Finding your design style

Style can be a very elusive factor – one
person’s dream home can be another person’s idea of a nightmare. Faced with a
redecorating project, many of us lose heart, trying to visualize how a whole
room, let alone a whole house, might look when finished. It can be

All these choices and decisions to be made:
what colours of paint should I pick? How do I know what furniture I want?

Should window treatments match furniture?
It can seem like there are more questions than answers!

Ironically, I began writing this article
the day I found out that I had successfully purchased a new home. So I am now
about to put my own theories into practice. Writing this article made me start
getting really excited about what I can do with my new home. And remember,
redecorating should be exciting. Planning colour schemes, choosing materials
and finding the right pieces of furniture are fun once you figure out which
design style best suits you, your lifestyle, and how you want your home to
function for you.

The first thing to know is that with
interior design there are no right or wrong answers and there is a design style
for everyone. The first criteria I consider when thinking of design is that my
home must be a haven, an oasis from all the craziness life throws at us every
day. But creating that ‘oasis’ is different for everyone. Some of us like to be
surrounded by things that we love, while others abhor clutter and take a
minimalist approach. This means using common sense as well as thinking of
style, if you are a couple with young children, white carpets would seem to be
an obvious no-no.

To find out what style you might want does
not mean you have to know all about the latest in interior design. All you have
to do is ask yourself some simple questions.

Do you follow trends? 

Do you enjoy wearing bold colours or do you
find yourself favouring neutrals?  Are
you traditional, contemporary or a little bit country?  Do you invest in items you love, like your
car, a purse or your clothes?  I
absolutely love the colour red – I own a big red hand-bag, a pair of red shoes
and almost always paint my toenails red. 
This does not mean that I am also going to paint all my walls red, but
it does tell me that I’m comfortable with bold colours and accessories that
make a statement. 

Understanding yourself is one aspect in
defining style. The other is understanding your surroundings. The space in
which you live, work, play and drive can say a lot about you, as this is the
place where you relax and are really yourself.

Art can say a lot

Art is a very good way of working out your
style – The fact is that art, unlike your sofa, doesn’t serve any purpose other
than to bring you pleasure.  The pieces
of art that surround you are one of the best indicators of your style. Which
pieces do you love the most?  A graphic
print in a clean frame likely means that contemporary design is for you, while
a garden scene in a distressed wooden frame says country casual.

Using similar pieces

Do you have more than one item of the same
shape, colour or style around your house? 
Using the same style of area rug or the same colour in your accessories
throughout your home says a lot about your tastes and, therefore, about your
design style.

Is there one piece that stands out from all
the rest?  Take a good look because the
chances are this is indicative of a style you like but are a little afraid of.

Have you recently bought something new for
your home?  The impulsive purchase of a
lamp that you never thought you would like but somehow do, or new pillows for
your sofa that have a con-temporary print? 
The last thing you bought for your home is a terrific indicator of your

Does all of your furniture have clean lines
and are all your surfaces free from clutter? 
Are there similar colours in your paint, your accessories, and your art?
Similarities in colour, shape and scale can unite your space and tell you a
great deal about your style.

Do you have a favourite room in your
house?  What is it about that space that
you like the most?  If it’s a space you
created, do it again; having similarly designed rooms can bring a calm and serene
feeling to your house.

Knowing what you like

Using this check list, I love spaces that
are comfortable, calming and welcoming; calming colours, natural elements and
absolutely a fabulous punch of colour; spaces where I can lounge about and
relax but also entertain an important guest. So knowing what you like and, just
as importantly, what you don’t, will help you make design choices that work for
you. Also, it stops you making expensive mistakes so will save money in the
long run. But this is just the start. In my next article I will explore
fundamental design styles in more detail and start to put together the pieces
that will help you on the journey to create a home you truly love.

Thomson is business development manager at Woods Furniture & Design Ltd.