Mixing Up A Great Decorating Style
I’m always growing in appreciation for design. As I learn to love and embrace new things, I hopefully evolve in my own style as well, because that is what happens as you learn and grow. There is no real label for my style any more, but I like that I can’t exactly pin point it or even describe it. It isn’t fully cottage. Or fully traditional. Or modern. Or French or English or American. And it isn’t blogger-style. Wait. Is there a blogger style?
There is freedom in not being able to pigeon-hole your style — to not feel confined by what is expected.
I most admire style when it is just a great mix of the unexpected. Layers of patterns, textures and styles, all happily residing together in a space that exudes personality over predictability. I don’t even mean it has to be colorful or crazy eclectic style, sometimes those wild mixes can be a bit over the top for me.
I’m not really a fan of trying really hard to “design” a room to look good or trendy, I would rather just bring together awesome and unique pieces and let them speak for themselves. There is just a comfortable mix that oozes personal style, even if you can’t quite put your finger on what exactly the style is or how it all came to be.
But honestly, I think that undefinable style can be a bit scary.
If you can’t put your finger on what it is, how can you create it or duplicate it? It’s like traveling without a map.
When certain patterns and colors are trendy, they can feel safe and familiar because we’ve seen them enough to be comfortable with them. We might use them, even though they may not really be our own style, perhaps because they are a safe choice.
Do you ever choose something knowing everyone else will probably like it (since clearly everyone does judging by its popularity in blogland or Pinterest), even if it doesn’t really reflect our own style?
Hmmm. Stuff to ponder.
Can we find enough confidence to choose what we love, even if we haven’t seen it already repinned thousands of times? Are we that brave to do what we might LOVE, in spite of how others might react?
This is especially a good question for bloggers like myself, who put their personal style on display every day.
A few weeks ago I was invited to West Elm to check out their Fall collection from South Africa. Seeing all those lovely handcrafted things (some of which are featured in my photos today) really cemented in my mind just how uniquely beautiful our style should be!
It is so easy to get stuck in a style rut when you don’t look at what is happening style-wise in the greater world around you. I’ve been fortunate enough to have traveled quite a bit (never to South Africa, though, darn!) and I’ve always come home with a new appreciation for art, color, style and craftsmanship from different cultures.
Why do some people seem to have so much personal style and others seem to blend in with the masses, never quite finding their own unique voice? It isn’t always easy to know what you love and how to be confidently unique in a sea of what is expected and popular. But if you enjoy creativity and personal expression, you probably want to have your own style, right?
So without further adieu, here are five go-to tips to mix up unexpectedly great style!
1. Go Global.
If you want a real personal style that is as unique as you are, I think every home should have at least one piece that comes from another country. Even more exciting and unique would be to mix things up from all over the world!
I really think you can grow in appreciation of a wider range of decorating options when you look at the art and decor from other countries! Venture outside of your local bloggers or stores once in a while for decorating inspiration and see what is happening on the other side of the country or the opposite side of the world! Your style will be all the better for it.
I love that West Elm has partnered with so many global artists to bring a unique flavor to their merchandise so we can shop the world from right where we are.
2. Go Classic & Modern.
If you prefer a more modern style, maybe you can add in a classic or even antique piece just to mix things up. Or if you have always had a very traditional style, you might consider adding in a few new touches to create your own modern interpretation of classic style. As you are trying to “reinvent” your old traditional look, don’t go so far as to abandon good quality pieces or cover them all up with paint! Try mixing painted and wood pieces for a more multi-dimensional style.
3. Go Fresh.
Let’s say you love a certain fabric pattern that is popular right now. Look for a pattern that might be similar but not the same. Yes, you might feel a little less confident in choosing something you haven’t seen before, but I am pretty sure you’ll be happier in the end because your style will endure past the trends! Once everyone has something, it tends to get tired and dated. Unless, it is classic of course. Classic pieces from certain time periods don’t look dated, they are just classic.
Even with a classic, you could liven it up in a new color or interpretation if you want something a little different! To get a fresh look, try something that is new to you, that you wouldn’t normally pick, and something you haven’t seen in everyone else’s house yet.
Try unique combinations of textures and layers for your own fresh interpretation of style.
4. Go Crazy.
Go crazy in a good way. Pick something a bit risky for your house, something that you happen to love. Use something in a new, unexpected way. Choose the fabric or color or material or accessory or furniture or that everyone might think is the wrong choice for whatever reason (too hard to maintain, or too bold, too light, or too dark, for instance) or is totally not in style right now (zig when everyone else is zagging!). And then embrace your choices every day because YOU LOVE IT regardless of what “they say.”
5. Go Bold.
Small and plain is safe. Normal and expected doesn’t command attention. Almost unnoticeable can’t be wrong because no one would know it was wrong anyway. But BIG AND BOLD? That is daring. A bold pattern on a chair? A giant light fixture over your table? A big bright sofa instead of a safe neutral? An extra large mirror over a cabinet instead of a bunch of smaller or barely noticed accessories?
While you want to be careful not to overpower your room, it is fun to go BOLD in a few places and tell the world you are confident in your style choices. It is your house, so live boldly and with confidence in what you love.