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Inspired By Life: Finding Your Style

by | Mar 4, 2010 | Decorating Inspiration, Details

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Inspired By Life: Finding Your Style
photo: House Beautiful online

About two years ago, I was interviewed by The Home Office Organizer . In the interview I shared how the name “The Inspired Room” came about, tips for personalizing a home office, who inspires me, along with a few other tidbits.

For “Inspired By” Friday, I thought I’d rerun a few of tips on finding inspiration for your style! For the rest of the interview, click here. Here is an updated excerpt:

You are a “Style Coach.” What are your top 5 tips for someone who wants to create rooms inspired by their life?

In no particular order, here are some tips for getting started on finding your own personal style:

1) Spend time living the life you want and gathering mementos along the way. Your home will come together as you experience life. It shouldn’t be an overnight process!

2) Create rooms and spaces to inspire and accommodate your life. Evaluate what kind of life you really want to live and set things up to make that life possible and enjoyable. Do you love to read? Have friends over for movies? Cook? Write? Have the neighborhood kids over to play with your children? Do you have hobbies? Do you host large parties? Make sure your house is set up to accommodate you—homes should never keep us from fully experiencing what we love to do. Nor should they be staged for someone else’s idea of a good life. Your home should make sense for you.

3) Eliminate things that are unattractive or don’t stir your senses in some way. Avoid random decorations. Most everything should have a story that makes you happy or reminds you of a special time or person. Or at least things should be attractive and facilitate your life in some way. If it is useless or ugly, get rid of it.

Inspired By Life: Finding Your Style

photo by me

4) Make ordinary things beautiful. Most of our life is spent doing ordinary things. Those ordinary activities should inspire our homes even more than the few highlights of our life. Everyday we spend time eating, cleaning, bathing, sleeping, working. Take the time to make these every day experiences more organized and pleasing to your eye.

Here are some tips for making everyday things beautiful:

Style Tips: Everyday on Display

Keeping Things Simple

5) Don’t be afraid to ask for help in creating a beautiful home, but be careful who you ask. Friends mean well but can confuse their personal taste with what is appropriate for you. Friends don’t have to love your home. Designers can be a wealth of information and ideas but can also lead you to spend money you don’t need to spend and end up creating a home that reflects their style rather than yours. Find someone who understands what you are trying to achieve and can use what you already have and love to create something authentic to you.

Not everyone is naturally inclined to be able to arrange things in attractive ways — we all have our strengths. Don’t feel badly if you need some help in organizing or pulling your belongings together so that you can truly love your home.

For more of my interview on The Home Office Organizer blog, click here!

What were you inspired by this week?

Sorry there is no Linky this week. It is being stubborn and it won’t work so phooey on it! You can just leave a comment with your link! We’ll get something worked out for next week.


  1. Tracy

    Great tips, Melissa. I especially like #4. It’s good to have an attractive, organized home in which to welcome guests, but I live in my house and it should be nice for me every day.
    .-= Tracy @ Comfort&Luxury´s last blog ..Come Flea Marketing with Me… and Eddie Ross! =-.

  2. Melissa

    For some reason, the McLinky is closed until Friday and the site won’t let me fix it. Guess that is what I get for being late in posting and then trying to post anyway! Hopefully Friday all will be fixed!

  3. Arleen

    Hi Melissa. Thanks for sharing this interview with us, and I love the photos you’ve selected for this post! This week I’m inspired by decorating with miniature spring accents! So charming and the perfect pop of color for our homes. MckLinky was closed when I stopped by to visit; looking forward to seeing everyone’s reply to your question. ~Arleen
    .-= Arleen @ Seasons for All at Home´s last blog ..Decorating with Miniature Spring Accents =-.

  4. Claudia

    Love the “dont be afraid to ask” part!

    Like other’s have said — McLinky is down — but doing my Friday~~Finding Beauty thing– would love for you to join if you feel inclined… BESIDE… celebrating one year of my blog — GIVE away time :)

    Thanks for being such an inspiration in so many ways!

    .-= [email protected]´s last blog ..Friday~~Finding Beauty 3/5/2010 =-.

  5. Karena

    So true and great tips, my daughter and daughter in law, as well as blogger friends are the best. Helping me organize . Hang art etc. I will have a giveaway soon!
    Art by Karena
    .-= Karena´s last blog ..Stormy Sea in Winter =-.

