Decor 101: Interior Styles From Around The World

September 05, 2020 5 min read

Decor 101: Interior Styles From Around The World

Quick: What do decor magazines mean when they say "Mediterranean style" or "Scandi style"? What decor elements make a peaceful "Zen" home? And what in the world does "Florida design" mean?

We at Gear Den have wondered about these questions, too! So to help us understand decorating tips better and find the right home decor inspiration, we did a little research on the subject. Here's a crash course on the various interior decor styles from around the world, with tips and examples. Enjoy!


1. Scandinavian interiors

In a nutshell: Sometimes referred to as Nordic interiors, Scandi style is rooted in Scandinavian winter lifestyles, filling the home with a calm, balanced coziness. Two key concepts in this style are hygge (a comfy sense of wellbeing) and lagom (moderation in decor). See our guide to hygge and lagom here.

Common decor elements: Uncluttered spaces; warm neutral colors; lots of cozy throws; light furniture in uncomplicated designs.

Our Scandinavian decor recommendation: This personalized fleece blanket that's as warm as it is stylish:


2. Zen home decor

In a nutshell: Originating from Japanese Buddhist philosophy, Zen is all about being in a meditative state without intervention or distraction. When translated to interior design, this means a clean, natural kind of minimalism, where the simple is beautiful and less is more.

Common decor elements: Clean lines and surfaces; natural materials (especially wood and stone); convening with nature (gardens, ponds, etc); as little ornamentation as possible.

Our Zen decor recommendation: This Tibetan lotus incense burner:


3. Mediterranean interiors

In a nutshell: When we dream of the vineyard estates of Italy, the sunny villas of Southern Spain, or the bright coasts of Greece, this style is what we dream of. Think old-world brick and stucco houses with beautiful balconies and a blissful view of the sparkling sea.

Common decor elements: Stucco, stone, or brick materials; ornate metalwork; indoor arches; sunny patios or balconies with lots of outdoor seating.

Our Mediterranean decor recommendation: This family wall sign with a rustic olive-branch filigree design:


4. Resort style: Florida

In a nutshell: Florida resort interior style is born of the seaside holiday spots of Miami or Key West. It's a unique blend of tropical, coastal, and just a touch of vintage. For a definitive example of this decorating style, look no further than the living room set of The Golden Girls!

Common decor elements: Big, showy indoor plants (especially palms and banana trees); natural fibers like rattan and wicker; beach accents; vintage-y colors like salmon and pale blue.

Our Florida-style decor recommendation: The pink flamingo throw pillow below, since we all know the flamingo is the unofficial symbol of the Sunshine State. (Find more pillows with pretty prints here!)


5. Resort style: Bali

In a nutshell: If Florida resorts are all about the seaside, Balinese getaways are beautifully nestled in jungle-like richness. Google "Bali vacation" and you'll likely find thatched-roofed huts, breezy bedrooms, and spa-like pools under lush foliage. You can almost hear the birdsong just imagining it!

Common decor elements: Wood materials all over (especially teak and other hardwoods); wide open views of nature; big, lush indoor plants; woven accents; billowy draperies.

Our Bali-inspired decor recommendation: This botanical-print pillow, which would look so good piled up on your bed or bench looking out into the garden:


6. African-inspired decor

In a nutshell: We can't possibly capture the richness of the African continent in one paragraph; we can only borrow inspiration from it. Take a look, for instance, at the works of Ethiopian textile designer Hana Getachew. Her fabric designs range from understated to vibrantly colorful -- yet all stay true to her heritage.

Common decor elements: A wide array of colors, folk art patterns, and cultural motifs. We also note the natural woven fabrics, the wood-carved ornaments, and the rich earthy themes that often appear in African-inspired collections.

Our African-inspired decor recommendation: Go straight to the artists! There are numerous African potters, painters, sculptors, and textile designers around the world. Some may even be in your city! We found this exquisite vase made by South African potter Jabulile Nala:


7. Moroccan home decor

In a nutshell: The very mention of Morocco probably brings to mind colorful glass lamps and beautifully detailed carpets. But there's much more to Moroccan interiors than that. Being at the center of East and West, Morocco's stunning designs are often symbolic of its history and a showcase of its people's meticulous handiwork.

Common decor elements: Decorative glass lanterns; large, intricate tile mosaics; woven kilim rugs; rich colors like burnt red, deep blue, and terra cotta.

Our Moroccan-inspired decor recommendation: You can easily make it yourself! One Google search leads you to a ton of DIY Moroccan-themed rugs, poufs, and lamps, like these mason jar lanterns:


8. Victorian home interiors

In a nutshell: For some people, "Victorian" means "stuffy." But in the interior decor world, it means elegance, opulence, and timelessness. Case in point: this aesthetic bloomed during Queen Victoria's reign in England (19th century), but even in these very modern days, it's still well-loved all over the world. (And yes, this interior style is, in a sense, stuffy -- because of all those comfy tufted chairs!)

Common decor elements: Luxurious furnishings like large sofas, tufted ottomans, and carved wood tables; heavy hues like dark red, cherrywood, and black; ornate moldings everywhere; lavish textiles (ceiling-to-floor drapes, plush carpets, chair skirts); a ton of wall art!

Our Victorian-themed decor recommendation: This personalized family monogram art, which lends some timeless elegance to any room:


9. Mexican-inspired interiors

In a nutshell: The lively character of Mexico shows in its bright and flamboyant decor. It draws inspiration from lots of colorful things: its vast, sun-drenched deserts, its wild flora and fauna, and of course, its long and multi-dimensional history, from the ancient Aztecs and Mayans, to the Spanish Colonial era.

Common decor elements: Lots of patterns in bright colors, especially turquoise, yellow, pink, green, and red; wild nature motifs such as flowers, vines, and cacti; painted tiles and mosaics; pottery and earthenware; colors of the desert sunset such as red, burnt orange, and tan.

Our Mexican decor recommendation: This gorgeous talavera tiled table! The best part is, you can actually just stencil it yourself:


10. Southern home decor

In a nutshell: Referring to the colonial-traditional houses of the US south, Southern style is our definition of "home sweet home." Equal parts personal and historic, layered and fresh, the rooms in these houses are places to come home to. You've got living rooms decorated for gathering and lounging, kitchens alive with actual cooking; and of course, beautiful front porches that bring to mind summer sangrias. The whole house is just welcoming -- that's Southern hospitality!

Common decor elements: A soft neutral palette including whites, beiges, and taupes; layered furnishings such as sofas filled with throw pillows; architectural details from centuries past, such as columns, balustrades, and molding; sunny outdoor spaces (patios, porches, decks), especially with haint-blue ceilings.

Our Southern decor recommendation: This absolutely homey personalized family hearts canvas print, which features all the names of your crazy, loud, loving family:


Does any of these global interior styles capture your fancy? You can find more globe-trotting design tips in our article about travel-inspired home decorating -- take a look!

And if you're eager to start redecorating your home, start by browsing the fabulous home decor collections at Happy shopping!


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