July 30, 2019

Determining Your Home Design Style (And Why You Shouldn’t Sweat It)

Figuring out your style preferences may feel daunting at first. Are you modern? What’s the difference between modern and contemporary? What if you like some rustic elements? I encourage you not to get hung up on questions like these. In fact, although there is always a kernel of truth to how people identify their style, I find it can be limiting to try to put a label on what you like because there are so many style subsets. Instead, I’ve developed a method for honing in on the details you love, so I can create a personalized design that reflects what truly makes you happy.


In preparation for our kickoff meeting, I request that our clients gather images that resonate with them. Save these pictures however is easiest for you, whether it’s a binder of magazine clippings or a Pinterest board. Don’t get too stuck on searching for the perfect photo. It can be limiting to try to find an entire room you love; it’s much more beneficial to have a variety of pictures with bits and pieces you like. You might be drawn to the pattern of a rug, the shape of a side table, or the texture of a pillow. You might even find inspiration for a kitchen in the color scheme of a bedroom. Save it all! If you get stuck, I encourage you to check out our Pinterest page (rrinteriors), where you’ll find a wide range of our work, as well as images we find inspiring. In particular, looking at our hospitality work can be an easy way to browse a variety of different styles and discover the rooms that appeal most to you.


I also ask that my clients think about their lifestyle before we meet. How do you want the space to be used? Do you want a comfy room for family movie nights? Do you love to entertain and want to ensure there’s seating for everyone? Do you need a table and chairs for hosting game night with your neighbors? These are all things that will impact the style, design, and floor plan. It’s also important to know if there’s anything meaningful you want to incorporate in the design, such as a piece of artwork you love or a family heirloom.


If you have a partner, have a conversation about how much or little they want to be involved. Even if they aren’t going to be super hands-on, I find most people still want to have some input. They’ll likely have some aesthetic preferences (I favor clean lines.) or functional requests (I’d like to be able to watch TV). Sometimes, both people in a couple have strong opinions, and it’s helpful to have a designer navigate through that. For one of our first big projects, the man loved big, bold, strong color, and she liked white and cream. Initially, it was a struggle, but we figured out the right balance. Because it was a whole house renovation, we kept the majority of the materials and finishes neutral, and used stronger pops of color for the accent pieces. She felt comfortable, he felt included, and over time, they could decide to bump up the color or pull it back.


At the kickoff meeting, we’ll talk through the images you’ve collected and your preferences, and I’ll begin to see the patterns. Many people say they’re “all over the board,” but I find they aren’t as vague as they think they are. By asking targeted questions about the pictures you’ve collected, I’m able to figure out what really speaks to you. I then use that knowledge to create a design that reflects you. There’s no reason you can’t combine elements from several different styles. One of the benefits of hiring a designer is seeing how the components you love can be blended to make a layered, interesting interior. In conclusion, don’t stress about pinpointing your style. We’ll figure it out together, and chances are it won’t have a simple name.

Meanwhile, here are some questions you can ask yourself:

 • What do you like in the pictures you’ve saved?

• What don’t you like?

• Do you tend to be drawn to straighter lines or curved forms?

• Do you prefer pattern or no pattern?

• What appeals to you more, geometric patterns or organic patterns?

• Do you lean toward smooth, glossy, and metallic textures or rough, highly textured, weathered ones?

• What are your favorite colors?

• Are there any colors you don’t care for?

Keep these tips and questions in mind whenever you find yourself inspired by a space, and before you know it, you'll have a better understanding of your style preferences. 

Until next time,

For more ideas and inspiration, take a peek at my portfolio.

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