  6. Jeanne

    Love your words of wisdom and how true! I have learned over the years to be very careful who you ask for advise. The times I have had a consultant come in to help me out have been the most productive and well worth the fee. Your right, you have to find someone who is in tune with you and your lifestyle..someone who can appreciate the life you live. Once you find that person, don’t let go! I am in the midst of unpacking from our move and dearly miss the person I used where we last lived. Time to start again! Your post is invaluable to me at the moment!
    Have a great weekend…
    Jeanne :)

  7. janice

    This is a wonderful collection of tips, Melissa. I love treasuring the ordinary, and have been so much happier since I started putting as much thought and care into the buying of pretty kitchen utensils, fabrics and furniture as I do when I’m buying gifts for friends. It’s my gift to my family and how I bless our home.

    What you said about creating a home for ourselves and our families is really powerful. It’s scary how often I catch myself designing for situations I wish I had or used to have instead of fully accepting how we live now and putting my energy into making that the best it can be. I think it may be because the kids transformed into teenagers faster than I could keep up. In my heart, they’re still crayoning and doing jigsaws at the kitchen table!

    Thank you. I enjoyed the post and will now go back and explore the links in it. It came at a good time; I’m having fierce urges to makeover my life. (Menopausal rewiring in progress :( )
    .-= janice | Sharing the Journey´s last blog ..Writing Snow =-.

  8. Annelise Wilcox

    It’s nice to hear from someone else that friends won’t always get your taste. I sometimes overwhelm people with my “skill” or “knack” for organizing things in a certain way. People always comment that the house is too organized. And that is a bad thing. Believe me there is clutter but I take care of it quickly. Sorry to ramble but your comment hit a chord with me. Thanks for sharing these, I am new to the blog world and new to blogging.
    .-= Annelise Wilcox´s last blog ..It’s Blury but Try to Imagine… Jewelry on a Budget =-.

  9. Liz

    Great tips! Thanks so much for sharing!
    I’m wondering if the dates on MckLinky were right, I only say that because I did it one time, I had the wrong year or something and it closed the linky.
    Hope it’s up soon! I love to see all the inspiration!

  10. Kat

    Wonderful advice! I especially love #2 because it’s so important to decorate for how you live, not how you “want” to live!

    Kat :)
    .-= Kat´s last blog ..Guess Who’s Coming To Dinner? =-.

  11. Melanie

    Thank you for all the tips and the links to further read the articles. I have been sick this week along with my husband, so nothing right this minute has inspired me. I am working now on our master bedroom and I finally found my starting point…. A big beautiful rug from HomeGoods. That will be my inspiration for the room.

    Have a great weekend.
    .-= Melanie´s last blog ..The Best They Can Do? =-.

  12. Alissa

    wonderful advice! i have been slowly been getting rid of those things that i don’t love and replace everyday items such as containers with those i think look pretty. it sure as made a difference. thanks for your inpiration!
    .-= Alissa´s last blog ..spring is slowly creeping in =-.

  13. Irene

    Tip # 5 is very important. I love to ask for help, but I find some people will purposefully steer you in the wrong direction.
    .-= Irene´s last blog ..My First DIY Project =-.

  14. heidi

    This is great! You put into words exactly how I’ve been feeling about the ‘stuff’ in my home. It SHOULD be pretty/attractive. I have some dishes that hubby found at a rummage sale that I just don’t like – I avoid using them, I don’t like seeing them in the cupboard – so today, they’re OUT – They’ll go to the thrift store and while I’m there I’ll see if theres something that speaks pretty to me! ;)

  15. Tiffany Stuart

    Love your blog and congrats on nomination through Internet Cafe Devotions. :)
    .-= Tiffany Stuart´s last blog ..Poem: I am a Seedling =-.

  16. kathysue

    Great post Melissa, very good guidelines. What I love about all that you have stated is you are advising on how to make a HOME not just a decorated HOUSE!! Too me, that is the only kind of design there should be. I remember you had an interview with Alexander Stoddard who is the person I remember saying you should have nothing in your home that is not beautiful,useful,or sentimental. I love that theory and I so agree with it. This post is a great reminder to us all, Thank you, Kathysue
    .-= kathysue´s last blog ..Enter My Brain If You Dare!!! =-.

  17. Renee

    After reading your post today, I just starting looking around and making note of what is NOT beautiful. So, it is now officially on my to do list for this weekend.

