How to Discover Your Interior Design Style

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How to Discover Your Interior Design Style

The starting point for any interior is first to define what you love, how you live, and what inspires you. Identifying what interior design style or styles you are drawn to is the first step in creating spaces that resonate with you at the deepest level. 

To discover your interior design style and then keep the characteristics of that style top of mind when you are decorating is the best way to help guide your efforts. 

Today I’m going to break down 5 Major Design Personalities and their sub-styles. Each personality has different characteristics that define it. We’ll dive into each of those as well as the interior design styles and trends that fall under each design personality.

Interior design style - collage of all 5 styles

Before we jump into the five design personalities, let’s quickly discuss why it’s so important to define your own interior style in the first place. First and foremost… we all need aesthetic guidelines when designing interior spaces. 

I’m a huge proponent of the “buy what you love” mentality, but we need to frame our interior endeavors with guidelines so that our homes reflect our design style preferences in the best way. 

Entry space
A way to think about this is, for example…

Would you choose to wear a beautiful couture gown to a special event with no makeup, your hair wet from a shower, and flip-flops?? Or would you show up to a day at the beach with your friends in a head-to-toe black leather biker outfit…. I think not. Those outfit and accessory choices would be out of context.

We need to approach decorating our home in the same way… An out-of-context impulse purchase you make that doesn’t really honor your overall aesthetic and style can throw your room out of balance and create unpleasant visual tension…

We need to approach our interiors in a way that takes our personal style preferences, the context of our home, and the character traits that we are drawn to from a particular design personality and use all the references as our guide

to create cohesive spaces that reflect our style. 

So now that we understand how important it is to keep the core principles of our overarching design personality top of mind when decorating…Let’s jump right into the 5 Design Personalities and what characteristics each one possesses. 

The Collector

The first Design Personality I want to cover is what we call “the Collector” This design style is Charming, Cozy, Layered, and Nostalgic. Think Cottagecore, Farmhouse, French Country, Coastal Grandma, Shabby Chic, English Cottage, and even Modern Americana… All of these popular “design styles” fall under “the Collector” umbrella. 

Design styles - the collector collage

The “Collector” is defined by layered interiors with depth and patina. It includes soft welcoming upholstery in classic shapes, antique case goods, and tables made of warm wood tones. It also has layered patterns with soft sepia colors, antiqued mirrors and ceramics, aged brass accessories, and loose, gathered flower arrangements.

The collector living room

The Collector’s home is cozy and welcoming to the core. 

If a relaxed linen-covered chair, a worn wooden table, and a wall full of antique paintings… a pitcher of almost spent roses makes you weak in the knees… then you’re probably a… Collector.

If the collector is your design personality, think through the characteristics defining this style when decorating.

When you are shopping for your space look for:

  • Relaxed upholstery pieces with more traditional silhouettes covered in natural materials such as linen, cotton, velvet, or flax.
  • Antique lighting in patinaed brass, bronze, silver, or zinc
  • Ceramic lamps with pleated fabric shades
  • Wicker baskets and trays
  • Antique wood framed mirrors and oil paintings
  • Accessory collections such as antique candleholders, plates for wall displays, or antique books
  • Antique tables and chests with an aged patinaed wood finish
  • Throw pillows in natural fabrics like linen or cotton with soft, muted colors, delicate patterns, and hand-knotted wool rugs.
The collector kitchen

At the end of the day, if you have the “collector” design personality, you’re motto when decorating should be “Keep it charming,” and if you fill your home with the items I mentioned earlier, your going to create a cozy, welcoming home full of charm and character.

Shop our must-have Collector looks:

The Purist

Okay, let’s move on to the second design style personality, and that’s “The Purist.” This design style is Refined, Minimal, and usually a bit on the Sexy side in a sleek, sophisticated way.

Interior Design Style - the purist collage

This design personality encompasses Minimalist, Industrial, Danish Modern, Scandinavian, Japandi, and Bauhaus design styles. It is defined by highly edited and curated spaces filled with clean-lined furniture and paired-back modern decor.

The Purist - sitting area

The Minimalist interior focuses on quality, not quantity, and this approach gives each furnishings piece in a spacious room to be fully appreciated.

I like to approach this design personality with a focus on sculptural pieces made of luxurious materials to create interest and tension in the design. 

If a streamlined chrome daybed makes your heart skip a beat, you’re probably a “Purist.”

