Do you ever walk into Restoration Hardware and say “Oh I just love everything in here!” but then walk one block up the street to Pottery Barn and say the same thing yet again?
It’s a vortex of stylistic indecision that most of the population falls into, so fear not, you are not alone, far from it actually-when most people are asked what their style is or what decorative theme their home evokes, they answer with something akin to “well, I like traditional things like wainscoting on walls, but I also like glass and steel cause it seems more contemporary, but then again sheep skin rugs and shaggy pillows can be neat too”.
So, how does one begin to define their style? I believe that regardless of whether you’re a self proclaimed traditionalist, modernist or label your style as “eclectic chic” but have a difficult time translating your style into tangible form, there is likely a common thread that runs through most things that you are drawn towards, and that thread is what should be capitalizing on when trying to define your style.
Step 1) Look through the things in your home, regardless of whether you think they “match or go together” or not…
-Is there a running theme? Do all the items in your home relate to a hobby like cooking, or a love for travel for example?
-Or is there a common bond between all furniture and objects? Is everything beige? Is everything white? Is everything angular or rounded?
Step 2) Once you have found your common thread whether it be white angular objects or travel related paraphernalia, ask yourself how you can zero in on that theme, and eliminate excess clutter that may not be as relevant (let’s face it, most of us probably have ALOT of clutter we could stand to eliminate from our lives)
Step 3) After you have zeroed in on your common thread and eliminated any excess you can bear to part with, look at what you are left with and ask yourself what makes these things interesting or why are you drawn to these particular objects
-Is it because they remind you of a fond memory, or are they all textural and cozy?
-Do they emulate something you are striving towards whether that be a vision for yourself in future or an atmosphere you are striving to create in your home? Do they all say “I want to be a corporate CEO some day and my home has alot of objects that speak to power and authority” or do they say “I like things that are welcoming and approachable, I like things that are sweet and make people smile”
Step 4) After you have narrowed in on the common thread in your home, eliminated excess, and zeroed in on why you are drawn to that common thread; ask yourself how this thread can be further translated into furnishings and design
-If your preference is for items that speak to power and authority, and you find yourself with a lot of sharp/angular pieces, search for what else ties into this thread: dark leather or concrete which often speaks to masculinity and strength, clear crisp colours which say the opposite of “I’m wishy washy and indecisive”, large furniture pieces which have a presence in a room etc.
-Conversely, if your collection of items says that you have a preference for things that are soft, tactile and approachable, look for pieces that: say those things in colour (soft palettes, muted hues, subtle transitions in colour from one item to another) say those things in texture (come wrap yourself up in this snuggly blanket or lay your head on this velvet pillow) say those things in form (couches with soft rounded edges, tables that round out a space for people to put coffee cups or books on (maybe this is an ottoman instead of a table and because it’s fabric it’s even more approachable))
Step 5) With all these points in mind, make a list of all things that create the common thread, cut your list in half by choosing only those things that speak to that thread 75% or more (not just kind of speak to the thread but really speak to the thread) and then collect images from a magazines, catalogues, Pinterest, the internet etc that relate to your consolidated list. Remember-all images must relate to 3/4 or more of the things on your list.
Of course, defining one’s style does not happen over night, and often people spend years perfecting and editing their homes based on what is truly “them” and what represents their thread, however with these 5 steps, you can begin to zero in on what speaks to you and what your common thread is, which will help you begin to define your style.
“Perfection is achieved, not when there is nothing more to add, but when there is nothing left to take away.”
-Antoine de Saint-Exupery