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Design Style Comparison

Comparison of the 4 Basic Design Styles

Basic Design Styles





Another name

similar to minimalist,

classical, timeless



The Look

organized, function follows form, simplicity, limited colors create free space, clear walkway, contrast as design principle, uncomplicated covering and wall finishes

traditional more craftsman enlightened and , classical more antiques with ornamentation and carved details,

sophistication, create a WOW factor, minimalist, neutral colors,

monochromaticity, minimalist, everyday materials, uncomplicated,

Space Use

function should follow form, analyze daily for use,

think you furniture as functional, no clutter,

refined, graceful, furniture placement important-balance, paired, symmetrical, layered textures and decorations,

less is more, eliminate excess details, no clutter, clean lines, uncomplicated, orderly,

open space, form is just as important as function, use architectural items, exposed materials,

Formal/ Casual





Floor Plan

plan for purpose, plenty of storage, essential use, combine uses or functions, must have negatives space, open circulation space, open floor plan.

structured, compartmental, symmetrical and ceremonial, linear circulation, built-in elements, architectural elements,

open, loosely defined, flow from space to space, well-defined, kitchen counter as a divider, maximize sun-light,

open floor plan, easily flow from space to space, large window for light, high ceilings, fireplace, statement items,

Design Principle

contrast, efficient, practical, re-purposed, bare essentials,

natural light, simple furniture, multiple materials,

comfort, peace, hierarchy, warmth, familiarity,

sustainable and practical, eliminate all details and excess, eliminate clutter, connected to the age of intrigue,

monochromatic colors, form and function are equally important, less items, texture adds balance,


monochromatic, grays , beiges, whites, pops of color, neutrals, bright and bold colors are not acceptable,

soft, yellow, red, blue, green, brown, off-white, bold hues, accent wall, wall colors: beige, cream or ivory,

one dominate color and tones for other items, light toned for walls-mid-tones for pillows dark-tones for furniture,

monochromatic, grays, beiges, whites, pops of color, bold colors, ‘natural colors’, many shades of one hue, accent color paint wall, neutral palette,

Monochromatic, main colors are black and white, cold neutrals, grays , beiges, pops of color,


straight, clean, also boxy lines, noticeable lines, flat, smooth, clean lines,

straight and curves, mild curves, strong angles,

clean, straight, horizontal, vertical, low, flat, almost boxy lines,

clean, straight, and elegantly curved, vertical and horizontal lines, geometric accessories,


multi functional items, vertical items


geometric, organic, abstract

streamlined, your regular and irregular spaces, space and circulation.


all textures, fabrics, leather, stone, wood, walls and flooring should be plain and simple,



combing texture for balance to neutral colors, live edge on furniture and some accessories, natural fabric items, heavy textures on fabrics,


simple, small or large,

some strips and florals, patterns introduces colors and connecting space, floral, damasks, toile, paisleys print, chinoiserie motifs, muted stripes, focus on pattern and not color,

houndstooths paisley, damask, tropical forest, geometric, ethic motifs,

no patterns, solid colors, just pattern on some accessories,


efficient, floor to ceiling windows, natural light is best to provide warmth and coziness, different types pf light,

chandeliers, decorated sconces, sculptured table lamps,

large windows, no curtains, no blinds, natural light,

natural light from large windows, multiple sources of light, overhead lights, task lights, hanging pendant lights, recessed lights,


smooth, finished



Smooth paint, rough materials


Efficient, practical, re-purposed

wallpaper, stencils,

natural, concrete, beams, glass, recycled glass, clay, cork, aluminum, stucco, stone, bricks,

Natural, finished and unfinished, re-purposed


all metals,

brass, bronze, copper,

steel, chrome,

stainless steel, nickel, chrome, stainless steel appliances,


all woods,

 walnut, red cherry, dark mahogany, white oak red oak, inlaid floors,

natural and veneer, plywood, unpainted wood,

very light or dark colored wood color, flower pots, shelving, end tables, floor lighting,


smooth, simple

cabinets, crown molding, wall paneling,

no trim, smooth if needed,

smooth, uncomplicated, white , black or gray tones,


not important


materials, plants, wood

wood, stone, metal, plants, accessories


symmetrical and asymmetrical.

symmetrical, order, focal point, match


asymmetric, well-balanced, use white and black color for balance,


think of it as functional, multi-use furniture, large furnishings that are bulky and heavy are unnecessary, statement items,

wingback, tufting, piping, skirt, carved wood, natural wood, cabriole-style furniture legs, same or matching fabrics,

glass, concrete, steel, bold colors, leather, plastic,

multi-functional items, built-in closets and storage niches, smooth shape and straight lines, white furniture if painted maybe gray, aged if simple, birch and oak,


track, pendant, and recessed lighting, wall and ceiling lighting,

chandelier, lamps, sconces, 


chandleries, track lighting, recessed, pendants, task, accent for galleries,




abstract art, wall art,

frames of wood or metal, black or white color, gloss or matte, hang together, not to many groupings, sculptured



damask reversible fabrics, tone on tone, Austrian shades, floor to ceiling drapes, velvet curtains, grecian key design motif, drapery border,

simple bold color pillows and rugs,

smooth silk, textured crushed velvet, linen, wool,



wood, cornices, valances, huge,


large for sunlight,



patterned lilim, Persian carpet, oriental


two-toned area rugs,


accessories should create visual interest, avoid clutter,

mirrors, china, candle sticks holders, decorative boxes, vases, crystal, polished silver, collections, sculptures,

lack of detail or decoration,

graphic arts, soft pillows, textured throws, sculptured lamps, textured vases,