Interior Details for Top Design Styles

From farmhouse to modern, transform your interiors with thoughtful details that offer a big impact for a small investment.
Colonial Office With Arched Windows

Colonial Office With Arched Windows


By: Jeannie Matteucci

When you walk inside your home, you want a space that feels comfortable and attractive and has a distinct personality. Well-designed interiors incorporate details that add character and visual interest to simple floors, walls and ceilings. Thoughtful interior details chosen wisely can make a big impact without destroying your budget.

A lovely ceiling medallion, beadboard added to a bathroom wall or a chair rail placed in a dining room are all effective design tools that can reinforce a particular style or transform a space. Even something as basic as the shape of a window, or simply going with a salvaged door with character instead of a brand-new door, can contribute to the room's overall look and feel.

Use your home's architectural style as a guide, but think outside the box to create a stunning space. "Don't be afraid to bring traditional elements in if it's a contemporary home," advises Christopher J. Grubb, interior designer of Arch-Interiors Design Group Inc. "I love to see a contemporary-style home with an ethnic piece so it's not all chrome and glass."

Whatever design direction you go, these popular home styles feature specific interior details that enhance your space.

Southwestern or Rustic Style

Houses decorated in a Southwestern style never feel cold or sterile. Instead, these homes offer a casual and warm space in which to relax with family and friends. Terra-cotta tile floors, hefty beams in the ceiling and rough textures are common design details that give these homes character.

A rustic hearth decorated with tiles around the opening is often also included, surrounded by comfortable, oversized distressed leather or suede furniture.

Interior Details for Southwestern Style

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Southwestern Design

The distinct interior design of a Southwestern home is spacious and artistic. Rustic wood beams, cooling stucco and bold combinations of color are common characteristics in these spaces.

Charming Architecture

Welcoming archways add to the relaxed feel of a Southwestern house. Doors, windows and walkways feature these charming architectural elements.

Rustic Features

Romantic character is found through modest design. Wrought iron is a good choice for all kinds of Southwestern accessories and hardware details.

An Energetic Color Combination

Utilize desert-toned neutrals mixed with touches of bright yellow, burnt orange, vivid red and cooling turquoise.

Artistic Details

Decorative tiles are typically showcased, although extravagant ornamentation is uncommon. Use hand-painted ceramic tiles to add character and color to Southwestern-style countertops, floors and walls.

Midcentury Modern

Unlike older homes with elaborate crown molding and ornamental trim, midcentury homes that became popular in the 1950s and 1960s are about simplicity and light, with large walls of windows and opened-up ceilings with exposed beams.

Typically the homes are one story with a low-slung roof line and sprawling layout. Interiors are streamlined and airy, with good flow between spaces. Sleek furniture with clean lines reinforces the midcentury look and feel.

Design a Midcentury Modern Space

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Midcentury Modern Design

This home style features a minimal and functional approach to interior design. Clean, geometric lines and large windows are common features found in this modest design. The cool blue color palette used in this space invites tranquility into the open and airy floor plan.

Floor-to-Ceiling Windows

Windows found in a midcentury design are showcase pieces that invite the outdoors seamlessly indoors. The founding fathers of this style believed in healthy living through organic indoor/outdoor architecture.

Illuminating Elements

Glass and steel elements are iconic materials used in midcentury design. This metal geometric light fixture creates a focal point and adds authentic flair to the space.

Sleek and Simple

Midcentury peaked in the 1950s and 1960s. Sleek furniture with clean lines reinforces the look and feel of this era.

Open and Airy

Midcentury modern homes are typically one story and feature open floor space with no structural divisions. To stay consistent with the simplicity of this home style, choose decorative pieces that don't obstruct your view of the outdoors.

Create Interest

While midcentury modern reflects simplicity, use abstract art or subtle textures to add a touch of personality to your space. Learn more about midcentury modern architecture on

Craftsman Bungalow

Comfortable homes known for their low-pitched sloping roofs and broad front porches with distinctive square pillars, Craftsman bungalows follow a design philosophy based on simplicity and practicality. Often the insides of these houses include custom wood built-ins and exposed rafters and beams.

Natural materials, specialty wood and hand-crafted details are the hallmarks of these homes. Numerous windows for natural light, an inviting fireplace and wide doors are a few of the commonly used design elements that make the inside of a Craftsman bungalow home very livable.

Design a Craftsman Living Room

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Craftsman Bungalow Design

This home style articulates simpler times, while celebrating handmade details and originality. Craftsman interiors are warm and inviting with dark wood elements.

Modest Interiors

Natural materials, specialty wood and hand-crafted details are the hallmarks of these homes. The design objective is to keep the interiors as uncluttered and simple as possible.

Creative Details

Craftsman-style homes feature sparse furnishings and accessories that reflect a humble approach to design. Antique lamps and mica-shaded light fixtures are a great fit for a classic Craftsman design. Include Mission-style wood furniture to add warmth and richness to the space.

Wood Flooring

The essence of Craftsman interiors are inviting with a cottage-like feel. Refinish or install hardwood floors and use area rugs to add intimacy to the space.

Earthy Color

Keep walls a neutral color to stay true to the Craftsman style. Many home improvement stores offer historical color selections that can be a perfect fit for these homes, or go for wood-paneled walls with a neutral stain that allows the grain of the wood to shine. Learn more about Arts & Crafts architecture on


Both elaborate and ornate, Victorian-style homes use decoration liberally — often borrowed from different eras. Steep-pitched gables, pointed turrets and decorative shingles are some of the features associated with Victorian homes.

