The Best Advice for Finding Your Interior Design Style (+ FREEBIE)
There are many interior design styles. Finding your style(s) can be frustrating when you don't know where to start. There's a saying in the fashion world that goes something like "Fashion is trendy, style is forever". I believe this saying applies to interior design as well. Following trends will make your home feel dated fast while style will make your home feel 100% authentic because it is a true reflection of YOU.
Now the big question is:
HOW DO YOU FIND YOUR INTERIOR DESIGN STYLE?
I've got you covered! I've put together 7 tips for honing your interior design style. They are fun and if you follow them you should have no problem finding your personal style.
Tip #1: Collect Inspiration & Label
This tip may seem cliche, but it's a very important step. I am a huge fan of Pinterest but this can be done the traditional way as well. Start by collecting interior images of what you love. The key here is to be honest with yourself. If you like an image but you know it wouldn't work for you keep it moving. Once you've collected enough images start to label them by interior design styles. This is very important! ex. Retro Glam, Romantic Modern, Bohemian, etc. Once you have labeled all the images, go back and organize them by their labels. As you move through this exercise, you will probably notice repeating elements. You may notice that you chose a lot of bohemian interiors or a lot of traditional interiors. This step helps you identify what your eye likes. Meg Biram has a great tutorial on her magazine reading process. For those who like to collect inspiration the traditional way, this can definitely help you stay organized as you work through the exercise. For Pinterest users, Pinterest allows you to add descriptions to everything you pin. You can also create secret boards to keep this process private. Remember to be honest through this process. Avoid trendy, seek style.
Tip #2: Look At Your Closet
Fashion and Interior Design are cousins. Meaning they have their own set of rules but they are definitely related. Your appearance probably means a lot to you and I'm guessing the appearance of you home means just as much. Your closet/wardrobe can tell you a lot about your interior design style. Clothing have color, texture, pattern, etc. Pick your favorite pieces and take note of their features. Write them down. ex. My closet is very neutral. I love gray, white, black, with a little animal print, pops of color usually coral and blues and greens and dashes of cultural patterns. You will find that this step will help you a lot. Now, look back at the interior images you collected in the first step and see if you find a pattern. Most likely you will!
Tip #3: Go On a Home Store Scavenger Hunt
Scavenger Hunt? Yes, scavenger hunt! Ok, it's not a traditional scavenger hunt because there's no list of items to find. What you find is all up to you! Here's how this works: you will need time and a camera. That's it! Visit as many home stores, like West Elm, CB2, Pottery Barn, Restoration Hardware, IKEA, Z Gallerie, as possible. Walk around the showroom and visit each vignette. Sit down, feel the textures and absorb the colors. Take note of when you feel most comfortable. Try to identify exactly what makes you feel comfortable and then take a picture of it. It can be an item, a piece of furniture or entire room set-up. Just take note. Do this at every store. Some stores might not have anything that catches your eye and that's ok. This is the process of elimination. You are trying to identify exactly what you love and why.
Tip #4: Find Your Happy
This exercise will be very fun! Everyone loves to fantasize a little bit, right? All you need to do is close your eyes and think about your dream home. Think about the home that will make you happy. Think about the home that feels authentic. Place yourself in the space. Now, start to ask yourself these two simple questions:
What does it look like?
What does it feel like?
Take note of everything. Open your eyes. Write it all down. Now, put this information with everything you collected from Tip 1-3. Everything should start to come together!
Tip #5: Evaluate Your Current Home
Take a walk around you current home. Take a look at your kitchen, bedrooms, living room, etc. Do you notice a repetition in color, pattern or material? Try to find the elements that are similar. You might be able to identify what you love through your existing items. When buying for your home, you might've unintentionally chosen items that compliment one another. The items might not be exactly the same, but they may have the same qualities. ex. you may have linen window treatments in your bedroom and a linen sofa in you living room. That's something to take note of. You should be in a really good place with identifying you interior design style at this step.
Tip #6: Find Your Muse
Are you obsessed with Kelly Wearstler or Jonathan Adler? Can you not get enough of Michael Boyd and Courtney Lake? Your muse doesn't have to be an interior designer, it can be a fashion designer, a person, a photographer or a graphic designer. Every artist/person has a signature style that they communicate through their "work". Find your muse and pick apart their work/look. Find exactly what you love about it/them. It may be that they are minimal. It may be the way they mix patterns. It may their color choices. For instance, I love Solange Knowles, Mara Hoffman, House of Harlow, Jessica Alba, Joie, and Madewell. What do my muses say about me? I think it says I love a comfortable, chic and global look thus making my style a combination of eclectic, modern and bohemian. Now, look at your muses. What do they say about you? Remember, you interior design style doesn't have to fall under one category. It can be a combination of a few styles that fully represent YOU.
Tip #7: Hire A Designer
A designer can help you find your interior design style. Your job would be to find the right designer. Someone who can help you with your vision while incorporating your personality and style. This tip can be expensive, but many designers offer affordable options such as e-design, a la carte services, and consultations that are used to steer you in the right direction. Ex. Upon a potential client showing interest in my services, I send a lifestyle questionnaire. Most designers practice this same technique. This allows the designer to get to know their clients. A designer and client relationship is very personal because you are letting them into your space and allowing them to get to know you. This process just like Tip #2 requires honesty.
If you follow these tips, you will be well on your way to finding your interior design style!