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Your interior design style is the style you are happy to live with. When you start in your first home, you usually have an idea of what you like but finances, space and thousands of other reasons can come into play. Then your house will not turn out quite into what you had envisioned. As time goes by, with more money and space, (and who knows, lots and lots of colorful toys, too) chances are you have lost track of exactly what your style is. That does not mean it cannot be cozy or just the way you want it to be, but I often see the need for an uncluttered space and a style that reflects your personality. So, time for a fresh approach. More, in this blog, about how to find your interior design style and links to some popular styles.
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If you are shopping it is difficult to be consistent. Different styles can attract you. Every style has its own characteristics. When we describe an individual style, we will further name all these distinctive characteristics. Combinations are possible, and to be honest I usually prefer a mix of styles, but to prevent your house from becoming a mess, here are a few steps to guide you on your way to your ideal home:
Inspiration can come from various angles. What inspires you and would you like to see in your home? Consider the following:
- The architecture of your house; are there elements that are representative such as ceilings from 1930 or moldings, Art Deco with its rectilinear building elements, maybe you live in a mid-century bungalow or a Dutch colonial home.
- The place where you live; is there an urban, country, coastal, industrial or mountain vibe. One of my favorite descriptions of a house was “a beach house in the woods.” A combination here of two inspirational palettes, you can imagine the relaxed style of a beach house, the colors of the woods and for both styles natural materials are important.
- Countries or regions; like the French Provence, Marocco, California dreaming or Notting Hill influences.
- Your way of living; hobbies, environment, guests, hotel rooms, restaurants, art. All possible sources of inspiration.
- Trends; Organic forms, authentic produced, color of the year, silver and no longer bronze and so on. Trends can inspire but only use a new phenomenon if you really fall in love with it. Otherwise, you will very soon be tired of it.
- Magazines; always an inspiration source but some magazines are specialized in a certain style. Lots of inspiration in different coastal styles in Coté Quest and Coté Sud, for a classic contemporary style Residence and for high end interiors Architectural Digest (AD). Try the sites first and if it is about your style buy one of the magazines.
- Movies; another source like “something’s gotta give” brings you a more classical Hamptons beach house and the clothes of Diane Keaton are the perfect color palette to it. Mad Men for a mid-century style.
- Pinterest; you can take a look at the living lookbook pinterest boards. There you will find several interior styles with inspiration for each room. Make your own board and try to discover what attracts you in each picture, is it the color, a certain wallpaper, the space, the serenity, or the furniture. By analyzing it you will slowly discover what your style is.
How to find your interior design style by keywords? Not only keywords! But in combination with other characteristics, it can be helpful. Some examples:
Timeless, sophisticated, chic, simple, modern, elegant, clean lines, less is more, vintage, boho, eclectic, calm. Add your own keyword or phrase to it. Choose 3 to 5 keywords that are most important to you.
The Shaker style was based on the principles of a religious group. Their belief inspired the clean lines and careful craftsmanship, simplicity and utility were their basis. Once you have seen a Shaker interior, it is easy to recognize. You will clearly notice that shapes translate into a certain appearance of the interior.
Shapes belong to certain styles. What do you prefer?
- Round or square, oval or rectangle and as just described as a trend “organic”. All shapes are possible and can define a certain style.
- With custom-made furniture you can make optimal use of the space and thus achieve the style you prefer.
- Volume or minimalistic furniture. Clean lines or sculptural.
- Graceful, elegant, opulent. For instance, a cabinet on high legs. Refined upholstery and customized furniture for a classic interior.
You want the materials you choose to support your style. If it is minimalist or over the top that does not matter. It is what you prefer. Large surfaces such as the floor and walls are particularly important for the atmosphere, but do not forget the layers that come on top (color, textile, hardware). All materials together make it the desired space.
Floor and wall;
Coverings define the sphere of the room. The picture above this blog, with its bleached wooden floor immediately makes me think: “Scandinavian style.” The same if you see a dark wooden floor with inlay. You will know, this is a classic home. The possibilities are endless in materiality and in price.
- Some ideas for floors: wood, natural stone (marble, slate), Marmoleum, pvc, concrete, tiles, cork, terrazzo
The same for the walls, endless possibilities from paint from Home Depot, Gamma and Karwei to Italian plaster and embroidered wallpaper.
- More ideas for the walls; brick, wood, wallpaper (if brick or wood is not possible or too expensive there is wallpaper with a brick-, wood-, or even concrete pattern), tiles, plaster, seagrass.
If you do not have clear favorites, you can also select furniture after you have determined your style. On the other hand, if you want to use a mid-century chair, an antique mahogany cabinet or another iconic piece of furniture, let that information help you to shape your interior style.
- Some furniture characteristics, wood (mahogany, cherry, walnut, whitewashed), rattan, metal, upholstery
A multitude of styles but linen is my absolute favorite. Linen is a fabric that can connect different atmospheres. The fabric adapts to the style, whether it is classic or industrial, you can use it. Other fabrics are crucial for a style, like strong and sturdy fabrics like canvas for an industrial style and velvet for a classic style. Upholstery needs different fabrics than curtains. So be aware of the practical characteristics of a fabric. Use different textures to avoid a room looking too smooth.
- Some textiles: cotton, linen, leather, velvet, wool, chenille, boucle
How to find a color palette for your house
Do you recognize the problem? There are so many beautiful colors and you look at Pinterest and one moment you think:
…..blue, yes blue, but is my living room going to be more a holiday house by the sea?
…. I love natural colors but is that boring?
….white, yes it is clear and calm, I make all walls white!
Look at your wardrobe, towels, vases, art etc. Is there a color that you choose every time? This can be your guide for choosing a Color Palette. More about colors in this blog
The basics are the neutrals, white, cream, grey, beiges, sand, in general the colors to use if you are investing in larger pieces like sofas and kitchens. In general, because if your color is more outspoken that can be your choice. Be aware it is more expensive to replace a sofa than a cushion in this outspoken color. In some cases, saturated colors are very suitable for a certain room, like dark colors for a library.
Brands / Designers
For every style there are brands with a corresponding taste.
Luxury brands can be a major source of inspiration but of course, if this is out of reach, you can use lower priced brands or make a combination of the two. An expensive sofa on a price-conscious rug. Style is always achievable; Antique, you can find on Flea markets. E-bay, “Marktplaats” for all kinds of finds or start at the attic. You never know what you will find.
- Try to use the seasons in your interior. With the colors of the season in flowers or accents like cushions and candles. This way your interior feels new every few months (spring pastels, summer yellows, autumn reds, winter whites)
- Use art to make it a space of your own.
- The accents you can use are as important as the furniture and other items. Accessories are the final layer to finish your style. Therefore, the accessories are an integral part of your materials and color scheme.
Inspiration and keywords (mentioned above under 1 and 2) are the most important items to help you with “How to find your interior design style. Materials and color can help but can also be part of the next steps:
1 Define your inspiration and keywords 2 Make a Pinterest board 3 Read our style blogs 4 Create a floor plan 5 Make a mood board 6 Create a color palette 7 Search and ask for samples 8 Use augmented reality
And if this is overwhelming of course, you can use an interior designer to help you with the process. But still do the first steps so you can use these steps to brief your interior designer.
Our style blogs:
Our design tools:
how to make an interior design mood board
Enjoy the process to “how to find your interior design style”