Designing and decorating your house can be a daunting task, especially when you have little knowledge on interior styles and concepts. Here we share background and the visual basics of today’s most popular styles, helping you to lock down a direction that suits you and your home.

interior styles and concepts

Art Deco 

Everyone knows the exuberance of the roaring twenties. The glamour, luxury and pzazz of the decade also extended its influences on the architectural and design style of the era. The style takes its name from Exposition Internationale des Arts Décoratifs et Industriels Modernes, a decorative arts showcase held in Paris in 1925, said to have kickstarted the movement. Art Deco embraces luxurious and sleek elegance, with bold and daring shapes and decor.

According to Henry Delacroix, a designer and author of ‘Art Deco Interiors(1935), geometric shapes, angular lines, and zigzags are the defining characteristics of Art Deco. It is also considered to be an amalgamation of other designs from Cubism, ancient Egyptian and Mesoamerican cultures, which can be seen from Art Deco’s ornamental details like the famous sunburst motif. 

How to Apply an Art Deco Design

Starting by choosing the right colours. Art Deco is known for striking, vivid colours with a lot of contrasts. Bright and deep reds, greens, yellow and pinks blend really well with black, silver and chrome. As for furniture, Art Deco is about going big and bold with statement pieces such as armoires, sideboards, and sofas. Mirrored pieces, polished and exotic woods like zebrawoods and lacquered furniture are also favourites of the era. 

As for lighting, Art Deco usually prefer pieces that are made of glass and chrome, sometimes etched or enamelled. For the fabrics, choose either those in geometric designs or solid colours, one thing that Henry Delacroix emphasised in his book, Art Deco style must go in strong, streamlined, modern and bold shapes and forms, no pretty florals, frills or plaids. 

interior styles and concepts

Mid-Century Modern

The definition of this style was first coined and popularised by art historian Cara Greenberg in her book, Mid-Century Modern: Furniture of the 1950s (1983), in which she dissected its progress and growth. It is defined by the Post-World War II era and the cultural, social, and economic boom that lasted until 1980s. Mid-Century Modern at its core is about clean, simple lines with geometric shapes and multi-purpose usage, combining practicality and luxury, that matched well with society’s revival after the devastation of war. 

Unlike its more lavish predecessors, one of the most defining characteristics of Mid-Century Modern is its minimalism, going for natural coloured walls and furniture with defined structures in wood or metal. This has made the style more timeless and thus remains a beloved design direction in the 21st Century, adapted by contemporary designers in different ways.

How to Apply a Mid-Century Modern Design

Mid-Century Modern’s minimalism should be balanced with vibrant colours, so if you opt for natural materials and hues for your furniture or walls, don’t forget to put decorative elements in bold or even neon shades. You can even play with patterns and strong textures to add the oomph factor into the room. Keep it limited to focal pieces, though. 

Do not confine your furniture merely to wood: many designers venture to new-age materials like plastic, or acrylic with retro design, you can blend them with some fun geometric patterns, shapes, and fabrics like neutral woods. Do try to buy some statement pieces that give an instant impression. Examples include low seating couches, shell chairs, sideboards with hairpin legs and consoles that have plain surfaces with punctuations. These are the hallmarks to the style. 

Most Mid-Century Modern houses use the outdoors to complement the interiors. Large and wide windows connect the inside to the outdoors, letting in natural light in and creating a dynamic setting. Add a touch of green elements like potted plants and green upholstery, bridging the natural and manufactured materials into one cohesive aesthetic. 

interior styles and concepts


Possibly one of the easiest interior design styles to implement, the Scandinavian aesthetic prioritises “beautifying” ordinary lives rather than centring its designs around a sole aesthetic value, with practical functionality as the main principle of the Scandinavian approach. 

The Nordic countries are famous for simplicity and functionality in their craftsmanship. It is no wonder that the world’s largest homeware retailer, IKEA, is both known for its Swedish origin and aesthetically pleasing yet functional products. No furniture placed in a Scandinavian house is ornamental and serves no purpose, every piece has to have its usage. 

Scandinavian style also follows ‘Hygge’, a concept that centres around cosiness, comfort, wellness and contentment. These principles of functionality, beauty and comfort make the Scandinavian interior design one of the most adapted and popular styles in the world. 

How to Apply a Scandinavian Style

Starting off with the colours, Scandinavian homes commonly use a neutral colour palette: beige, grey, and white tend to dominate. These shades create a calming yet cosy atmosphere that also help to make the house feel spacious and open. Neutral colours create blank canvas, to give it depth and beauty, you can put furniture made from natural materials, as most Scandinavians are known to have great appreciation of their nature– so try to incorporate plants, sculptural wood, or nature vignettes into your space. Contrasts of light and dark hues, old and new pieces, natural and manufactured appliances will help to heighten the look even further. 

Multi-functional pieces are a must in a Scandinavian house, remember, functionality is key, but everything also must have its own beauty. Scandinavian style loves to beautify the ordinary, so go for the more fashionable open shelves  in your kitchen and den, use your colourful books, and quirky mugs and bowls as decorations and turn your shelves as a display of art to give your room little pops of colours. 

interior styles and concepts

Tropical Modern 

This is the most befitting interior design for Jakarta’s residents. Living in the coastal city near the equator means that heat and humidity are our longtime companions. Designing your house in the Tropical Modern style is the best way to adapt to the tropical climate while also creating a sense of comfort. Most buildings built in this style are designed to be natural defences against the harsh elements of the tropics and subtropical, while fully taking advantage of the warm and sunny environment. 

Tropical Modern from its name alone indicates that it merges two aesthetic directions into one, adapting to the traditional designs from Tropical houses while also borrowing characteristics from Modern design of minimalism and contemporary styles that skyrocketed from the last quarter of the 20th Century to this day. 

How to Apply a Tropical Modern Design

First, when it comes to a tropical house, creating cross-breezes is a critical component. Utilising the natural airflow through a house helps to lower dependency on air conditioning and give spaces a soft and natural feeling. These in turn also ensure natural light is maximised during the day. To counter the issue of heat, create protective shading like deep porches, extra-wide eaves, canopies, verandas and lanais. Natural light, less heat.

Tropical Modern incorporates natural materials like bamboo, rattan and other wooden materials with sleek, modern, clean lines furniture. Adding potted plants, orchids and vibrant coloured flowers to evoke tranquil tropical aesthetics will give the room an oomph factor. Contemporary and antique pieces from your local furniture makers can add the unique exotic touch that puts your design into a new height! 

Dinda Mulia

Dinda Mulia

Dinda is an avid explorer of art, culture, diplomacy and food. She is also a published poet and writer at NOW!Jakarta.