How to find your interior design style in 3 simple steps

Do you have trouble naming your interior style? Don’t worry, you’re not alone. A lot of people struggle to define their style and put the things they like into words.
I’m a big believer that defining your style and saying it’s modern or transitional or Scandinavian doesn’t matter. It’s more important to understand the different elements, being able to find things you like because you’re able to describe them rather than label them.

Let me give you a simple tip to make it easier for you in the future:

STOP TRYING TO PUT A LABEL ON YOUR STYLE!

It is totally ok not to put one name to the interior design style you like because maybe you like elements from different styles. Maybe your taste changes every now and then. Maybe you see inspiration and go “oh, I love that!” but it’s not how your home looks. And that’s ok!

Instead of trying to put a label on your interior design style, try describing the things you love instead. But how do you find your interior design style in the end? By following these 3 simple steps!

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How to find your interior design style

Hi, I’m Nadine

Interior design expert, globetrotter and the creative mind behind this blog and NH.DESIGN.

I’m originally from Germany but have been living abroad for over 10 years, from Canada and the UK to Sweden.

So I ask myself the question what “home” means every day.
I have made it my mission to help as many people as possible to find their own answer to this.

Join my creative world on Instagram @nhdotdesign or find out more about me

Step 1: Collect pictures of interiors you love

Maybe you’re wondering now how you should find pictures if you don’t know your style yet. Keep it simple, one step at a time. Start by simply scrolling through Pinterest or Instagram and see what catches your attention. Without paying too much attention to details or worrying if things will fit together at the end, just save everything you like onto a Pinterest board. 

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Pro Tip

Save about 20-30 pictures for starters, otherwise it easily becomes overwhelming.

Once you collected your inspiration pictures it’s time to start analysing them to find key words that describe them.

Step 2: Find key words to describe things you like (and don't like, too)

Finding the right words to describe the things you like about an interior is the first step.
It’s also the first thing you do when you’re creating a Mood Board to visualise a space so it’s not a surprise that you should also start finding your interior design style this way.

When you’re trying to describe the things you like it’s easy to fall back into the habit of trying to use “interior design terms”, like “oh, I like Scandinavian”.
But that would be trying to put a label on it again.

Instead, use words that describe the overall look, feeling and materials you like and want to create, like “bright” or “natural materials”.

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Pro Tip

You can also find inspiration pictures you like on Pinterest or Instagram and describe the things you like about the pictures.

Choose key words to describe interior elements you like to find your interior design style.

Here’s an example of how to start describing things you like without actually using “designer lingo”:

  • I like the warm, natural wood and colours.
  • I also like the contrast of the white walls with the dark floor and that there are no bold colours in this interior.
  • I love the details of the floor (the herringbone, but if you don’t know this term it’s fine to just call it details or pattern) and I’m also a fan of the fluted coffee table.

But there are also things I don’t like, which is equally important to know to find your personal interior design style.
For example, I’m not a big fan of the velvet fabric of the sofa or the cushions.

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    Step 3: Refine your interior style(s)

    You now have a bank of images and words that describe things you love. Now it’s time to put them together, refine them and find out about your interior design style.

    But first, I will say it again and again and again: there is no need to put a label on your interior style!
    As long as you know what you love it’ll be easier for you to find inspiration and elements to include in your home. It’s more important to be aware of the things you love and why than being able to label them (unless you’re The Home Edit, then labelling is probably in your DNA). But jokes aside, putting pressure on yourself to name your interior style just restricts your choices because you might love a piece of furniture or decor but think “oh, this isn’t modern farmhouse, I can’t use it.” But there are always ways to work with different interior styles and elements, keep reading to find out.

    Have a look at your inspiration images again and see how they all work together.
    Do they? Or are they all over the place?

    Does your inspiration work well together?

    If the interior images you love and saved work well together (which is very much a gut feeling and not an actual science), congratulations!

    Keep those key words and images in mind when you’re making changes at home.
    Always look at all your inspiration, like on a Mood Board, and see how all the elements work together.

    And with your key words you’ll be able to find more inspiration that’ll look good with what you already have.
    But also remember that your taste and interior style can change, and that’s perfectly fine.

    What if your inspiration is all over the place?

    In that case it’s time to analyse your inspiration images and find out what’s happening.

    Most often we save images we love because it’s already a cohesive look but then we also fall in love with another, seemingly completely different, look. 
    That’s when you should look at your inspiration images and analyse them a little more closely.

    Are there similar elements in different interior styles you like, like colours or materials?
    Are you drawn to specific forms or shapes?
    Or is it the function of the room that steers the look, like moody bedrooms vs light and airy living rooms?

    It’s important to know what it is about an interior that you like and don’t like, but it’s also important to know why that is. Once you know the answers to these things it’ll be easier to find your interior design style.

    And if you’re stuck or feel overwhelmed, I’m always happy to help you to find your interior style with my virtual design service “Ask a Designer”.

    Bonus: How to mix different interior styles

    You’ve probably noticed by now that I’m not a huge fan of being limited to only one interior style. I like mixing different ones and creating unique interiors. But of course, I also do this for a living.

    So what if you’re not a designer with years of experience?

    One simple trick is to mix different styles, like a modern base with traditional or vintage elements. The rule of thumb here is to have one, more dominant, style and to mix in elements of another. I would also recommend sticking to 2 styles when mixing, otherwise it can easily look unbalanced and all over the place.

    Read how to mix styles like a pro with this guide, Japandi interior design style explained.

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    Pro Tip

    Start with a neutral and timeless base, like materials and main furniture pieces. Then add feature walls, smaller pieces and accessories which are easier to change.

    With these design tips it’s easy to find your own unique interior design style.

    Thanks for reading!
    If you enjoyed this post, follow along for more interior design tips and inspiration on my Instagram @nhdotdesign and sign up for my Welcome Home Letter.

    Take care, Nadine

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