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Many people think that interior design is about buying the items you like and beautifully bringing them together.
While that approach might work brilliantly for some of our friends who just have a knack for styling, for others it can present a bit of a challenge. We know that hiring an interior designer or stylist is not always an option so to help you on your style journey, we’re going to deep dive into some of the most popular interior design styles. 

 

Interior design is a bit like cooking a beautiful dish - you need to have a clear vision of the finished product but you must take care to add the right “ingredients”, in the right amounts, along the way. Things like colour, furniture, pattern, texture, symmetry, contrast, proportion and focal points are just some of the elements that have to work in harmony to create a style, to create a mood and to make a space function like it should.

If you’re looking to get your inner stylist out but some of these concepts are new to you - you are exactly where you need to be!

Here we go…

 

Contemporary Style

It is often thought that “contemporary” and “modern” styles are synonymous but that’s not actually true. While “modern” refers to the actual era in the past (1920s-1950s), “contemporary” design refers to what’s happening or "trending" presently.

As key trends of the moment are ever-changing, this style is somewhat hard to define but what is clear is that it borrows elements from many other aesthetics, from traditional to art deco and even futuristic design. For now, think curved lines, neutral colors and a minimalist approach.

How To Get A Contemporary Look:

  • Use a colour palette that is made up of mainly neutral colours (blacks, whites, tans and grays). Bolder solids can definitely be incorporated but mainly as an accent or highlight colour.

  • Find a way to let in loads of natural light. If you’re renovating, windowed walls are one way but if not perhaps keeping windows bare or opting for lighter curtains instead of heavier fabrics. If natural light is hard to come by, there are some great artificial options out there.

  • Work with “shape” or as a stylist would say “form”. Unlike modern design which uses clean lines, contemporary design uses a mix of curves and straight lines. In your room that could take the form of an architectural feature or you could bring in curves through your choice of furniture for example.

  • Keep the space simple and take a practical approach by remembering what the room is used for and designing it for that purpose.

  • Bare floors like wood, tile or vinyl are spruced up with rugs in a muted palette. Click here for are some light and lovely options from the Miss Amara selection.

  

 

Tribal Style

If you’ve watched “Out of Africa” movie with Meryl Streep and Robert Redford then you have a sense of what the tribal interior is all about. Rich African history, unforgettable landscapes, rich colours and patterns -  an endless supply of inspiration.

And here’s how to turn that inspiration into a beautifully styled space:

  • Tribal interior style is about reconnecting with the beauty of nature. Use organic textures and materials like wood, natural jute, fur, and feathers to achieve the authentic tribal appeal. Miss Amara has a wide range of sisal, wool, leather, hemp, jute, and cotton rugs. Check out our natural fibre rugs here or for a more Tribal touch, have a look at our Tribal collection.

  • When choosing colours, go for soft natural tones, like sandy yellows and oranges or warm browns and pair them with neutrals like ebony, charcoal, and white.

  • For a layer of drama, play with contrast - use contrasting colours or pair them against bold, geometric patterns.

  • When choosing furniture, keep it natural and exotic. Celebrate the material and its organic shapes or even handworked carvings.  A bamileke table, a Malawi chair, or a bone inlay chest of drawers will certainly make a powerful tribal statement.



  Scandi Style

Loved for its simplicity, celebration of materials and focus on functional spaces, Scandinavian interiors work with the thinking that “less is more” -  displaying maximum style using minimal elements and muted earthy tones. Nate Berkus, a renowned US interior designer summed it up well when he said, “In a minimal interior, what you don't do is as important as what you do.”

Here’s a few ways to get some Scandinavian style:

  • All design elements in a Scandinavian interior are used to maximise natural light and keep the space bright. A few ways of doing this would be to use a lighter colour palette on walls and textiles, reflective finishes on materials, and  light woods like pine or beech for your floors and furniture.

  • Choose simple, single-coloured and clean-lined furniture with a clear purpose.

  • Declutter the space by removing anything that doesn’t add value and by finding beautiful and functional storage solutions.

  • Layer in some greenery. Fresh flowers and house plants aren’t optional in Scandi homes and are key to a light and natural feel.

  • Scandinavians never use wall-to-wall carpets and instead, use rugs in all rooms, even the kitchen.  Take a look at our gorgeous Scandi collection for some inspiration.

 



Monochrome Style

Now we know there are some out there who don’t enjoy lot of colour in their home and prefer to keep colour to a minimum, or steer clear of it altogether. And for you, a Monochrome interior would be the ideal style solution.