    .-= Renee´s last blog ..Bride On A Bike =-.

  18. Gina

    I love these tips and the reminder that building a home that reflects you takes time-it’s a process for sure!
    .-= Gina´s last blog ..Right Now…… =-.

  19. Angela

    Make ordinary things beautiful. Most of our life is spent doing ordinary things.

    That’s what I’ve been doing lately. Like the picture of the aprons, I have two places set up with my aprons on display….also my new saying is,,’if I don’t love it, get rid of it’..If I just like something doesn’t mean I NEED to hang onto it.

    Loved this post.

    congrats on being nominated top 100!

  20. Tamara

    I’m inspired by SPRING!! It’s just around the corner :)
    .-= Tamara´s last blog ..Workin’ 9 to 5 =-.

  21. Megan

    Such good advice. It seems like most of those points are things that I know in the back of my head, but forget to think about in the midst of the daily grind. Thanks!
    .-= Megan @ Meanwhile, back at the ranch´s last blog ..I Dream of Spring =-.

  22. Fresh Poppy Design

    I love the advice, I always seem to forget some of the simple things.

    Well we’ve been inspired by a couple of things this week! First a new twist on an old clock, part of the design was inspired by none other than Pottery Barn Kids:

    And a new way to keep your little ones in their seats, inspired by another blogger…it’s oh so cute and convenient!:

    Hope you come and check it out, I’ll be looking at yours :)

  23. Mary Joy

    I love this post, Melissa! I am printing it off to use as I decorate our new home…once we find it!!! I have always followed most of the same guidelines but it is so good to be reminded. I love the glance at your room technique where you wait for your own reaction to what you see. LOL I tried it and you are so right!!! Did it with my kitchen..ouch! At least I love my living room right now! LOL

    Today I am inspired by the fact that Will, my fiance is coming to visit (he lives 5 hrs away)…knowing he is coming always prompts me to take a little extra care in what I am doing with my house.

    Thanks for the inspiration! Can’t wait to get our home together so I can really get started!!!!
    .-= Mary Joy @ Life Interrupted´s last blog ..Long Distance Engagement~~God is at work =-.

    • Mary Joy

      I almost forgot!!! We have really big and exciting news coming and I am having a really hard time not spilling the beans!!! I can’t wait to be able to tell you all about it!!!
      .-= Mary Joy @ Life Interrupted´s last blog ..Exciting changes and new additions are coming!!! =-.

  24. ~Melody

    I’ve been thinking about ripping out the cabinets in the upstairs hallway/balcony. I want to put in a piece of furniture like the one you have pictured at the top of this post… I’m so inspired by unique pieces and not cookie-cutter-builder things (for lack of a better term). I just love making a space mine and nobody else’s…even if nobody else likes it. hehe

    Absolutely LOVE this post!!!


  25. Ruthanne

    I love tip #5! Good stuff, Melissa.

  26. Sandy

    Hi Melissa, wanted to congratulate you on the Top 100 blogs! Yay! I’m always inspired by your blog, so that is my answer for today … :)
    .-= Sandy´s last blog ..White Dishes & Platters: Classy & Handy =-.

  27. Tim

    I love these tips! I was encouraged by the idea of making your house to suit you, rather than some “idea” of what the rest of the world says it should be. And the making normal things beautiful… definitely!

    Thanks for bringing this back. I didn’t catch the first go-round.

    .-= Tim´s last blog ..What’s the Resale Value of Your Remodeling Project? =-.

  28. Susan at Charm of the Carolines

    Your site is inspiring!!! I love it!

    For inspiration in a hurry, I usually pick up one of my many Alexandra Stoddard books. Now I have another place to go for a quick pick-me-up!


  29. Nikki

    Great tips! I need help for sure. I’m going to make a few mistakes (I mean lessons learned ;) on my current house, and then hire you to coach me for my next. I love too many different styles and can’t make a decision. A curse for sure!
    .-= Nikki´s last blog ..Eclipse Trailer =-.

  30. Jaki

    This is SUCH a helpful post – I’ve even bookmarked it to refer back to!

    I just subscribed to your blog also – you have reached your goal of inspiring me!

  31. Jennifer Stern

    I just discovered your site today and I absolutely LOVE it. I am just starting my own business with my sister and we have found so much inspiration in it to help us get our business going!

    Thank you so much :0)




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