Thursday, August 6, 2015

What is Your Style?

What is your style? Do you know? Could you describe it?

Some sites have a "design quiz" that you can take to figure this out. But none of the questions ask you about actual furniture, color, or decor. Instead they ask, if you could be an animal what would it be, or what type of beverage do you like to drink? What country would you live in if you had the chance? In my opinion, your answers to those things really don't have anything to do with your home.

Each time I take one just for fun I end up a style like bohemian mid-century minimalist or something not even close to what I would say my style is. 

Some people say you should look in your closet for inspiration. I wear many colors, styles and patterns, but that doesn't mean I want them on my wall or my bed. I love to wear black but you will find very small amounts of black in my home-it's just not something I like to decorate with. unless it appears that way naturally, like on my piano.

When it comes to style, I have found most people have either no style (think bachelor pad) too many styles (think flea market) or only one style ("matchy matchy")

I love to help people figure out what their design style is because it helps them enjoy their home more and spend money wisely. Some people need some guidelines so they don't buy just anything that catches their eye. Some people need tools so that they can confidently buy things they want and know it will work with the rest of their home. Some people need more help than others. That is why designers exist.

When I work with clients the first thing I try to do is help them figure out what styles they naturally gravitate towards. Most people have a few they like, they just don't know what it is, or how to describe them. There are a lot of styles out there, like country, farmhouse, traditional, mid-century modern, and there are different character traits of each style. Most of us like more than one.  It is also possible to like some aspects of more modern styles but also like some aspects of more Rustic or Traditional Styles. You don't have to be "just modern" or "just rustic."

A good designer can blend together elements of different styles and make them work together in a cohesive way. Some styles mix better than others. A true "eclectic" design style, where several styles are mixed, is harder to put together than you would think. And there is a fine line between true eclectic and flea-market ish cluster.

Here are some things to think about when determining your style preferences:

Take an objective look at your decor and furniture. If find you have too many styles, try to narrow down the things you really like versus something that you got only because it was on sale, or because your mom gave it to you. Play the "which one doesn't belong" game. If something looks really out of place or doesn't really work, consider moving it to another room where it is a better fit.  Many times what is needed is not a complete overhaul or replacement, but some careful and good editing.

If you find yourself with a lot of older pieces you don't like anymore, consider changing out the hardware to something sleeker or more modern. Paint an older dark piece of furniture a gray or a white to fit into a more contemporary scheme.

If you don't have enough style, or are working with a blank slate, browse photos of rooms in various styles and save the ones you like to a Pinterest or Houzz page or a file on your desktop. See what draws your attention and if you see any common elements in each. For example, I like the sleek shiny white cabinets, or, I love the rough texture of the table, etc.

Finally, think about how you live. If you aren't very formal, you probably aren't going to like the real heavy ornate side of the traditional spectrum, or anything that will read fancy and flashy. On the other hand, if you like to dress up and don't have a big family or small children, you may prefer some more sleekness or some bling and sparkle.

Style is personal, but it also takes a bit of work and thought about who you are, what you like and how you live.  If you aren't happy with your home, and you want to change it, spend some time figuring out your style situation first, you'll be much happier with the end result!

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