When decorating your spaces for this design personality, look for the following:

  • Streamlined upholstery with modern silhouettes and knife-edge seams 
  • Large-scale abstract art with refined color combinations
  • Modern light fixtures in mixed materials
  • Tonal, textural  rugs made out of natural fibers
  • Sculptural accessories in high-end materials such as stone, metal, plaster, or wood
  • Embracing the power of editing and visual simplicity 
Interior design Style - the purist chair

If you are a Purist, embrace a minimal mindset, although make sure each piece you put in your home is special. Really look at silhouettes and the combination of materials to keep things interesting and artful.

Shop the Purist style:

The Curator

Okay, let’s move on to one of my personal favorite design personalities, the “Curator.” This design personality is all about embracing that “quiet luxury” mindset that’s so popular right now and really focusing in on a holistic approach to a space’s overall design experience down to the last tiny detail. 

Interior Design Style - the curator collage

The “Curator” is Sophisticated, Layered, Luxe, Refined, and Elevated and encompasses design styles such as California Casual, Modern Mediterranean, and Modern Rustic Revival. This design personality is highly curated and thoughtful, evoking refined, soulful spaces.

The curator entry

If your heart skips a bit every time you walk into an Aesop store or if you’re constantly adding to your capsule wardrobe with pieces from “The Row” and you live by the “Quality over Quantity” motto, your design personality is probably the “Curator.” 

If you fall under the “Curator” Design Personality, you will want to approach your interiors in a very thoughtful and holistic way, being mindful of the interplay between each item in your rooms and the collective statement they make.

When decorating your space, look for the following:

  • Artful and unique furniture that has a sculptural quality
  • Fine furniture details, such as wood finishes with unique characters, 
  • solid unlacquered brass plumbing and lighting fixtures and heirloom quality furniture
  • Textural soft goods made from natural fibers such as flax, mohair, linen, and suede
  • Hand-knotted wool or woven natural fiber rugs
  • Original Art framed in a gallery-style mat and frame
  • Vintage accessories with unique character and patina 
The Curator living room

Shop our fav Curator items:

The Traditionalist

Let’s move to the fourth design personality we’re discussing today, and that’s what we call the “New Traditionalist” This design personality is Classic, Chic, Sophisticated, and Timeless. Design styles that fall under the New Traditionalist design personality are

Interior Design Style - the traditionalist collage

English Elegance, Chinoiserie, Hollywood Regency, Grandmillennial, Maximalism, and even a refined version of Modern Americana. 

The Traditionalist living room

New Traditionalists have never met a rolled arm sofa or pleated lampshade they didn’t love, and they proudly display their grandmother’s silver tea service on their faux bamboo bar cart next to the bourbon.

If you swoon over chintz china and are a sucker for tassels you’re probably a “New Traditionalist.”

Things to look for if you have this design personality:

  • Gourd Lamps with pleated shades
  • Tufted rolled-arm sofas 
  • Antique wooden chests with turned legs and brass ferrules
  • Sisal Rugs
  • Ginger Jars and original oil paintings in antique wooden frames
  • Tortoiseshell trays
The Traditionalist Living room

Shop these Traditionalist pieces:

The Free Spirit

Our 5th and final design personality is what we call “the Free Spirit” This design personality gravitates towards soulful, creative, textural, and organic spaces. Which encompasses design styles such as boho chic, eclectic, victorian, and art nouveau.

Interior Design Style - The Free Spirit collage
The free spirit breakfast area

Eclectic and creative to the core, the “Free Spirit” loves to be in spaces that feel layered and organic. They embrace color, mixing styles and incorporating natural motifs and quirky details into their homes.

This personality is one where you can really let loose and be completely free with your creativity. 

Things to gravitate towards if you have a “Free Spirit” design personality are:

  • Well-loved, antique and vintage accessories 
  • Organic, layered color schemes
  • Patterned rugs with stylized natural motifs
  • Sinuous, sculptural-shaped upholstery 
  • Layering fabrics and textures that lean on stylized organic shapes
  • Carved and detailed wood case goods with warm tones
  • Incorporating plants and floral arrangements into your rooms
The Free Spirit living room

Shop some Free Spirit looks:

Okay, design lovers, did you discover your interior design style? Are you the “Collector,” “Purist,” “Curator,” “New Traditionalist,” or “Free Spirit”? Leave a comment below on which personality you relate most too! Please check out the full How to Discover Your Interior Design Style YouTube video and Pinterest Board below.

How to Discover Your Interior Design Style Video Link

Design Styles Pinterest Board

As always, thank you for reading, and remember, good design is for everyone, so create a home that inspires you, have fun decorating your spaces, and fall in love with where you live, one room at a time.

XO, Ashley

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