How to find your interior design style

I’ve never thought too much about what my interior design style actually is; I’ve never really had to. During my university years I lived with my best friends in a house near campus. Our “style” was basically whatever hand-me-down furniture we could get (and a subscription to Cosmo magazine- the early 20 year old’s bible). After university I moved back home while I figured out what I wanted to do with my life. Then my hubs and I started dating and I slowly began staying at his place more and more until we were married, and then I officially moved in. My hubs’ condo was his bachelor pad with furniture pieces I knew I wouldn’t have picked for myself, but at the same time I was more interested in travelling and date nights so I wasn’t looking to change anything – my money was being put towards other things. But in 2017, that all changed.

2017 is when we moved from downtown Toronto to the suburbs. We moved from a 700 sq ft condo to a three bedroom house and needless to say all of our furniture fit into one room! The house echoed, felt cold and the empty space was overwhelming. All of this was adding to my anxiety and depression – I had major buyers remorse. I thought we had made the worst decision of our lives by leaving the city I loved so much. I cried for two weeks straight and I lost my appetite and enough weight that it was noticeable. So we began to buy furniture pieces and furnish the house, but we styled it very quickly (too quickly, actually) mainly because I needed this house to feel like a home and that meant adding furniture so the rooms stopped echoing.

I didn’t put much thought into what we were buying other than measuring for space, making sure our couches were comfy enough to fall asleep on and that they matched our colour pattern of the house. We were doing grey tones…. so at first, everything we bought was grey. Grey couch, grey carpets, grey coffee tables. Grey everything. Coming down the stairs one day and looking into the living room I literally stopped and said to myself, “it looks like we live in a black and white movie.” I knew something had to be done.

I knew I liked certain aspects of different styles and because I spent far too much time watching HGTV, I had a general understanding of what the different styles were. But I also thought that just because I liked elements of a specific style it meant I liked that style, or that it was ‘my’ style – but I knew that just because I liked elements and pieces of mid century modern didn’t mean I wanted to live in a 70’s revival living room. I also really liked the textures of boho style but I didn’t like how beige and bland most of the designs were.

It’s taken me four years of Pinterest boards, LTK Home and other IG interior design accounts for me to figure out what my design style actually is, and it’s two: grand millennial and Parisian eclectic. I’ve always been obsessed with everything french since my first trip to France in 2006. I loved googling Parisian home interiors, so I really shouldn’t have been surprised that Parisian eclectic was a style I could get behind. Grand millennial is relatively knew, but I love mixing older looking/vintage pieces with new and more modern pieces. I currently have a settee that belonged to my great-grandmother that I cannot wait to get reupholstered once we find a permanent home for it.

So, what’s your style?

When trying to figure out your interior design style, start with what you already like. In terms of your clothing, what do you look for? More neutral pieces or do you love bold colours? Do you tend to lean towards silhouettes like pencil skirts or A-lines? Or are you more fashion forward? That will help you narrow down if you are purist when it comes to traditional styles or if you like a more modern look.

And think about the different decades and what you like about them – not just in terms of fashion, but do you like the makeup of a certain decade, the kitchen trends, the music, etc. Narrowing down a decade can also help when looking for fun accent pieces to add to your space.

Then look at current interior design styles and what you like about them – it could be only one or two aspects and you might find that those aspects overlap with other types of interior design styles. And don’t forget to think about what types of styles you don’t like. I am not a fan of farmhouse style (sorry Fixer Upper) or even the Scandinavian look.

Then spend hours and hours searching Pinterest and finding bloggers that have style elements you like 😛 but that is exactly how I did it. I started pinning different styles and layouts and then I tried to figure out what each had in common (bold colours, vintage furniture mixed in with modern pieces, etc.) This took a while, as I wasn’t even sure what I was looking for at first.

Switching up my current look

My goal now is to update our home in the most economic way as possible – because telling my hubs I want to get all new furniture even though our current furniture is less than 5 years old isn’t going to go over very well. Luckily I’m all for selling and buying on FB marketplace, second hand finds and vintage shops.

I happened to luck out by finding two bloggers whose styles are completely different but I love their homes and take aspects from each (it also helps that they each have an LTK account and I can buy the exact piece).

I’m doing this on a room-by-room basis and taking my time to make sure I am 100% committed to the vision. So far the only hiccup has been receiving a 9×12 carpet instead of the 8×10 I ordered, but that’s an easy fix.

xoxo Kells

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