A Guide to Urban Interior Design Style

The urban interior design style is all about capturing the spirit of city dwelling: celebrating the raw beauty of exposed brick walls, industrial elements, and minimalist décor, while infusing warmth and character. Here, we will do a deep dive into what exactly constitutes “urban interior design,” critical elements to include, and easy ways you can add more cosmopolitan vibes to your own spaces.

What is Urban Interior Design?

Urban interior design is a vibrant and dynamic style that captures the essence of city living. Cities contain a blend of diverse peoples, unique neighborhoods and districts, and an eclectic mix of cultures.

The lines around what constitutes an urban-style interior are somewhat blurred when compared to more established design styles such as modern or traditional. However, urban style is generally understood to be a mix of modern, minimalist, contemporary, and industrial design elements.

Lots of sleek lines, muted tones, and the intentional blending of modern aesthetics with practicality dominate this design style.

Important Elements of Urban Interior Design

Distinct design styles have a palette of features, materials, colors, and textures that you would expect to see, and urban interior design is no different. In general, the elements of this design style mimic what you would may see in the heart of a city:


Incorporate industrial elements like exposed brick, visible beams and other structural elements, concrete floors, and metal accents adds a gritty, urban feel to interior spaces, reflecting the character of the cityscape.

Neutral Color Palettes

Neutral color palettes dominated by shades of gray, black, white, and earth tones are prevalent in urban interior design, providing a versatile backdrop for accent pieces and allowing architectural features to stand out.

Sleek and Modern Aesthetics

Clean lines, minimalist design, and contemporary finishes contribute to the sleek and modern aesthetic commonly associated with urban interiors, creating a sense of sophistication and style.

Eclecticism and Whimsy

Although this style leans clean and minimal, urban interior design is far from sterile. Urban areas are full of colorful murals and one-of-a-kind sculptures – both planned and spontaneous. The inclusion of visual art is a must.

Bringing Urban Greenspaces Indoors

Integrating greenery such as indoor plants, vertical gardens, and living walls not only softens the industrial elements but also brings nature into urban spaces, promoting a sense of tranquility and well-being.

Examples of Urban Interior Design

Allison Smith Design has completed several projects that fall into this design style, two most recently in Portland, Oregon’s Pearl District.

This gorgeous Pearl District loft features many aspects of urban style. The large, floor-to-ceiling windows along one wall have a distinctly industrial feel. The space is clean and uncluttered, with clean-lined furniture. The vibrant accent colors bring the space to life.

The below loft had more space constraints, so we creatively segmented various living areas from the long, single room. The partition is decidedly industrial in nature, and we used a blend of metal and wood to provide a lot of texture. Again, the bedding adds a creative and colorful flair.

Urban interior design is a fun style that celebrates the unique beauty and allure of city dwelling.  With it’s emphasis on architectural elements, neutral color palettes, minimalism, and clean lines, it is easy to see why this design style is increasing in popularity.