Find Your True Style in 4 Easy Steps

published Aug 29, 2016
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(Image credit: Ellie Arciaga Lillstrom)

Any design enthusiast can attest: Pinterest is one of the best tools for finding aspirational images and creating a digital dream world full of (sometimes unattainable) beauty for yourself. But with what feels like gazillions of photos to choose from, it can be hard to narrow down which ones are accurate reflections of your personal style, and which ones are just plain pretty and pleasant to look at.

Whether you’re taking on a small decor upgrade or about to tackle a major renovation, knowing your design style preference is essential to creating a cohesive look in your space. So how can you take your curated boards from inspiration to action? We’ve got you covered with this step-by-step guide to finding your true design style—all by studying your favorite Pins.

(Image credit: Adrienne Breaux)

Step 1: Collect (and Edit) Your Inspirational Images

Before you begin reviewing your Pinterest boards, it’s important to take a moment or two to declutter them. Select your board (it can be for general home decor inspiration or a specific room) and eliminate any images that you aren’t totally in love with. For this purpose, you’re looking to assemble those instinctual, I-absolutely-have-to-this-right-now images that instantly instill a feeling of home. Ask yourself, “Can I see this in my space?” and “Does this image evoke comfort? Serenity? Joy?”

Tip: Use the Related Pins function to easily find images that are similar in look and feel.

(Image credit: Kim Marcelo)

Step 2: Find Commonalities

Once you’ve edited your board, study the images to find a common theme that leads you to your design style preference. The key here is to find reappearing patterns that you can realistically implement in your own home. Note the following:

  • Color: What kind of palettes reappear in the images you’ve saved? Are you seeing muted or neutral tones? Bold color? No color whatsoever?
  • Items: Look for a specific item or combination of accessories/decor that keep appearing.
  • Materials: Are there lots of rustic wood beams? How about sleek façades with glass and steel?
  • Space: Is each room filled to the brim with vintage finds? Is it minimalistic with only the essential furnishings? Notice how each room is utilized.
  • Textures: Observe the fabrics in each image. Are there cozy textiles like lambswool or silk? How about a sophisticated dash of velvet or leather?
(Image credit: Kate Bowie Carruth )

Step 3: Reflect

Once you’ve made your observations, it’s time to review. Ignore brand names, potential costs, and trends for just a moment and consider how your fine-tuned board makes you feel. What is the overall vibe you’ve created? Jot down three to five adjectives that describe the board as a whole.

(Image credit: Bethany Nauert)

Step 4: Define Your Style

Finally, use the details and moods you’ve observed to categorize your preference as—or having elements of—one or more design styles.

  • Contemporary: Think simple lines, open floor plans, and quirky shapes that reflect what’s now and of-the-moment.
  • Eclectic: This style features whimsical, mix-and-match patterns and textures, bright jolts of color, and plenty of flair. You may be eclectic if when you look back at your curated pins, you actually can’t pinpoint a clear style.
  • Modern: All about minimalism with natural materials and clean lines.
  • Traditional: Taking inspiration from the past, traditional style incorporates antique furnishings, elegant finishes, and classic design.
  • Glamorous: This one is all about luxe textures, glitzy metals and chic/stylish furnishings.
  • Bohemian: Did you spot explosions of plants, globally inspired textiles, and a laissez-faire approach to furniture arranging?

Once you’ve identified your style, you can consider this Pinterest board to be your master mood board, if you will, for any design or décor projects to come. Happy pinning!

Speaking of Pinterest, do you follow Apartment Therapy?