Finding & Embracing Your Style

Marian ParsonsDecorating, decorating dilemmas, home improvement, Tutorials53 Comments

This post is about style.  Your style.  Great style.  And how to figure out which is which. 

Do you find that you love transitional  beach modern French bohemian country shabby chic log cabin Edwardian cottage junk style?  Do you get your home set in one style and then a magazine or blog will sway you in an entirely different direction?  Do you feel like your style is a moving target? 

You’re not alone.  You’re not suffering from IDSPD (Interior Design Split Personality Disorder.)  It’s ok to love a lot of styles. 

Here’s the important question you have to ask yourself:

Do you love this style or do you love this style for your home

That’s a very important question. 

As decorating fanatics, we all appreciate great design and chic style, but we don’t have to use it all in our homes and we don’t have to use it all together at the same time.  It’s also ok to love something and not own it.  It’s ok to love a style and not use it immediately in a room in your home. 

These are some ways you can avoid being easily swayed by the winds of home decor change. 

Know your staples.
We all have things we have loved for years.  Antiques, blue and white, ironstone, dark woods, French country and toile are some of my staples.  I have loved and used all of these for over ten years and I have never grown sick of them. 

Fad vs. Forever
Look at dated magazines or home decor books.  I’m talking gingham fabric, baskets hung everywhere, dried flowers and geese.  Look past the big bangs, brass hardware and over abundance of froof and see what is in the room that would still work today.  You’ll be surprised at how much would still look great.  This will give you a good clue at what is fad and what will stand the test of time.  Spend your decorating dollars on the latter and buy the former for less, knowing it will change. 

Embrace Your Style
Your style does not have to be easily categorized or labeled.  It’s ok if you like to mix coastal with cabin, cottage with country, modern with medieval.  You don’t have to justify your space or style to anyone else.  Just do what works for you and your family and throw convention out the window.  Most of the greatest trend setters do this and the masses follow. 

One Common Thread
Your home is going to work if there’s one common thread that ties all of the furniture, accessories and decisions together.  That common thread shouldn’t be a theme or style.  It should be your love for it.  If you love a piece, it’s going to work with all of the other pieces you love. 

A Grain of Salt
The blog world is great for getting feedback on your projects and styles, but don’t allow this wonderful world to throw you off track.  It’s easy to look at the pretty pieces and rooms on the blogs of others and get the itch to makeover your entire house to look like theirs.  (Has anyone else thought that about Dreamy Whites?)  It’s ok to do that, if you feel like you’ve finally found your style after years of hunting for it, but don’t run out and change everything if you’ve just finished your mid-century modern makeover right after your wild western theme was carried off to the thrift store.  Just stop.  Walk away from the blog.  Put the decorating mag down and take stock of what you really love.  If you really love mauve and blue with a teddy bear border and everyone else is ripping it down and talking about how hideously dated that is, don’t let that sway you.  Declare your love for 1980’s decor from the roof top and take the opinions of others with a grain of salt.  It’s your home and you need to be comfortable in it. 

Photo Source: Dreamy Whites

Don’t Muddy the Waters
We all do, especially those of us on a tight budget.  We accept freebies or cheap-os that we don’t really love and those pieces muddy the decorating waters.  It’s hard for us (or anyone else) to see our style behind the mammoth 1970’s hutch from Aunt Beverly or the orange burlap sofa you picked up off the curb.  I’m not saying to chuck it all and sit on the floor. Just know those pieces are temporary and don’t buy pillows that coordinate with the sofa or the dining set that matches the hutch.  Be patient and only add pieces in that are “you.” 

Now, don’t take this advice and tear your house apart right before Aunt Beverly comes for Thanksgiving dinner, but mull over it for a while and start fresh in the new year.  Make it a resolution to embrace your style and create a home you love.

