sophisticated trims, sparkling chandeliers, pretty floral and plaid patterns, and sweeping window treatments add the finishing touches. There are plenty of periods to choose from, all with their own unique characteristics: Georgian, Victorian, Italianate, Edwardian, Colonial, French Provincial, Queen Anne, Neoclassical, Shaker, and the list goes on!
Rustic style suggests feelings of a simpler time and a sense of connection to the past. Organic forms and warm earthy colours give this style a natural warmth and unpretentious feel. Found objects and hand-built pieces help give an authentic rural living feeling and a well-worn appearance. Asymmetrical, weathered materials like aged tin and rough barn boards mixed with sturdy fabrics make these spaces feel like an extension of the outdoors. Although Country style is similar, it has a more muted colour palette, softer patterned fabrics and welcoming oversized furniture. Adding a few carefully chosen elements like a handmade quilt and some woven baskets can complete the space and pull the style together. Other styles include: Log Cabin, Ranch, Lodge, Mountain, Coastal, Americana, French or English Country, Garden, Cape Cod, Cottage, Farmhouse, Arts and Crafts, etc.
Scandinavian design has become a worldwide sensation. This interior design style is popular for its simplicity, functionality, and connection to the natural environment, and it provides understated elegance to both residential and commercial settings. Scandinavian design arose largely from a need for functionality, as the harsh winter conditions of Northern Europe compelled those who lived there to prioritize utility over ornamentation.
Scandinavian-style rooms combine textures, contrasts, and soft tones to achieve a sleek, modern look.
Scandinavian-style interiors, as opposed to completely modern settings, tend to incorporate a more diverse mix of old and contemporary elements, as well as a more lighthearted attitude. Scandinavian design embraces a range of concepts and features to find a balance between functionality, modernism, and leisure, five of which are detailed below.
1. Neutral-heavy colors, particularly whites, greys, and tans.
2. Natural lighting to emphasize available light, making space appear bigger.
3. Sleek, modern furniture with warm wood tones, subtle curves, and smooth lines.
4. Minimalist storage designs and items and decor without excessive detailing.
5. Natural elements, plants, and wood accents to breathe life into the room.