This post is updated from 2013 with a lot more details and tips on how to figure out what your decorating style is.
I didn’t want to give you a cutesy quiz (even though those are fun!), because I want this to be REAL for you. Not knowing what your style is when decorating can really be a big frustration, and can lead to a lot of wasted money and guilt…all while sitting in a room you still don’t feel good in.
So sorry, no quiz, because I really want to help you–once and for all–figure out your style when decorating your home, not just play a fun little game.
Here are 4 tips for how to figure out what your decorating style is when you don’t know where to start:
1. Look for clues in your wardrobe
When I originally wrote this post, this was my one and only tip. I was designing a room for someone (a blank canvas–the best kind!), but she didn’t have a clear vision of her own style when it came to decor.
The rest of her house was all over the place–things were purchased because she liked them at the time, but nothing really went together or made sense.
To start pinning down her taste, we looked to her clothing. She has a very definite style when it comes to clothes, so we examined the elements of her wardrobe that helped us define her style.
For her, she had a very classic, classy style. Her clothes were structured and tailored. She loved black and white, and then pops of clear, bright colors like teal and red.
Have you ever looked in your closet for decor inspiration? It can be pretty enlightening!
2. Start a Pinterest board
But be careful!
Most Pinterest accounts I see are as all-over-the-place as you can get, with ultra modern and luxurious homes saved as “Dream Home” next to pictures of burlap sack craft ideas. Those don’t go together.
Start yourself a new board, and fill it up with rooms you love. Really fill it.
Then leave it alone for a week or so.
Then come back to it and ruthlessly edit it. Picture yourself living in the rooms. Do you still really love it? If not, delete it. Delete everything that’s just “nice” and only keep what you’re crazy about.
You should start to see some pretty good threads of your current style taking shape.
Here’s an example of a board with a very clear style coming through:
3. Think about your favorite activities
If you have a totally free evening at home, what would you do with it? (🙅🏻 TV and internet are not options on the table here.) Read a book in a cozy corner? Build a blanket fort with kids?
Would you rather spend a vacation laying on the beach, exploring Manhattan, adventure traveling in South America, etc?
Be careful with this step too. You don’t want a “theme” house, you want a style.
If travel makes your heart sing, don’t put up artwork of the Eiffel Tower, take a couple days looking into Parisian interior design. You’ll start to see the big difference between kitsch and cutesy “themes”, and actual style.
4. Photograph your home as it is right now
I’ve written before about how this gives you a totally new perspective on your space.
Go through a couple rooms in your house and photograph them from several angles. (Waist-height actually gives you the best perspective for interior photos.) Open up the pictures on your computer, not just on your phone.
Pinpoint what you don’t like, AND what you do like.
Do you notice the painting over the sofa MAKES the living room, but the rug totally clashes with it? Do your curtains make your windows look small? (Hint: hang them higher and wider!)
Also, is your house way more cluttered than you thought it was now that you’re seeing it in pictures? 🙈 Doesn’t seeing it through photos put everything in a whole new light?!
The answer to most of these questions really gets to who you are and how you are happiest and most comfortable as a person.
Helpful? Yay! Pin it to come back.
Hover over the image –> and click the PIN button.