Interior design styles are nothing new. They have been in existence since humans started living in confined spaces.

In past times when hunting and harvesting crops were the vital part of peoples' lives, they didn't have time to think too much about their interior design style!

But as we have found ourselves with more leisure time we naturally think about somewhere 'nice' to live. And so we give more time and expense to the looks and comfort of our homes.


What influences interior design styles?

Here are just a few of the factors which influence interior design styles.


In centuries gone by (and sadly still for many in today's world) if you were poor and had to work hard on the land most days, when you returned in the evening you took your evening meal. Then you were so tired you went straight to bed.

So there was no call for comfy arm chairs, upholstered couches or elaborate drapes at the windows. These items were the reserve of the rich who had the money to buy them and the time to enjoy them.

Changing perceptions

It wasn't so long ago that even in 'wealthy' countries many homes had their toilet situated in a shed in the garden. In some areas they were even shared between houses. Again, only the rich had the luxury of a 'bathroom'. Now we take it for granted that every home has at least one good bathroom.

The most important aspect of style is what do you prefer? When decorating your home it's important to develop your own style, to put your own personality into it. Learn more about this on the home style page.

Scientific advances

Before the nineteenth century the choice of paint was very limited. In fact, most 'painting' consisted of lime wash. Wallcovering was unheard of except in country houses.

Then scientists invented different sorts of paints which could be more easily manufactured. Printing processes led to the availability of affordable wallpaper. In a very short space of time color and design became available, which inevitably led to to different styles.

You can find out more about different color styles in the paint color section.


Today much of what we see and do is driven by fashion. As living standards rose, fashion became more important. Manufacturers wanted to sell more goods, so it suited them for fashions to change.


Every now and then a gifted person comes along with new ideas and sparks off a whole new level of design.

A good example of this was the Englishman William Morris, one of the influences in the Arts and Crafts movement. His designs for fabrics and wallpapers still sell today.

Location and history

Many styles are influenced by a place and its history. So for example, what is known as a Cottage style works in a cottage location, while a Tuscan style is based on the colors, materials and way of life in Tuscany.

See more on these topics in the interior decorating styles section.


tuscany influence

A typical Tuscany street. The colors and textures of the stone, tiles, plaster, wood and terracotta, together with sunshine and shade, all influence the interior design style known as Tuscan.


How many interior design styles are there?

Hundreds, if not thousands! Here are a few...

Art Nouveau Fashionable in both USA and Europe from about 1890 until WW1. Tiffany in the USA and Mackintosh in Scotland were part of this movement.

American South West Spanish and Native American cultures influenced the Colonial style.

Art Deco Architectural and decorative style from just before WW1 into the 1930's.

Arts and Crafts Led by William Morris and C R Ashbee in the UK. Similar to the Mission style in the USA.

Robert Adam (1728 -1792) Produced some of the most graceful and interesting furniture for country home in the UK. His work has heavily influenced designers in the past, and still does today.

And these are just the styles beginning with 'A' !


The world of interior styles is a fascinating one, and can help us learn from and be influenced by the past.



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