It’s been a rocky journey to find my personal interior style among the noise of home decor inspiration floating around the internet. The amount of time, money and energy wasted on items that don’t fit my current style makes me shudder.
Some of you may be able to relate to this, some of you may not. If you’ve nailed your style without having to go through the interior design equivalent of incorporating blue Limited Too eyeshadow into your daily makeup routine, consider yourself blessed af.
When my husband, Angelo, and I moved into our home, we had nothing. My Italian parents had a strict, rather old-fashioned rule: no living together until you’re married. So when it came time to finally buy a house together, we had not a single piece of furniture.
With an empty house, I took to Pinterest to get ideas so I could fill the void of having nothing. The only photos floating around Pinterest at the time were trendy, farmhouse-glam designs. I gravitated towards them because they were trendy, and I just didn’t know what my style was yet.
We had to build up the rooms slowly, which is a big no-no, as I now realize that one of the biggest design mistakes you can make is buying one-off items for your room. And having never owned a house before, I had no idea that I was doing it wrong.
All I have to say is…thank god for Facebook marketplace. I’ve been slowly getting rid of the impulse items that I *thought* were my style for the last few months and making extra cash to buy things that are more my style.
Anyway, after making plenty of mistakes, dragging myself through different styles, not having a plan and feeling frustrated with the lack of progress in our home, I took my learnings and slowly started to nail down what I now consider to be my style – modern traditional. But it wasn’t until I made those mistakes and played around with different styles that I realized what I actually loved.
These are a few iterations of how our living room has evolved since we purchased our home…
I know these photos may depict someone else’s style, but considering them my own style just wouldn’t be true.
Nearly a year later and after finally figuring out what I actually like, I started from scratch and this is how our living room looks today:
How did I know that this design is actually my style and not just another phase?
Because none of those other designs made my heart flutter like the way this one does. At least for the next few months. With my incessant impulsiveness, who even knows.
The other designs were just placeholders until I could achieve the look I longed for but didn’t actually know or recognize was my style.
I never would have thought this would be our living room if you showed me this photo a year ago, but I have a feeling I would have recognized my style a lot sooner if I had seen a photo that was similar. I just wasn’t exposed to photos of designs that I connected to.
Here are a few ways I found my style and how you can find yours too:
1 // Pinterest
Have you ever gone back and actually looked at your Pinterest and IG boards that contain photos you’ve saved for your home? And by look I mean – really pay attention to the photos you’ve saved.
Ask yourself: what common design elements are repeated? What colors, patterns, and furnishings are abundant throughout? Is there a common theme (i.e. white walls, antique art, wall paneling, vintage rugs, etc.)? Are you drawn to jewel tones or neutrals? Dark rooms or light rooms? What are the keywords that are used to describe the photos?
Paying close attention to these details on your Pinterest/IG boards can help narrow down your style.
A glimpse into my “Living Room Ideas” board
2 // Look to others for inspiration
Find other home influencers and designers that resemble what you believe to be your style.
Last year I stumbled upon a few home influencers that apparently would have saved me a lot of time, money and effort if I stumbled upon them sooner. But I was captivated by their photos and style. Something just clicked and I started consuming their content, becoming more infatuated with every second spent scrolling through their feeds, thinking “this is exactly how I would design a room in my home.”
I can’t put my finger on it, but it was definitely a different feeling than when I originally was browsing Pinterest and only seeing farmhouse-glam.
Erin Kestenbaum (I was particularly drawn to Erin’s lovely photography style)
There are a ton of home bloggers/interior designers to be influenced by, but the key is to find one who’s style captivates you and makes you feel like they are doing exactly what you would want to do in your own home. It makes you feel like some type of way, for sure.
3 // Mix things up
Fully embrace the idea that your style can (and probably will be) a mix of styles and is a reflection of who you are. In turn, you’re creating your own, unique style.
My style isn’t just simply modern traditional – it’s always evolving, taking risks and including maybe an item or two in each space that makes me uncomfortable. It’s my bold, fiesty personality. My personal history. It’s how a room makes me and others who are in that room feel – that’s my style. You may have to dig deeper for this one.
4 // Only buy what you truly love
Doing this takes time and patience, but how many times do you buy something that you aren’t head over heels in love with? You may think you need it in the moment, but when you bring it home, you realize you just wanted to buy something or needed to fill a void.
Compare your feelings for a prospective item to past head-over-heels-in-love experiences with decor and furniture that you love. If you don’t love it – don’t buy it. I think the best rooms are created by bringing together things that you absolutely love and not just focusing on one particular style.
5 // Rule out the styles you don’t like
Doing this may help you nail down your style by process of elimination. Yes, I’m encouraging you to focus on the details of rooms you don’t like because it will help you to think about why you don’t like something.
If you’ve been struggling to find your design style, I hope this post was helpful!