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Exploring the Great Indoors

Choosing an interior design style for your home can be daunting. The thought of having to select colours, furnishings, and accessories to fit into a style’s framework can feel restrictive. Yet without an over-arching theme to a home, rooms may feel jumbled and the spaces won’t flow well together. Deciding on a design style will help create seamless transitions from room to room and allow a cohesive home feel. Let’s explore some popular design styles and see if any pique your interest.


This minimalist style is hallmarked by clean, smooth lines, lots of neutral colours, and very little clutter. Everything is functional and simple, without fuss or a lot of ‘extras.’ This style is great for people that like a neat home and minimal fuss. Maximising natural light is important, and white or light-coloured walls enhance this feature. Bare wood floors are a hallmark of Scandinavian design, and can be warmed up with rugs or even painted to add colour to a space.


A rustic and cosy design, the term ‘country’ sometimes makes people think ‘shabby.’ But with the popularisation of farmhouse style, ‘shabby-chic’ is an increasingly desirable design style.

Incorporating old and new is key to avoiding a space that is too kitschy. Vintage furniture paired with soft and luxurious fabrics brings a cosy feel into the home, and antique accessories make a room unique.

It’s easy to incorporate coastal elements into a country style home as well. Weathered wood and rope accents invoke the sea and still keep things cosy and comfortable. The key to country décor is not to over-do any one element.


Another minimalist design style, contemporary furnishings are clean and ‘perceptive.’ This style features glass and metal materials, creating a futuristic feel to any room. Open floor plans provide ample space and light, and furniture and other elements have sharper, straighter edges. Colour palettes for contemporary furnishings stick to black, white, and shades of grey. If other hues are introduced, they are bold and vivid, like a true red or a deep indigo.

Some feel that the contemporary style is cold, but it is possible to have a warm and inviting space that isn’t too soft. A minimalist approach with softer textiles will keep the space from feeling institutional. Art also plays a big role in this style, and having unique statement pieces throughout the home will set the stage for how each room will feel. A contemporary style often works well in an island home because it lets the view do the talking.


For a Zen retreat-like feel, nothing captures the essence of laid-back luxury like the Balinese style. Centred around nature and allowing life to flow harmoniously through its halls, a home in Balinese style feels like a resort getaway every day.

Natural materials like teak, bamboo, and stone are used throughout the home, bringing the outdoors in. Plenty of live plants also create a tropical, jungle-like feel. Earth tones accented with bright, bold colours in textiles continue keeping things interesting while still feeling grounded.

Impeccable artisanal craftsmanship is another hallmark of this style. Think of intricately carved doors and art pieces that evoke traditional Balinese motifs like elephants, lanterns, or the Buddha.

Mid-century Modern

Like its name implies, this style is getting a reboot that feels both futuristic and nostalgic at the same time. Born after World War II—hence the mid-century title—like its Scandinavian cousin, it is minimalistic and puts functionality above ornamentation. It features clean lines, geometric patterns, and plenty of large windows allowing for lots of natural light.

By making those windows a focal point of the room, this naturally allows for elements of the great outdoors to also be featured. Organic materials like wood are often used for smooth yet architectural furniture, and textiles often feature natural fabrics and colours.

Perfect for anyone that loves a clean and simple look, mid-century modern design offers functionality with a slightly vintage aesthetic.


Don’t let the name scare you; industrial style doesn’t have to feel like you’re living in a factory. That being said, this design style does feature some elements that offer a ‘harder’ look. Wood and metal take centre stage, while exposed brick, pipes, and ductwork enhance the warehouse look. All of these hard edges are softened with plush furniture and cosy textiles, along with both natural light and warm lighting fixtures. Neutral colours go well with all these materials, and colour can be incorporated as accents.

Open concept is the name of the game for industrial style, so living areas flow seamlessly together.

Whichever design style you choose, should reflect your own personality and lifestyle. When a home is filled with comfortable things that make it easy for you to relax with friends and family, it feels just right.

Sara Sherman
Sara Sherman is a former St. Thomas resident and the editor of Virgin Islands Property & Yacht.
Sara Sherman

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