Interior Design Part 2: Contemporary, Mid-Century Modern, Victorian, and Art-Deco

May 04, 2015

In our last article, we covered the basics: Modern, Traditional, and Transitional styles. Today´s article will focus on four more classic design styles—Contemporary, Mid-century modern, Victorian, and Art-Deco

Many people use the words modern and contemporary interchangeably, however in design they are distinct concepts.  Contemporary shares the modern idea of minimalism, however it has a few defining quirks of its own.  It often features straight lines and light colors, and tries to maximize natural lighting.  Contemporary style is also more open to using splashes of bright color in accessories such as throw pillows, lamps, or even accent walls.

Mid-Century Modern

This style emerged in the 1950´s and 60´s, and it a more experimental continuation of modern style.  The modern philosophy of minimalist design, simple colors, and spacious layouts is the foundation for mid-century modern.  Avant-garde styles of furniture and architecture, however, give mid-century modern its own distinctive touch.  Saarinen tulip tables, George Nelson coconut chairs, and showy Arco-lamps a just a few great examples of mid-century modern´s unique post-modern flair.

Victorian Style, on the other hand, is based on the idea of maximalism.  When done right, a Victorian design looks and feels luxurious and intricately layered.  Furniture is thickly cushioned and features heavy, richly ornamented fabric.  Color schemes feature dark, rich tones.  Knick knacks, plants, books, fabrics, plants, and other decorative touches abound.  Every aspect of the design reflects excess and luxury.

Art-Deco is bold, flashy, and cutting-edge.  It features creative geometry, layered lighting, glossy surfaces, mirrors, rich woods, and dramatic color palettes.  Contrast is key, as Art-Deco frequently combines sharp corners with long curves, flashes of color with a mellow base, and lots of reflective material.  Decoration is sparse, however, and in this sense Art-Deco is in fact rather minimalist.