You have your own decorating style, you just don’t know it. Better yet, your family has a decorating style. I’m going to help you figure out.
I was knee-deep in decorating before I discovered our style. When I bought and made décor items, I naturally gravitated to some pieces and instinctively hated others. But sometimes I purchased stuff that just didn’t work even though I loved it. Has that ever happened to you? If you’re not sure what to buy or how to decorate a room, having a design style can make things a lot easier.
There are about a dozen defined design styles, but most people don’t fit snugly into one specific style. You certainly can lean on one category more than another, but you’ll love your home immeasurably more if you nail down your own signature style. Furthermore, your signature design style should reflect everyone in the house…not just you (unless you live alone, of course).Your signature design style should reflect your entire family
Some of the major players in design style: Traditional | Contemporary | Transitional | Eclectic | Coastal| Farmhouse | Industrial | Modern | Boho
Here is a roadmap to finding your individual and your family’s signature style. I’ve created a worksheet you can download for FREE to help you through these exercises.
Define your lifestyle
You will make much better decisions when you design with purpose. Practicality is key. Sometimes we try to force our lifestyle into aesthetic design and the results are uncomfortable rooms that look good but function poorly. We want magazine ready homes, but those homes are propped and styled to the max. They’re not completely livable spaces.
How you use a room will guide everything from layout to fabric selections. This doesn’t mean you have to put a hockey rink in your living room, but it may mean you have to pass on the mirrored coffee table and perhaps trade it for mirrored sconces.
EXERCISE 1 | FUNCTION
Determine how you or your family will, would or should use the space. Assess the main rooms in your home.
- How many people use it on a regular basis?
- Who uses this room the most?
- What will people do in the room for the majority of the time
Now describe what your home needs to do. My Example: Eat family meals, watch TV, read, take naps, wrestle, play games
Create an atmosphere
I hosted a gathering a few weeks ago and one of my girlfriends plopped herself in my husband’s leather recliner (which I LOATHE), grabbed a throw and said, “Kenyatta your house is so cozy, I just want to curl up and take a nap.”
BINGO! That’s was precisely my aim. A key parameter for defining your signature style is deciding how you want to feel in the space. When I’m perusing Pinterest, I drool over all white living rooms and bedrooms, I admire minimalist modern rooms and can even appreciate rooms with an industrial vibe. But when it boils down to it, I’ve always wanted my home to be a sanctuary–somewhere friends can come to restore themselves. As much as I adore full blown Z-Gallerie glam, it’s not right for the environment I want to create.
EXERCISE 2 | FEELING
Look at your list from Exercise 1 and think about how you want the people using the room to feel. How do you want your guests to feel? Here are some words to get you started.My Example: cozy, comfortable, relaxing and luxurious
Produce the Visual
Now you’re ready to zero in on your signature style. It’s OK to use a photo as starting point, but I’m going to show you how to make it distinctively YOU and not just another pretty room. Study your Pinterest boards and look for patterns. Are you pinning mostly white rooms, dark rooms, wood things, metal things? You should start seeing trends of your favorite design elements. Take a tour around your home and do the same. What do you love and what do you wish you could throw away yesterday?
EXERCISE 3 | FASHION
For those who started at the beginning, here is where your homework comes into play. Using Pinterest boards or magazines, pick your top three rooms and write down your favorite design elements of each one. Think past, “this rug and this lamp” to this pattern and this shape.
Now the hard part. Get your family to spend just five minutes doing the same with you. (Use the same three images you selected.) It may be a painful five minutes of “do I have to?” But the answer is yes. Make it easy for them and ask questions like: “What do you like about this room?” “What don’t you like?”
“Because it’s ugly” is not a good response. “Because it’s too busy,” is a good response. Make sure you have rewards for their hard work.
Things to consider
Define Your Signature Style
After going through the last few exercises, you are now equipped with three things: Function, Feeling, and Fashion. Write them down together.
Function: Eat family meals, watch TV, read, take naps, wrestle, play games Feeling: cozy, comfortable, relaxing and luxurious Fashion: Light Walls, Geometric Lines, Shiny Metallic Finishes, Dark Wood, Medium Wood, Dark Accent Walls, Soft Light, Simple Lines, Uncluttered, Reflective accent pieces, Mercury glass
These words created a framework for my basic design decisions. I mix the things we need with the things. My home can’t be a complete glam fest, so the mash of masculine with the touch of feminine represents the entire family. That recliner that I loathe makes my home function for my husband when he comes home from a hard day’s work. The heavy wood coffee table looks nice, but I chose it because my son is likely to use it as a footrest on family movie nights. The styled stack of gold books and trinkets on the tray? That’s for me.
Name Your Style
I took it just a bit further and defined my style with a name and description:
My Signature Design Style is Comfortable Glam: My family needs a home where we can enjoy meals together, wrestle, play and read. I want my home to feel cozy, comfortable, relaxing and luxurious. We all want to live in an inviting, welcoming environment friends can enjoy. We appreciate geometric lines and dark wood. My husband likes heavy, dark furniture and I like plush fabrics. I blend our needs with lots of canvas texture highlighted with all metallic finishes, mirrors, and plants.
Get started. Don’t forget to download the free worksheet to help you
When you’re done, I’d love to hear what your style is. Need some help? Leave a comment; I’d be happy to give you some advice.