Do you know what your unique decorating style is?
Have you named it and you can pick out exactly what fits into it when you’re out shopping? Or even just when you’re describing it to a friend?
Have you ever looked at a photo of a room and decided that if you can just copy that room it would look perfect in your house?
I think at some point in our lives, we’ve all been guilty of copying someone else’s style.
We see a pretty room in a magazine or on Pinterest and think “that’s it!, that’s what I want”.
If you’ve ever done this did you got done with the room and couldn’t figure out why it didn’t feel right? Or it didn’t quite feel finished?
That’s because it just wasn’t or isn’t your style.
Because your style is unique to you. And your style is perfect for your space.
That’s why you need to discover what your decorating style is and I’m here to show you a few ways to do that.
Why Should You Define Your Decorating Style?
Believe it or not, defining your style will make decorating your home easier.
While I don’t believe that anyone should be locked into a particular style, I know for a fact that having a sense of your style will help make all those decisions easier.
Think of defining your style like those bumpers at the bowling alley. The lane is wide but the bumpers help keep the ball rolling in the right direction.
That’s what we’re working on here. A plan to help keep us headed in the right direction. Some guidelines, like the bumpers, not hard and fast rules. We’re looking for that nice smooth lane that gets us to the finish line.
“Make your home as comfortable and attractive as possible and then get on with living. There’s more to life than decorating.” —Albert Hadley
Whether you’re decorating your first apartment or just wanting to add the finishing touches to the home that you’ve lived in for years, defining your style can help direct you to the pieces that will make your home a reflection of you.
It will help you decide what items to bring into your home and which ones to leave out.
You have the unique ability to make your home warm, welcoming and a reflection of you and your family. You owe it to yourself to live in a space that you love and that makes you feel happy and comfortable.
A Few Ways to Define Your Decorating Style
Just like everything in life, there are lots of different methods that you can use to define your style. I’m going to share a few of them with you and you can use them all, or pick one and run with it.
It’s okay to not have “just one style”. Most of us aren’t going to fit into a very specific style of decor, we may borrow some bits from a few different styles.
That’s not only okay, that’s great. That is what is going to make your home more personal and more a reflection of you!
At the end of the day your home should be your comfortable place. The place that you feel most “at home”.
Mixing up styles will let your personality shine through and create a unique space that tells your story.
Make a List
One of the ways that you can start to define your style is to go into your favorite room and take some notes.
Don’t worry if the sales people at Pottery Barn are looking at you like you’re crazy, they just want to sell you that comfy sofa that you’re sitting on.
But seriously, if you’ve got a room in your home that you love, look around and write down the things about it that make it your favorite. It can be the feeling, the colors, the shapes. Try to get as specific as possible so that you’ve got some notes to refer back to.
- Do the furnishings have special meaning to you? Are they family heirlooms?
- Does the color make you smile when you walk into the space?
- Is your favorite chair in the corner, the one you want to curl up in?
You can use this method just as easily in a space that makes you uncomfortable. Take stock of the things that you don’t like and write them down.
It’s probably not everything in the room! It may be one or two things that are making you unhappy and if you remove/replace them it can change your whole outlook.
Take a Quiz
I have to admit that I just love taking these design quizzes. And if you’re looking for them, there are “define your decorating style” quizzes in almost all the shelter magazines and on a lot of websites about home and home decor.
Sometimes I take them just to see what the different style definitions are for each one and I find them endlessly entertaining.
So try taking a quiz. There’s this one from Amazon and this one from Houzz. These are both free and don’t require you to add an e-mail address to get your results. They’ll probably hit you with some ads for a new sofa or rug, so be sure to use that for future inspiration.
But remember that these quizzes are mostly for fun. Hopefully they will provide you with a little insight, but if you take one and say “nope, that’s not me at all” then just ignore the results and move on.
Or take it again and see if you get different answers.
Look for Inspiration
Inspiration is all around you.
If you love to take a walk in nature you may be drawn to natural elements like wood, shades of green and textures.
If you love checking out a hip new bar you may be drawn to chrome, sleek details and bold colors.
Here are a few ideas on where to find inspiration.
Go House Hunting
Okay, not really looking for a new house, but looking for ideas. Check out some designer show homes in your area or even just model homes that are decorated. If there’s a home tour in your town it can be a great source for inspiration.
Even furniture showrooms may have different styles represented.
Don’t discount catalogs and magazines too. Pottery Barn and Ballard Designs have great arrangements and inspiration if any of their styles fit yours.
Look at Your Wardrobe
Take a hint from your wardrobe. What colors do you wear the most often? What colors make you smile and feel happy?
Now this might now work if you have to wear black pants and a white shirt for your daily job but if you look in your closet and see that all your go to t-shirts are bright colors, or pastel colors, or shades of blue, you can use that as a clue.
Pinterest can be a great source of inspiration, but it can just as easily be overwhelming.
To start with I’d suggest making a board for inspiration and adding everything you like to it. It doesn’t have to be home decor, it’s just inspiration. You can add whatever inspires you – art, gardens, colors, etc.
Spend several hours or a few minutes over the course of a few days collecting inspiration and then you can go back and filter it.
Use Your Inspiration to Define Your Style
Once you’ve gathered all your inspiration it’s time to filter it so you can figure out your unique style.
Remember that you may have a combination of styles. It could be 3 styles that you love equally, or one style with a couple of others that you pull inspiration from.
There is no right or wrong here, your style is all yours!
Make a Spreadsheet
Once you’ve got a good collection of inspiration, look back through all your ideas and circle the parts of them that you’re drawn to.
Is it wood accents, metal accents, leather furniture or lots of throw pillows?
Do you like modern furniture styles or curvy pieces?
Is there a color or color combination that you’re drawn too?
Now write down all those descriptions onto a piece of paper (or a word doc) and you’ve defined your style!
I like jewel tones, curves, mirrors and lots of plants.
Name Your Decorating Style
Whatever descriptions you’ve used that’s your decorating style.
Your style doesn’t have to be traditional – it can be farmhouse fresh industrial or modern bright boho.
Your style is yours. You can define it however you’d like. Make it fun and easy to remember!
The last time I picked up a chandelier off the side of the road my husband decided that my home decor style is “hobo chic”. Taking cast off’s of someone else and re-making them into a style that works in our home!
I like to think of my style as a little more boho-coastal-ranch.
And if you think those styles don’t go together at all, well, I like them. I’m working on adding more colors into our space right now and that’s where the boho comes in.
Now that you’ve defined your style you’re ready to start decorating it.
Now Get Started Decorating!
What ideas have you used to help define your decorating style?
I have found that my style has become more and more defined as I’ve become more confident in my choices.
If I’m unsure about an item I will double check the return policy before I purchase it. I rarely return things, but it gives me the confidence to try something a little bolder than I might have picked if I know that I can return it.
Thrift stores are one of my favorite places to check for great deals. Spray paint has updated so many thrift store items in our house and given me a chance to be more creative when my budget doesn’t fit my idea.
You can see all the “before” photo’s of our house HERE.
Let me know if I’ve missed any great pointers in the comments below!