If you’re struggling to find your interior style, the first thing to do is be assured that thousands of people are in exactly the same boat! It’s so easy to feel overwhelmed when you’re seeing different styles of home decor in magazines and on Pinterest every day. Last week you were sure Scandi style was the one, now you’re feeling the beach house look, you love a statement wall, but also love a crisp white minimalist space… They all look great, so how can you decide what’s best for you?
I think it’s all about curating a home that reflects your personality & creates the right atmosphere for you to recharge. Don’t get too caught up what’s trendy or what other people will think of your decisions; go through this processes openly & honestly, and by the end you’ll know what your interior style is.
1. Find inspiration & keep a style journal
Keeping a style journal is an essential first step in finding an interior style that reflects your personality. The longer you can do this for, the better. I would recommend a month at a minimum, but if you can do a few months, even better. Different methods work better for different people, so find one that’s fun & give it a go. I try to do all these things!
Create a secret Pinterest board (so there’s no judgement!) and pin all the interiors that you like to it. Don’t overthink it, just pin everything that appeals in some way. At this stage there will probably be lots of different styles on the board – that’s good! It’s all about inspiration. We’ll refine the look later.
Think outside of interiors; collect your inspiration from different sources (magazines, adverts, even packaging!). Look for graphics, art, typography, fashion, anything that you feel drawn to. Save the little snippets that appeal to you.
Make a list or collect images (perhaps a Pinterest board?) of places that you love. These could be shops, bars, restaurants, public building, hotels – anywhere that you’ve seen that you really like the feel of.
2. Analyse your current space
Which elements of your current space do you like, and why? Perhaps it’s a particular piece of furniture or art, your books, or something sentimental. What do you dislike? This process can help you to further hone in on what you like & what you don’t. I find it’s quite easy to think that you like something innately, but really you’re just attracted to it because it’s trendy. I used to think I liked lots of marble accents, but that only lasted a year or so – it was probably just because I was seeing it everywhere! In contrast, I’ve always been attracted to Chinese art and William Morris prints, and I can’t see that ever changing.
3. Analyse your style journal
If you’ve kept your journal for a fair amount of time, you should be able to see some common themes from the images you’ve collected. It may be particular colours, a design style, pieces of furniture, a pattern or lack thereof, or certain materials that you’re drawn to… I notice that I’m always attracted to the colours pink, yellow, and orange; graphic prints; plant life; natural materials like wood and rattan; and an eccentric, bohemian aesthetic.
Make a note of these common themes and start thinking about how you can incorporate them into your interior design. For example, I found out through keeping a style journal that I’m really attracted to typography and graphic design. I was collecting lots of pins, photos, and cuttings of different graphic poster fonts that were catching my eye. So when I was planning the gallery wall in my lounge, I spent time hunting down art that had graphic text in it.
4. Streamline your Pinterest board
What could you really live in?
So you have a great Pinterest board with lots of different interiors styles; now is the time to refine it. Go through and think about what you could really live in. As much as I like the look of crisp, white, minimal Scandi interiors, I know that I couldn’t really live in a house decorated like that. I love antiques and have lots of little trinkets & treasures that I like to see around the house, and bright colours really make me feel happy and energised. See what I mean? There will be lots of styles that you can appreciate, but in reality probably wouldn’t be right or practical for you. Delete all the pins that fall into this category.
What kind of atmosphere do you want to create?
The kind of atmosphere you want to create should also be considered here. As much as I can lust over super-suave, glam interiors, that sophisticated feel is not want I want to create in my home. I want a space that feels relaxed, informal, and not too try-hard. Therefore anything that’s too luxe, grand, or matchy-matchy co-ordinated would come off my board.
5. Create a vision board
So you should have a Pinterest board that is more refined now and a list of themes from your style journal. Time to pull it all together & get clear about your look! I find vision boards a great way to do this, as they’re very visual and succinct.
Think more specifically now about which styles seem to be prevailing from your research. You don’t have pigeon-hole yourself, but I find it helps to name your influences to use as a guide. Have you got a lot of farmhouse / barn style images? Maybe lots of Scandi / midcentury furniture? Or is your look more classical / traditional? I find that English eccentric style is most in line with my tastes, and by nature it is very broad an eclectic (you can check out the look & how to achieve it here!).
TIP: Although this is a good exercise to use as a guide, don’t be defined by one particular interior style! Interiors that follow any style too rigidly look bland and contrived – mix it up, make room for your sentimental possessions & let your personality breathe in your space.
You’ll need a large-ish board (preferably) or piece of card to use as a base. I always think vision boards look best when they have a mixture of textures. Try to have a mixture of interiors photos, clippings of particular pieces of furniture that fit your style, examples of your colour palate, swatches of materials you’ll use, patterns you’ll use, and any other samples like drawer knobs or fixtures that you have in mind. You can check out some examples of vision boards here. This is the time to really get specific and hone in on your look. Don’t start glueing things down straight away – play around with it. You may find yourself changing your mind about elements once you see all you ideas laid out next to each other – it’s a really good way to get a handle on the concept, and see what looks good together.
I hope this has helped you to get clear on your interior decor style. It can be a bit of a minefield to narrow down, but once you’ve found it the fun begins!
Let me know if this process helped you, or if you have any other ideas to add into the mix to help others.