Creating an authentic style, inspired by you and the things you love, does not have to be a daunting experience. It is a journey of self-discovery and self-expression that can be enjoyable, even for the creatively-challenged. Here are a few ideas to help you along the way to finding your style:
- Think about beautiful places that have profoundly influenced you. Have you traveled abroad? Spent memorable time in the solitude of a mountain cabin? Walked on a nature trail? Been entranced by charming English gardens in a quaint old neighborhood? Spent Sunday mornings in a architecturally stunning church? Incorporate the mood of these experiences into your home.
- Create dream box or notebook. Keep clippings of magazine photos you are drawn to, note cards with patterns you find charming, swatches of fabrics or ribbons, photos of beautiful things you come across in your daily life or travels. These things can prove valuable to you as you design your rooms. Details of what inspires you will begin to emerge. You might find you are consistently inspired by Asian culture, simplicity, a particular shade of pink, nature, or old world charm like carved wood and antique light fixtures.
- Don’t be afraid to mix styles. There are no rules. Your goal is simply to create a pleasing environment with your own authentic style. You can be inspired by classic styles but consider adding in other elements of who you are to create a unique mix all your own. Add an antique French hutch to a contemporary room or painted table in a kitchen with natural wood to make your rooms more interesting and real.
- Don’t be afraid to ask a professional for guidance, but do avoid asking friends for their approval. Creating a home is very personal. A professional decorator can help you translate the feelings you want in your home into a pleasing style, saving you money and frustration along the way. You may not have time or the inclination to put it all together, but be involved in what goes into your home. Find a decorator who is sensitive to authenticity, using what you have and love, and does not try to push their own signature style.
- Be true to who you are. Don’t buy to ‘keep up with the Jones.’ Be content with where you are in life and design your home appropriately. Take finances, children, pets, entertaining styles, and both solitude and social preferences into account so you will be comfortable in your own space.
- Be sure your home is alive with happy memories. Objects in your home can conjure up positive warm feelings. Gather things in your lifetime that bring you happiness when you see them. Buy a teacup when you visit a teahouse on your birthday. Have a silhouette drawn of your child. Bring back a pretty map from a vacation to frame on a wall. Buy things that move you, not meaningless objects gathered for the sole purpose of filling space.
- Edit your possessions. You cannot keep everything you have ever owned or loved. Does the object or furniture suit your current lifestyle, home or taste? If not, let it go! Take a picture of it if the memory is strong and file it away in a memory box. Does something in your home have a negative memory associated with it? Get rid of it! Replace it with something happier.
- Refine your style continuously over your lifetime so it always reflects who you are today as well as where you have been. Don’t get stuck in a time warp that no longer suits who you are. If you continue to refine your home even in small ways it will feel constantly fresh and alive.