For me, asking me to pick what my favorite interior design style is like asking me to choose my favorite pet – I just can’t do it! I love so many different things about so many different home design and decor styles. I adore the clean-ness of Scandinavian and Minimalist styles, love the colors and whimsy of Boho, feel so cozy looking at Traditional and English Countryside styles, obsess over the rustic-ness and homeyness of Farmhouse, and love the lines of Modern and Mid-Century furniture. How does one pick??
While it’s absolutely possible to combine multiple design styles to create your own eclectic mix, however if you don’t set any parameters at all then your house can end up looking like a messy and jarring hodgepodge of furniture and decor. And we don’t want that! It’s totally normal to have your tastes change over time and it takes a while to really hone your own personal interior design style. Heck, I’m still deciding what exact look I want to go for in our new house! If you are totally lost and don’t know how to even begin defining your home design style, check out my top 10 tips for discovering your unique style below:
1. Take Stock of Things You Already Own
The first step is taking a look around your home right now and identifying what you love and what you could do without. Set aside your favorite throw blanket, your favorite artwork, your favorite home decor knick-knacks and see what they have in common. Also be sure to take stock of the built-in elements of your house. Do you love the light colored floors but wish that the white cabinets were black? Think your subway tile is awesome bu just hate the brassy sink fixtures? Make a list of what works and doesn’t work for you.
2. Look for Trends in Your Pinterest Habits
We probably all spend wayyyy more time on Pinterest when we should. I know I spend inordinate amounts of time mindlessly pinning all the pretty pins that pop up into my feed. However, the mindless pinning can really help you identify your design style without thinking too hard. Take a look at your Pinterest boards and compare what you’ve been pinning. Do you seem to pin more pictures of white kitchens? Brightly colored spaces? Rooms that feature geometric or oriental rugs? Black and white decor items only? Perform some reconnaissance and list out the trends you notice. PS You can follow my Pinterest HERE to get beautiful design ideas! 😉
3. Go to a Home Decor Store & Browse
Do you have a favorite store you shop for furniture and home decor at? That fact alone could be very telling right there. Love Ikea? You’ve got a Scandi/modern streak. Everything come from flea markets or the Goodwill? You might be giving off some Mid-Century or Boho vibes. If you don’t have a fave store to shop, pick a couple to go to and browse. Take pictures of furniture, art, and decor pieces that call to you. Do they all go together? Are they all of a similar design vein?
4. Peruse Paint Chips & Pick Hues that Call to You
What are your favorite colors? Do you have fave colors to wear but wouldn’t use in your living space? Colors you have to have everywhere no matter what? Head on over to your local home improvement store and peruse the paint chip aisle. Pick out colors that you are immediately drawn to without second-guessing yourself. See if those colors form a palette that works well together. Notice you’re only picking out pastels? Maybe you trend Coastal or Boho. Bold rich hues? You might be Hollywood Glam or Traditional. Neutral or monochromatic tones? Scandi, Modern, and Minimalist could be right up your alley.
5. Take Notes When You Watch HGTV
Are you as HGTV obsessed as I am?? I love binge-watching all my fave shows and dreaming about what I could do to my house! Make that binge time productive by keeping a notepad handy and taking notes about makeovers you loved, paint colors you drooled over, and furniture you wanted to take home. The TV shows you like may also say a lot about what your design style could be. Fixer Upper fans tend to love Farmhouse and Rustic styles, Flip or Flop watchers trend more modern, and Property Brothers viewers can be more trendy or timeless.
6. Incorporate Themes that Make You Happy
Are you a marine biologist and love sea creatures? Perhaps Coastal design will show off your style best. Did you used to go to the flea market every Saturday with your Grandma as a child? Show off your love for vintage finds by making them a prominent design feature. If you grew up in Arizona and miss it, consider adding southwestern flair to your home. If you have a passion for homesteading and living a sustainable lifestyle – think about designing your home Farmhouse style. Think about ideas, memories, and passions that you love best and see how you can incorporate them into a design style.
7. Ask Your Friends
Sometimes all it takes is asking a friend or two what they think your design style is! We can often miss the obvious about ourselves since we don’t see it from the outside. Give your friends a tour of your house and at the end ask them what they think your design style is. Sometimes they might give you a straightforward answer, which could mean you are already on the right track to finding your design style, and other times they might be a little unsure – which just means you need to work on honing your style just a little bit more! Ask your friends to be brutally honest!
8. Read Books by Your Fave Designers
There are a lot of great books out there (that are often beautiful full color coffee table books) by prominent interior designers that can help you decide your design style. Check out the following books for inspirational ideas and drool-worthy photography:
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The Nesting Place by Myquillen Smith
The Inspired Room by Melissa Michaels
Decorate: 1,000 Design Ideas for Every Room in Your Home by Holly Becker & Joanna Copestick
Flea Market Style by Emily Chalmers
The New Bohemians: Cool and Collected Homes by Justina Blakeney
Elements of Style: Designing a Home & a Life by Erin Gates
Domino: The Book of Decorating by Deborah Needleman & John Middleton Murry Jr.
Sage Living: Decorate for the Life You Want by Anne Sage
The Things that Matter by Nate Berkus
Design*Sponge at Home by Grace Bonney
9. Take Online Design Style Quizzes
There is actually a multitude of online quizzes you can take that will help direct you to your ideal interior design style. They aren’t all 100% accurate, because design is a very personal thing that varies from human to human, but it’s a ton of fun to answer the questions and see which style it spits out. You can find quizzes from HGTV, Apartment Therapy, Better Homes & Gardens, HomeGoods, My Domaine, and Emily Henderson.
10. Meet with an Interior Designer
If all else fails and you are still scratching your head when it comes to finding your design style, consider setting up a consultation with a professional interior designer. They will be able to help you narrow down what you like and don’t like, help you design your ideal space, and can even help you source and pick out furniture, decor, and more. Use Google and Yelp to help you find local design firms, or utilize the services of a virtual designer service like Decorist, Laurel & Wolf, or Havenly.
I hope that these tips and ideas have set you on the right path to discovering your own unique and personal interior design style! Remember, it’s okay to love (and combine) more than one, put your own spin on things, and get the look for any budget. I’m here for any additional questions and the internet has a vast wealth of information on the subject. Just follow your heart and happy designing! 🙂
What’s your personal design style??
These are such good tips, Erica!! I often have thought it has to be all or nothing but glad for the reassurance that mixing styles is okay! I actually took a couple of surveys!! (I love farmhouse style but I find myself leaning more towards a modern farmhouse sometimes!)
I’m so glad this was helpful, Kendra! Mixing styles is definitely okay – as long as you love it, that’s all that matters! I love modern farmhouse too 🙂 I need to take some of those quizzes and see what it gives me!
Great tips, Erica!
Thanks so much, Amy!