When you’re faced with the task of designing your home, room or office, is your mind drawing a blank at where to begin? Are you not sure what design style speaks to you? Does it feel like your style is all over the place? Are you afraid that it might end up being a hot mess?
If you’ve answered ‘yes’ to all those questions, don’t worry, we’ve been there too.
We totally get it. It can be quite a daunting task at the beginning. There are so many ways and techniques to go about designing and styling a space that it’s challenging to pinpoint just one specific style to follow.
No matter if you’re designing your dream home, room, restaurant or office, it is important to know that designing your own space is a journey in itself.
Each step brings you closer to realizing that dream. But simultaneously, you discover a little more of yourself in the process and realize that your space will also evolve along the way.
Photo source: Unsplash | Ben Ashby
Before we share those tips to help you choose your design style, here are three core aspects that you should remember throughout the entire decision making process.
1. Reflects your personality at the deepest level
When embarking on this design journey, the first thing you’ll probably think of is for it to be a reflection of who you are and your ideals. And that’s absolutely right. This is all about creating your own space that reflects your personality and authentic self.
On this journey of style identification, you’ll also experience self-discovery. You’ll be surprised how much you’ll learn about yourself, your preferences and taste along the way. Don’t fight it. Embrace each feeling and thought no matter how strange or disconcerting some may be. Eventually, all these will help you bring to life a home or space that will make your heart sing.
Photo source: Unsplash | Howie Mapson
2. Do not need to limit yourself to just one
While discovering your style, you’ll come across a lot of choices and trends that speak to you. Entertain the thought of combining different motifs because you definitely should not limit yourself to just one style, trend or label.
Our lives and ideals are not linear. They comprise many layers that influence what we like and this translates to design and style preferences too. There would be an underlying denominator across everything that’s catching your eye; but above that, it could be a melting pot of different styles and that’s just natural. Don’t fret.
Photo source: Unsplash | Luisa Brimble
3. Be ready to live in it for the long haul
Building and designing your own home or space is not an easy feat. Therefore, think long-term and create it in a way that will make you love to live in it for a long time.
This goes back to the previous points. It’ll be easier to reach this level if your space speaks to you and is ‘you’ – there is a higher chance you wouldn’t want to move out or it’ll be harder to be separated from it. Treat this project like a baby; keep that long-term happy image in mind as a primary source of motivation. Step-by-step, as you get closer to it, your sense of achievement will build.
Similarly, if you do not limit yourself to just one style and allow it to evolve. There will always be subtle changes that still reflect who you are and follow your own growth.
Photo source: HomeLane
Now, with these in mind, we have some of the best tips for you that will make your home feel authentically you and make your heart happy whenever you enter it.
1. Look inside your closet
Whenever you go shopping, which brands do you immediately think of going to? There must be a certain style, color or material that you always seem to gravitate towards. Check out your favorite pieces in your closet and take cues from that.
You can trust those pegs because it’s what you chose out of the hundreds on display in stores. Notice the repeat in colors, fabric, patterns, materials and use those as your first clue towards identifying your design style.
Photo source: Dezeen
Colors can set the tone of your whole space or be used as sudden pops all around. While fabric and materials can translate to draperies, pillows or covers.
If your casual outfits are filled with cotton and linen, you can use the same materials for your furniture. One the other hand, if you’re looking to have one attention-grabbing element, peg your clothes for special occasions or those designer handbags you have.
Laid-back favorites like jeans and plain t-shirts emphasize comfort, ease and simplicity. This can be patterned after a neutral palette, with touches of dirty hues and natural textures to create that easy-like-Sunday-morning vibe.
2. Go look around for inspiration
Easiest source for inspiration – online platforms. Try Pinterest, scroll around and save design pins you like. No pressure in this step since it’s just basically scrolling through and saving whichever catches your eye. When you think you’ve saved enough pins, check them all out – you’ll eventually notice a pattern in your choices.
If you have over 50 pins saved, try narrowing it down to half that number to get a more succinct picture of your design style. You might even notice specific furniture types that you lean towards – like large, leather sectional or a cool antique cabinet as an accent piece.
But, don’t limit yourself to just stuff you see online. Go out, visit museums, art galleries or libraries and expand your perspective. Design inspiration can come from some of the most unexpected things and places. So keep an open mind and really see the things you chance upon when you’re outside. Be ready to take pictures and check back the spaces, architecture and things that catch your eye.
This time, when you get home, scroll through your own photos and notice colors and shapes that you found attractive. Some architectural buildings may be indicative of whether you’re into the old, traditional or rustic type, or the modern, bare and minimalistic approach.
Photo source: BBC Travel
3. Take your favorite spots as pegs
If you have cafes or restaurants that you frequent, one of the reasons is probably the interiors (not just the food). You like hanging out there. There must be something with its interiors that makes you feel relaxed and want to go back repeatedly. Get clues and inspiration from those places too.
When it comes to restaurants, cafes, bars, hotels and stores, the visual appeal of the space may not be the only reason why you’re a regular. Try observing beyond what you see and use other senses. You might be attracted to its fragrance, the feel of the chair, the background music, the overall relaxing vibe – and get cues from those.
Spaces influence our multi-sensory mind and different associations are built based on what’s familiar and new. You can also incorporate some of these aspects into your homes and office spaces.
Photo source: Bored Panda
4. Create a visual reminder
To stay on track on the process of finding the design style that’s right for you, keep a visual reminder handy. A physical mood board is the way to go, you can add and remove things anytime some new idea or feeling changes. Also, it’s easy to snap a photo to keep it with you when you’re out and about.
A mood board is a very versatile collage. In this case, it’s a collection of all the things you love and styles that speak to you. Literally anything could be pasted onto your mood board.
Photo source: Pexels | cottonbro
For the easy parts, you can use cut-out fabrics you like and paste them on. Next, narrow down to your favorite images – it could be pegs from magazines or your own photos – and stick them onto it. Feel free to include images you’ve collected for inspiration both offline and online.
This is a fluid, working tool. When hard at work, a mood board may look messy because of the combination of colors, textures, shapes, and other random elements that speak to you. But go beyond how it looks; seeing a mood board of your favorite things should evoke a happy or satisfactory feeling. This will help you gauge whether you’re inching closer to your design style or have strayed away in some areas.
Photo source: Archello
5. Allow your style to evolve
Don’t be so rigid on your design style that it has to stay that way forever. Give way to changes over time, no matter how subtle or big because it is okay to change your mind.
Remember when we said above that you don’t need to limit yourself to just one style, the same principle applies here. Cultivating our design preferences is not linear. There will be times when we’re bound to change our minds or decide to spruce our spaces up a bit with something different.
This allows our space to accompany us in our personal growth.
Photo source: Unsplash | Ralph (Ravi) Kayden
If one item, decor or style no longer resonates with you, go ahead and change it. Along the way, you’ll discover new styles, sources of inspiration and notice how your style shifts. Since your goal is long-term, give yourself permission and the chance to do some adjustments to your style or even start over in some spaces.
This way, the style choices remain authentically you.
Photo source: Decoist
6. Be confident with your favorite things
Last and a really important point, love the design style you chose. Be happy and confident in showing it off. Your home and space are a reflection of who you are; all the inspiration throughout the journey mirrors your favorite things. Therefore, show it off like you mean it.
It doesn’t matter if it doesn’t really follow a specific trend so long as every little detail speaks to you and makes your heart sing.
Don’t worry too if it doesn’t resonate as strongly with your friends and family members because that customized style is tailored to you alone. As long as you achieve this, then you’ve achieved what you set out to – you found your design style.
Photo source: FTD