Finding Your Design Style

By Greta Brinkley

Finding Your Design Style.

Everyone has at least an inkling of an idea of what their dream home would look like. For some, it’s a cozy cabin in the woods, while for others it may be a large, open floor plan home at the beach. Whatever your style, there’s a house that’s perfect for you. But how do you find the design that you can live with? That one style that perfectly suits your personality and lifestyle?

Trust Your Gut

Most people are afraid to trust their gut or listen to their instincts. However, this is a time when you need to do exactly that. You know yourself best, and only you know what will make you happy in the long run. A home is a sizeable investment, and you’re going to be in that space for a long time.

There are many quizzes on the internet to help you define your style. In all honesty, though, for the most part they’re just fun time-wasters. Choosing what exotic foreign city you might want to visit or what your favorite adult beverage is really don’t have much to do with your décor. They can help with planning a great vacation, though.

Collect Favorite Images and Colors

So how do you begin? The best way is to collect pictures of houses, rooms, and items you like. You can start right here on HomLuv or Pinterest is another great place to keep them all together, because you can organize your photos into different categories. If you clip pictures from magazines, make a scrapbook or a vision board. Or at least a scrap box to keep them in one place. Periodically, browse to see what you still adore vs. what you can let go. In a short amount of time, you will see some specific styles start to emerge. You’ll know if you love rich regal dark colors and sumptuous velvets, or if you’re totally into shiplap, galvanized letters, and distressed furniture.

Next, have a look in your closet and accessories for the colors you really have a strong attraction to. What is it that draws you to these colors? Generally, it’s because they make us happy, calm, or evoke some positive emotions. For me, I’m drawn to coral and lime green and a color that falls somewhere between sage green and lime I call Swedish Green. I don’t know what the color is really called, but I first encountered it at Ikea, so that’s what we call it. Coral and lime make me happy, and Swedish green makes me feel calm, and seems to bring the outdoors in. Think about the colors that you could live with if they were around you every day. Add these to your collections of pictures. Your pictures don’t just have to be of home items either. Jewelry, scarves, and even gardens are great places to find inspiration.

Consider Items You Already Own

Last, take an inventory of the items you currently own. Include furniture, accessories, dishes, collectibles, family heirlooms, etc. If there was a flood or fire, what would you absolutely save? These are generally the things that are the most important to you. Take picture of these items. This is your jumping off point of where your decorating starts.

Most people like more than one type of décor, and this is where your own personal style comes in to play. The key is blending the different elements into a cohesive design. You’ll need to take into account the architecture of your home – and if you rent, you don’t have much control of this. Also, consider what items you already own, especially things that you would never part with, like family heirlooms, to see how they will work in your design.

Ask a Pro

This could be a great time to visit with a professional for advice. Even if you don’t plan on using them to design and furnish your home, it’s a good idea to meet with one to help you plan your space and color palette. A few hours invested with a designer will provide a roadmap for future decorating. Try to find one whose aesthetic is like your own style for the best results. A good design professional can help you mesh Granny’s antique hutch into your sleek and modern contemporary design. Keep that in mind when you start your discussion with them.

Very rarely is anyone’s home just one style throughout. Almost all homes have a few styles mixed together. This is what makes them look like real people live there. The key is to bring these varying elements together, making them not only livable, but also pleasing to the eye. Wanna know a secret? Interior design, especially in your own home, is an ongoing process that evolves through time.

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Greta Brinkley is an interior design aficionado and former content writer for

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