So many clients come to us with the concern that the designs and products they like don’t fall into one specific style, and they are worried the things they like won’t jive together. They worry about being able to achieve a cohesive space that doesn’t feel disjointed by competing styles. The problem with trying to subscribe to a style that already exists is that you are trying to fit in a box that someone else created—and that’s no fun for anyone. We find that projects are most successful when we work with the client to define a style that truly reflects their personality and interests. Here’s how we do it…
Step One: Gather Inspiration
The first step to figuring out your design style is seeking inspiration. Many people will naturally gravitate toward looking at pictures of other spaces online or in magazines. While this is great for getting initial ideas, we also suggest considering looking in some less predictable places for inspiration. Write down your conclusions on the following as you consider each inspiration source.
- Look at photography of places you have traveled or dream of traveling. Gather images you are drawn to and look to see if there are any repeating themes or color palettes. Are they urban and sophisticated? Are they natural/outdoorsy or bold and futuristic?
- Listen to some of your favorites songs. Which ones make you FEEL how you want to feel when you come home to your space? Are these songs dark and moody? Cheerful and uplifting? Do they have a folky vibe or a more sophisticated sound?
- Look in your closet or wherever you get inspiration for what to wear. Are the silhouettes you gravitate toward more modern and minimal, or are they more ornate and delicate? What textures are you drawn to? Are there colors and patterns that you are repeatedly wearing? Are there certain colors you look great in? It’s never a bad idea to incorporate those colors as you design so that you look great in your space as well!
Step Two: Refine & Define
The best way to ensure success in designing your space is to have a plan. When it comes to defining your style, after you have gathered all of your inspiration, it’s time to analyze it and make sense of it.
- Look through the inspiration you have gathered and figure out if there are any recurring themes. For me, all the spaces I love have airy light and white walls. They have organic, natural textures and lots of relaxing blues and greens. Make a list of any recurring themes that you observe for yourself.
- Make a list of words that describe what you see. Be sure to define where you fall on the following scales:
- Casual >>> Formal
- Monochromatic >>> Colorful
- Textural >>> Sleek
- Light & Airy >>> Dark & Moody
- Solids >>> Patterns
- Rounded Lines >>> Geometric Lines
- Minimal >>> Rich With Layering
- Make a manifesto for your style. Define what it is and what it isn’t. Write it all out and really work hard to define what it is that you want to bring into your space and how it will make you feel. This will be your litmus test for what you will allow in your space.
Step Three: Stay the Course
It’s important to remember that what is NOT in the space is often more important than what is in the space. Editing is the key to making your space feel well-designed. As you select furniture, art and accessories for your space you’ll need to make sure everything meets the requirements you spelled out in your style manifesto.
- Don’t get sucked into impulse buying. Be sure to make a list of everything you need for your space. Note dimensions, colors, and any other ideas that you are hoping to find. Many people make mistakes when they go into stores and get distracted by the displays. They end up throwing a wrench in their cohesiveness by not sticking to the plan.
- Buy a few options whenever possible and then try them out in the space. Sometimes it’s tricky to visualize the way something will look until you get it home. Don’t be afraid to buy and return what doesn’t work!
- Get rid of clutter and anything that isn’t useful and/or beautiful. Every item in your space should have purpose (even if that purpose is just to make you smile!). Get rid of anything that doesn’t really need to be in the space so that the amazing pieces can really shine.
If all else fails, we know a few interior designers who’d love to help! 😉