What’s your design style?

Understanding the look that suits you best

By Carley Mulligan, Designer with ARTium Design Build Inc. & Just Basements

Everyone’s tastes are different, especially when it comes to interior design. Here’s a list of timeless classics to help you narrow your search for the perfect space.


A contemporary design style is fluid and often extracts from other styles such modern, minimalist, and rustic. Key principles of this style include craftsmanship, open concept floor plans, simplicity, and open space.

This style favours open spaces, which highlight simplicity, lines, and lighting. Bold prints and colours are avoided with this design style and embrace clean and round lines with an attention to detail.


Industrial style, or urban style, is inspired by the look of warehouses, factories, and other industrial spaces. It includes stripped-down architectural details such as exposed bricks, exposed beams, or building systems. Materials used in this style include wood, leather, iron, and concrete. Millwork, furniture pieces, or décor items are often repurposed or created using recycled materials. An open-concept layout is typical and there is a neutral colour palette paired with natural textiles.


Minimalist style is all about less is more. It strives to highlight uncomplicated forms, clean lines, and simple finishes. It is usually seen with an open concept layout and employs pure geometric forms with little to no ornamentation. Basic furniture and finishes are used to achieve the clean, unified look. A neutral colour palette is most used in this type of style.


This design style is often confused with contemporary design. Like contemporary, modern design relies on clean lines with no ornamentation or dramatic elements. Natural materials and a neutral palette of whites, beiges, and some shades of black will be used to create a seamless modern look, much like contemporary designs. An open concept layout, using as few walls as possible, is defining for a modern design. Furniture is used to provide visual distinctions between spaces (for example, dining and living room).


Rustic is a term that describes everything from farmhouse design to a Tuscan-style estate. This is quite a large range, so how do you know when you’ve achieved a truly rustic look?

 A basic definition for rustic is a design that is natural, rough, aged, and casual. Natural materials are the forefront of rustic design, including wood, stone, and fabrics like burlap and canvas. Raw materials are common, and materials are used in their most natural form. Lighting is chosen to match the natural and reject modernity. Handmade, simple, oversized furniture pieces are used to emphasize materiality and embrace a comfortable feeling. Furniture is often made from raw logs, boards, or stone. The colour palette maintains the themes of nature with greens, browns, and grays being most common.


Traditional design is the opposite of modern and contemporary design styles. It embraces small details like crown moulding, wall panelling, and columns. It is inspired by the 18th and 19th centuries, incorporating classic art, antiques, and pieces with history. Consistency is key with a traditional design, but it is never boring. Rooms are often centered around a focal point like a fireplace, large art piece or staircase.



Transitional style is the combination of traditional and modern. It usually features curved furnishings with straight-lined, lacquered finishes. Transitional spaces rely on soothing neutral hues to evoke a clean, serene atmosphere. The textures are usually wood, glass, lacquer, rattan, fabric, steel, and metal.


There’s a design style for every preference. Have fun finding yours!

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