When it comes to interior design, there are as many individual styles as there are personalities — endless possibilities! As a basic rule, however, many of the design aesthetics we’re currently seeing fall into three categories: modern, transitional or casual styles. Wondering which style to select for your Rowe custom furniture? Modern mavens who love angular design and gallery-inspired artwork are often drawn to geometric silhouettes like our Brady Sofa or Bergen Chair, while lovers of transitional design prefer the traditional details of our Angelica Chair or Margot Sofa. For casual style fanatics, nothing is more comfortable than the generous proportions of our Derby Slipcover Sectional Sofa or the ease of the Sylvie Slipcover Chair. So, which design aesthetic will it be? Let’s take a deeper dive into each of these styles, along with gorgeous examples of each from interior designers.
Modern style is often defined by strong horizontal and vertical lines, and a very angular room layout. Long, low pieces like sectionals or square-contoured chairs are perfect choices for modern spaces. The contemporary look tends more toward the minimalist end of the spectrum, beginning with a clean palette of neutrals or a blank slate of white on white. High contrast style that brings in accents of black or deep, dark colors creates a structured look. Minimalism doesn’t necessarily mean cold and empty, however, and there is often plenty of room for very curated accessories, splashy contemporary artwork, pops of bright color and even a sense of whimsy.
Get the Look: Modern 101
- Strong horizontal and vertical lines
- Clean neutrals
- Bold contrast (black and white, or a punchy, bright accent)
A clean white palette sets the tone for this living space by designer Leslie Price of Price Style and Design, framing the warm-toned color accents like a perfectly matted piece of gallery artwork. “The Sylvie Sofa has a modern sensibility and can work in any space,” says Leslie, who adds, “…and, it is super comfortable!” The angular grace of our versatile Sylvie Bench Cushion Sofa is a perfect match for this clean, modern aesthetic, softened slightly by the addition of two luxurious throw pillows. We love the interplay of color between the contemporary art, glass vessels and pillows, perfectly uniting this chic space.
“I find modern style inspiration by mixing vibrant art pieces with soft neutral furnishings that have unique details.” ~ Leslie Price
High contrast style defines this hip modern space by Meg Piercy of MegMade. We love our Nash Swivel Chair in a wide black & white buffalo check, framed by a stark background of deep navy and crisp white. Punches of high impact fuschia and orange bring this look to vivid life, and a touch of pink winding its way across the Honest Abe-themed wallpaper adds just a touch of cheeky modern humor.
Transitional design blends traditional and contemporary style in a perfect marriage of relaxed sophistication. Furniture, finishes, materials and fabrics are all chosen with a timeless, classic style in mind, and may feature traditional accents like elegant patterns, polished wood and leather balanced with a sense of modern minimalism. A subdued palette of neutrals and soft colors often helps keep traditional patterns and furniture silhouettes from becoming heavy or overwhelming. Perhaps more than any other style, transitional style displays a designer’s ability to create brilliant, balanced combinations of traditional details, contemporary artwork and even the occasional antique piece.
Get the Look: Transitional 101
- Subdued palette
- Clean modern lines
- Accents of traditional pattern and finish
This transitional seating area by designer Karista Hannah of Set the Stage Interior Design blends cool and warm greys in a soothing, sunlit space. A pair of Times Square Chairs provides a modern, clean-lined focal point, and the delicate lattice designs are aesthetically balanced with a large piece of textured contemporary artwork. For the designer’s client, whose taste had changed from a more traditional look, this space represents the perfect style evolution.
“This particular client was transitioning from a very traditional style into something cleaner, so these chairs were just perfect for her. The patterns are soft and very transitional. Also, the light that filtered in that room was just amazing!” ~ Karista Hannah
Traditional design elements seem to define this transitional lounge space by Liv Tiblier of Mead Design, from the board and batten wall treatment and dramatic floor-length drapery to the iron chandelier and carved wood elements. But look closer and you’ll find the designer has balanced these Old World elements with a coastal palette of crisp white and ocean blue, along with the effortlessly modern style of four Robin Bruce Kara Swivel Chairs. “What I love about this space is that the color palette is repetitive but doesn’t feel like [just] a blue and white room,” says Liv, adding “it feels warm and inviting and layered with dimension and texture.” This look celebrates traditional design through a fresh contemporary lens that keeps things light.
“I am inspired to design in a transitional way because I love my designs to feel good, universally. There is something about clean lines and soft fabrics that make everyone feel good. Transitional design allows your eyes to rest while still taking in a thoughtful, layered design.” ~ Liv Tiblier
Casual interior design is obviously the most laid back style of these three, but this doesn’t mean it’s an easy look to achieve. A good designer blends comfort and style to create spaces that are soft and inviting, but also chic and never sloppy. Since symmetry is a hallmark of more formal design, casual style is often balanced but slightly asymmetrical, suggesting an easygoing attitude. Overscale lounge furniture fits perfectly with this style, along with functional pieces like upholstered ottomans that invite guests to put their feet up and relax. The overall focus is on soft textures and layers rather than structure and shine, for a look that’s easy & livable.
Get the Look: Casual 101
- Soft, welcoming furnishings
- Texture rather than shine or gloss
This seating area by designer Molly Carter of Molly Erin Designs uses our Brady Sectional Sofa as the focal point of this relaxed, casual space. The bench seat cushion invites guests to rest and relax — maybe even pick up that guitar and strum a few chords? Diagonal lines are a great way to lay out a more casual style, so we’re loving the perfect placement of that rug. Finally, the warm, vintage-inspired palette pulls this boho space together effortlessly.
Designer Carolyn Loub of Carolyn + Co. Interiors used the Robin Bruce Marleigh Sofa to create a casual space that’s comfortable enough for everyday living, yet still stylish. “As a mom of four boys (and two dogs),” she says, “I appreciate the need for family-friendly spaces, where everyone can feel welcome and relaxed.” We think the fresh, floral-inspired pastel palette strikes just the right tone, while the pillows & throw draped on the sofa emphasize its welcoming contours.
“For this family room space, I really wanted a sofa that had a timeless, casual vibe. The Marleigh’s modern twist on a classic English roll arm sofa was the perfect fit. It has just the right depth for curling up with a book or watching movies.” ~ Carolyn Loub