At first sign of spring, I want to deep clean and redecorate. Who am I kidding? I just look for an excuse anytime. I love helping people with their projects and was thrilled when my friend wanted decorating advice; so I told her the best place to start was to determine her own personal decorating preferences. I asked “What is your personal design style?” She answered, “I have no style; which is why I am asking you!” Funny, but not exactly true; everyone has an opinion about what they like or dislike. You may not know it yet but just as you have your own flair in the clothes you wear, you also have a decorating signature. Like that favorite pair of “go to” jeans, a room decorated in your personal style just feels like the right fit. Here are a few tips I gave to help determine her decorating style-
1. Start at home- If you were to empty every room in your house and bring back only the pieces you love, what would they be? Is there a common theme with these pieces?
2. Look in your closet- Another hint may lie in your choice of clothes. What colors do you repeatedly choose? Is your style buttoned up and traditional with tailored lines or do you prefer to mix it up? Also, look to your jewelry and accessories for colors or patterns that reoccur often.
3. Build a style board or notebook- gather stacks of catalogs, old magazines or books. As you flip through, tear out pictures of things attractive to you. These items can be a complete room, a piece of furniture, or a unique accessory. Fabric samples will also help define your style. Save these in your design notebook and soon you will begin to see a pattern emerge of colors, style and texture to which you are repeatedly drawn. You can also put your boards together like the one I did below on polyvore. This allows you to see how you like certain items together before you make a big purchase
4. Draw inspiration from friends, or favorite places to visit. Maybe you adore your best friend’s sleek and modern sofa, Grandma Minnie’s antique armoire or the lobby of The Grand America Hotel (a personal best for me). These are all clues to your style. Your favorite hotel is a great way to pin point style. I don’t know how many times I have heard a friend say, “I just want my bedroom to feel like a luxury hotel” or “I would love my bathroom to feel like a spa.” A restaurant can give ideas for a comfortable atmosphere as well.
5. Take a quiz- This fun visual quiz from Real Simple quickly helps lead you in a style direction, take it here. Or take this quiz from Sproost. 6. Browse the thousands of blogs or sites that offer design tips and photographs. Another great tool is Pinterest, an online pin board used to organize, share and save your favorite ideas. With thousands of people contributing, the options are endless.
6. Is there a theme you love? Maybe you want your home to feel like a beach vacation, a Victorian bed and breakfast or an alpine cabin retreat. These can also be used to help determine style and be incorporated into your space in a subtle and elegant way.
For us, when decorating most spaces in our home, we have the style of four people to consider. It can be a challenge but in the end, the house always turns out nicer from incorporating more ideas and opinions and we have fun choosing it together. Even when I am decorating my own bedroom I get Vicki or Valerie’s input on my choices. I find another set of eyes invaluable. The main goal is to have fun with it, once you determine your style, and begin to gather it around you, your home will be a place you will want to unwind and relax after a stressful day.