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A discussion of "Styles"

“What's your design style?” “How would you describe your style?”

Strange as it may seem (me being an Interior Designer and all), but this question always makes me feel like a deer caught in the headlights. I'm supposed to have a quick answer for this like “farmhouse”, “mid-century modern”, or “just like the Property Brothers.” But I don't.

When working with clients, or even in my Q&A group on Facebook, I often tell people that I prefer to be shown images of your style, instead of being told a style name. Although each style has a few distinct elements, within each there are so many variations (as it should be). Before Joanna Gaines, maybe mid 90's, if you had 2 people tell you their style was “farmhouse”, but one lived in New England and the other lived in Iowa, you'd have very different details, specific to those regions. In New England, you might have more of a lodge feel with a rough cut stone fireplace, furniture that had a slight colonial feel, and maybe even a taxidermied deer head. In Iowa, you might have a lot of cornflower blue checked fabrics and chintzy floral, paired with braided rag rugs and stenciled wall borders. Neither person is wrong in calling their style “farmhouse” but they are both unique.

To eliminate some of this confusion, I recommend my clients take a few minutes (or 7 hours if they like) on Pinterest to find 3-5 images they love, and 1-2 they hate (even if they don't know why). When starting a project together, communicating visually is the best way because it eliminates a lot of the confusion of WORDS.

It should be no surprise to you, that designers are visual!

So, what is my personal style? How is my home decorated? This feels like a cop-out, but it's my own mix of maximalist, mid-century (but not modern), colorful, layered, and eclectic. If you read my last blog post about my desk, you'll see the bulletin board and gallery wall above and maybe have an understanding.

Some designers like to work in their special niche, but part of why I became a designer is because I find beauty in so many styles, and love to help people find their unique style so they can love their home. So for those of you who have considered hiring me to help you re-do your home, but were embarrassed by the lack of cohesive style, please don't be. I have always thought that design should be personal. If this means mixing your collection of vintage comic book art, with heavy, traditional wood furniture, and maybe even a Turkish rug, then try it! I would love to help you find a way to make it all flow in your space.

Also, if you want to learn how to identify your style, mark your calendars for April 2nd, for my next Style Board Workshop.

So if your style is vintage glam, traditional, coastal, granny chic, Scandinavian, or bachelor pad... Congrats! Be yourself, express yourself, and live happy.

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