5 Steps For Finding Your Unique Decor Style And How To Use It

Does the thought of decorating make you feel overwhelmed and frustrated? Understanding your decorating style provides a framework and direction for every decorating decision. 5 Steps For Finding Your Unique Decor Style will help you create a space that is visually appealing and reflects your personality.

white buffet with decor on it

Do you struggle when picking out decor for your home? Would you like a lovely home that reflects your personality and unique style but don’t know what that style is? Do you feel like decorating is overwhelming and/or frustrating?

I understand because I felt that way too! Decorating can seem impossible and overwhelming when you don’t have the right tools to create a home that feels comfortable and beautiful. When I finally discovered my unique personal decor style, decorating started to make sense and be so much more enjoyable. Here are 5 steps that will get you going on your journey to find your own wonderful exclusive decor style.

Overcoming challenges often involves gaining clarity on personal preferences, setting realistic expectations, seeking inspiration and guidance, and breaking down the decorating process into manageable steps.

Important Things To Know

a plant in a white bowl with a mirror behind it

In order to find your decorating style, it is important to know a few things.

Did you know most people have more than one decorating style? And you probably do too! There are really very few pure styles. Our decorating style is influenced by our personality, past experiences, culture, relationships with fashion and color, and emotions. All these things, and more, help shape our personal preferences. On account of all these influences are unique to us, they help to create a personal style that extends to everything we do, including decorating.

These influences help to create a style that is unique and one of a kind. And that is a very good thing.

Because of our personal experiences, we grow and change. What we liked a few years ago may change for a new interest and a new preference. That hairstyle we love a decade ago is not the one we are wearing today.

Maybe the reason we are not excited about our home decor anymore is that we have changed! One very good thing to remember is…

Our styles and personal preferences change over time.

If you are wondering why the sofa or chair or comforter you loved years ago is no longer your style anymore, it is probably because you have changed. We grow and mature, and all those experiences we just chatted about have changed you!

No wonder we feel that knowing our decorating style is a daunting task! We need clarity! So here are 5 clear steps to help you find your decorating style.

And friend, I’m going to wave you off of taking an interior design style quiz. Yes, they are fun but they are confusing and will not really help you. And we want clarity to define our style!

Describe The Feel

Do you know the feeling of seeing a room (or home) that stops you in your tracks! The feeling that this room is YOU! We want our home to make us feel that way too! So ask yourself, “What do I want my home to feel like?”

(For the purpose of this post, when I say room, you can also insert the word home and vice versa.)

The first step to finding your unique decorating style is to describe how you want your home to feel.

When we moved into the Tanglewood House, it took me a while to be able to put into words how I wanted our home to feel. It was so different from StoneGable. I just knew I wanted to take the best of StoneGable and give it a fresher look.

After lots of thinking and writing words down, and editing and adding, I narrowed my thoughts and emotions down to how I want our home to feel. I want Tanglewood to feel

welcoming, light, curated, upscale and approachable

Let me show you what I mean. Here’s why I chose these 5 words to describe how I want our home to feel.

  • Welcoming: It’s important to Bobby and me to create a home that others feel comfortable in too. We want to open our door to family, friends, and guests and make them feel welcomed, loved, and cared for.
  • Light: One of my favorite things about our home is all the windows and how natural light fills our home. I want our home to reflect lightness and an airy feeling.
  • Curated: At first, I was going to use the word bespoke but curated seemed to be a better fit. The longer I live here, the more I want to edit what I brought from StoneGable and choose the things we live with that reflect our life now. A handpicked, collected-over-time look is at the heart of how I want Tanglewood to feel.
  • Upscale And Approachable: These words go together to describe how I want our home to feel. I’m working on a home filled with beautiful things but not so precious that anyone coming to our home can’t put their feet up on the sofa or put a cup of coffee on a table. These words, although a juxtaposition, really check and balance each other.

Finding and choosing words to describe the feel of your home takes thought and time. Don’t hurry. Make a list of words you want your home to feel like. NOT what it feels like now. These describing words will become a big part of your personal decorating style.