As the name says, monochrome interiors use a one-colour palette, here’s how:

  • Choose a dominant colour. Cooler colours like grays emphasize simplicity while warmer colours and bright woods can have a cosier feel. Keep in mind that each colour has a plenty of nuances and find what works for you and your room. When choosing, pay attention to the amount of natural light the room receives as this will affect the colour and vice versa.

  • When choosing your design elements, make sure that their undertones (yellows, blues, greens, pinks) match.

  • Contrasts are the essence of the Monochrome style. Combining white walls with smooth, black floors is a great example of a statement mono look that also makes the space appear far larger.

  • Mind your architecture. Monochrome is all about cohesion, balance, and harmony. There should be no conflict between elements and they should feel good when placed together.

  • With this limited colour palette, sometimes mixing furniture and accessories from different time periods can add a much needed layer of interest.

  • Textiles and soft furnishings in a variety of patterns like stripes, chevron, or tribal can bring in some warmth and texture to minimalist rooms. Have a look at our Monochrome Rug Collection for some great flooring options.

 


Coastal Style

Coastal style is a popular interior style because it can take you right back to your dream island location when everyday is a holiday. It can also take on different executions, from casual and comfortable beachy chic to a more sophisticated look using rich textures, beautiful colour palettes and celebrating raw materials.

  • Coastal design is all about soothing colours that make you feel relaxed. Use a base of neutral, muted tones like sandy tans or soft greys to create a space that feels truly inviting. Unlike the previous styles, where pastels are enriched with bolder colours, in this case, even the accent hues should be mild, like beautiful aquamarine or sweet coral.

  • Focus on conveying its modern, minimalistic look. Choose a large dining table or a nice seating area as your focal point and make sure you leave enough free space around it.

  • Don’t overstuff your space with accessories. Instead, choose the ones that really highlight the spirit of your coastal design.

  • Layer and emphasize different texture with items like scattered cushions, pillows, and textural organic looking rugs like these from our Coastal Collection.




 Farmhouse

Rustic, cosy, and elegant, the modern farmhouse style aims to keep things modest and organic. This style is a fabulous combo of classic cosiness and modern flair, using furnishings and accessories that will give your home an authentic personality. Even the fanciest apartment in the heart of NYC can adopt elements of this style for a space that is homely and elegant.

Here’s how:

  • The modern farmhouse style is expressed through vintage colours. White should be your dominant shade and pair it with earthy tones like greys and tans and even pastels.

  • Choose traditional, clean-lined, and functional furniture but combine it with modern pieces like bar stools and accent chairs for a contemporary twist. A contemporary way to bring in a traditional element is with a statement rug like one of these beauties.

  • Industrial-inspired elements like large windows, iron-inspired light fixtures, hanging barn doors, and ordinary wooden mantles are key to this style and can make for excellent statement pieces. Used too much though, they might take away from the warmth of the space.

 


Boho Chic Style

The Boho Chic style is about expressing your individuality and personality through your interior design choices. So, if you aren’t a fan of explicit order, then this style is the one for you! It’s for free spirits, people who are not afraid
of being themselves. 

There are no strict rules when pulling together a Boho interior but here are some guidelines to get you started...

  • Treat every spot in the room as an open book for you to be creative and celebrate things you love. Bring in elements that inspire you and make you feel good - artworks, plants, books, statement furniture, lamps, cushions - to create a vivacious place full of colours and life.

  • Play with contrasting materials in the form of curtains, rugs and soft furnishings. Hanging colourful curtains and tapestries on walls can add beautiful depth and texture to your room. When it comes to rugs, Miss Amara offers a wide selection of rugs sure to meet a variety of individual tastes but for those looking for colour and texture, check out our Overdyed and Traditional rug collection.

  • Don't be afraid of deep vibrant hues. Start with an earthy base palette of browns, greens, and grey and then accentuate them with richer colours you love. Feel free to mix different colours and patterns to give the space a sense of fun and excitement and a personal touch.

  • Celebrate the character of your elements, leave the scratches and showcase their age. It's about being authentic. You could balance older items with new ones for a more modern feel.
     



Industrial

The industrial style was triggered by the end of second Industrial Revolution when many factories in Western Europe decided to transfer business to low-cost countries, leaving numerous vacant buildings behind. As the cities were expanding quickly, turning these neglected industrial buildings into residential neighbourhoods was a logical option.

The most fascinating part about this transformation is the fact that it wasn’t transformation at all. Architects and interior designers agreed upon one thing - instead of removing the industrial background of these places, they wanted to turn them into a feature.

Empty walls, huge glass windows, concrete floors, and exposed pipes and ventilation are not only the evidence of the building’s former use, but they have also grown into a hugely popular interior design style.

