Buying a house can be daunting and I am not just talking about the whole search and (sale) purchase process. I am talking about what happens next. You suddenly feel like a proper adult with a mortgage to pay, boiler service to arrange and all the decisions to make. When it comes to interiors, there are so many options available so it is no surprise people get confused. Renovating or decorating your home is not cheap so it is important to make all the ‘right‘ decisions. So how do you find your decorating style and what happens,
if when you change your mind or simply don’t know your home style?
We have been renting for so many years and were not really allowed to decorate or change much in our rented home(s). When we finally bought our house almost three years ago, I was so excited to finally make our house a home, I rushed into decorating as much as I could without really thinking about things we actually liked and instead played it quite safe. I have changed my mind so many times since and I am only now slowly starting to realise what I want our house to look like, what colours make me happy and things I genuinely want in our house!
There is no magic formula or 5 step online test that will tell you what your style is (or should be). We are influenced by everything around us every single day, from TV programmes, celebrities to interiors magazines and instagram posts. Everyone’s journey is different and we each find our own unique style in a different way. Don’t take my word it, here are some of my favourite interior bloggers sharing their experiences and advice with you on how they found their decorating style and how you can do it too.
FIND INSPIRATION AROUND YOU AND TAKE YOUR TIME
You won’t find your style in an online quiz or scrolling through Instagram. Many platforms like Pinterest and Instagram spoon-feed what they think may interest you. This narrows down the options but also hinders your creativity. Instead, find inspiration elsewhere: local architecture, travelling, art, etc. Looking away from the interiors world is the best way to uncover your own unique style.
Always remember: you decorate for yourself to enjoy, not for others to approve – Juan from Boreal Abode –
Once you have an idea of what you like, take your time to decorate your home. It’s not a race – so there is no rush. Slow decorating has grown in popularity recently for all the good reasons. It allows you to fully understand your space before making important decorating decisions. The result? Considered choices are made.
LET THE HOUSE SPEAK TO YOU
We moved into our first home five years ago, and I’m not ashamed to admit I knew NOTHING about interior design. I was just so excited to get in there I slapped boring off-white paint on the walls, bought the most unattractive three piece furniture set (think matching coffee, side and console tables!) and worst of all, chose the first sofa I came across in the first shop we visited.
In the next year or so I became obsessed with instagram/Pinterest, learnt so much about interior design and realised my style. I’ve since spent the rest of the time we’ve been here trying to un-do everything I rushed in those first few months.
My advice to anyone moving into a new place would be to give it six months before you make any major purchases, let the rooms breathe, and settle in properly before you redecorate – Sam from Dove Cottage Blog –
When choosing important pieces like sofas, go for the best quality you can afford and choose a more classic style in a neutral or plain colour. That way if your tastes change or you get bored you can redecorate around it.
FIND 3 WORDS THAT ENCAPSULATE YOUR STYLE
First, my style is always evolving and changing. In fact, when we moved into this house, I didn’t want to just do the same things I’d done in the previous house, I wanted to change a few things up and that’s not really because I wanted to change my whole style or anything. The fact is, I’ve realised that no matter what I end up doing, it always IS me, it’s always my style even if my tastes or preferences change. But there have always been a few core elements that I’ve taken with me over the years and I think that really does help when you’re trying to figure out your personal style. It’s taken me a long time, though, to really feel like I’ve nailed that core element.
Once you understand your words, then it becomes a lot easier to decide whether something is TRULY your style or you’ve just been swayed by someone else’s very good execution of their own style – Kimberly from Swoon Worthy Blog –
What really did help me, however is to nail the 3 words that I felt best encapsulated my style – Eclectic Boho and Glam. That combination is always really evident in pretty much every room I design and the way I help people find their own three words is through my little Pinterest exercise which I blogged about here.
CREATE A MOODBOARD
I would always advice new home owners to start with a mood board of ideas. It helps to gather images of homes you love, wallpaper samples, fabrics, tiles and paint colours. I did this for every room in my home – and they used a similar colour pallet to create a co-hesive scheme. For ideas, I look at the homes from friends that I love and steal ideas! I’m lucky as part of my job as an interior stylist, I get to style homes on a daily basis so I come across ideas for my home all the time. Every time I shoot a home, there is something I take away with me. The same goes for restraunts, hotels and bars – they always have good stories ideas for smaller homes like mine.
It takes time to make a house a home – Maxine from We Love Home Blog–
As a new home owner, don’t rush. Live in your home for about 6 months before you make any changes. Ideas I had for my home, changed dramatically once I lived in my house and discovered how I used it. For example, I put in underfloor heating in my kitchen as it was so cold but couldn’t fit a radiator in there – but I didn’t need underfloor heating in my bathroom which saved me money. I put carpet upstairs rather than hard flooring as I wanted my bedrooms to feel cosy and warm. And I slowly added lots of tiling to all areas of my home – all things I wouldn’t have done if I rushed the job.
Maxine is running an interior styling course from May-July, please visit her amazing blog for more details!!
UNDERSTAND AND EMBRACE YOUR STYLE & DON’T JUST COPY OTHERS
Knowing your interiors decorating style is the key in my eyes to creating rooms that you really love. Believe me I’ve been there. In my first property I tried lots of ideas, some worked and some didn’t and the main reason it was so hit or miss was that I was just copying what I saw in magazines or on Pinterest.
When I work with clients I present a range of exploratory tasks at the start of the design process, that really question what colours, patterns and textures you really love and why (the important bit). And we totally get away from interiors for a while and consider childhood memories, favourite parts of nature and just really get to know yourself on a whole other creative level. Then with some imagination and an open mind you can start to draw those ideas into your scheme in sometimes subtle (other times bold) ways. One of the most enlightening places to start is to look at your wardrobe which completely reflected my style as described above.
Once I started really understanding and embracing my own style the biggest difference is that I still love my rooms 6 years on! – Donna from Skirting Boards and Chandeliers –
So for me, finding your style takes time, some intuition and a little bit of strategy (so many great interiors blogger to turn to for advice) so that you can really implement it. But the reward isn’t only in the room that you’ll enjoy at the end, beginning your own colour story and discovering what really lights you up is also extremely thrilling!
VISUALISE THE SPACE
When you first buy your home, sit in the middle of your space — perhaps the living room — and visualise how you want to feel in there. Think smells, colours, accessibility, function and texture. I tend to suggest starting from the bottom and working up by finding a rug that embodies your stylistic preferences which may be influenced by your memories, your passion or your travels. By pulling out colours from your rug, you can start to incorporate other complementary patterns and finishes that will create a coherent and considered space.
You won’t find your decorating style in a day, it takes time and you will make bad decisions while you are trying to find it (we all have). Most importantly, remember you don’t need to narrow it down to just one particular style – your style can be a mixture of things! Social media doesn’t help and it can be quite overwhelming sometimes, but it doesn’t have to be. Style is as individual as you are so don’t try and copy others, instead be inspired by what you see. Make your home YOUR masterpiece, where you want to spend your time in, that is when your house will truly feel like a home.