Taking the time to investigate and discover your home decorating style sounds like one of those to-do-later projects. But we know that time moves faster than you might think, and the time to get in touch with your inner home decor muse may be right now.
If you’re like us, you and your family have changed over the years. And, of course, trends in home decor continue to change as well.
Your decor may include bits and pieces you’ve acquired over the years — that rocking chair that was originally bought to nurse your child, who’s now in middle school, for example —?and other pieces that fulfilled a need at the time. Or pieces you’ve inherited over the years, but do not particularly like. Or pieces that you once thought were interesting.
So how do you start again? How do you discover or rediscover the home decor style that fits you and your lifestyle today? First of all, we love to study home decorating magazines and books because we can heap praise upon the ideas we like and hiss and fume at the ones we don’t like. And the same goes for home decorators. Don’t be afraid to let your first reactions guide you — your own unique sense of style is emerging! Mark or tear out the pictures you like and keep them in a special file. After a while, take a good look at the pictures you like. Are there any common themes?
- Look at colour. Do you like pastels, muted natural tones or bright whites with coloured accents?
- Is your idea of the ideal piece of furniture a large, cushy and comfy place to relax, or a traditional high-backed chair with chocolatey dark wood and velvety seats?
- Look at upholstery and drapery fabrics. Do you favour florals, checks or solids?
- Check out lighting. Do you prefer intimate pools of light from lamps; overhead pot lighting; or lights recessed around the edges of the ceiling?
- Do you prefer your walls wallpapered, plainly painted or with lots of moulding details?
- Look at the wood in the pictures you’ve selected. Do you prefer dark and polished, light Scandinavian style, or worn-and-distressed looking wood?
- Also look at how the furniture is arranged. Do you prefer symmetrical groupings, those which are more loosely organized or those which are placed along a wall?
Once you determine some of the themes that attract you, a style will emerge. Jot down the elements of that style, and keep it to refer to and update as needed. You will find that certain characteristics are associated with a recognized style. For example, dark, highly-polished furniture and formal settings tend to look traditional.
White-and-black furniture and chromed accents tend to look contemporary. Leather and earthy colours tend to look relaxed and casual. Floral or striped upholstery and painted woodwork tends to be associated with a country look. Eclectic is another style in which themes are put together in a clever or edgy way.
If your look is a combination of styles, just remember that you must tie it all together in some way, usually with repeating colours or repetition of other elements. Whatever your look is called, and even if it doesn’t fall into any recognized style category, it will be your unique style. While you may want to refine or polish your look over time, knowing your own style is the cornerstone of decorating a home to fit the unique needs of you and your family.