When it comes to your home decorating style, do you feel like you have lots of ideas but you don’t know what to focus on? Do you feel like your style is all over the place? Or do you feel pulled around by every decorating trend that comes along? Believe me, there are times when I could say yes to all of these questions! But I’ve discovered that learning how to choose a design style makes decorating your home so much easier!
It’s definitely worth taking a little time to find your decorating style before you start making decisions regarding your spaces. No more wasting time and money on things that end up feeling “wrong” once you get them home! Learning how to choose a design style that matches your personality allows you to decorate your home with confidence, knowing exactly what will look beautiful and make you happy!
When I talk about finding your design style, I don’t mean you should limit yourself to one particular look, label or trend. I’m talking about discovering what you love so you aren’t overwhelmed by all the choices out there.
I’m one of those people who loves taking personality quizzes and learning about personality types. Not only does it give me a better understanding of myself but of others, too. That kind of insight can translate into every aspect of our lives–including the decorating style we’re drawn to.
I believe our homes should be a reflection of who we are at the deepest level. As with everything in life, getting in touch with your personal decorating style has to do with tuning in to your inner wisdom and trusting your intuition, rather than following the crowd.
Read on for my simple tips, and soon you’ll be creating spaces that feel authentic, look beautiful and–most importantly–make you happy!
HOW TO CHOOSE A DESIGN STYLE THAT FEELS RIGHT FOR YOU
1. LOOK IN YOUR CLOSET
The first thing I recommend in finding your design style is to look at what’s hanging in your closet! If you’re familiar with my home, then it’s probably no surprise that I wear a lot of blue and white!
For years, my favorite “uniform” has been white jeans and a blue or white shirt in the summer and blue jeans and a white or grey sweater in winter! I also love to wear anything with stripes. And I love a pop of black! If you look around my home, you’ll see all of those elements reflected in my decorating style.
So the first step in learning how to choose a design style is to take a peek inside your closet and notice what colors, fabrics and patterns you turn to again and again.
Comfort and ease are important to me, so I wear clothing made from cotton almost exclusively, and this preference is reflected in my home. My white slipcovered chairs are one of my favorite things in our home because they’re soft, comfy and easy-care, just like my clothing!
Here’s another view of this space, showing how I switched out the two chairs for a slipcovered sectional and added a coffee table and different artwork. No matter what, I like to keep a laid-back feeling in here with deep, comfy seating, lots of baskets and natural textures, coastal artwork, and pops of blue and white.
2. CREATE A STYLE VIGNETTE
A style vignette is an arrangement of objects in a home that reflects the personalty of the people who live there. It tells a story about who you are.
So the next thing I recommend is to walk around your home, go through your closets, and gather anything that captures the look and feeling you’re going for. Bring those things together in one area of your home. Then stage a space, corner, or vignette to help you define the decorating style that appeals to you.
As an example, I realized that this area in our dining room, below, makes me happy every time I see it! So whenever I find myself getting distracted by what others are doing, I refer to this space. It reminds me of the overall vibe, tone and color scheme I want to achieve in our home right now.
I know I’m happiest when I decorate in a way that expresses my own personal taste and style. You can see that I’m currently drawn to a light, bright, and decidedly beachy look! (Natural maple frame from Art to Frames; Beach Happy print from Samba to the Sea.)
3. GET INSPIRED
Next, gather outside inspiration to help you narrow down your design style. You might want to scroll through home decor hashtags on Instagram. Or create a board on Pinterest with rooms and places you love. See if you can spot a trend, common color scheme, or overall theme in your pins.
Sometimes, however, Pinterest can be a bit overwhelming because there are so many choices! Often, I’ll just flip through a magazine or coffee table book to remind me of what I love.
Since your design style can change with time, don’t force yourself to stick with a look that’s no longer you! If you find that your magazine clippings or Pinterest boards no longer appeal to you, get rid of them and start fresh!
Below, you can see how the style of our living room has changed over the past year, in comparison with last year’s look, above.
My favorite way to narrow down my style, though, is to look at home decor catalogs. Sometimes just knowing what catalogs you’re drawn to can help you define what you love.
Lately, I’m loving flipping through the Serena and Lily catalog or scrolling through their website. Their clean, laid-back coastal style seems to resonate with where I want to be–both in my home and in my life. In other words, I want to live by the beach!
If you’re into a more modern look, check out West Elm. Anthropologie is my go-to for eclectic/boho decor. Pottery Barn is perfect if your style is comfy and transitional. One Kings Lane is a great source of inspiration for more classic/traditional styles.
4. CREATE A VISUAL REMINDER OF WHAT YOU LOVE
The last thing I recommend is creating a mood board or design board of sorts to keep on your phone. Seeing the colors, patterns and items you love all together in one image can give you a surprising burst of clarity regarding your home decor style.
Carrying your mood board with you will also help you stay true to your design style when you’re out and about. That way, you won’t get confused and come home with a bunch of random stuff from Target!
Keeping a mood board or collage on your phone also helps if you want to refer to a certain color scheme, piece of furniture, rug, or artwork so you can match it when you’re shopping.
To make a mood board or collage, you can use photo editing programs like Photoshop, PicMonkey or Canva. A few months ago, my daughter showed me how to remove the background on photos using PowerPoint. Since then, I’ve been using it to create almost all my design boards.
Here’s an example of a collage I put together in PowerPoint. Whenever I feel conflicted about my style, all I have to do is refer to it to remember the look I’m going for. (You can click on any item in the collage for product info.)
If you’re not into making a collage or mood board, just take screenshots of spaces you love. Or take a photo or two of your inspiration vignette from Step 2. Then refer to it when you’re shopping for your home.
Remember, when it comes to expressing your own style in your home, there’s no right or wrong. So I hope you’ll start experimenting until you land on a look that feels right for you.
Through learning how to choose a design style that matches your personality and preferences, you discover a lot about yourself, which opens the door to more courage and creativity in every area of your life. (By the way, when you find a style that speaks to you, don’t let anyone else talk you out of it!)