For as long as I can remember I’ve loved decorating. When I was a teenager my Saturday morning “chores” included dusting and vacuuming the living room. After the housework was done, I would reward myself by rearranging all the furniture. The furniture was commonplace for the 1960’s…a long sofa, a TV unit, a stereo unit and probably a couple club chairs. I came up with some strange arrangements but my mom didn’t mind, and for that, I will always be grateful. When I moved my bedroom downstairs I painted the ceiling tiles in an orange and white checkerboard pattern and the walls were orange and white striped. As I said, it was the 60’s! That kind of freedom helped give me the confidence to trust my own style, although with that colour scheme that should have been questionable!!!
Finding your own decorating style takes time. It’s not much different than finding your personal style… the way you dress, accessorize, wear your hair and makeup. You find something that fits your lifestyle and interests and put a creative spin on it, unique to you. Style is enduring…trends are just temporary…not personal. I found that my style grew the more I travelled and read books and magazines. Incorporating what I saw abroad into my own environment enhanced my lifestyle and quality of life. Bringing home memories and ideas from afar was as gratifying as bringing home a keepsake. I loved the fabrics and textures, and the patinaed stone and iron. Seeing how these elements stood the test of time, holding up to years of use (and abuse) also made for a practical choice. Natural fibres of linen, cotton, wool and silk add luxury and timelessness. I found that a relaxed formal interior felt right. I needed symmetry (almost to an obsession) both in my home and garden.
Once you find your style, editing your surroundings becomes clearer. You don’t have that nagging feeling that something is out of sync. You’re not always wondering around boutiques or markets looking for something, not sure what that is. You find the foundation pieces (much like the basic wardrobe) and then build on that. It becomes instinctive. You know immediately if something will work or not (of course, there are always impulsive purchases that you wish you hadn’t made!). Style encompasses every aspect of your life…the colours that you are attracted to, the shapes, the sounds and smells, the fragrance you wear, the foods you enjoy, the books you read etc. and how you like to spend your leisure time. You will never be completely satisfied with your surroundings by copying someone else’s interior, or what you see in the latest show home, or by matching all the furniture and accessory pieces like a furniture showroom. Your style is not a right or wrong answer. It is a reflection of who you are and should be evident to all those who enter your private spaces. This should be as unique to you as your fingerprints.
Like finding the perfect black jacket or a pair of blue jeans for your body type, honing your decorating style is trial and error. As your lifestyle changes you will probably adjust your decorating style slightly, however, the basics will be very similar. I encourage you to give yourself the freedom and confidence to express that unique person you are. Knowing your decorating style is the starting point. Layering that groundwork is where you can really shine, telling your own story!
There are many “Finding Your Decorating Style” quizzes online. I’m not convinced the results are that accurate but it’s fun and it just may be a good starting point.
What’s your style?