There are so many different styles to choose from when decorating your home! While having all these options can be exciting, when it comes right down to choosing color palettes, furniture, and other design elements, it can be downright overwhelming too. Do you have a hard time defining your home decor personal style and shopping for it? Today I’m sharing 3 simple steps to nailing down your decorating style, as well as a list of 10 common decor styles with example pics. I’m also answering one of the most common questions I get on how to find your own decor style, AND including an interior design quiz to help you really nail down what you love and want in your home.
How do I choose a design style that feels right for me?
I often get asked how to find my own decor style and how to shop for it. Today, I want to answer all your decorating style questions! I hope you find this content helpful as you decorate your own home to be cozy and beautiful for you and your family. The key is finding the style YOU love and going with it. As long as your home is authentically yours, it will look loved, lived in, and perfect. There is no “right” style that you are searching for! You are just searching for YOUR style.
Defining your personal decorating style will help you shop for furniture, accessories, and paint colors for your home. It’s a really handy piece of info to know! It will take all the guesswork out of redecorating or updating your home. There’s nothing worse than making a purchase and then getting your new items home and realizing you don’t like them in your space and you’re not sure why. After you’re done reading this post (and taking my quiz) you will never consider hiring an interior designer again, and you will be able to confidently create the home of your dreams. I promise!
A couple of home decor style notes before we begin:
- You don’t have to use only one style. Most people are a mix of 2 or 3 styles. Are you pretty sure you love French Country with a modern twist? Then go with it!
- You can change your decorating style as you learn and grow. Your style and fashion sense will usually evolve as your tastes and family life changes, and that’s OK. You do not need to stay stuck in any style once you find it. If you suspect at any time that the style you are focused on isn’t working for you anymore, just go through the steps below and take my quiz again.
How do I choose a style for my house?
Finding your unique style is easier than you think and so much fun! The truth is, if you take a look around your living space right now, there are probably quite a few clues as to what your specific design style is. You just have to know how to find them.
What are the basic rules for decorating?
If I had to pick the most important decorating rule, I would say: make sure that whatever you bring into your house brings you joy and goes with your overall style. This is key to a cohesive space that makes you happy.
Here are the 3 steps I suggest you take if you want to find your decorating style:
1: Take note of what you have
The first step is to take a look around your home and see what furniture, accessories and paint colors you’re already using. If these things make you smile, they’re your style! Don’t forget that anything you already own can be easily updated with paint or a hardware change. So if you don’t love your sideboard, figure out if it just needs new handles to find a spot in your heart again. What matters is that you like the footprint of your furniture and how it looks in the space. If you truly cannot find anything you like about a piece of furniture, that’s probably a good sign that it doesn’t fit with your true style.
2: Create a Pinterest board of rooms you love
Pinterest is a great way to create a collection of images that will help you nail down your interior style. Simply scroll through the Home Decor section at Pinterest and pin your favorite room photos to a board on your account. Once you’ve added a few rooms, pieces of furniture, and artwork, you should be able to see reoccurring elements like furniture styles, colors, paint colors, and fabric styles in all of the photos. Houzz.com is another site that I enjoy where you can create collections of beautiful pictures that inspire you. Pay attention to the themes you see in what you pin or save: Are you leaning toward bright colors or a neutral color palette? Natural muted materials, or big floral patterns?
3: Study both what you have and what you want and match it up with a style
Now that you’ve also had a good hard look at what you already own, does what you’ve pinned on Pinterest line up with the items you already have in your space? Or are you starting to see that your own style is actually quite different than what you’ve accumulated haphazardly over the years?
Keeping these questions in mind, make a list of all of the distinct features you see in the furniture, accessories, fabrics, and paint colors that you have pinned and that you have in your home right now. Do they match? For example, you might note that you have pinned things like weathered wood furniture, black metal accents, white linen furniture, vintage-look accessories, and antique finds. Is your home full of common elements? Or is your place full of modern design items that you inherited when your sister moved out of town? Be honest about what you REALLY love and want to see every day in each room before you move on to the next step.
After you’ve made your list, match up your tastes to 1, 2, or 3 of the 10 common decor styles I’ve listed below to find what home style you are! (If your list is something like the example I’ve just given you, you might love Modern Farmhouse.)
Common home decor styles
There are dozens of decor styles that are popular in 2024, but the following 10 are the most common today:
- Modern Farmhouse
- Modern Coastal (Coastal Grandmother)
- Mid-Century Modern
- French Country
Each of these styles has a specific feel, color scheme, and common elements that pull it all together. Once you discover your favorite style, it will be SO much easier to start planning your room makeover. I promise! You will know what furniture pieces, artwork, and decor items to look for (and which to stay away from, which is almost just as important!), and you will no longer feel completely overwhelmed by how many choices you have in the wide world of internet or retail shopping. Once you know your style, you will know what vocabulary to use when you search for or read product descriptions, and you will have a greater sense of control over the whole process. I’m so excited for you!
As I mentioned above, these 10 decorating styles have been the most common and popular over the past year or two, but there are certainly more than 10 out there. If you don’t think you’re any of these, do a quick Google or Pinterest search of “decor styles” to see if you might be something else! The important thing is that you find what you love.