Miss Mustard Seed
Finding & Embracing Your Style

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53 Comments on “Finding & Embracing Your Style”

  1. This advice is for me! It drives me crazy on almost a daily basis that my house looks so different from all the other houses in the blog world and it makes me think that maybe I'm not good enough, or I don't know what I'm doing. At the end of the day though, I have to realize that all the blogs I love have a style that is totally their own, and it's good for me to have my own style too. I also have a secret love of taking out 80s decorating books from the library. ๐Ÿ™‚

  2. Excellent advice which certainly makes us all feel more comfortable in the space we currently have. I am taking things one thing at a time. First step is to change all my walls to off white–easy and inexpensive. I've also realized any antiques I've painted creamy white with taupe dry brush, I love and have no desire to change. Those pieces I've painted a color, I want to repaint. So definitely I think that we need to analyze the things that we do love forever, and why… and then learn from it. Have a wonderful Thanksgiving!

  3. Ahhh yes, the hand me downs. I have them and some I love and some I don't. It's easy to get off track that way. Great post, I definitely need to be reminded now and again that my home doesn't need to look like the latest magazine or hit blog…it just needs to look like me.
    Happy Thanksgiving!
    ~Michelle

  4. Thank you so much! We just purchased our first home a couple months ago, and I have had the hardest time just picking a starting place and jumping off. I've looked through kitchen cabinet books over and over and keep thinking, "Well, I like ALL of those styles. Can I just have one of each?"

    This helps immensely!

    Aloha,
    Charlie

  5. Great post! This all was one of the reasons I stopped blogging and reading blogs last spring and only recently started up again. It was all becoming TMI – too much input. While I was "away," I didn't think about decorating at all and one day had an epiphany about where I really needed to take my decorating and what colors really spoke to me. What I was doing was fine, but didn't really reflect my "gut instincts" when it comes to decorating. I don't like decorating away from those instincts … I usually don't end up loving it. Thanks for posting this. I might link to it on my blog, too.

  6. Wonderful post and great advice, explained so well. This being comfortable with my own style is something I have been working on for awhile, and have been posting about. I admire many styles of decorating, and many bloggers' homes, even if it is not something that I could live with in our home. I recently went through most of our home and did a post on 'love it' or 'leave it' and it has helped me a great deal. I don't have bundles of cash to get the exact look I like, but selling a few pieces I don't love has made room for the pieces I hope to find one day (and a bit of extra cash too.) I found that making a list, like you did, of the things that you like, that you wouldn't want to do without is very helpful. Then when I come across a great find on Craigslist etc I can really get a feel for whether I would buy it because it was a good deal, or because I really really like it. And yes, my style is very muddied, country lakeside cabin romantic prairie rustic…..
    Have a wonderful day you creative brilliant woman.

  7. Oh Miss Mustard Seed… I love your poetic way of making my design woes seem so logical and simple to solve! Thank you for your words, you've shed light and direction on my journey to find my style. I'll be utilizing these tips over the winter months to turn my house into a home!

  8. I have been pondering this very subject for weeks now. Thanks for watering a seed already planted. I really appreciate your insigt AND I love reading your blog too!

    Happy Turkey day!

  9. Great timing–right here when we should all be taking stock of what we have to be grateful for.
    To sum it up– patience and thanks.
    Live with what you love.
    Amen to all that you have said here.

  10. Very well said! I have been wanting to get all that you said out there too, but just couldn't come up with the right words without fear of offending others. The blog world has had a huge influence on me in the last year and I have finally said "just stop." My style isn't Dreamy Whites and never can be, but I like to look at it on a page. Burlap? I don't think it will stand the test of time, but thank goodness it's cheap! I love how you said the common thread is love. I look at everything in my home, and I chose it all because I fell in love with each and every piece! Such a fabulous article!

  11. Great post! I think as women we feel pressured when we see other decorating blogs. We need to just realize where we are in our lives and accept it and be happy! We can take ideas and incorporate them into our own style. Be happy in your own home with your family and traditions because that is what makes us all unique!

    Megan

  12. Thanks for the advice. I LOVE my shabby chic/romantic interior. Adore the pinks and off whites…might not be the IN thing to do, but I love it, so it works for me ๐Ÿ™‚

  13. Your last line made me actually LOL. Yeah, now's not the time to tear the house apart. I did a blog of my house as it is right now, and that in itself was a very telling experience (in that cleaning up for the photos made my house look a lot better!).

