A couple of months ago, I wrote an article for The Casa Collective newsletter on staying true to your personal design style when decorating your home. This subject has even come up in my Facebook group. The message is important and something I feel very strongly about. I thought it should be shared on the blog too, in case you missed it in the newsletter or haven’t joined my Facebook group yet. To take it one step further, I’ve included tips to help you determine your personal design style.
Staying True to Your Design Style
Here are a few scenarios for you to consider:
- Not too long ago, I had a conversation with someone about expressing themselves in their home’s decor. She mentioned that she had a particular accessory that she absolutely loved – a piece that perfectly suited her glamorous style. However, she was afraid to display it in her home, because some of her family didn’t like it. They thought it was too “fancy”.
- One of the readers responding to my survey said that they had an interior decorator come to their home and her recommendations were all about what was “fashionable”, not what suited their style.
- Another one of my readers said that the type of style they wanted for their home didn’t look anything like the homes on popular Instagram feeds or decorating shows. They believed that their style must be “wrong” and the only way they could have a beautiful home was to copy these other homes down to the last accessory.
Do any of these situations sound like something you’re experiencing? If so, you’re not alone. I hear these types of stories from people all the time. I’m here to tell you, it’s not about following trends, strictly adhering to design rules (remember: there are no rules, there are only guidelines), or pleasing everyone else on this planet.
It’s about being true to yourself and embracing your personal design style. It’s your home and you should feel free to express your style, whatever that may be. If you love lots of color, fill your home with the colors you love. If you prefer all-white, stay with a palette of white that fits your taste. Create a home that YOU love to live in and that inspires YOU.
The homes you see on Instagram? Those women decorated them that way because it’s what THEY love, not because they wanted everyone else to love it and share it on the internet. Now if you are being authentic, and that is truly your design style, by all means get inspired by it. But don’t get swept up in the latest trend and push aside what it is you really like, because you see it as something less. The fact that a certain style is “the latest thing” doesn’t mean it’s better. It’s just different. That is all.
Trends come and go. If you like what is trending and want to incorporate it in your home somehow, I recommend bringing those elements in as accessories. That way, when you’re over it, it’s easy and less expensive for you to change things out.
When I work with a client, the most important and first thing I do is get to know them and what it is they like. I’m not there to decorate their home in my style. I’m there to help them discover and express their style and make their home a reflection of who they are. Keep this in mind if you are working with a professional decorator or designer. Or you’re getting help from your best friend, sister, mother, etc. It’s all about you!
Discovering Your Design Style
To decorate your home in your own style, you have to first have an understanding of what it is you really like. The very best way to uncover your design style is to begin by collecting samples of things you love. Then take what you’ve collected and organize it on a vision board, in a notebook, in a file box, or with whatever system works best for you and the items you’ve collected. Here are some ideas to get you started:
- Pinterest is probably one of the most popular sources of inspiration. I’ve saved thousands of pins on The Casa Collective boards and add new pins every day. Take a look around.
- Look through magazines and cut out pictures of room designs, furniture, accessories, artwork, places, colors, objects, textures, paint effects or anything you find appealing to your senses.
- Look through interior design, art and travel books, too. If you can’t cut out the pictures, take a picture of them.
- Don’t limit yourself to just interior design pictures – that ad for fabric softener may have a color combination that takes your breath away. Get out those scissors and add it to the collection.
- When you are out and about, take pictures of things that capture your attention or that you find visually appealing. It could be a basket of wild flowers, a menu from your favorite restaurant, or the way the beach looks at sunset. Keep your eyes open to inspiration all around you.
Once you’ve assembled a fair amount, begin studying it all. You should start to notice that you are drawn to certain colors, textures, moods and styles. All these elements will come together to give you a better understanding of what your personal design style is and will also help you to develop it further.
While you are putting together your collection, have some fun trying the various design style quizzes that are offered online. Keep in mind that determining design style is not an exact science, so don’t be surprised if you come up with a different style at each site you visit. I tried a few of them. Even though the results were different, they each hit on some element of my design aesthetic and were fun to do. Here are the ones I tried:
As you begin collecting inspiration, you may find that you are drawn to a variety of different styles. This doesn’t mean you are indecisive. Most of us have tastes that are a mix of more than one style. That’s what makes decorating so much fun. Mixing elements from various styles creates some of the most interesting and creative design.
There is only one you. Let your home be an expression of the unique person that you are.
What have you discovered about your design style?
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