A great starting point for an interior design project is to learn a bit about each of the styles and how they differ from one another.

1. MODERN
Modern is a broad design term that typically refers to a home with clean, crisp lines, a simple colour palette and the use of materials that can include metal, glass and steel.

Modern design employs a sense of simplicity in every element, including furniture. A word that’s commonly used to describe modern style is sleek, and there is not a lot of clutter or accessories involved with a modern style.

CONTEMPORARY
Modern and contemporary are two styles frequently used interchangeably. Contemporary is different from modern because it describes design based on the here and now.

The primary difference separating modern and contemporary design style is that modern is a strict interpretation of design that started in the 20th century. Contemporary on the other hand, is more fluid and can represent a sense of currency with less adherence to one particular style. For example, contemporary style may include curving lines, whereas modern design does not. You can refer to modern vs contemporary article for more information.

MINIMALIST
The minimalist concept is one that’s popular here in Australia. It takes notions of modern design and simplifies them further.

Colour palettes are neutral and airy; furnishings are simple and streamlined, and nothing is excessive or flamboyant in accessories or décor.

Minimalism is ultimately defined by a sense of functionality and ultra-clean lines.

INDUSTRIAL
Industrial style as the name implies, draws inspiration from a warehouse or an urban loft.

There’s a sense of unfinished rawness in many of the elements, and it’s not uncommon to see exposed brick, ductwork and wood. An iconic home with an industrial design theme would be a renovated loft from a former industrial building.

Think high ceilings, old timber and dangling metal light fixtures with sparse functional furniture. There may possibly be one or two pieces of abstract art or photography to add a dash of colour to an otherwise neutral colour scheme derived from the primary materials of wood and metals.

TRADITIONAL
Traditional design style offers classic details, sumptuous furnishings, and an abundance of accessories. It is rooted in European sensibilities.

Traditional homes often feature dark, finished wood, rich colour palettes, and a variety of textures and curved lines. Furnishings have elaborate and ornate details and fabrics, like velvet, silk and brocade, which may include a variety of patterns and textures.

There’s depth, layering and dimensionality within most traditional designs.

TRANSITIONAL
Transitional is a very popular style because it borrows from both traditional and modern design to facilitate a space that’s not “too much,” in terms of one style or another. There’s a sense of balance that’s appealing and unexpected.

A transitional design may incorporate modern materials, such as steel and glass, and then unite them with plush furnishings.

Transitional design also includes relatively neutral colour palettes, creating a calming and relaxed space that manages to feel both stylish and sleek, as well as warm and inviting.