The decor you are living with may not be YOUR true style.

Finding your decorating style has a lot to do with introspection and that takes a bit of work! And it does not happen overnight. But the rewards of finding your style and being able to decorate your home with ease are worth the journey!

Gather Inspiration

a dining table with decor books and a cup of coffe on it

Gather Picture Inspiration

Step two to finding your decorating style is gathering images of what inspires you. This is the fun part! And it is an important step, so don’t rush it! Gathering inspiration will help you narrow down what decor and styles you like.

You probably have Pinterest boards with rooms you like. Great! If you don’t start one. Peruse blogs and the internet for rooms that you love and pin them to one Pinterest board. Don’t think about finding your style right now; just get pinning! If you like magazines like I do, rip out inspirational photos of décor that make your heart sing and put them together in a file, create a mood board, or even put images into a notebook.

And give yourself some time to do this. Don’t rush. Enjoy the process!

Gather Inspiration From Your Home

The next place to gather inspiration is from your home. Take stock of the things you already have. What decor items do you love and, for now, would never get rid of. What things are no longer your style? Make sure to write all this down. That list will become important when we start to put all the gathered info together to gain clarity about your style!

Also, think about the style of your home and where you live. Often these factors will have a big effect on your decorating style. It does mine!

Gather Inspiration From Your Closet

Chances are that the things you love to wear will translate to your style. Our clothing often mirrors our decorating style. The clothes we wear usually reflect our personal style and aesthetic preferences. By examining our wardrobe, we can identify patterns, colors, and textures that we naturally gravitate towards. This can provide cues for selecting similar elements in home decor.

I’m a good example of my wardrobe reflecting my personal style. If you would look in my closet, I have mostly neutral, tailored clothing. White boyfriend shirts, tailored slim black pants, black and white longs sleeved tee shirts, and jeans. The rest of my basic wardrobe is tan, camel, beige, and brown. My one pop of color is an orange handbag I’ve had for years.

Your closet can tell you a lot about YOU!

Identify Reoccuring Pattern

a white buffet with a mirror behind it in a living rooml

Now is the time to winnow down and edit what you have gathered. Go through everything and edit out everything you do not love or identify with.

If, after a second or third look, an image is not the best example of what you love, get rid of it!

The third step in finding your decor style is to take all the inspiration you have gathered and find the connecting threads. What decor do you see over and over again? Color? What furniture lines do you gravitate towards? Do you like modern decor or traditional or somewhere in between? The things you see over and over again in the images you have gathered will define your style. Write down all the common threads you see in the inspiration you have gathered.

This is a big step. Now the next step will hone what you love into different styles.

Popular Decor Styles

A dining room with a round table and upholstered chairs.

Here is a list of most of the popular home decor styles and a brief explanation of each. Here’s where we bring the list of what we are most inspired by and the decor styles together. Remember, you will probably have more than one style.

What styles seem to represent decor you gravitate towards?

Bohemian: Also known as boho or boho-chic style, is characterized by its free-spirited and eclectic aesthetic. It is influenced by various cultures, art movements, colorful textiles, and unconventional lifestyles. Bohemian style embraces individuality, creativity, and a relaxed, non-conformist attitude.

Coastal: Coastal decorating style, also known as beach or seaside style, captures the relaxed and breezy atmosphere of coastal living. It draws inspiration from the beach, ocean, and coastal landscapes, creating a light and airy ambiance and using the colors of water and sand.

Contemporary: Contemporary decorating style, also known as modern contemporary, is characterized by its clean lines, minimalism, and emphasis on simplicity. A neutral color palette, open floor plan, and natural light characterize this modern style.

Cottagecore: Also known as farmcore or countrycore, is a design aesthetic that romanticizes a simple, rural, and idyllic lifestyle inspired by cottages, countryside living, and nature. It celebrates nostalgia, simplicity, and a connection to the natural world. Pastels and neutrals are the perfect cottagecore color palette.