Often Victorians are a combination of different styles, including Gothic revival with pointed arch windows, rectangular Italianate houses and Queen Anne homes with wrap-around porches. Stain-glassed windows, ornate chandeliers, and tables with marble tops and intricate legs are often used to decorate Victorian interiors.

Victorian Design

Elaborate details and use of color found throughout Victorian interiors keep the eyes entertained. The design is a mixture of architecture that represents a period in history, rather than a specific style.

Enchanting Details

Decorative details flourish throughout the home. Wainscoting, trim and wallpaper with a classic floral or botanical design are common on walls.

Antique Pieces

Outfit your bathroom with a pedestal sink or classic claw-foot tub to reinforce the Victorian aesthetic.

Grand Moldings

Victorian design showcases complex moldings and exquisite details. Add a touch of interest to the ceiling by painting it a subtle color.

Romantic Elements

Furnishings and architecture found in a Victorian should be beautiful rather than practical. An intricate ceiling medallion and ornate chandelier evoke romance and luxury.

Personal Touches

Victorian homes are grand and exuberant yet personable. A lace shower curtain adds a feminine element to the decor. Paint the exterior of a claw-foot bath tub for an unexpected hint of calming color in the bathroom. Learn more about Victorian architecture on

Traditional Colonial

The historic charm of Colonial homes is perfect for homeowners who prefer a traditional look. This broad category includes styles such as Georgian, French and Spanish Colonial — each with their own personality and look — and most people think of a classic Colonial as a formal, symmetrical, multi-story structure with a prominent entry door dead center in the front of the house.

These homes have a stately look and a large number of multi-paned windows. To complement their formal architecture style, interiors often include details like crown molding on the walls.

Details for Your Colonial Office

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Classic Colonial Design

Design elements in a Colonial-style home are prominent and sophisticated. It's common to see a unique blend of thoughtful architecture and dramatic details.

Interior Traits

Bigger windows were desired in homes during the Colonial period. Windows are typically large and double-hung with sashes.

Prominent Patterns

To incorporate Colonial charm in your space, choose upholstery fabrics and use drapes with a floral pattern or woven damask.

Grand Lighting

Decorative interior details are more important than functionality in a Colonial-style home. Add an intricate chandelier to complete this design scheme.

Elegant Elements

Each room has distinct decor. Painting trim and molding adds dimension to the walls in a family room, library or den.

Dignified Design

Stained or painted cherry, maple or oak cabinets with raised, curved panels or open shelves work well in this space. Learn more about Colonial architecture on


Offering more warmth than an ultra-modern interior that can sometimes feel cold, a contemporary design aesthetic is all about options. A combination of modern and traditional styles, contemporary spaces are comfortable and stylish.

"Contemporary is a broad category that's not as sharp as modern and features clean lines in style and furniture, often with a tone-on-tone palette," explains Christopher, who says you can soften the sleek lines of a contemporary fireplace with a tufted upholstered bench, or use a round table to soften a rectangular contemporary dining room.

Design a Contemporary Living Room

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Contemporary Design

The contemporary style features clean lines and eclectic elements and embraces nature. This interior floor plan offers an open flow of space ideal for entertaining.

Mix and Match Materials

Don't be afraid to add materials that create a quirky vibe, like mixing wood with metal or glass with stone or brick.

Unconventional Textures

Contemporary style is eclectic and embraces playful design. Go for a great area rug that offers texture in an interesting shape.

Recycled Aesthetics

It's typical to find a mix of recycled materials and clean lines throughout the interior. This mantel connects natural stone with a modest wood shelf for a simplistic scheme.

Purposeful Windows

Merging the home into the landscape is a typical approach in contemporary design. Windows are designed to connect the interiors with the outside in a meaningful way.

Curves and Shapes

Choose furnishings that offer beautiful curves or feature an unusual shape, and use clean suspended light fixtures. Learn more about contemporary architecture on


Unlike the minimalist details and slick finishes often seen in modern homes, a farmhouse aesthetic is heavy on comfort and timeworn finishes. This type of home should feel warm and inviting, with a mix of furniture styles and cozy details.

There are different styles that fall under this category, including a Tuscan farmhouse with stone exterior walls and a traditional country farmhouse that often features lots of floral accents and vaulted ceilings with exposed beams. "Interior elements are more distressed," adds Christopher. "You also see beadboard on the bathroom walls or kitchen cabinets, and glass knobs on the door. Hardware is generally more exposed and not super decorated."

Details in a Farmhouse Kitchen

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Farmhouse Design

Practical and informal, farmhouse design is simple with a taste of American heritage. Charming historic features and elements of nature are found throughout.

Humble Details

Kitchens are typically found in the back of the house. When designing a farmhouse space consider beadboard on the walls or kitchen cabinets to create a quaint country essence.

Simple Molding

Molding around windows emphasizes scale and brings prominence to the windows, while ceiling panels painted in light blue add a touch of charm to this space.

Farm Flooring

Wide-plank wood flooring does a great job of capturing the farmhouse aesthetic. Distress or paint the wood floor for an aged and authentic look.

Cabinets With Character

Pine is the wood traditionally used in a farmhouse interior. Go with crisp white-painted pine cabinets in your kitchen to showcase a charming collection of country china. Learn more about Farmhouse architecture on

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