interior designer melbourne

Australian Interior Styles

Recently I had a chat with a client about popular Australian interior design styles which inspired this month’s Studio Blog.  Each country will have its own range of popular interior design styles for several reasons, lifestyle, historical influences, weather and so on.

For example, and I’m generalising, but in America you will see Hamptons style, Spanish Mission, Hollywood Regency, and Cottage/Country style.  Which reflects the breadth and depth of the weather, people and history of America.

In Australia, we have our own Coastal style, which is more relaxed than Hamptons and we are heavily influenced by Europe, given our European heritage this make sense.  For example French styles are really popular as is Industrial style which stems from the Industrial Revolution in the United Kingdom.  But we’re also a young country and equally like Modern styles that reflect open plan, and indoor outdoor living.

Here’s a run down of popular Australian styles and their key characteristics.

Modern Interior Style

This style is common in new homes and estates, think Metricon display home.

  • Clean, straight lines
  • Neutral colours
  • Uncluttered, to make the most of vast spaces
  • Functional

Scandinavian Interior Style

Most people are familiar with Scandinavian style but it’s more nuanced and beautiful than Ikea.

Scandinavian interior design living room 3d render with gray and beige colored furniture and wooden elements
  • Light wooden flooring, light wood in general like oak, pine
  • Muted colours, white, soft grey, blues with pops of colour in textiles like orange, red
  • Clean lines
  • Function supports liveability
  • Eco-friendly
  • Minimal accessories

Eclectic Interior Style

Hard to achieve but interesting as it’s a reflection of a person’s diverse range of loves and experiences.

  • New and old
  • East and West
  • Luxurious and down to earth
  • Pieces, styles from a broad ranges of sources eg: cultures, languages
  • ‘You curated’
  • Pieces chosen with intention and attention

French Country Interior Style

Also known as French Provincial or Shabby Chic, a classic style we’re so familiar with that looks effortless due to its distressed features and neutral colours.

  • Neutral colours, taupes, creams, yellows, deep reds/rust, blues/lavender
  • Toile and Damask are key design features
  •  Key shape is curved such as the cabriole leg
  •  Louis furniture
  •  Distressed, aged wood or metallic

Industrial Interior Style

Really popular in Melbourne especially in apartment developments around Collingwood and many hospitality spaces too.

  • Exposed red brick walls
  • Masculine colours such as blue, grey, brown
  • Distressed, aged furniture
  • Textures such as leather, wood and metals such as iron, copper
  • Floor to ceiling windows

Australian Coastal Interior Style

A relaxed style that is quintessential Australian and reflects our love for the sea.

  • Comfortable relaxed fabrics such as cotton and linen
  • Neutral colours such as whites, taupes, cool blues
  • Motifs such as boats, ropes, sands, sea, floral
  • Seamless indoor/outdoor living
  • Functional
  • Connection with natural environment
  • Textures such as ceramics, stone, treated woods, rattan, sisal.

Mid Century Modern Interior Style

Popularised recently by Mad Men but a timeless style and period that produced some classic pieces.

  • Clean lines, smooth surfaces (less is more)
  •  Wood materiality such as teak
  • Vibrant colour such as orange
  • Patterns such a geometrics and florals

Knowing which Australian interior style you love is really important to be able to achieve a successful cohesive space but this is tricky because it’s absolutely natural for everyone to like elements from different styles and get confused.

I’m sure you’ve bought something you loved from Provincial Living for example and when you brought it home it didn’t work with other pieces you bought from Ikea or Freedom and so on.

The reasons for this are many and varied, it could be because there is no consistency in colour, shape, or texture with each of the items.  An important interior design element is repetition.  So it’s possible to like different pieces from different styles but for it work in your own home something needs to be repeated for example colour.

I’m not immune to making this mistake either, I still have a vintage lamp shade sitting on my office floor which I bought from an antique shop in the Dandenongs for $40.  I bought it because it’s vintage and I love everything old, and because it’s grey.  I love black white grey colour schemes. Also I bought it because it’s 100% silk which is a beautiful expensive material you don’t find in lampshades these days.  But’s its English style is opposite to my mostly French styled pieces.  Yet, I won’t part with it.

We start every project by deciding a design strategy this entails defining the client’s style and a basic colour scheme.  A good colour scheme starts with 3 colours for example, black white grey which can be built on with accents such as gold or pink.

If you’re still stuck with what Australian interior styles you prefer and want to style a space in your house and get it right, we’re happy to help.

Trish Khoury
Founding Director
Grace Interior Designs