how to find your decorating style

how to find your decorating style

The idea of decorating a home is so exciting.  But when it comes to actually doing it, it can feel like hard work.  So many decisions to be made. So many choices. So much advice. So many colours to choose from.  It can all get so confusing and overwhelming.  The biggest reason for this comes down to not really knowing your decor style.  Once you take the time to define it, all the decisions become so much easier.  And the added bonus – your home looks effortlessly cohesive.

Getting there, takes a little time and patience.  I love simple, neutral decor inspired by Scandinavian interiors but there are times I’ll see something in a bold colour or pattern and be tempted.  In the past I would have given into these temptations.  Then days or weeks later, the regret would set in.  Sound familiar?  But once you take a little time to define your decor style, you’ll get rid of buyers regret too.

It’s totally possible to like more than one decor style.  I’m guessing you’re here because Scandinavian interior decor floats your boat too.  But even if thats true, there are many different ways to interpret Scandi style from rustic to modern to minimalist to name just a few. Which one is right for you, your lifestyle and your home?  So I’m sharing some ideas on how to find your decorating style with the help of Pinterest.  You can use any tool you like but I love Pinterest for this exercise.

The key to finding an overall style you can stick with is by broadly defining your style and once you do, you only decorate with stuff that fits your style – you’ll see exactly what I mean as you read on.  You’ll reach a stage where your home effortlessly comes together and you love everything you have rather than just like it or worse have regret buying it.

Before I share the tips on how to find your decorating style, I should warn you that Pinterest can be a huge time suck.  I still go on there to find one thing and I emerge 3 hours later!  If you want to avoid this, set up a time limit for your daily pinning to make sure you stay focused on the task.

how to determine my interior style

How to find your decorating style (and stick to it)

1. create a new Pinterest board
2. describe your pins
3. look for recurring themes
4. use keywords to describe the recurring themes
5. what to do next

1. Create a new board for your décor style

Even if you’re on Pinterest and have been pinning away lots of decor stuff already, create a brand new board.  I recommend making it a secret board so that you don’t feel any pressure of others looking but it’s up to you.

Start pinning but treat this board as your special board so you only pin stuff that you absolutely love.  Pin the kind of décor that makes your heart flutter and makes you wish you lived there.  If you like a pin but don’t love it, it doesn’t get pinned on this special board.  Be ruthless.

To start with,  don’t go in with any expectations of what you may or may not like.  And don’t be tempted to label your style. Just start searching and pinning what you truly love.

You might be wondering how you can find pins if you can’t define your style.  Pinterest thankfully makes this easy. Type a generic search term in Pinterest like ‘bedroom’ or ‘living room’ and find a pin you love.  Once you do that, Pinterest will suggest ‘more like this’ pins.

Also when you type a general words like ‘bedroom interior’ in to the search bar, Pinterest will suggest more specific search terms like ‘minimalist’, ‘luxurious’, ‘boho’ ‘simple’ etc so pick the one that appeals most and check out the pins. If they don’t feel quite right, pick another search term and keep searching until you find pins that make your heart beat that bit faster.

2. Add descriptions

You may forget why you loved a particular pin so it’s a good idea to spend a minute putting in a brief description of what you love about it.  This may feel a bit tedious to do but it literally takes a few seconds – just type a few words, nothing elaborate.  It helps you remember exactly what drew you to that pin in the first place.  And it helps in defining your decor style later.


how to find your decorating style

3. Look for recurring themes

Once you’ve collected a good number of pins (I suggest something between 40-60) it’s time to start looking for themes.  What are the colours, textures, and shapes that keep coming up in the pins you love?  What is the overall mood of the interiors you’ve pinned? Is there a particular style of furniture that keeps coming up?

Write down words and phrases to describe the style that’s coming through your pins.  This could be things like ‘colourful’ or ‘neutral’ or ‘white with pops of colour’.  It could be things like ‘metals in gold and brass’, ‘modern’, ‘solid bold colours’ or ‘geometric patterns’, ‘pale wood’, ‘minimal designs’ etc.  Just simple words and phrases to describe the themes you can see, without trying to overthink or categorise your style in any way.

You may also find a particular style of sofa or bed or any big furniture keeps showing up in your pins.  The pic above is a board I made for my living room.  Lots of these images feature the IKEA Soderhamn sofa in white. That’s the sofa I went for!  Aside from that you’ll see things like lots of the images have white and/or pale neutrals, a feature light, lots of texture in neutral colours etc. So the common themes really stand out once you collect a fair few pins.

When I was defining my overall style, here are some of the words I wrote down from my board: white, neutral, clean lines, grey, simple design, matt finishes, linen fabrics, feeling of space, textures in natural tones, seagrass, plants, modern and mid-century, light wood.

how to find your interior decorating style

This is another of my boards showing various rooms but all have a lot of common themes as you can see

4. Use keywords to describe what you see

I don’t like the idea of putting anyone’s style in a defined box because that’s not how interior style works.  But it is worth describing your style with a few keywords and phrases as this will help a lot when you start looking for furniture and objects to decorate your home with. It will also help hugely in making sure you broadly stick to your style within your entire home.  This is particularly important if you have trouble making buying decisions and end up worrying about every decision you have to make!  In other words never you end up deciding on a light or a rug because you are too worried about getting it wrong.  I’ve been there so I know how much it can hold you back.

As I discovered, my style is very much neutral Scandinavian.  But it also has elements of minimalism, Japanese design and a touch of mid-century modern.  So looking at my overall style, my Pinterest board and my descriptive words I came up with a brief description of what I love and it looks something like this:

Scandinavian style, less is more, open spaces, natural textures, neutral colour palettes, aesthetics in everyday objects, minimalist art, subtle patterns like marble and concrete, light wood tones.

This helps so much in my décor decisions. For example – recently I was offered a collaboration with a beautiful wallpaper company.  I love wallpaper and they’re a Scandinavian company.  So I was tempted. But their designs, though beautiful are bold and often colourful.  That simply doesn’t fit with my décor style so as tempting as it was to say yes, I said no.

5. What next?

Identifying your style is something that can and will take a while.  Once you have gone through the steps above, you will have a much better idea of your home décor style.  But style is also fluid and evolves over time.  While you’re unlikely to go from one interior style extreme to another, it can change a little over the years.  So you can always repeat this exercise every few years or whenever you need to.

white bedroom with beige accents how to choose decor style thats right for you Scandinavian dining room

Once you find your decorating style, let it dictate your purchases and your décor choices and you will save money because you’ll be far less likely to make purchases that you regret.  You’ll have a home that comes together beautifully and one that feels like it reflects you and your family. You will also stop buying things to try and get the look right because it will effortlessly look right.  And finally and perhaps most importantly, you won’t get decision paralysis.

Whether you’re decorating a home from scratch, decorating one room or simply looking for a new rug, having a few keywords to describe your style will help so much in making those decisions.

image credits: all images via alvhem, stadshem, bolig magasinet & your diy family

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