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Interior design is defined as, “the art or process of designing the interior decoration of a room or building.” While a “process” may include a set of rules or stringent guidelines, the concept of “art” is much more fluid and subjective. Consequently, perceptions of design style can be confusing without a common frame of reference. If a client cannot clearly articulate his or her vision for decorating a residential or commercial space, it presents a great challenge for an interior designer. This glossary was created to inform, inspire and empower.
Purpose of this home decorating styles glossary
Inform – Serve as a comprehensive repository of style definitions
Inspire – Help clients visualize how various rooms and styles can be blended to create a personalized
Empower – Make it easier for designers and clients to effectively communicate ideas
What are the most popular interior design styles?
Much like expressionist abstract art, abstract interior design focuses on unique architectural elements, such as asymmetrical doorways and home furnishings. It’s similar to modern or contemporary design in that it utilizes clean lines, though abstract style also incorporates chaotic aspects to offer a fresh and unique perspective. This type of interior design lends itself to bold colors, such as yellows, blues and oranges. Black is used as a contrasting element to create a striking statement. Tables, chairs and sofas have clean lines, but much like the entirety of the abstract style, these furniture pieces are asymmetrical. Lighting also features simple lines and borrows from a modern aesthetic. You might see a geometric diamond-shaped pendant that casts abstract lighting throughout the interior.
This mid-century style combines modernity with idealistic minimalism. Unlike angular art deco, art moderne (a.k.a. streamline moderne) designs are tapered, rounded and have a more horizontal emphasis. Doorways, windows and other architectural elements come with curved corners. Raw, natural textures such as metal, terra cotta tile, copper, concrete and glass are all mixed and matched throughout the home as well. The key to art moderne is simplicity – decorative patterns are scarce. Instead, solid neutrals really help to make a strong statement. Furniture is stripped down and typically emulates a sense of motion with pieces like tiered tables. Chairs and sofas also have rounded edges and use contrasting material colors like black and white. Surfaces are glossy to give the furniture a modern feel. Floor and table lamps are popular light fixtures in the art moderne style. These lamps commonly feature frosted glass and shades are circular and also made of glass.