How To Find Your Design Style


Interior decorating can be an enjoyable and creative experience, or it can be a disaster-filled nightmare that makes you want to hide in a closet somewhere. The problem is, so many people don’t stop to make a plan before they get started on their decorating journey. Each of us have unique and varied interests. We all have different facets to our personalities. These little nuances play a part in what type of design we are most drawn to or most identify with. That’s why it’s so important to zero in on what style of design best represents your individual personality and style. Taking a moment to research the different kinds of design style will make the decorating process a much easier experience. You might be asking yourself, how do I even get started or why do I even need a decorating style? Well, you’re about to get the answers to these questions and more.

Often times, the biggest mistake people make is jumping right in without knowing where the process will take them. This may sound exciting, but it can ultimately lead to overspending, labor intensive projects that never get finished, and lack of direction in the finished decor. In particular, you may be cohabitating. In this case, you have not one but two personalities to consider when decorating.  If you haven’t sat down and established what types of design styles you’re most drawn to, you could miss out on a design style that fits both people’s needs perfectly. Additionally, you could choose items that isolate or exclude the other person, leading to them not feeling at home when they walk into a room. These can be easily avoided with just a little time and research.

Maybe you’re looking to save a little cash on this project. You have a budget, and you want to stick to it. Well then, you’re going to need to know your design style. Each design style contains ways to save money. On the flip side, each design style contains ways to blow your entire budget without meaning to. How are you going to know that you’re getting the best deal on your favorite pieces if you haven’t researched and established which pieces are absolutely necessary?

One of the most helpful parts of determining design style comes into play when picking specific decor pieces. Many pieces can be DIY’d, found at a farmer’s market, or narrowed down to one or two stores. If you don’t know what kind of design style best suits your personality and needs, you won’t know the best ways of executing said style. On that same note, if a project does need some sort of DIY or restoration element, it’s crucial to understand and know from the beginning the labor intensity. This way, you can determine if you will need to hire additional help. This will also play into your budget, so these decisions need to be made at the beginning of your design journey to avoid getting yourself stuck in a rut.

So, you’re probably wondering, “what are the different types of design styles?” Well, there are many different kinds, but the most commonly found are traditional, rustic, modern, coastal, industrial, bohemian, dramatic/Hollywood, contemporary, transitional, arts & crafts, cottage, country, mission, and shaker. Here we will break down each style and common characteristics.

  • Traditional


-Characterized by: Dark, rich colors, European influence, claw foot and button-tufted details, ornate elements, and elegant furniture

  • Rustic


-Characterized by: Simplicity, nature inspired, neutral colors, organic materials, distressed and reclaimed wood

  • Modern


-Characterized by: Functional, minimalistic, warm, neutral colors, metal and glass details, and furniture has smooth, clean lines

  • Coastal


-Characterized by: Light, airy detail, neutral colors with accents of white and blue, beach-like accents, natural light, linen, crisp and clean lines

  • Industrial


-Characterized by: Minimalistic, exposed metals and woods, clean open spaces, neutral colors: grey, white, and black

  • Bohemian/Eclectic


-Characterized by: Warm colors, metallics, and jewel tones, mixed patterns and textures, layered pieces, more is more, ambient lighting, vintage or handmade details

  • Hollywood Regency


-Characterized by: Glamorous, ornate furnishings, bold, bright colors, bold patterns, lacquered finishes

  • Contemporary


-Characterized by: Constantly changing, eclectic, open and airy (no clutter), upholstered furniture in simple fabrics and neutral colors 

  • Transitional


-Characterized by: Brown, taupe, tan, vanilla colors, ultra suedes, pliable leathers and nubby chenilles, minimal decor detailing, modern lines mixed with classic curved lines, masculine and feminine accents

  • Arts & Crafts


-Characterized by: Woodwork, rich stains, warm colors, unadorned furnishings, natural flooring, art style glass windows, and warm metals

  • Cottage


-Characterized by: Cozy, comforting, soft colors, weathered woods, distressed paints, light and airy spaces, and unifying patterns

  • Mission


-Characterized by: Natural tones, stained glass (windows, lamps and hangings), and solid wood furniture with clean, simple lines

  • Shaker


-Characterized by: Simplicity, practicality, neutral colors, and solid wood furniture with straight lines and minimal curves

At the end of the day, decorating should be fun. It is a time to really express yourself, create a space you love, and get creative with what best represents you. The process doesn’t have to be overwhelming or make you want to run away crying. Now that you know what makes up the different styles of decor, you can identify which style or styles best represent you. Get to decorating and have fun!

RESOURCES:, The Characteristics of Traditional Interior Design Style,,,,,,,,,,, 


Mattie Lu made to fit every aspect of your home - from style to size to color to design. At Mattie Lu, our artisan Amish craftsmen make imagination come to life for our customers every day. We are a lifestyle furnishings company owned by a mother and daughter duo. We're ready to help you create the interior furnishings of your dreams.

From the selection of wood to the first cuts to the final touches, every piece from Mattie Lu is lovingly created with your specifications in mind. We know you'll love the end result and will enjoy it for years to come!

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