5 Tips for Pinpointing Your Decorating Design Style

As discussed on the Pete and Brenda Lifestyle Radio Show, June 16th 2010, 12:40pm and 9:40pm PST    

A few days ago I was asked how a single person, or a couple who disagree, should go about figuring out their design style for a room, as well as an entire home.  I have narrowed down the answer to 5 tips for finding your interior decorating design style…    

1.  Look at the era of your home:  Be sure to take this into consideration.  If you live in a traditional home in the country, modern decor could look really out of place.  Conversely, if  you live in a modern high rise in the city, a country-western style would look off.  However, you can mix and match styles, but it needs to be done right.   For example, in this very traditional room below, chic furniture pieces with a modern twist have been added…     

Eclectic dining room by Steven Miller


You can put modern furnishings in a traditional building/home,  but be consistent in what you do.      

A current trend is to add elements of surprise to your decor, and this can help to keep all your furniture pieces from appearing too matchy-matchy.  By elements of surprise, I’m referring to furnishings that take you by surprise, something that you normally wouldn’t expect to see in a room.  For example, notice the modern clear acrylic (ghost) chairs mixed in with these traditional surroundings below.  This is a trend many designers have been drawn to for a little while, (as well as zebra rugs), but it gets the idea across…    

Traditional, eclectic dining room by David Bromstad


2. Consider the style of the furnishings you already have and want to keep:   If you’ve inherited furnishings of a certain style that you want to keep but aren’t your style, perhaps you could put them in a guest bedroom and limit the style to that one room.  For example your grandmother’s Victorian style furnishings could be contained in one room that follows that theme.     

3. Find examples of rooms in magazines that you like:  Notice the style of the rooms that appeal to you.  As I’ve mentioned before, a great website resource that combines several great shelter magazine images in various design styles can be found by browsing the idea homes on the Kohler Website.     

4. Find inspiration in favorite places you’ve visited:  Perhaps there is a hotel you’ve stayed at and loved.  Look at the style of the motel rooms as well as the lobby for inspiration.  Is it sleek and modern in the city?  Is it tropical in Fiji?  Is it a bed and breakfast in the wine country?   Or did you fall more in love with an outside viewpoint, such as a mountain drive, a trip to Tuscany, or the beach.  Use photos from these locations for color inspiration, as well as design style.  These experiences can tell you  a lot about which interior design style will make you happy.     

Perhaps you fell in love with the wine country and great memories of a trip:     

Wine country inspired diningroom


If hiking, fishing, and trips to the mountains are your thing, perhaps rustic, lodge-like surroundings are more your style…     

Rustic living room design style


Rustic style living room


 If staying in chic downtown motel is something you love, you may enjoy more of a modern chic look in your interior decor…     

Downtown chic inspiration


Modern interior by Heidi Toll


Or was it a trip to the French country side that inspires you most…     

French country style from the Street of Dreams, Portland, OR


Antique Louis French Bed


5.  Take a design style quiz…     

Design Style Quiz      

While taking this quiz, picture the way that you would want your kitchen to look as you answer the questions.     

 1. What feeling are you trying to create?     

A. Formal     

B. Cozy     

C. Dramatic     

2. What magazine would you like it pictured in?     

A. Traditional Home     

B. Country Home     

C. Architectural Digest    

3. What kind of ceiling?    

A. Nine foot high with crown molding     

B. A natural finished wood plank ceiling     

C. Vaulted ceiling with skylight     

4. Which of the following architectural features would you have?     

A. A brick fireplace     

B. A stone fireplace surrounded by built-in bookcases     

C. A wall of glass block     

5. What color of carpet would you have?     

A. A neutral color     

B. A soft muted color     

C. Stark white or deep in rich colors     

6. What would you choose for a sofa?     

A. Loose back cushioned or a camel back     

B. Skirted country sofa or a Victorian settee     

C. Sectional or two love seats     

7. The coffee table would be?     

A. A wood table in a satin finish     

B. An old trunk     

C. A glass topped table on a verdigris base     

8. At the window you would select…     

A. Drapery panels and sheers     

B. Wood shutters     

C. Cornices over cellular shades     

9. When do you use your living room?     

A. For company only     

B. For a quiet retreat away from the children     

C. All the time     

10. What type of wallpaper would you have?     

A. Tone on tone stripes     

B. Medium scale floral     

C. Faux finish like marbleized or combing     

11. What would be your focal point?     

A. Window treatment     

B. Grandfather clock     

C. Ebony grand piano     

12. What one thing would you like people to say about your living room?     

A. “This is a beautiful room.”     

B. “How warm and cozy your room looks.”     

C. “WOW!!”     


Ask: “What is the letter you chose most?”     

A’s: Timeless Traditions     

  • America’s number one style!
  • You’re a stable, not impulsive buyer.
  • Once you find a place for your furniture – it stays!
  • You enjoy a soft blending of different style of decorating.
  • You like a balanced mix of upholstered pieces and wood pieces
  • Quality is uppermost in all your home furnishings purchases.
  • It’s likely that you’ll have a gallery wall somewhere in your home filled with family photos.
  • You undoubtedly have at least one “collection” displayed in your home.
  • You are a gracious hostess and require a certain amount of formality.
  • Decorating for the holidays may be one of your passions.

B’s: Country Living     

  • You tend to be a very sensitive person.
  • You enjoy surrounding yourself with soft colors and textured fabrics.
  • Antique shopping is a passion – as well as rummaging through flea markets.
  • You enjoy utilizing fabric in your window treatments.
  • You tend to be a bit more open minded in your design ideas.
  • Your home would tend to be filled with collectibles and needlepoint and cross stitch samplers.
  • You prefer a more casual and informal lifestyle.
  • Your personality determines if your country style has an American, French or English flavor or is a blended mix.

C’s: Trend Setting     

  •  You enjoy the latest in fashion.
  •  Your purchases tend to be rather impulsive.
  •  You boast a dramatic personality.
  •  In design, you prefer a sharp contrast in style and color.
  •  You tend to be a risk taker.
  •  Your home might be filled with sculptures, impressionist artwork, and dramatic furniture that you chose to make a signature statement.
  •  Your favorite shelter magazine is apt to be “Architectural Digest”.

Equal numbers of “A’s, B’s and C’s: Eclectic     

  • You enjoy mixing all three styles into one cohesive design plan.
  • Your interests are wide ranging.
  • You are into all of the arts.

Decorating Den Systems, Inc. Copyright © 2007    

Other decorating design style quizzes:    

What Is Your Decorating Personality?    

What Style Bedroom Is Best for You?    

What’s Your Color Personality?

5 Responses to “5 Tips for Pinpointing Your Decorating Design Style”
  1. That’s an amazing post. Thanks a lot

  2. Zachariah Granville says:

    Very helping tips. keep it up.

  3. Christy says:

    These are great ideas to pinpoint your decorating style. I am particularly a fan of finding inspiration in places you’ve visited as well as pictures in magazines that appeal to you. Your personal style should be the greatest inspiration in decorating any room. I found the quiz quite helpful!!

    Publisher, Headboarddepot.com

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  1. […] For more detailed tips on pinpointing your decorating style, please refer to this post. […]

  2. […] For more detailed tips on pinpointing your decorating style, please refer to this post. […]

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