What’s your “style”?

How to define your Home Style

One of the first things I do when working with a client is to help them define their “home style”. To be honest, most people who reach out to me immediately say, “I don’t have one,” or “I have no idea what mine is!”

I have yet to work with anyone, no matter how design-challenged, that doesn’t have a style. Now, it’s not a label, per se, or a specific box, in which you must fit… It’s more of an emotion or a feeling that you would like to create for your home. The key to good design is matching your style to the finished product.


“Home Style” is very similar to a personal style, when picking out clothes. Now, some people chose clothes for others… to be “on trend” or impress someone, or they dress to create a vision of how they want others to see them. But I can tell you from experience, when you decorate your home with the wrong motives, it’s quite obvious and will never really feel like home. But, on the other hand, when you dig a little deeper, and buck all the rules, trends, and should’s and should-nots (as dictated by those interior decorating magazines) you can discover what really makes you happy and comfortable.

THAT is your Home Style. No two are the same, although you can certainly find inspiration in others’ which can guide you towards your style.

This is precisely why I love Interior Decorating. It’s a bit like therapy. I love to encourage people to discover their style, and most importantly, I help them feel confident in that style and proud of their home and the comfort it brings to those who live there and visitors alike.

The best compliment I could ever receive about a design is, “It’ so me! How did you know?!” Or “It just really feels like home.”

So, how to uncover your Home Style??….

Steps to find your own personal style:

1) Look for inspiration.

It can come from anywhere… Houzz and Pinterest are great places to start, but I also love looking in unexpected places, like restaurants you love that make you feel at home, friends’ homes, or even memories of your grandparents’ homes or certain holidays. What was it about those scenes that bring you comfort? Create a vision board from magazine cut-outs or create a Pinterest board of pictures of homes you love.


2) Check out your closet.

It will most definitely offer great insight into your style. Do you love bright colors or navigate towards blacks and white? Do you own a million white shirts and jeans or do you love creating a new original outfit each day, do you prefer to be stylish or comfortable, or both?

I love fashion, really love it. But I tend to buy more comfortable clothing. On the occasion that I purchase something really bold and out there (because I love the way it looks on some Instagram model) I put it on, think I look ridiculous, and hang it back up in my closet. So, from that, I’ve concluded that I appreciate the bold, trendy, fun looks, but when it comes down to it, I need to be comfortable and classic.

Now, in my home, that same style translates as well. I love white walls, rich texture, and mostly muted colors… But you will also find pops of unexpected color and fun, personal touches. Oh, and heirlooms, I have family treasures and photos throughout.

3) Create a list of 5-10 items in your home that make you happy.

It could be a certain paint color, family photos, a soft blanket, religious or spiritual items, etc.

My list includes my fireplace (I despise being cold), my bright white kitchen, an old door from Paris that we had made into a barn door in our dining room (because I love a bit of history in my house!), my wine bar (for obvious reasons), and my favorite spot in my entire house is my guest bedroom. I am lucky enough to have my great-grandmother’s two brass beds from the 1800’s, and I created a room around those beds. The room means the world to me, because she has always been one of my personal style icons, and I cherish family heirlooms.

Foursquare Builders

Guest Room

4) Create a list of 3-5 problem areas of your home that drive you crazy.

Biggest problem area for parents I work with is the landing zone inside their main entry point. Trust me, I get it. Me too. And it’s a DAILY struggle. It’s not like once you get organized the kids will follow suit and put things where they go. But if you train them, maybe, just maybe they’ll learn eventually. (I’m still hoping for this). I have one child that no matter what I do, she drops everything on the floor the second she walks in the door… Doesn’t matter that she has a cubby for her shoes and backpack or that we have hooks for coats right by the door. Nope, every single day I have to say, “March right back over here and put this up!” Every day. Seriously. But, at least if you create a space, then there is somewhere for that “stuff” to go, even if you have to constantly remind them.

Okay, okay… I can hear you right now… “But we don’t have a Mudroom or cubbies OR A COAT CLOSET!” You don’t have to. Work with what you’ve got. If you get creative, I guarantee it can be done. There are tons of solutions and ideas on Pinterest. I had a 2 1/2 foot wall in my last house, and hung hooks for jackets, placed a small bench for backpacks and baskets underneath for shoes. TA-DA! Instant landing space.

5) Be realistic about your needs.

I have lied to myself so many times and bought things that are not realistic for my current lifestyle (this is apparently a lesson I don’t learn easily)… My biggest mistake was a grey and white, chevron rug for my living room. I had three kids under the age of 8 at the time, plus 2 dogs and lived in a very wet, and subsequently muddy climate. It was not a good choice. Now, I have a rug that hides everything and actually looks cool the more tattered it gets. Everybody wins. I still make my kids take their shoes off at the door, but now I’m not freaking out at every little speck of dirt, because that’s exhausting!


I hope you found these tips helpful and are that much closer to finding your Home Style!

Next up on the blog… “I think I found my style, now what? How to translate your style into a design.”

— Claire