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Portland Design Build Remodeling Blog

11 Interior Design Themes to Consider for Your Portland Remodel

Posted by Lane Cooper on Nov 24, 2018 8:05:00 AM

Remodeling a Portland home with a tired or muddled design? Drawn to certain looks but not sure what they’re called? Here’s a brief tour of 11 basic interior design themes to consider when planning your Portland remodel.

Midcentury Modern

Sometime in the past decade or two, people stopped rolling their eyes at homes and furnishings dating to the 1950s and ’60s and started seeking out this now-recognized Midcentury Modern style. The architecture, furniture, and décor were characterized by simplicity and functionality, with pulses of strong color.

The look was heavily influenced by Scandinavian designers and reflected people’s fascination with the new Space Age. Because this style has become so popular, you can find a number of vintage furniture stores in Portland that carry midcentury modern pieces, some of them quite pricey.


Photo by SEK Architects


Modern Farmhouse

Here’s another trendy look, made popular in part by HGTV’s now-discontinued “Fixer Upper” show. Modern Farmhouse combines some of the sleekness of contemporary design with the warmth of a farmhouse aesthetic. Natural wood is big, in paneling (think shiplap), exposed beams, or kitchen islands. The style also borrows from shabby chic, with vintage (or reproduction) décor that might have come from an old barn, mixed in with cleaner pieces. Colors are more neutral, and the look is less cluttered, than “old farmhouse” style.

Photo by Sheila Mayden Interiors

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This style doesn’t really mean what’s popular now—that’s usually described as contemporary. The modern style originated in the 1920s and ’30s and rejected earlier ornate styles. The look is clean, streamlined, strongly geometric with neutral colors, polished surfaces, metal, and glass.

With modern design, don’t be afraid to add some color. Home design trends are breaking out in bright red, brilliant blue, and green. Even aqua and turquoise are making a comeback in the kitchen for more of a retro feel. Take advantage of the color movement and lighten and brighten up any room of your house.



This design descriptor means what’s happening now. The style is more fluid than strictly modern, although it, too, has clean, sleek lines with an emphasis on basic shapes and muted neutral colors with bold pops of color.

Shabby Chic

This bright and airy design is vintage-inspired, with a feminine look that brings to mind the inside of a cottage. Shabby Chic furniture usually is white, sometimes painted with decorative motifs, and distressed—either honestly through the years or intentionally in the workshop. Colors are whites, creams, and pastels, and prints are floral.


Arts and Crafts

The Arts and Crafts movement was popular in the United States from the turn of the 20th Century into the mid-1920s. It often is described as a reaction to the excessive ornamentation of the Victorian era and the new ability to mass-produce furnishings.

The design, also described as Craftsman, does emphasize craftsmanship: woodwork is richly stained to emphasize the grain, and not painted; ceiling beams are emphasized; fireplaces are prominent, with crafted mantels and tile work; colors are drawn from nature; furniture is strong, straightforward, often upholstered in leather, with exposed pegs showing the piece’s construction.

Photo by Copper Sky Renovations


Asian design borrows an aesthetic from Japan, China, and other Asian countries, employing bamboo, rattan, and other natural fibers for a serene environment.

Asian artwork and lacquered pieces are used. Colors are neutral and taken from nature, and the overall feel is simple and uncluttered. Elements of this style are popular in Pacific Northwest homes and businesses.

Photo by NXG Studio



Drawing inspiration from the countries of northern Europe, this style emphasizes simplicity and functionality. Spaces are open and filled with natural light; furniture has clean lines, incorporating pressed wood, metal, and sometimes bright plastics. White and neutral colors are emphasized. Opening up a space and adding bright white to an area in every way (painted walls and molding, cabinetry, counters, and fixtures) also tends to create a feeling of classic elegance.

This design trend is unlikely to fade, and remains a stand-by when it comes to remodeling your home. You’ll see it everywhere and the style not only equates to classic, but to “classy,” as well.

Photo by Lori Henle Interiors



The sunny American Southwest inspires this style, with Native American-influenced bright fabric designs and décor, along with Spanish Mission and Old West cowboy themes. Colors are warm, and tile and exposed ceiling beams are common.


Photo by Trent Hultgren Design



This style is popular in retail and restaurants, and it also makes its way into homes. It employs exposed brick, old timbers, duct work, pipes, and metal beams for a raw, unfinished look.

Ceilings are high, as in a factory. For your home remodel, you can find reclaimed furniture and light fixtures as well as new pieces designed with an industrial look. Wall décor often is sparse, emphasizing large black-and-white photographs and abstract art.

Photo by Woodenbox LLC



This design style evokes a vacation by the beach, with airy fabrics at the windows, nautical and seashell accessories and artwork, and white-painted wood accented by blues and greens.


Photo by Progress Lighting

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Topics: Design-Build Portland, Home Remodeling, Remodeling Ideas, Design, Planning a Remodel