10 Common Home Decorating Styles
If you’re into creating a feeling of glamour and historical significance, this is probably your style. Think 18th and 19th-century fancy: rich fabrics of different colors, texture, and dark wood furniture all belong in this style category.
- Neutral colors like beige and white
- Intricate details like tufting and carving
- Symmetry in styling
- Patterns such as florals and damask
- Porcelain accessories, landscape art, and brass accents
This is a more difficult style to define. Does it help if I tell you that my own living room is a transitional mix of traditional and modern styles? Basically, what defines transitional style is neutrality and comfort. These spaces are comfortable and difficult to put a finger on as to style. A slightly minimalist room without much clutter, a mix of modern pieces with more traditional ones, and lots of natural light and comfy furniture make you light up if you are transitional at heart.
Photo licensed from Adobe Stock
- A mix of traditional and modern pieces
- Neutral colors
- A focus on comfort (comfortable seating, soft accents)
- Symmetry, statement light fixtures & a clutter-free approach to decorating
If you are a contemporary girl, you like minimalism and everything in its place. You also like clean lines and a few bright pops of color in and amongst mostly greys, beiges, and other neutrals.
- The latest trends in home decor (right now in 2023, this is a mix of transitional, bohemian and mid-century modern styles)
- A mix of clean lines and rounded shapes
- Neutral & warm colours with pops of bright accent colors
- Exposed woods, chrome & glass accents, geometric patterns
If your heart melts every time you look at an antique washboard hung on the wall, you’re probably into Modern Farmhouse! This style combines rustic features with big comfy furniture and neutral colors for an extra cozy effect.
- Neutral colors like white, cream, black and grey
- Reclaimed & natural woods, mixed metals, industrial accents
- Rustic and vintage accessories
- Patterns like buffalo check and stripes
Modern Coastal (see also Coastal Grandmother)
If your dream would be to wake up, throw open your doors, and see the ocean, modern coastal might be for you! Think Diane Keaton and her house in Something’s Gotta Give for a really good picture of this style. White couches with ocean-hued accents and a light and breezy feel are the hallmarks of this trend.
- Colors like warm white and ocean inspired hues like blue and green
- Nautical decor accents
- Natural materials like linen, cotton, leather, and rattan
- Soft furnishings, beach inspired accessories
- Shiplap, wicker furniture
Do you wish your house looked like The Jetsons’? This is one of the easiest reference points for mid-century modern style! Retro furniture with sleek lines and skinny legs (like these two mid-century modern chairs in my eclectic studio space) are the most commonly recognized features of this design style.
- Retro furniture from the 1950s & 1960s
- Rounded shapes mixed with square shapes
- Textiles with geometric patterns
- Bright accent colors
If you have ever asked, “How can I make my house look unique?”, go Bohemian is the answer! What is Bohemian interior design style? The motto here is more is more, or possibly anything goes! Bright colors, travel trinkets, and lots of different materials and textiles are hallmarks of a boho look.
- Rich colors like deep jewel tones (you can also do a neutral version of this style!)
- An overabundance of textiles and accessories
- Globally inspired accents, handmade items like wall hangings, pottery and braided rugs
- A “more is more” or maximalist approach to decorating
Think warehouse or other commercial setting when trying to picture industrial style. If you like slightly unfinished, exposed architectural elements, and dark colors mixed with wood and metal, this is probably your thing.
- Dark colors like black and grey
- Lots of worn metal accents, exposed pipes and ducts
- Unfinished elements, raw wood accents
- Vintage furniture and accessories
Taking a walk around IKEA is a good way to get a sense of this style. Soft lines, minimalist decor, natural elements, and high functionality combined with different textures and neutral colors make your heart sing if you’re into Scandinavian style.
- Neutral and simple colors like white and grey, accents with pops of color
- A minimalist approach to decorating
- Botanical and animal patterns
- Natural wood, smooth lines, simplicity, nature-inspired accents
- “Hygge” inspired accents like warm textiles and candles.
What is French country decorating exactly? This look comes right out of Provence, and is an homage to easy French style and the lifestyle of the people who live in the region. Country colors combined with glamorous features and big patterns are easily recognized features of French Country. I love French country myself! Check out a couple of rooms in my house that were done in this style:
- Soothing colors like grey, white, blue & yellow
- Textiles with floral and striped patterns
- Glamorous lighting features
- Antique and vintage home decor accents
Still confused? Take my FREE home decor style quiz!
If you have gone through the list of common decor styles and still can’t figure out which of the current trends you most closely identify with, I have good news! I’ve created one of those interior design style quizzes that will help you narrow down your decorating style so you can start creating a home you absolutely adore.
Even if you are feeling fairly confident that you have identified your personal design style using my three steps and the list of styles to choose from, it’s always nice to get confirmation that you are on the right track. So, I would recommend taking the quiz anyway!
I hope you found these 3 steps to find your style and this list of 10 common decorating styles helpful as you decorate your own home to make it uniquely YOU! If you used my technique to create your perfect space, put a picture in the comments, or tag me @thediymommy, I would love to see how it turned out.
Watch my video on how to find your decorating style in 2024
This post was originally published in 2018 and has since been updated.