Confused by interior design styles? Here's a quick overview of contemporary, modern, transitional and traditional styles!
Contemporary spaces will usually feature minimal furniture and accessories with a subtle, muted color palette. As far as furniture is concerned, look for clean, simple lines and curvy shapes vs overly ornamental or fussy details. Like transitional style, upholstery in contemporary spaces is often neutral overall, but may feature an occasional pop of bright color like this orange chair. Mirrored surfaces and shiny metallics add sparkle to contemporary spaces. When more color is introduced, it’s often seen in a few carefully selected accessories, area rugs or throw pillows. No clutter allowed in these open, airy and bright spaces!
This style is often confused with contemporary style. While there are some similarities, such as clean, simple lines and uncluttered spaces, each style is unique. The modern style was actually born near the turn of the 19th century by German Bauhaus schools of design, but eventually morphed into mid-century modern in the 1950s. Contemporary style is fairly new, becoming popular in the 1970s. Modern spaces in their truest form can feel somewhat cold and sterile while contemporary style amps up the comfort and warmth. Furniture in each style offers up clean, simple lines and shapes but modern furniture tends to be more rectilinear overall, while contemporary furniture tends to feature more curves and softness. Neutral color palettes rule in modern spaces.
Transitional style is a thoughtful mix of traditional and contemporary decor. While comfort is still paramount, the overall feel of a transitional space will feel lighter and brighter than a traditional space. Transitional style characteristics are seen in an overall muted color scheme and neutral upholstery. Accent colors are usually less intense than in contemporary style while furniture has clean, bold lines, often mixing traditional and contemporary design elements. In this example, note the carved leg details juxtaposed with the soft curves of the upholstered seat and back. Layers of texture and sheen keep the transitional look interesting without the overt fussiness of traditional style.
Traditional style can typically be described as homey and relaxing with an emphasis on comfort. The color palette may include warm tones with accents of burgundy, deep greens and rich gold/bronze. Furniture will usually feature classic, elegant lines and shapes with soft, comfy upholstery. Cozy conversation areas, soft lighting and layers of accessories and ornamental details help create a warm and inviting space.