Design Styles

While trends come and go with time, design styles always seem to remain. With that being said, design styles are influenced by cultures, locations, environments, and trends that are popular at the moment. With what seems like a never-ending list of different styles, it can be intimidating when it comes to deciphering them. We have selected twelve iconic design styles to define and explain so that understanding the differences and similarities can hopefully become a little bit easier.


The traditional design style offers details from 18th and 19th century Europe. Rich in history, it features elaborate moldings, dark wood paneling, and elegant furniture. In a traditional-styled home, you can most likely find neutral-colored walls so that the decorative accents can be highlighted. Features include built-in cabinets, dark wood furniture, and antique pieces located throughout the home. Textures are layered with patterns such as silk, velvet, and cashmere. Elaborate chandeliers are often in at least one main room of the house and lighting is usually layered. The traditional design style is one of the most widely used in today's homes.

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A modern design style is a very broad term that often refers to a home with clean lines, a simple color palette and certain materials. With heavy black and white colors as a base, modern styles usually have pops of primary colors as a contrast. Geometric shapes, smooth lines, and intentional asymmetry can be found in a modern styled home. “Sleek” is often a word that describes this style of home because there is usually no clutter or chaos and furniture is very polished and smooth. An open floor plan allows for a lot of natural light to shine through. A minimalistic style closely follows modern, just with fewer colors and shapes.

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The contemporary and modern styles are often interchanged and confused for each other, however, the biggest difference is that contemporary changes with the styles of here and now. Besides its fluidity, contemporary style consists of lots of natural light and neutral colors. Metal, steel, and wood furniture and lighting fixtures can be found in these houses. In contemporary style homes, lighting fixtures are used as an artistic statement. Expect to see unusual floor layouts, exposed furniture and light bulbs, and many elements of what is currently trending. Carrying a modern touch, the contemporary style is always evolving.

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Mid-Century Modern

Mid-century modern is a style that is different from regular modern for many reasons, but the main one is because the mid-century design requires that the style carries from the interior to the exterior. The crisp, simple lines, rusty metals, and subtle silhouettes allow for a fussy free and functional space in almost any interior. It embraces natural elements such as blue and green color palettes and nature-inspired furniture such as egg-shaped chairs or indoor plants. Often times, a piece from the 1950s or 60s can give mid-century modern a nostalgic look with a unique blend of minimalism and retro.

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In the late 1990s, city centers started refurbishing abandoned manufacturing facilities and warehouses to become residential areas. They left walls exposed of brick, didn’t cover pipes or electrical wires, and allowed floors to remain in their original condition. This was the start of the industrial style of design. With wood features and deep neutral colors, the industrial interior design style allows for the original character of the building to remain. Furniture is usually made of metal or wood, lightbulbs are often exposed and ceilings are left open. This design style is usually found in metropolitan areas and city-centers.

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Although many people look at it and see chaos, the eclectic design style actually finds harmony in the mix of many textures and colors. This style is not defined as one alone, but rather the borrowing of ideas from a variety of trends, styles, and eras. It uses contrasting elements and variety to create a playful-yet-tasteful look and feel in a room. Designers with an eye for eclectic design often break the rules that others follow, which sets them apart. Past the haphazard-looking chaos is sought-after, well thought out motifs that bring aesthetically pleasant eclectic rooms.


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If you walk into a house that you rented for a beach vacation, more often than not you will see nautical-inspired elements. Rope, oars, life rafts, and lighthouses are all included in this category. Recently, this nautical theme has moved inland! Designers have started to borrow colors from the sea and the sand and natural elements such as shells and driftwood as the foundation of their designs. These homes usually have a lot of natural light that bounces off the white walls to bring a light and breezy feel into the space. Shades of blue and pops of red are almost guaranteed to be featured in a nautical-style room. By implementing these elements of nautical design, you can feel like you are near the ocean no matter where you are located.

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Shows on HGTV such as Fixer Upper and Property Brothers can be credited for the recent spike in popularity of the farmhouse design style. Farmhouse mixes vintage with a rustic flair to get a bright-but-cozy room full of shiplap, barn doors and exposed reclaimed beams. White walls, lots of wood, open floor plans and open shelves can all be expected in a farmhouse-style house. Its unique take on mixing comfort with minimalism creates a homey and welcome atmosphere.

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Embracing the southern European coastal countries, the Mediterranean interior design style features earth tone color schemes, interior tile and brick, columns, and arches. From the romance of Spain, the Italian sun, the colors of Santorini, and the bold spices of Morocco, the Mediterranean style is one of the most charming that there is. Wallpaper is rare because of the walls of exposed brick or stone. Terracotta is a must, whether in furniture colors or decorative accents. Furniture is elegant and usable with ornate lighting fixtures and doors. This dreamy design style brings culture and diversity into American homes.

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A Scandinavian design style has a focus on minimalism and clean lines. The lack of clutter and unnecessary tchotchkes are part of what makes this style so aesthetically pleasing - everything has a place. Although closely related to mid-century modern, Scandinavian styles favor bright and airy spaces where MCM emphasizes darker colors and elements. There are many outdoor-inspired features in this design style, including uncovered wood and live plants. Scandinavian style is directly related to the Scandinavian countries which are full of fjords, snow, and mountains, and closely follows the Bauhaus principle of symmetry and functionality. Expect to see a lot of white, large open spaces, and many mirrors.

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The term "rustic" is a pretty broad, encompassing term that many styles can fall into. In its most basic form, rustic defines a style that is natural and rough. What sets the rustic style apart from those like farmhouse and contemporary is the use of raw and natural materials for furniture, accessories, walls, floors, ceilings, and even rugs. Rustic decor tends to be heavier and darker, and usually handmade from logs and boards. Think of a cabin at the lake or in the mountains. In rustic homes, expect to find exposed ceiling beams, stone walls, wood-burning fireplaces, and prominent staircases. With a warm color palette, this style of design seeks to create a cozy and inviting atmosphere.

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The definition of “bohemian” is: socially unconventional, especially in an artistic way. This style of design directly reflects that definition. The bohemian design is artistically aesthetic with a perfect blend of pattern mixing, bright colors on neutral bases, unique furniture, and cultural influences. Expect to find rich patterns, vibrant colors, and a lot of throw pillows, rugs, and poufs. Influences from the southwest, Morocco, and tribal patterns are prominent. It emphasizes the avant-garde lifestyle which is known for its adventurous and carefree spirit.

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From rustic to modern and everything in between, these twelve popular design styles are just a handful of many. Here at Icon Ltg, we have lighting fixtures that can fit any style of design that you or your client may dream of. We are here for all of your lighting needs! #iconltg