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Ask an Expert: What is My Interior Design Style?

Creating a beautiful, cohesive home can be challenging – especially when you aren’t 100 per cent certain how to define your style. Whether you are hiring a professional Interior Designer or planning to DIY, it’s important to narrow down what you like before beginning. These days, styles are often blended because hey, why not create a space that makes you happy? Between Pinterest, Instagram and the University of Google, there is a prolific amount of design and style advice to help you out, but it can be a little overwhelming to sift through it all. To help you out, we’ve outlined 9 of the most common ones that can be found in the Cochrane and Calgary area.

1. Transitional

Do you love traditional design elements, but some of it’s just too fussy for you? You’re not alone, which is why it’s almost impossible to discuss interior design style these days without hearing the term “transitional”.

A blend of traditional and contemporary (meaning current, not modern) styles, a transitional design will incorporate a mix of furniture, finishes and materials to create an uncluttered aesthetic with a classic bent. Transitional design tends towards a neutral palette with simple lines that is sophisticated and imbues the best of both worlds in one harmonious environment.

2. Traditional/Classic

If you enjoy a very layered look with many accessories and ornate details, then you are most likely a traditionalist. Rooted in European sensibilities, traditional and classic design follow the tenets of order, symmetry and balance.

I have included these two styles together as over time, the lines have become blurred and the terms often interchangeable. At one time, traditional homes typically included dark woods and rich colour palettes, but today you are more likely to find the layers, textures and luxe fabrics (think velvet and silk) that once signaled a traditional home incorporated with a softer, neutral palette and the timeless lines of classic design.

3. Modern

If you’re a lover of clean lines and your mantra is “the simpler, the better”, then modern just might be the style for you. Materials that are often used in this design style are steel, glass, and metal and cabinetry is usually flat/slab panelled with simple or hidden hardware.

Furniture is simple and sleek, with décor being minimal. Marie Kondo is no doubt the modernista’s jam due to their mutual disdain for clutter.

4. Industrial

Can you imagine yourself living in the top floor of one of those old NYC warehouses? Do you feel at home with exposed brick and open ductwork? If the answer is yes, then industrial style is definitely for you.

Industrial style was originally inspired by the architecture of old factories and warehouses and although the style often leans towards a contemporary aesthetic, the materials tend to be raw and sometimes sparse. High ceilings, metal light fixtures and pared down furniture that is focused on function are what you will find in this design style.

A mix of wood and metals will be added to rooms in the home to create an industrial look along with few decorative accessories and minimal colour.

5. Rustic

Do you see shiplap and swoon? What about vaulted ceilings with gorgeous exposed beams? These Rustic design elements are extremely popular in today’s home.

Many designs now integrate Rustic design with more modern furnishings and accessories to derive that “Fixer Upper” style often called modern farmhouse. In Rustic design, raw and unfinished wood, exposed wood beams, shiplap and natural products such as rock are all prevalent design aspects.

Think reclaimed materials and architectural details with a very neutral palette derived from nature. This design style emanates a clean and simple, yet warm aesthetic.

6. Coastal Style (also known as Hamptons)

If your happy place is digging your toes in the sand and you love nothing more than a casual get together in a relaxed environment, then Coastal style might be right for you. Coastal style takes it’s cues from the colours and textures of beach life and translates it in the home with the oceanic palettes of blues and greens and pairs it with neutral shades and textures.

Coastal décor usually begins with a base of white or beige furnishings and layers in elements of wood and accessories inspired by the sea and beach life. Blue and white striped patterns for pillows, plenty of natural light, and painted white wood are also common fixtures of the classic coastal style. The result is easy, breezy and oh so inviting.

7. French Country

Do the rolling fields of lavender in provincial France make your heart sing? Oui! Tres bonne! A farmhouse vibe along with plenty of luxurious layered fabrics in the warm, earthy colours of red, yellow and gold are indicative of a French Country design style, as are worn and ornamental wooden furnishings.

Like many of the styles we’ve listed, you’ll find that the lines have blurred, and a modern French Country look is just as likely to have pastels and neutrals thrown in leaning towards what we might call shabby chic.

Furnishings and headboards are likely to be upholstered in traditional prints like toile, florals, stripes or fleur de lis. And guaranteed, if you walk into a space with ample hens, eggs or hot air balloons floating around with chandeliers and candelabras, it’s French Country.

8. Mid-century Modern

Would you have been at home in a home designed in the 1950’s or 1960’s (perhaps sans some of the colour combinations)? Mid-Century Modern Design is a throw back to that era with an emphasis on fuss-free minimalistic elements and a focus on functionality.

A Mid-Century Modern interior will typically employ geometric or organic shapes such as the “egg-shaped” chair and simple, clean lines in furnishings. It blends elements of the past with more contemporary wood furniture, abstract art, plants and vibrant accent colours.

9. Bohemian/Global

If it delights you to be surrounded by anything and everything as long as you love it, then Bohemian style is probably for you. This design style is eclectic with few (read no) rules and can easily be called the most care-free in the design world.

Frequently called Global design, Bohemian homes usually include collected items from the homeowner’s travels and flea markets. Anything goes - from vintage to modern - and the key to Bohemian style is to be comfortable and happy. Love that African woven basket, buy it! It’ll go perfectly with the velvet settee you discovered last week. Throw out the rule-book and enjoy! 😊

~ If you want a beautiful home but are unsure of the process... ~ If you have a vision but don't have the time... ~ If you are ready to transform your personal life through changing your environment...

I've been an interior designer for over 15 years and specialize in working with busy families that are looking to create luxurious, relaxed homes. Call me at (403) 860-5901 or send your email to

Until next time,



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