08.09.19 | Home Interior Design

The Story Behind the Style

A home is a reflection of its owners. When designed properly, a home’s interior should, to a great extent, tell the stories of those who live in it. A skilled home interior designer will utilize styles and trends, yet find a way to incorporate unique elements that provide a hint of personalization. 


So, while each home may have specific features that offer a glimpse into its owners history or character, can the same be said about about design styles, themes and trends?




We aren’t suggesting that this is the case 100 percent of the time, but generally speaking, styles, themes and trends do, in themselves, tell a story. Each has its own history and meaning. Let’s take a peek at a few of the more common home interior design styles and find out what they say and how they may tell a story about those who bring them into their homes.


Contemporary v. Modern

It seems like you can ask 10 people to define “contemporary” design and you will get 10 different descriptions. While there is room for some interpretation in nearly everything, contemporary design can be a bit more vague.


Many tend to confuse “contemporary” with “modern.” This confusion is certainly understandable, as the words themselves have very similar meanings. However, when it comes to design, they are definitely not the same.


Breaking it down to simplest terms, “contemporary” can be equated to living in the moment. It indicates a desire to have the most current styles, colors, décor, etc. Whereas “modern” can really speak to a wide array of progessive styles and concepts from the 1950s all the way up to the earliest years of the 21st century.


Both styles are popular but, as you could imagine, incorporating contemporary elements into your home interior design is difficult to maintain. Sure, it’s easy to establish the look, as what is currently “in” is typically readily available. However, keeping up with that style — one that embraces what’s hot RIGHT NOW — is challenging because it changes frequently and, oftentimes, without much notice.


To truly stay contemporary, you’re forced to constantly monitor trends and incorporate changes. That can include colors, furniture, finishes, etc. This is not an inexpensive or stress-free approach by any means. 


Urban Modern

This is a nod to both urban and contemporary…with a twist. Or, perhaps urban and contemporary with an urban flair is a bit more appropriate.


This style essentially takes the rules and guidelines of modern or contemporary, depending just how current you want to be, and sprinkles in some urban influences such as metals, brick, certain lighting, pipes, etc. Basically some industrial elements that take your mind, eyes and emotions to a more urban setting.


Urban Modern definitely lends itself to city life, or those chasing the sense and energy associated with living a cosmopolitan lifestyle. It is also effective when used in spaces with relatively low square footage such as apartments, condos and lofts. It takes the focus off the lack of space and replaces it with the unique power and excitement associated with urban environments such as big, trendy cities.



For those who wish to take Urban Modern to another level, there is “industrial.” This, too, utilizes, as the name suggests, industrial elements such as metal, brick, pipes, wood, unfishished pieces and lighting, etc. to evoke a raw and minimalistic feel.


If Urban Modern is dipping your toe in the water, this is diving into the deep end of the pool. 


The mood is raw and rugged, but when designed properly, is incredibly powerful and beautiful. Other tactics used in industrial settings is exposed air-conditioning ducts and items such as exposed light bulbs or the usage of Edison bulbs to create more of an old-school warehouse or manufacturing facility look and feel. 



This is more of a theme than a style or trend, but coastal design beautifully blends a variety of elements to elicit several different emotions. When properly installed, coastal home interior design inspires both comfort and class, simplicity and sophistication, relaxation and luxury.


That is not easy to do.


The beach house approach utilizes color palettes inspired by the sea that pair with the natural colors and finishes from the outdoors, such as wood and stone. Rope and glass can also be creatively incorporated to add a soothing, yet elegant, feel.


Coastal rooms tend to be light and bright, and regardless of how condensed they may get, the combinations manage to make cozy spaces feel somewhat spacious.


Again, not easy to do.


Rustic v. Farmhouse

Two styles that have long been popular based on geographic location are “rustic” and “farmhouse,” yet they have gained widespread appeal in recent years. Some of that can be attributed to television shows, such as Fixer Upper, which frequently use these styles in their designs, but there now seems to be a genuine upswell for these elements from homeowners across the country.


Although there are similarities between these two design styles, there are subtle differences as well.


Both provide a sense of warmth, using natural materials to create a relaxed and inviting setting. Rustic designs achieve this by incorporating leather, hydes, raw woods and other materials derived from, or inspired by, the outdoors.


Typically these spaces will beauture softer and more neutral contrasted with strong accent walls that are sampled from natural palettes, such as clays and deep reds. Wood accents are used as well, and is done in a variety of ways. They include furniture, shelves, window frames and even ceiling beams.


Farmhouse uses much of the same strategy, but introduces a lot of industrial elements such as wire pieces, and also deviates a bit on the color scheme. You’ll often see options such as black and white being used in farmhouse designs, and they may use type far more frequently than you’ll find in rustic spaces.


This is just a small sampling of the many home interior design styles that exist in today’s world. We will likely interpret additional styles in the near future, but the takeaway here is to think long and hard about what you want to do with your space because styles do have deeper meanings and, like it or not, they will serve as a strong reflection on its owners. You want to be sure your home interior design is consistent with your lifestyle and personality.