Guide to Interior Decorating Styles

The most popular decorating styles ordered by Geography and Historical Period

There are thousands of decorating themes in use around the world but only a handful have found their way into the mainstream of our part of the world. Here are the ones you’ll want to know about…

The stylings of certain geographical areas are popular because they make a nice fit with our own region or because of an enviable ambiance we’d like to capture for ourselves.

“Popular styles that top the list in America”

Mediterranean, Italian, Moroccan and Japanese. You look at that list and appreciate the tangle this series on popular decorating will help you unwind.

Italy and Morocco are on the Mediterranean but they have their own category.

It gets worse. Mediterranean design includes in its makeup, the Tuscany region of Italy and the coast of Spain but excludes Greece.

Our most popular historical decorating styles feature attributes of such quality and consistency they have endured the test of time. Others are relative newcomers working hard to find durability.

The importance of interior decorating

Contrary to constant complaining in some circles, decorating our interior living space is probably our most popular pastime activity. For a large percentage of people, it is the favorite pastime

Ever since man first moved indoors he has searched for ways to change and improve upon his indoor environment. The fixation has led to a global transfer of concepts, ideas, culture and materials that broadens the possibilities and expands the mind to dramatically impact the way we think about our homes.

Sometimes technological improvement present obstacles for the decorator to overcome. Indoor plumbing took a long while to be welcomed into the home. Now the master bath is a design feature and decorating Mecca.

In all likelihood, there must have been people of the time who deemed electrical outlets and wall switches an intrusion.

But, we still love the effect of a candle. Some things the decorator works with improve our lives, others enhance a lifestyle.

Throughout history, people in different parts of the world dealt with similar obstacles in different ways, improved their home decor using what was there, and developed decorating verve significant to their geography, climate, religion and culture, but all using the same basics, ceiling, walls and flooring


It is a tangle of styles to which designers and decorators have tried attaching meaningful identifying names.

In some cases, the most convenient division has been to look at a region where significant influences have resulted in common decorating traits which distinguish it from another region and name it for the geographic area represented.


Where there exists significant style characteristics specific to an era, themes of a certain region are best described by breaking them down further into historical periods. Hence Mexican Colonial or French Louis XV.

You will want to learn to appreciate the reasoning behind the names so you can better understand the importance of trying to stay true to the decorating practices of the style you’re working with.

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