Discovering & Elevating Your Own Personal Style
Updated: Feb 3
Knowledge is Power
I started reading design blogs a few years ago after we bought our home in Lake Arrowhead. It's an A-frame built in 1971 and it came furnished, giving us time to live in it for a while before putting our own design stamp on it. The learning process is extremely valuable in developing a strong sense of style. Good taste is not intrinsic; it is born out of putting in the time to build the knowledge base, understanding aesthetic value, and thinking about what is going on behind the scenes. Spending time on websites is a really great way to get a glimpse into homes from around the world and to learn what you like and don't like. You develop your own opinions after viewing so many homes and reading posts and you get a clearer sense of your style aesthetic. This process will help in trusting the opinions that you do have and give you confidence in your style choices.
Seek To Be Inspired
Surround yourself with images that appeal to you most and start collections on Pinterest. When you look at a picture of an interior you like, ask yourself, “Would I feel comfortable living in that space every day?” It an obvious question to ask, but sometimes we forgo the practical for the aesthetic. Over time, as you look back at your collections, you will see unifying themes and will have a better understanding of your likes and dislikes. It's also a good idea to make a list of favorite designers and stylists and study their style aesthetic.
Visiting decor stores, flea markets, and estate sales are other ways to boost inspiration. You don't always have to buy - it can be a learning experience. In fact, it's a great exercise in self-control not to buy in moving towards developing a strong style sense.
Take A Tour Of Your Home
Understand your space by walking through your home with an objective eye. Make a checklist as you go of things that you like and don’t like about your space right now, and figure out why. This inventory will help inform the decorating decisions and purchases you make in the future. Think about the things that you are passionate about – it could be a particular culture, a color, books, movies. Take time to brainstorm about how you can incorporate all of these things into your home in a way that is visually appealing.
Rearrange a room or edit by removing items you are not passionate about for ones you are. Yes, this is possible on a tight budget if you start with one item at a time, searching sites like Craiglist, OfferUp, Chairish, etc. You learn about art and styles from these sites by researching the item you are interested in, too, so it's a win-win.
Go BIG, or Go Home
Final parting words of advice for developing a strong sense of style: be bold and be daring! This is the absolute best way to take your style sense up several notches. You may fail, it may look crazy, but you will learn from it. Conversely, you may just knock it out of the park and that creates a greater confidence in yourself and judgement. In my experience, I have found that the people with the best style are ones that are not afraid to get out of their comfort zone and experiment. They are open to new design ideas and appreciate and enjoy looking at them, even if they don't embrace the style as their own.
So, good luck and have fun! Please let me know your thoughts on this post and how you found your style aesthetic or where you are in the discovery process.