Notice I said your interior design style.
Not a specific style label.
Contrary to popular belief, I believe that you don’t have to decide on a specific style to start decorating your home.
Knowing what you prefer about a style can be helpful, but I want you to find specific elements you love first, before trying to adhere to a style, like Mid mod, traditional, boho, contemporary etc.
I say this because more often than not I see people choose a style first and then they try to cram it in their houses and lives, leaving their homes feeling impersonal and detached.
The method I prefer to start with clients and have used in my own home, is to begin with joy.
PART 1: JOY
This may seem simple and even a bit childish, but I truly believe that this is the best place to start!
So here’s what I want you to do:
1) Head to Pinterest or grab your favorite home magazine or book.
2) Pin everything that inspires you and brings you joy! You don’t need to be rational or logical. Now is the time to dream!
3) Once you have a decent sized list, go through and see some common themes in the photos.
For example; Here’s a snapshot of my Inspiration Board. I keep this as a running board and put pins in there that are totally dreamy, not necessarily practical.
Looking at these pins, I can gather a few different commonalities;
-Neutral color palette
-Rich dark accents
-Black and Brass metal finishes
-Lots of texture in throws and rugs
-Lots of wood, plants, stone (natural decor)
Now I’ve got an idea of what types of things bring me joy. I don’t have to stress about making sure I stick to a specific style. I know the elements to my distinct style and can now infuse my home with these elements.
Next, I want you to take a little trip. Head to Home Goods, Target, West Elm, or wherever you like to shop for home decor. We’re not going to buy anything today. You’re just going to take your “Joy List” and peruse the aisles.
Pay attention to the items that you gravitate towards.
Are they inline with your joy list?
Are they completely different?
If you discover that you’re grabbing items that are complete opposites to everything you loved in your dream pins you might have to make a decision.
Am I going to fill my home with specific items that I love?
Am I going to create an overall space that I love?
I recommend the latter, but the choice is ultimately YOURS! That’s what makes this so fun! You get to define what your style is!
For example, here’s what I found on my shopping trip!
Originally, I was drawn to this teal beauty. It’s super fun and bright, and catches my attention immediately. But, because I have my joy list in hand, I can find a better option that would fit my style and give me the look I’m hoping for.
Looking at my Joy List, this navy textured lamp ticks off the “rich accent” box. This isn’t to say that you can’t buy items individually that you like, this is just to help you shop with intention and with your whole space in mind, not just one element.
Here’s another example;
These sweet little candle sticks are so cute, but as I saw from my Joy List, my style features a lot of black and brass metal so maybe something like the sticks shone below would be a better option.
You’ve spent some time just perusing and noting what specific items you’re drawn to, now I want you to take your list and find things that fall under it’s umbrella.
ELEMENT: Black and Brass metal accent
ELEMENT: Wood decor
ELEMENT: Neutral color pallette
Again, we’re not buying anything today we’re just getting used to shopping with your Joy List in mind.
PART 2: FEEL
This is a step most people forget about, but it’s probably the most important. Your home will continue to be disjointed and impersonal if you don’t know how you want it to feel!
Now that you’ve discovered on an elemental basis what you like, I want you to do two things:
1) Write down the feel your home has now. Is it Chaotic? Peaceful? Cozy? Stark? Crisp? Cheerful? Elegant?
I ask you to do this, because you have to acknowledge where you are now, in order to get where you want to go.
2) Go back to your inspiration board and notice what “feel” these rooms have. This might be difficult to put into words, but give it a go!
Let’s practice with mine:
To do this, I pretend I’m actually walking into each room and I write down any feelings I would have walking in.
You don’t have to have some grandiose emotional response, just a simple gut reaction is fine. For me, the strongest feeling is calm.
Now I know that I like, at least aesthetically, a serene space.
Write this feeling you’ve come up with on your Joy List.
PART 3: DEFINE
Quite simply, your Joy List is your style.
You’ve got a list of elements and feelings that inspire you and bring you joy!
If you’d like, you can use this list and find similarities to the elements and specific styles. This might help you narrow down a style like contemporary, traditional, farmhouse, etc. This step isn’t necessary, because your Joy List will serve as a guide!
It becomes the basis on which you make all your design decisions! This is the foundation and next week, we’ll dive deeper into how to “build the walls” so to speak, of your style and how to actually put this list into use!
I’d love to hear from you, what’s on your Joy List??