English Country: This style is best described as furnishing belonging in a small English country estate. Traditional time-worn furnishings and a love of collecting antiques are the hallmarks of this style. This style loves muted, rich and moody colors.

Farmhouse Style: Embraces simplicity, natural materials, and vintage and utilitarian elements to create a warm and inviting space reminiscent of traditional farmhouses. It blends comfort, functionality, and rustic charm to evoke a sense of nostalgia and a cozy country atmosphere. Neutral colors, especially greige and black and white, work with Farmhouse style.

Farmhouse 2.0 or Modern Farmhouse: Refers to a contemporary take on the traditional farmhouse decorating style. It retains the charm and cozy atmosphere of classic farmhouse design while incorporating modern elements and a more streamlined aesthetic. Farmhouse 2.0 uses the same color palette as Farmhouse style plus blue and muted green.

French Country: Also known as French Provincial or French Farmhouse style, is characterized by its rustic elegance, warmth, and charm. Inspired by the rural homes in the French countryside, it exudes a comfortable and inviting atmosphere. Soft colors plus neutrals work with French Country.

Grandmillennial: Also known as “Granny Chic” or “New Traditional,” is a design aesthetic that combines traditional elements with a fresh and modern twist. It embraces nostalgia, comfort, and a sense of traditional elegance while incorporating contemporary touches. Grandmillennial uses a mix of colors and patterns. Think pretty and feminine.

Industrial: Industrial decor style draws inspiration from warehouses, factories, and industrial spaces, emphasizing raw and unfinished elements. It celebrates utilitarian design, exposed materials, and a blend of rustic and modern. Any colors found in industrial buildings, like brick, gray, and metallics, are the signature colors of Industrial style.

Scandinavian: Renowned for its timeless elegant interiors, functionality, and emphasis on natural materials. It creates spaces that are inviting, calm, and harmonious, providing a sanctuary from the busy modern world. Choose a color palette with lots of white, wood tones, forest green, and dusky pink and blue.

Traditional: Timeless, classic decor with a love for antique furniture. It embraces elegance, symmetry, and a sense of formal sophistication. If you love luxury, rich muted colors, ornate detailing, and fine antiques, you may gravitate to Traditional decor style.

Transitional: Transitional decorating style blends elements of traditional and contemporary design, leaning towards neutral colors to create a balanced and timeless look. It aims to achieve a harmonious fusion of classic and modern aesthetics. Mid-Century Modern style fits under this category. Transitional style is characterized by light neutrals, black and white, and blue.

Name Your Styles

a dining room table with four chairs

After you have gathered all your inspiration, edited it down to what inspires you the most, and found a style or styles that most closely defines the look you love, it is time to name it!

Like your personal preference, your style is uniquely yours!

My style is mostly Transitional and a little bit Farmhouse 2.0 inspired by the Farmland I live around.

Now it’s your turn. At the end of the process, you should be able to know how you want your home to feel and your personal, unique decor style.

Use Your Style To Decorate

a living room with a white buffet

Here’s where the rubber meets the road. Where we put the pedal to the metal. Let’s push forward from just knowing our decorating style to actually decorating our home!

So how do we do it? Simple! We use our feeling words and our style as a filter through which everything that comes into our home.

Many of us get stuck because we are afraid of making a decorating mistake. They are costly and defeating! But if you know how you want your home to feel and your style, you can filter all the things that will not work in your home out, and the things you are left with are great candidates to further consider.

Use your decorating style for everything in your home. Accessories, pillows, fabrics, beds, accents, chairs, and everything else!

Stay In Your Lane Decorating

Friend, stay in your lane! Don’t let all the amazing and beautiful home decor tempt you to off-road and make unwise decor decisions. And don’t let trends trick you! Only use those you love and will work with your style!

A Story With A Decorating Moral

Here’s a little story to illustrate what I mean. Let’s say you want to get a new puppy. So you go to the rescue shelter, and there are lots of darling puppies to choose from. You love puppies! And you are having a terribly hard time choosing one, so you take them all home because they are all so adorable! However, when you get home, it does not take long for you to realize these puppies don’t want to get along. And they make a mess. Now you are very upset and frustrated, and although you love the puppies, you have to take them back. Don’t worry. They will find a family that is perfect for them.