Because of the architectural origins of this style, it is far easier to create when you’re able to renovate or build, here’s how:

  • Exposed pipes and ducts running along high ceilings are the most recognizable feature of the industrial-inspired style and probably the boldest move interior designers have ever made. So - expose your pipes!

  • Create a statement brick wall or a weathered grey wall to “expose” the materials and add texture.

  • Use polished concrete flooring that is both original and practical and don’t hide the imperfections and patches - keep them as a feature. Those who want to add a sense of warmth to their industrial-chic homes can always choose timber or stone floors.

  • Instead of having numerous separate windows, have one, huge window made up of smaller window panes.

  • As is characteristic of factory spaces - keep an open plan layout.  Instead of walls, use extra large rugs and clever furniture placement to divide the space into logical areas. We're especially fond of large rugs - check out our collection!  

  • If you have a multi-story space, connect the levels with simple, steel stairs.

  • When it comes to accessories, limit them to a bare minimum.

 

 

Traditional Style 

This timeless style was actually born in the 18th and the 19th centuries in  Western Europe. Think elegance and comfort, antique furniture and classic art pieces, dark wood, rich tones, and while symmetry and order are important, there is nothing minimalist about this style.  

How to get this charming look:

  • Choose deeper and neutral colours like brown, beige, or tan as a foundation and then spruce it up with richer colours. Subtle pops of blue, green, or grey can be used to uplift the room.

  • Unlike contemporary furniture, traditional furniture is all about classic shapes, sumptuous furniture pieces featuring curves, ornamentation, and decorative details like wood carvings. You could combine them with cleaner shapes for a more contemporary take but be sure to maintain their balance and symmetry.

  • Traditional design is synonymous with rich patterns, from florals and paisley to staples and damask. Combine the patterns with neutral solids to maximize their impact. If your walls are a solid colour, you can always bring in a textural layer to the floor by choosing an intricate-patterned traditional rug.

 

Transitional Style

Transitional style brings together the best elements of traditional and contemporary looks to get a more timeless look. It borrows the warmth, comfort and balance from the traditional and pairs it with cleaner lines and most importantly, neutral colours used in the contemporary style. Think homely but add a light and bright, modern twist. 

To get a Transitional look:

  • Use neutral colours, like creams, greys, blacks, and whites.

  • Play with contrast, particularly through textures, prints and patterns. A large rug in a muted palette could be one way of doing this. Our Transitional Collection has intricate-patterned rugs in beautifully muted palettes. 

  • Make a simple statement by featuring an accent wall or hero a unique piece of furniture.

  • Declutter your spaces.

  • Keep furniture lines simple but retain some curves and character.

 


Mid Century

Influenced by the Scandinavian interior style and the German Bauhaus movement, the Mid Century Modern style developed as an independent interior style in the U.S. after the outbreak of the World War II and refers to the period between 1945 and 1969. It is still immensely popular today. The Scandi influence (and likely the war) are seen in the simple, practical approach where objects are stripped right back so that their function is their feature. There are no ornate embellishments in this style or decorative touches for the sake of looking good. Think clean lines, uncluttered spaces, items with multiple uses. With all the stripping down and paring back, cheery colours and vivacious patterns were brought in to express the post-war happiness and optimism of the time. Pops of bold colour are carefully paired with neutrals to bring balance to the space.
 
How to get the look:

  • Use lightweight furniture with functional shapes, clean lines, and smooth surfaces. It was designed to be both comfortable and practical. (Fun Fact: this is when easily foldable and stackable furniture pieces were born.)

  • In each room, create a strong focal area that will dictate the room’s function. Spaces can be clearly defined with clever rug placement or statement furniture pieces.

  • Combine natural and synthetic materials. Apart from dominant natural materials like wood, metals, or cotton, fabrics like plywood, vinyl, plexiglass, and Lucite are used in furnishings.

  • Play with colour! Mid Century style uses nature as a major color inspiration but also striking shades of turquoise and flamingo - which means there’s a lot of room to play with a palette that works for you. And speaking of colour play,  our Jaisal, Munich and Cologne rugs have the perfect palettes for a Mid Century touch.

 

There are sure to be a few styles from our list that get you particularly excited - and that little spark is your first and most important step in the right design direction! Follow it. Whether it’s one style you’re drawn to or elements from different styles, you now have a bit more know-how to bring them together in a way that works for you.

After all, interior styling isn’t just about keeping up with the trends, but about finding a way to express yourself through them.

Rugs can play an important part in creating a specific design style or layout in your space. Feel free to get in touch with our gorgeous team of stylists for advice. Not only do they love working with customers to create the perfect space, it’s a complimentary service we love to offer our customers.

Happy styling! 

August 10, 2018 by Tamara Harris