How to Define your Home Decor Style

Last week I had you dig deep to discover your home decorating style.

By now, you should have a good idea of what you love in your space and why, as well as what you don’t love and why. The why is important because, people, we are focusing on feelings here. Specifically keying in on the good feelings you get from the space and doing more of that.

Having thought about this will really help you with the next step (get ready to dive into it today) which is defining your home decor style and taking the first step to editing what you have.

how to define your home decor style

I’m also hoping that if you have to consider someone else’s opinions when it comes to decorating your home (I know- not always fun,) that they too are on board and took a bit of time to discover their style.

 

I know when we were in the discovery stage I mentioned that I didn’t want you to get hung up with too many interior design guru technical terms because let’s be real here, they can make you feel like you aren’t on the right track if you belong in more than one style category. But we are going to take what we discovered about our personal home decor style and put it into words today. Yep, we are going to define your home decor style.

Don’t be scared. It will help you in the long run.

Why do you need to define your home decor style?

For a couple really solid reasons, actually.

Defining your home decor style will…

  • Make all decorating decisions easier. Yes. All of them. Decisions like what to keep and what to let go of, what bigger design elements or projects you may want to start saving for, and most importantly if you really NEED that pretty pillow that called your name in HomeGoods because it will add to your space appropriately, or if you just appreciate it for it’s beauty. In other words, it will help you edit your choices and not let you end up with a bunch of things that look good, but don’t make sense together. #leaveitontheshelf
  • It will help you understand how to comingle the various styles represented in your household. It is possible to have more than one style present in a home and actually it is really important to do so because it creates a ton of interest and ends up telling the story of everyone who lives there.
  • And lastly, it will allow you to know which ideas and inspiration to actually act on because you will have a guidelines. Not every awesome idea or look needs to make it into your home decor.

A quick lesson in some main home decor styles.

For the sake of keeping it simple we are going to stick with just 3 main home decor styles because most people fall into the different degrees of these home decor styles.

Traditional or Classic

Traditional or classic home decor is full of details.

  • Lots of furniture with curves like rolled sofa arms, tufting, and curved legs on tables.
  • Floral or organic patterns which mimic those same curves.
  • Items are typically placed in pairs like matching table lamps on either side of the sofa.
  • The color palette is often muted.
  • The classic end of the spectrum typically includes a lot of dark wood tones.

traditional home decor

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Modern

In modern home decor you’ll find a lot of clean lines and not a lot of detail.

  • Not a lot of texture.
  • Asymmetrical layout.
  • Limited use of accessories.
  • Use of graphic patterns with clean lines.

modern

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Rustic or Insustrial/ Urban

Rustic and industrial home decor includes a lot of texture and nods to unfinished or raw materials.

  • tons of texture: wood, stone, metal.
  • exposed elements like wiring, pipes, brick walls, and beams.
  • non-functional re purposed items used as decorative accessories or features.

rustic industrial loft

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Ok. So now you’re probably thinking, “Corey, there are elements to each one of those that I like.” I totally get it. Me too!

Go back to the style file that you created last week and see if what you collected leans toward one of these 3 home decor styles.

Keep in mind that there are definite variations and degrees of each of these styles. Focus on the elements that I listed for you under each style and see which of those elements pops up most frequently in what you collected or in your favorite room.

Writing your definition:

Start with the overall feeling you want in your room.

  • the feeling you want the space to have
  • the main decor style (from above) you were drawn to the most
  • the runner up decor style from above or your significant other’s winner.

Here’s mine as an example…

Comfortable Modern Traditional

Clean lines are definitely my go to when it comes to choosing the larger (expensive) items for my home, and you know I’m a sucker for geometric patterns, but I definitely don’t want my home to feel stark or cold. Instead I want it to feel comfortable and adding in some elements of traditional decor will bring out that feeling because there will be some details thrown in that I also love.

