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How To Define Your Design Style

3 Simple Steps | Collect Inspiration, Find Common Threads, Create a Mood Board

The first and most important step in creating a space that is both meaningful and authentic to you is taking the time to clearly define your design style. It is your lifestyle, experiences, memories and personality that greatly influence your likes and dislikes. Identifying these preferences and putting language to them will help you confidently communicate your desires to your interior designer. This does not have to be a daunting task: simply collect inspiration and identify the common threads. These can then be used as a guidepost throughout the design process, which will result in a space that truly reflects you.

Follow the steps below to define your design style and then create an optional mood board to communicate your vision!

Step #1 - Collect Inspiration

What naturally catches your eye when you walk into a space or see images in a book, magazine or online? Begin by collecting photos and imagery that inspires you. One of the best ways to quickly capture inspiration is to create a Pinterest board and pin images that you gravitate towards. You may choose to take your own photos and save them to an album on your phone. Earmarking images in magazines and books also works well. Whatever your preference is for collecting inspiration, remember not to stress or overthink your choices. Go with your instincts and enjoy the process!

Draw inspiration from past travels and places you have visited; photos and memories of spaces you have inhabited; family history, culture and traditions you have embraced as well as your own interests and passions.

Step #2 - Find Common Threads

Once you have gathered your inspiration imagery, the next step is to review the collection as a whole to identify common threads. For instance, do you notice any colors, textures, wood tones, patterns and lines that show up in multiple images throughout the body of work? Can you attribute the architecture, materials, furniture, decor and lighting to a specific interior design style such as traditional, modern, eclectic, rustic, industrial, Scandinavian or coastal among others? Make a list of the common elements you see as you go through the images.

Above is a sample of a Pinterest board I created when planning a remodel for my own home. Click here to see the complete board. Can you identify the common threads throughout?

Optional Step - Create a Mood Board

Now that you have collected images and identified common threads, you may wish to go one step further and compile them into a mood board to help you communicate your personal style. Glue printed photos, fabric samples, paint swatches to a physical board or use a design software program such as Canva to create a digital mood board. Be sure to include images, colors, textures, patterns and words that evoke your sense of style. There are no real “rules” that dictate what your mood board should look like so be free and have fun with it!

By following these three steps - collecting inspiration, finding common threads, and creating a mood board - you will be able to communicate your design style with clarity and confidence. This will set you and your interior designer up for success in forging a space that is uniquely yours.


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