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Your Design Flavor: The Ultimate Guide to Discovering Your Unique "Design Style"

Hi ya, aspiring design enthusiasts! We suspect if you've landed here, you may be feeling some of the below:

1. You are try to improve your home, piece by piece (us too, girl!!), but it doesn't feel super intentional yet?

2. You're ready to make some design changes in your home, and not sure where to start?
3. Your space doesn't really feel like a reflection of you and you're not sure why?

4. You've been lucky enough to receive furniture and decor from friends or family but it's not vibing?

If you're still reading - then you need to hear this: This is SO common! Amazon, Target, and even now TikTok Shop make it easy to buy something the internet is buzzing about, but when you bring it home you may have no idea how to style it. It can feel so defeating to spend time and money on something that doesn't add a ton of value to your space. If any of this resonates with you, I would like to share the steps, as a designer, I would take to define my "design style" and make better design decisions. Here are a few of our design tips and tricks we want to let you in on.

Why Finding Your Unique Design Style Matters

Unveiling your design style isn't just about defining what search criteria to use to better find what you're looking for (i.e. googling "mid-century modern couch"). It's about aligning your personality and, most importantly, your lifestyle with your space. The goal is ALWAYS for you to walk into a room that feels like an extension of yourself - one that you're proud to show off. Even before it's "done." For the design DIY'er, your home or space may never be * done *, and that's totally okay. We hope this guide for finding your unique design style helps make the process - the "before done" - a little bit more enjoyable, less stressful, and maybe even a bit of fun.

What is a Design Style

When we talk about design style, we mean your personal flavor. Think - all vibes, no thoughts. Don't over think it! There are likely 3-6+ design styles that resonate with you and that's even better. That means you're all the more flavorful! So don't get caught up on naming conventions - and focus on what design elements do I like to cook with to create a flavor that is uniquely me?

For example, my favorite ingredients are walnut wood, traditional rugs, landscape art, brass accents, 50 shades of green, and woven window treatments.

My unique design style (flavor!) is a mix of transitional furnishings, vintage art, and modern lighting.

Let's get into some common design styles so you can better identify what you like and why. (If this was Design 101 with Professor Porter, that's something you'd want to earmark.)

15 Common Interior Design Styles

I'll say it again for the people in the back - much more important than knowing what your design style is called is knowing what you like when you see it and why. It's not about memorizing fancy names; but we're all about learning here, so we've pulled together 15 common design styles we love to pull influence from:

Self-Reflection: Let's Get Personal

Now that you're a bit more familiar with some common styles - and at the risk of sounding cheesy - let's look a little inward. A room that fills you to the brim with housepride * Swann Street Interiors patent pending ;) * should reflect not just what's trendy or fashionable but, more importantly, what feels right for you. It should align with your daily life, your routines, and your unique personality.

To hone in on your design style, reflect on the following design ingredients (or aspects):
  1. Color Preferences: Think about the colors that resonate with you. Are you drawn to calming neutrals, vibrant and energetic hues, or soft pastels? Hate purple? Love mustard?

  2. Texture and Materials: What types of textures and materials appeal to you? Do you love boucle and hate velvet? Intimidated but enamored by leather? Prefer silver?

  3. Emotional Associations: How do you want your guests to feel in this space? The most common adjectives our clients use to describe how they want to feel in their space are - cozy, airy, inviting, and low maintenance.

  4. Lifestyle and Functionality: How you plan to use the space is probably the most important thing to consider (your unique design flavor may vary from room to room). Are you a ESFJ who loves entertaining guests? A homebody who needs a cozy oasis? Do you have a posy of pets or little ones to consider? Jot down all the ways people and function may impact your design choices.

  5. Collections and Personal Treasures: Take a look at any collections or personal treasures you have. Whether it's artwork, antiques, or travel souvenirs, your cherished items can reveal some trends.

  6. Architectural Features: Some features of your home may be distinctly a design style. Do you have rustic beams, farmhouse shiplap, tudor-style arches, or traditional wood modeling? You'll want to take stock of what is in your space already.

Explore Design Inspiration: Look Around

Next up, let's go hunting for inspiration. Head to Pinterest, scroll through design blogs, and begin saving images of spaces that speak to you - this is where your unique style will start to emerge. Search things like "Living room that feels modern and inviting for entertaining large groups of people" or "Bedroom that feels cozy and intimate for reading a good book."

To get started, head to Pinterest and search for: (room type) that feels (emotion) for (your usage)

Or head to the Swann Street Interiors Pinterest and save items we've curated for you!

Save Some Products: Your Personal Shop

Here's the secret sauce: The more you click & save, the better your Discover, For You, and personalized ads will be. See something you love? Share it to your Pinterest board. The algorithm will work its magic and show you more drool-worthy products.

Create a Mood Board: Your Visual Braindump

Now that you’ve collected inspiration, products, colors, and textures that resonate with you, begin piecing together something that speaks to YOU! You don't need to be a pro for this. Print and cut, use PowerPoint, or find an app with a good "Background Removing" feature (we swear by Canva, Moodpholio, and DesignFiles).

Analyze Your Findings: Identify Common Themes

As you review your mood board and design inspiration, you'll start to notice common themes. What colors, patterns, and styles keep reappearing? Are there certain Designers or Accounts your drawn too? How do they describe their unique flavor? What ingredients do they commonly use?

Again, you don’t even need to define or self-prescribe to a formal design style as long as you can - say it with me - know what you like and why! Hopefully after analyzing your inspiration, you can describe your style using a similar format:
I am drawn to _ colors, _ fabrics, _ patterns, _ wood tones, and _ metals. I don’t prefer _, _, or _. I like _walls and furniture that feels _and _. I’d love to collect pieces that _.

Incorporate Your Style Into Your Space: Make It Yours

With your style defined, it's time to make practical design decisions. Select furniture, colors, and decor items that align with your unique design flavor!

While honing in our your design flavor will help you feel more confident, there are dozens of decisions, measurements, and colors to assess with designing a space and sometimes we all get stuck (yes, even us!). Being able to bounce ideas off of someone to avoid decision fatigue and alleviate the stress of sometimes costly purchases can be invaluable!

P.S. We'd love to be that person for you! Did you know we offer 30-minute design consultations?

Your Unique Design Journey: Share with us!

Congratulations, you've just embarked on your design journey! As you discover, define, and embrace your design flavor, we promise your home will start to feel more cohesive and like a reflection of you.

We'd love to hear about your discoveries and design adventures. Share your thoughts, questions, mood boards, or even your unique design style in the comments below. And remember, we're here to support you on your design journey. Let's make your dream home a reality!


Halie P.

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