So now you still want a puppy, but because of your experience, you are afraid you will make the wrong choice again. And decide to not get one at all.

I’m sure you know that the puppies represent all the decor that is pretty and vie for your attention. If you are like me, you love it all! Have you ever taken decor home that you loved in the store only to find out that it fights with the decor already have and is not the right fit? Just like taking too many puppies home!

And if you have more than a few experiences like this, you can get stuck! Afraid or frustrated and not able to make the right decorating decisions.

Back to our puppy story… Eventually, you decide to get a puppy. But this time, you make a list of what kind of puppy you need. You decide the puppy has to be good with children. And because you like to walk 5 miles a day, you want a bigger dog that can keep you company.

So you head to the shelter with your list, and now it’s easy to sort through the dog choices. You still love all the dogs, but you are now wiser and more confident about what dog is the best for you. Finally, you pick a Labrador Retriever. The perfect dog for you and your family.

When we know our feeling words and our decorating style, we can sift through decor to find things that work best in your home!

The moral of this story is…

Home decor is like puppies. Make sure to take the right one home!

Knowing your decorating style and how you want your home to feel will help you make right and beautiful choices for creating a home with a unique and cohesive style. Be a confident home decorator and enjoy the journey!

Continue Your Decorating Journey

a plant in a large with bowl

To continue to become a more confident decorator, you might like to read these helpful posts.

10 Tips For Choosing Timeless Decor

9 Best Tips To Help You Update A Tired Room

How To Live With Decor You Don’t Like

Designer Secrets For Rooms That Stay In Style

Frequently Asked Questions

What are the most popular decorating styles right now?

There are quite a few very popular decorating styles right now. Transitional, Modern Farmhouse, Mid-Century Moden, and Traditional are the on-trend decor styles.

What is replacing Farmhouse Shiplap right now?

There are a few wall and ceiling treatments that are replacing the Farmhouse look of shiplap. Board and Batten, Color Washing walls, Wallpaper, and Tongue And Groove paneling are all very popular. They are versatile treatments that can work with many styles.

What is the 70-20-10 rule in decorating?

This is a tried and true, balanced approach to decorating. This rule states that 70 percent of your room should be one decor element, say the color white, and 20 percent should be another decor element, say blue, and 10 percent another decor element, say burnt orange. This percentage works for mixing decorating styles too.

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  1. Also, thank you for no decorating style quiz!!! Those things are always just process of elimination to chose whatever room for me! I am also relieved to see you talk about changing styles throughout our lifetimes. I thought I was flighty & could decide on one style til you made me realize that I have changed hair, & clothes, why not decor to suit wherever I am in this time slot in life?! An interesting note for me is that I have recently realized that I am leaning back to MCM, which is what I loved in my teen years. I still have the walnut modern style cedar chest that I chose when we married at 18 years old, 50 years ago. Of course I painted it white during my country farmhouse years, (GASP!) but I have stripped it down & oiled it & it is beautiful once again. I have just commissioned my furniture builder son to “find me some walnut” to build a pair of end tables for my living room. And I saw the cedar chest sitting in the same room & it dawned on me: I’ve come full circle!!!!!! And you are so right, modern & farmhouse are lovely together! Transitional farmhouse wraps it up for me.

  2. Deborah Marie says:

    Thank you for this educational and inspirational article. I have been stuck in a rut of indecision for a long while but your informative article has given me the exact guidance I need to get moving! Thank you!
    Best to you,
    Deborah Marie

  3. Yvonne Thank you for describing exactly what all the styles encompass, however, my problem is that with the exception of industrial I fit them all. I’m a minimalist who loves all colors. I love the beach house with its airy blues and sands but also the rental log cabin in the woods (especially when it snows). I’m an artist who couldn’t tell you my favorite color if offered a million dollars. Is there help for me?

    1. Most creatives, of which I am one too, love too many things! I know just exactly what you are taking about.