January 31, 2013
Last week I talked a little bit about finding and styling secondhand furniture, but I recognize that one of the main challenges this poses is not having a good idea of what your interior design style is. Like any design project, you want to first approach your subject with a vision, but nailing that down can be hard—even lots of designers have a hard time identifying exactly what they want!
So, I wanted to follow up on that first post with some tips and tricks to finding your own personal interior design style. It’s gonna be easy and fun. Ready?
Put a Label on It! One thing that really helps is identifying what kind of interior styles you’re drawn to (see collage above!). As I mentioned before, a Pinterest board is a great way to start. My own board on interiors reflects my love of mid-century modern and English cottage-feeling spaces, with a hit of bohemian influence. It might seem silly to classify your own style in this way, but I really encourage it. Get a bunch of interior images together that you love and come up with adjectives that describe them: Bright? Airy? Cozy? Modern? Be specific!
Use Those Labels! This kind of classification really helps when you’re looking for things outside of their context, i.e. when you’re at Goodwill hunting for a deal and not at West Elm. At stores like West Elm (which I adore), you know the taste level of everything is going to be high because it’s a modern and successful interior design business and because other bloggers/friends like it, right? But at Goodwill you’re in no man’s land. You’re looking at a fair amount of junk and only a little bit of treasure and sometimes it’s hard to distinguish the two. So, when you see a rustic old wooden table, put a label on it! It’s no longer just a crappy wooden table at Goodwill, now it’s a lovely piece that could be from a shabby chic cottage. An old vase suddenly looks very Missoni Home; the right bed frame could be something from an Anthropologie catalog. Use those labels you made and think about the brands you love that echo the same aesthetic—I promise, they’re digging for vintage treasure too (seriously—buyers love thrift stores and flea markets).
Keep it Eclectic: The main thing that keeps personal style interesting is that it’s personal. Your house isn’t a showroom and mixing styles is fun and encouraged. Don’t feel chained to sixties glam if you feel like you’re starting to have a thing for a folky vibe (I just reread that sentence and laughed out loud—I’m ridiculous; why am I writing about this? Okay pressing on)—mix it up! Keep it fresh and buy what you like.
Stay Inspired: One of my favorite ways to stay inspired is to flip through a good interior design book (Domino and Design*Sponge are my favorites plus they make great decor) for new, fresh ideas. The next time you’re at a beautiful restaurant, take a note of why you love it: the paint color? The lighting? Take notes from your favorite homes in movies (Meryl Streep’s house in It’s Complicated is a a constant source of
envy inspiration for me) and figure out what’s so great about it. Maybe a kitchen remodel isn’t in your budget right now, but the warm textiles, cool bedside tables or a new coat of paint could be the ticket with a little imagination and an eye for what you love.
I’d love to know: what’s your interior style? Where do you look for inspiration?