3 Basic Home Decorating Styles

Introduction to Traditional, Modern, and Eclectic Decorating Styles

When it comes to Design 101, there are endless types of design styles to choose from. In the home department alone, there's Art Deco, Coastal, Country, French, and more. To simplify what styles of homes are out there, we can break them down into three major foundational categories: traditional, contemporary, and eclectic. These basic home decorating styles vary in shape, color, furnishings, and more. When choosing a decorating style for your home, it's best to decide on the main look before moving ​on to other themes.

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    Kitchen in Country House
    Jean-Yves Bruel/Photographer's Choice/Getty Images

    By far the most popular design style, traditional is a mix of beautiful, timeless, and well-defined elements. Never cluttered, standoffish, or stark, traditional brings together several worlds while still making you feel right at home. Envision calm colors, understated furniture with classic lines, and an emphasis on symmetry.

    The traditional style offers comfort, orderly decorations, and predictable rooms. Furnishings may even appear to be a bit outdated as to keep things simple, matched, and consistent without surprise. Often, there are pairs of furniture and accessories that create a sense of cohesion and familiarity. Those experiencing a traditional style can imagine upholstered, functional furniture, gentle curves in pillows, and plain, muted fabric colors.

    If you want a place that feels homey, consider a traditional style with wood furniture, crown molding, and accessories like framed prints and china vases.

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    Contemporary Living Room

    Mirage Floors/Flickr

    Many people imagine contemporary interiors as being sleek and cool, but there are many types of contemporary spaces. Some contemporary interiors are all white and ultra-luxurious, but others are full of bright colors and funky patterns. Contemporary rooms usually contain an element of surprise and those who like their homes to make artistic statements often lean toward a contemporary styling.​

    Contemporary styles are often on trend, welcoming, and showcase space instead of materials. Having a focus on color, space, and shape allows modern homes to feel fresh and relaxed. You have a lot of flexibility with color in a contemporary style, as many palettes use neutral colors and bright and bold accents. High ceilings, geometrical shapes, and texture like brick draws the eye in a contemporary home. Use a minimalist approach to furnishings by only using basic furniture and accessories.

    Design elements like metal, stone, and glass to complement the space. If it appears too dark, you can always add textured fabrics, two-toned prints, and large plants to select rooms.

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    Chair and Pillow and Green Background

    Mark Lund/Getty Images

    The eclectic style has been around for eons. Often mistaken as an anything-can-go way of decorating, the eclectic style is a very purposeful and well thought-out mode of decorating. This is a perfect choice for those who love to mix styles but desire a cohesive look that's grounded in traditional. Rather than imagining eclectic as cluttered, consider it as a careful gathering of interesting elements that all work together.

    If funky is your style, then mixing and matching decorating styles will amount to a nice eclectic feel in your home. Incorporate different periods and styles, neutral background colors, and unique art into your space. Celebrating contrasts and using handmade items also brings an eclectic feel to the home. You can always use knick-knacks, sentimental items, and oddball textures. Select patterns, shapes, textures, finishes, and colors that go together to bring in the whole look.