For example. The sofa in my family room is charcoal grey with square arms (super clean lines.) It sits on a large area rug with a graphic pattern (also clean lines,) but the cabinetry on our build in has some detail on the doors, which adds just a hint of traditional and brings in some comfort.

We’ll get to putting everything together next week, but for now it is time to take your definition and use it to edit what you have.

Using your home decor style to edit what you have

First things first. We are going to be combing through one space in your home and making some (possibly tough) decisions about what to keep and what to part ways with.

Do me a favor. Don’t start with the most difficult room in your home. Practice and baby steps are the key here people.

Instead, start with a room that is almost there, or heck, start in your favorite room (that is if there are at least a few things you would change.)

Second things second. Everything that you keep must fall into one of these categories:

  • beautiful (what is beautiful to you may not be to others and the other way around, so play nice.)
  • useful or functional
  • sentimental

And third. What you decide to keep in the space must also fall within the guidelines of the style you just defined. For me that would mean that everything I keep should elicit comfort, have elements of modern design, or traditional design.

So, let’s play savor or scrap!

Start by sorting everything in the space into 3 categories.

1 – Can’t live without it.

This means that you love the dang thing. It either makes your life easier in some way (functional) or you can not imagine your home without it.

Tip: We have a tendency to put too many things in this category. Especially when it comes to sentimental things. On your first comb through your space don’t over think, but do only put something in this category if you truly love it, not just appreciate it or feel guilty for parting with it.

2- It adds personality or style to the space.

These are usually those more decorative items that help tell your story or showcase your style. You may have picked it up at HomeGoods or Target (so it isn’t necessarily sentimental) but it is beautiful and goes with the style you are after. (Hint: Does it have the elements listed under your style guidlines?)

3- It’s out of here.

If you are struggling with narrowing in on your home decor style (which I assume is why you are here reading this) you probably have a lot of things that you’ve collected over the years and don’t feel like they “go together.” You can’t move forward unless you purge some things. I know it is hard and it may sting for a minute, sorta like ripping of a band aid, but it will be freeing in the end.

You will most likely have a few categories within this category: trash, donate or giveaway, and sell.

Now that you have gone through your space, go back to your “can’t live without it” pile.

If you ended up with a lot of things in this category, you may want to try editing it down even further (depending on the size of your home.)

Remember that if you have too many sentimental things the most important ones are less likely to shine because there are too many others that are wanting to steal the spotlight. Keep only your most treasured items.

If there are a lot of small items, think about how they relate and start thinking about how they could create a collection for higher impact. (More on that next week.)

So you have your homework. This is going to be the hardest part for most of you, but I know you can do it!

The next step in the series is learning to mix home decor styles!

Talk soon,

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Defining your style helps you edit what you have and helps you make future decorating choices. Lots of tips in this post on how to do that!

About Corey

Corey is the creative behind Hey There, Home where she shares easy-to-follow and beautiful home decor and entertaining ideas. Her mission? To make home decor accessible to everyone, even if you don’t consider yourself crafty, and to empower people to decorate their homes in a way that they can actually be lived in, not just looked at.

4 thoughts on “How to Define your Home Decor Style

  1. Angela says:

    My husband and I are total opposites. I’m a classic look, white everything type. He’s more contemporary and color. He was strongly against white bedding so I bought the graphite color sheet set from alohasoft.com (to please his bamboo material request) and now I’m playing with duvet ideas that will go with it. I’ll be subscribing to the guide to help me out!

    1. Corey Willis says:

      I’m so glad you’re finding inspiration here, Angela. These tips on mixing decor styles should also help you out.

  2. I definitely need to say goodbye to items to help keep a cohesive look to our home. Bringing items from our previous home wasn’t the most ideal thing to do, but it helped fill the space in our new larger home. Time to get tough!

  3. Anne says:

    Great article! I was able to quickly and accurately define my décor style, Traditional/Classic, and finally understand why I love dark wood and all things symmetrical! – even the picture you chose to represent this style is one of my favourite pins! Thank you! I look forward to learning lots more from you!

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