It feels like it’s been a hot minute since I did a good old pros vs. cons comparison, amirite? Because I’ve taken a solemn vow to dispel any misconceptions or design confusions you might have, today we are tackling the most common home styles in Miami. 

By home styles, I mean architectural styles. Every home was built in a specific decade, in a specific design style, and has a personality of its own! (Yes, even if that personality is currently as bland as boiled chicken.)

“But Darla, you design interiors… Why does the home’s architecture matter?” 

Great question! You see, your interior design has to be cohesive with the architecture of the home. No, it doesn’t have to mimic it, but the bones of your home should be in harmony with all the fancy shmancy stuff going on around it. 

Imagine a newly built home (crisp lines, minimal trim, white walls)... and it’s filled with Gran’s antiques from the Victorian age. It might be hard to visualize, but the lack of elements that bridge modern and traditional styles will make this home look totally out of place — an anachronism as jarring as hearing the townsfolk in the Middle Ages-based A Knight’s Tale, stomping the beat to Queen’s “We Will Rock You.” (A stroke of cinematic genius, if you ask me!)

Bottom line — for interiors that aren’t wildly comical or out-of-place, we have to find ways to balance the existing architecture of your home and your personal taste. 

So… let’s put the mystery to rest and take a look at the most common home styles around Miami, their characteristics, and some ideas for interior design that looks and feels totally you.


Home Style 1: Casa or Spanish Style

Most likely to be found in... Coral Gables.


spanish style home coral gables fl wrought iron wood beams white walls clay tile

Architectural Characteristics

The Casa or Spanish style home is exactly what you’d expect it to be: filled with warm and saucy Spanish influence. Known for a very warm color palette, these homes usually include clay tile roofing and flooring, asymmetrical façades, arched windows and doorways, hand-painted tiles, exposed beams, and some wrought iron elements, as well. 

As for the layout of the home, the living areas often have high ceilings, and the rooms are known to flow well from one to the other, which creates a sense of connection. These homes are spread throughout the Florida coast. One step into a truly Spanish style home will make you feel like you’ve traveled back to old Andalusia!

Interior Design Options

Besides the obvious charm, character, and history of Spanish style homes, many homeowners feel like it locks them into one specific feeling… which I believe is simply not true. Spanish homes accommodate many forms of furniture styles and textures.  

Yes, it can be challenging at times to work with historic Spanish homes given the original detailing, and they can be tricky to modify, but the depth these details add to the overall design is undeniably sophisticated. If you ask me, the beauty of this home style actually lends itself to a very Florida casual style. And you know we love that!

That said, it takes a great designer to take these built-in elements and, with a few tweaks, give them a more updated look or restore them to their original glory. 


spanish style home contemporary industrial interior design darla powell interiors

We infused Spanish influence — the warm color palette, arched doorways, and natural elements — into this space that our client requested be transformed into “contemporary industrial.” Now THIS is a unique space!


Home Style 2: Mid-Century Modern

Most likely to be found in... Fort Lauderdale.


mid century modern home wood framed windows white walls brick floors modern interior design darla powell
Mid-Century Modern-style home in Brickell

Architectural Characteristics

Mid-Century Modern-style homes are known for clean lines, a minimal design, the use of natural materials (like wood and stone), and often include framed, floor-to-ceiling windows that invite the outdoors in. Bonus: Mid-Century Modern homes are also typically single-story homes with great open floor plans and large rooms.

The cons? I have to admit that the storage situation in these homes is not always the best. Plus, the lack of bathrooms and characteristically small kitchens (these homes are from the mid-19th century, after all!) can be very challenging for larger families. The bedrooms and secondary areas tend to have smaller windows and low ceilings, which affects natural lighting… 

...all good reasons to bring in a designer who knows how to optimize the space!

Interior Design Options

Mid-Century Modern homes are the ultimate designer’s playground! It’s almost like a blank canvas: the clean lines and minimal details are perfect for creating interesting areas. No matter what interior design aesthetic floats your boat, we can make it work.

These homes are also ideal spots to get creative, expand the space (hello, spacious kitchen), and create an interior design that helps you soak up the beautiful Florida sunshine. Yes, please and thank you.


Home Style 3: Contemporary

Most likely to be found in… Miami.


contemporary home stone fireplace gray white wood interior design open crisp neutral

Contemporary-style home in Miami Shores


Architectural Details

Contemporary homes (often called “modern” but not Mid-Century Modern) are your most recent new builds. Unsurprisingly, they cater to the way we humans live in our homes right now with all the up-to-date features we love: open concept space, large kitchen, large windows, and luxury bathrooms. Many of them boast a crisp color palette that will accept a number of styles.

Interior Design Options

Although the bones of the house are exactly what most people look for in a home these days, the inside of a Contemporary home can feel very stark and bland. This makes it a great canvas for an interior designer, but most homeowners find these homes difficult because they have no idea where to start.

To make this type of home feel comfortable, lived in, and elegant, I suggest mixing old pieces (antiques or well-loved furnishings) with new ones. Be sure to layer in some color for depth, too, even if it’s a variety of neutrals. Best of all, infuse your personality into the space — those blank white walls are asking for it!


contemporary home design coral gables mix modern furniture warm woods darla powell interiors

This Contemporary-style home we designed in Coral Gables uses a variety of neutrals that bring warmth, dimension, and relaxation to what was once a blank canvas.

Home Style 4: Art-Deco

Most likely to be found in… South Beach.

art deco style home architecture south beach fl eclectic parquet floors geometric windows


Architectural Characteristics

For those of you wondering what Art Deco is, imagine living in The Great Gatsby mansion. (DiCaprio fans, anyone?) Art Deco style is all about bringing the roaring glamour of the ‘20s to live, with rich colors, bold geometry, and intricate details. It’s alive, full of zest, and undoubtedly exuberant. 

Okay, cons… although it sounds quite dreamy to live in The Great Gatsby mansion, this style is admittedly old, and therefore known for the compartmentalized rooms of yesteryear. This can be a challenge for those desiring a more open floor plan style. 

Interior Design Options

Much like Spanish-style homes, Art Deco buildings are iconic and full of original details and unique features. 

In South Beach, Art Deco-style homes have been paired with vibrant and over-the-top color combinations, which can be playful, but… not for everyone. 

If you’re not “everyone,” there’s good news. The colors you choose for your Art Deco-style home do not need to be garrulous to create a cohesive interior that respects the architecture. In fact, in the original Art Deco movement, loud color wasn’t a requirement. This means you, the homeowner, and your designer get to decide how to embrace the architecture and your personal style preferences. Sounds like fun to me! 

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So… what about your home? Do you know what architectural style it is? What decade does it hail from… and is it hailing loudly? Do you feel like your personality and lifestyle requirements are working with the home or butting heads?

You know this is our superpower! Give us a call and let’s turn your home into the shangri-la you dream it can be.



P.s. Furnishing a home? Don’t forget to download our guide to budgeting your home furnishings below. After all, creating a detailed budget is the first step in getting your project off the ground and establishing a timeline that works for you! So, what are you waiting for?! RUN, don’t walk!