Two ways to know your interior design style


You likely heard that advice to determine your interior design style; you must gather pictures that speak to you. 

Well, that doesn't work. Images that speak to you may express many different things. And none of them could have anything to do with your style. They could say: "Be like me!" Or: "You will be trendy!" Or: " This is safe. don't go out of your comfort zone." Or " people will be envious."

But let's face it, we are inundated with images that speak to you because of the dopamine-churning machine in your brain. The brain will search out what is new, different, and exciting to get that hit. And it is leading you astray.

Nothing to do with your style.

Let's say you have amassed many images for your future house or remodel, Or are you just looking for a new sofa. Or tea cups; it doesn't matter. How to know if something is your authentic style? How to know you are not wasting money on something you will not love?

I use one trick and one gut exercise. 

The trick is this: Look at the photos or the inspiration you have and are considering. And imagine this: you are handed the keys to this house for a holiday stay; it is not yours. You are there for a week. 

Are you happy that week? Do you feel at ease? Are you enjoying yourself? Are you blissfully wandering around with a massive smile on your face? And let's say that you cannot post pictures of this house; nobody will ever know that you are and have been there. This is important. Otherwise, you might go for one that will get you those likes. 

Picture yourself in that photo, sitting at the table sipping your coffee, making dinner, taking a shower, lounging on the sofa, and walking into the door. 

Now you might think, all these houses are gorgeous, I would be happy anywhere. But try it; it distances you from the dopamine hit you get when looking at the new, the shiny, and the lux, turning that picture into objective reality. By positioning yourself inside, living in the space, without the responsibility,  this is someone else's space; you will be able to judge it. And feel the sensation of being there. 

I might like a photo, but when I imagine myself being there, I might feel uncomfortable, bored, and overwhelmed. Or I might feel elated. Give it a try; for me, it is always quite revealing.

The second way to determine your authentic style is to rely on your gut. Again, you have to move away from that dopamine-churning machine. Go through your Pinterest, photo albums, or whatever you have, and ask yourself: Do you love it? And I mean, do you LOVE  it? You may like it. Or admire it. Or envy it. Or are mesmerized by it. Or are you intrigued? Or you wish you could be the person with a house like that. 

All these other reasons are grounds to discard it. You will only take that image as a real inspiration when you love it, and you will feel it; the photo makes you giddy. Delighted. If it feels or you think anything else, even if it is positive, discard it. In the end, the images you are left with might not be trendy; they may be weird or surprising. And you will resist because you want to choose the fashionable thing, the thing everyone else likes, so you have to be honest with yourself: Do you love it?  

Oh, and when remodeling, always start with a mood board; it will keep you consistent. This is one for The Pine Treehouse; I want it to feel like my favorite jeans, cashmere sweater, and sneakers, classic, easy, and comfortable.

How easy is it to stick to your authentic style? Do you struggle with it, or have you honed in on it?