Choosing a Theme for Your Interior Design Project


Choosing a Theme for Your Interior Design Project

Lisa Wright · Jan 25, 2022
Living space decorated in simple contemporary style.

A new year is upon us, which means it’s officially time for resolutions. Whether it’s in the form of self-improvement, career or personal goals, or new interior design projects (or all of the above), there are many among us who take the opportunity to try different things when the calendar page switches from December to January.

Interior design projects in particular are so appealing because they give us a chance to not only try something new, but to switch over to an entirely different design aesthetic: one that inspires and sets the tone in our home for the upcoming year.

But how do you choose the right theme or style for your next project?

Sadly, not all of us have interior design experts at our disposal, and it can seem daunting to sift through the never-ending parade of design styles and trends to find something that fits your own individual look. That’s why we’ve created this guide to help you choose a solid theme for your next interior design project. Packed with helpful tips and a rundown of some popular design styles and examples of each, this handy how-to will have you on the road to renovation in no time. Let’s get started!

Things to Consider Before Choosing Your Theme

There are some crucial things to think about before embarking on a home interior design project, whether you’re planning a simple room renovation or an entire apartment overhaul. Here are some things to consider before getting started:


Think carefully about your budget and how that translates into what you’d like to accomplish with your design project. Do you want to incorporate some of your existing furniture, wall art, decor, fabrics, and textiles into your new look, or do you want a complete top-to-bottom overhaul? Large furniture like couches and appliances are expensive, after all, so it’s best to think carefully before moving forward. Remember: sometimes it’s possible to change a whole space’s aesthetic just by updating or switching out key pieces, so it’s not always necessary to start from scratch.

Landlord Approval

Like it or not, your landlord may have to be consulted before you embark on certain aspects of your interior design project. For example, some landlords don’t approve of their tenants painting or wallpapering their ceilings or walls, replacing appliances that came with the apartment, or big projects like redoing the floors. Before you make any decisions about your design project, check your lease and consult your landlord to make sure you have approval for making the changes you want to make.

Choosing a Style

Last but certainly not least is deciding what type of theme or overall look you want to achieve with your interior design project. Don’t feel as if you have to rigidly commit to any one style. Often, a conscientious blending of looks works well, depending on your space and design goals. And feel free to experiment and have fun! After all, it’s your home, and you want to feel comfortable and relaxed in it.

That being said, you may need some inspiration to get started with your new project, so we’ve compiled a list of three top design themes with examples of each to give you an idea of what’s out there. The list is by no means exhaustive, but it’s a great place for both design newbies and potential project leaders to take a look at some popular themes and their contemporary offshoots that are having big moments themselves this year.

Popular Design Themes (and How to Make Them Your Own)

Design trends are always changing. Some are fleeting and have short-lived popularity, while others are timeless and endure for decades (midcentury modern, we’re looking at you!). Again, when embarking on a new interior design project, always remember that the choice is yours. Feel free to choose a single theme and make it your own, or opt for a mashup that elegantly expresses your style in its own way. Either way, just remember to aim for comfort as well as trendiness.

Minimalist Theme

Living space decorated in minimalist style.

Minimalism is a broad term that can be applied to a variety of design trends. However, if you want to opt for a minimalist look, be sure to keep it simple. Smooth lines, ultramodern furniture, and uncluttered, sparse furnishings with a barely there aesthetic — these are just some of the qualities of a minimalist design theme. Examples include midcentury modern with its clean, simplistic lines and timeless furniture and decor that encompasses both natural and manmade fabrics, textiles, and furnishings.

Conversely, a maximalist theme would be quite the opposite. Think big, bold fabrics and colors, rooms packed with personality and pizzazz, and plenty of decor with patterns, shapes, and overall oomph that may seem incongruous but work together to form am aesthetic that wows. Examples include the popular cluttercore trend that’s recently emerged as the antithesis to the picture-perfect minimalist trend. Cluttercore isn’t messy, it just seeks to incorporate all things comforting, so lovers of tchotchkes and kitsch are sure to love this perfectly imperfect trend.

Mission Theme

Living space decorated in classic Mission style.

Mission design (also known as “Arts and Crafts” styling) emerged in response to the stodginess and ornate decor of the Victorian era. While it may seem old-fashioned, Mission style themes have evolved over the years to spawn several distinctive trends that remain popular in contemporary decor. Think nature at its core: warm earth tones like browns, tans, greens, and ochres, natural wood textiles and furnishings, and accent pieces that add a subtle pop of color that accentuates the space without dominating it. Examples under the Mission umbrella range far and wide, from elegant country charm with a focus on flowery botanicals and natural accents to cottagecore, which captures the feel of the English countryside through homey touches and cozy feels. Regardless of what style you opt for, the trick is to stay natural and use key accessories and accents to interpret the look.

Art Deco Theme

Living space decorated in Old Hollywood Glamor style.

Art Deco was incredibly popular in the 1920s and 1930s as people looked to further separate themselves from the uptight Victorian era and embrace more simplistic (yet glamorous) feels. As with the minimalist theme, think clean lines, but feel free to opt for bold colors and accent pieces to make the room shine. Art Deco can also be industrial, jazzy, and glitzy glam all at the same time – just be sure to break up the bold with some muted colors throughout as to not overwhelm the space completely. One example of Art Deco is decor with an industrial feel: think modern looks that incorporate brick, steel, timber, and edgy decor that’s simple yet stylish. Another example of Art Deco is a look that incorporates old Hollywood glam in the form of opulent decor that makes a statement: think bold colors like rich reds, deep purples, and metallic sheens, smooth, soft velvets, and silvery sequined patterns and accents.

Now that you have an intro to some of the most popular design themes out there, you can make your own creative foray into planning your next big interior design project. Whether you’re feeling retro or contemporary, nature-inspired or bold, you’re sure to find a design aesthetic that speaks your personality and makes your house feel like a home.

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