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Struggling to know what your style is?

I often have clients reach out for help for their renovation because they simply can't identify what they're style is. That has a knock on affect in that they don't feel confident in choosing the fixtures and finishes, and as they're afraid to make costly mistakes, they put off the much-needed reno. And round and round in circles they go!

The good news is that even though everyone has their own unique style, it's quite simple to drill down and work out what that is! And it only involves five simple steps!

Occasionally, I get a client that says they want a Hamptons look to their house, but more often they like bits and pieces from lots of different styles. And that's super cool, because it means the outcome will be so really interesting and more unique to YOU! And that is the aim of the game!

The other upshot to this process is that you may end up going in a completely different direction than what you initially thought. For example, I once had a client that did say she loved Hamptons but when we drilled down into it, it was more of a glamorous coastal style she was drawn to (I was calling it Glamorama LOL!).

So, Step 1: Research

The way I help clients identify their interior design style is to get them to create a Pinterest Board or a Houzz Ideas collection of images that they click with. For eg, in Pinterst, just choose something you're sure you want and start a simple search such as "navy velvet sofa" and start scrolling. Every image that you have a positive gut reaction to, save it! Don't overthink it too much - just go instinctively. Once you've collected 20 or more pix, then we can start to analyse these images.

Step 2: Analyse

Look for a pattern of things that catch your eye. Is it a style that you're drawn to, colours or particular items such as amazing light fittings or art pieces. Once you 'see' that pattern you can start to prioritize what will be the feature piece(s) in each room and work from there.

For example, if you keep saving blue stripes in your images, then perhaps you could consider adding blue stripped wallpaper into a space. Then you look at what furniture items you need and what colours will completement the blue stripes. Then, you look at lighting and then the decorative elements. This is a simplified version of the process, but in essence it is exactly what I do every project. It's like a spiral that starts wide and comes in to very specific elements that we pinpoint for each space in the house.

Step 3: Source

Once we've identified and clarified these elements of your style, then we can start searching for specific products. For example, if you wanted blue striped wallpaper, you could start searching for that. If you can't find what you're after there are three options: find an alternative, tweak the design or custom make the item. To illustrate, say we couldn't find any blue and white striped wallpaper BUT we could find blue striped fabric, then we could consider having curtains made in the stripe or maybe even a sofa. Or maybe we can find a striped wallpaper in another colour and we have a blue sofa instead. Or maybe we find a company that will make a blue stripped wallpaper for us! There are many ways to skin this cat!

Step 4: Mood board

At this point I would start a mood board for each room (and sometimes you might need more than one for a room). On this, you should display the items you've identified eg blue velvet sofa, green striped wallpaper, rug, coffee table, armchairs, artworks etc) so that you can start to visualise how and why everything will work in that space. It can be quite simple like the one above. You can also add words if that helps you create the feeling you want to achieve.

Another point I would make is: don't get too hung up on common names of styles or what that style should include in the context of your project. I once did a project where we decided their style was "a pastel Jonathon Adler meets Godzilla"! Or the Glamorama style we invented which was just a more sophisticated and polished coastal style. Take the elements of the style or styles you like and work out how to incorporate them into your home.

Another important note is that it is so ok to love more than one style. I have a project on at the moment where the client loved elements from dozens of different styles. So the way we will solve this is through palette! We will unite the styles through a very small number of colours so that it will work visually. We will also 'soften' elements when we bring them in, so that the overall look is more tailored to the client and their home.

Step 5: Review & edit

The final step is to review and edit. Once you see the moodboard, it may become obvious what needs to be added or removed or tweaked. Do this until you're happy with it and can start the ordering process!

Remember, there are no right or wrong styles. The main thing is to work out what your own unique amazing style is and go from there!


If you are still stuck, we are here to serve! Have a squizz at our decorating service here!

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