    I want my house to be MORE me, but yes, sometimes I find something that's more me in a picture somewhere else. If you're interested in the pictures, they're here…totally a just for me way to work out my befores and afters. BTW, my orange chairs are GONE from the LR.

    http://www.ourhouseinpictures.blogspot.com

  14. Great Advice. I am one who is trying to weed out the hand me downs, and buy pieces that I really love. For too long I've lived with things that were either cheap or free. No more, I refuse to settle

  15. Oh this is so good. I recently did a post on what we are working towards in our own home. Some things we currently can't do in our condo but would love in a house someday.

    My style is very opposites attract. I would call it classic bohemian as I love tweed, houndstooth, tailoring, velvet, chandeliers, leather, antiques and repurposed junk.

    My home is evolving now that we have minimized to what really works for us. We still have some pieces we need to get like a new couch but we have a vision that is coming together. It's amazing what paint can do too.

    Happy Thanksgiving!

  16. Great post! I love everything in my home, but it is constantly changing…(so am I, right?) It always stumps me tho when people come over and say "Love your house and your style! What IS your decorating style?"
    Uh…style? I dunno. I just love everything that is in my home – its just me ๐Ÿ™‚ Thats why I dont understand people that hire decorators to just "decorate" their home. How can it be your home when you had no input as to what was put in there? I love walking by a piece of furniture or decor and remembering who, what and where I was when I got it . That is special to me.

  17. Great post! I did a post similar a few months ago & it's so important for us all to realize that there are SO many trends and blogworld is full of things we all love, BUT can't make total changes in our homes. We have to stay true to who we are, at the end of the day!

  18. What a great post.I really love good design no matter the style…but for my own house I love the combination of shabby, romantic and modern elements. My mom totally does not get why I like chippy old things LOL, oh well as you said so succinctly to each her own. Happy Thanksgiving to everyone.

  19. Wonderful advice! I love the "white" blogs, but I have to say, I must have some red. (Remember the red hobnail lamps I got from you with the red and white checkered shades?) I will add elements of other styles, but I must have some color bling.
    Happy Thanksgiving to you and yours!
    Brenda

  20. Great post, Marian. (Who isn't swayed by Dreamy Whites?!) I will do a follow up post to this soon as I completely agree & struggle with this sometimes. I'm all for farmhouse chic but I live in a 1964 ranch for Pete's sake. I've learned along to way to blend what I love with what works in THIS house. (Which is why 6 months later, my living room still isn't finished. Ha!) Happy Thanksgiving, sweet friend.

    Hugs,
    Jami

    P.S. Good for your giving props to mauve decor, etc. instead of insulting it. Some of the most inviting and comfortable homes that I've been in have mauve decor and Boyyd's bears everywhere.

  21. Great advice that I often have to remind myself of. Sometimes I think that reading all these wonderful blogs could be a bad thing because we are always "comparing" what we have to what they have. But when people come over and tell me how they love my home and how cozy it is, I know that my home may not look like the homes on my favorite blogs but it's mine, I love it and that's all that matters. ๐Ÿ™‚ Happy Thanksgiving!

  22. What great advice, and it's all so true. Blogging and seeing so many other inspiring spaces makes it so hard to stick to a style that truly is your own. I'm so guilty of getting things for budget reasons, and not because I'm in love with them. On the other hand some of my favorite pieces are thrifted. Sometimes it's hard to tell what you're going to love until you've lived with it a while. I'm tweeting this post because it's such great advice. Hugs & Happy Thanksgiving – Carrie

  23. Good advice, as always. One thing you forgot to mention is that there are usually cheap and easy ways to make things in your home that you don't love QUITE lovable, and things that may not be your style fit your style. ๐Ÿ™‚ Happy Thanksgiving to you and your family!

  24. Marian,

    Great advice, sometimes difficult to live by but so true. I love Dreamy Whites but know from an experience years ago that absence of some color doesn't work long term for me–I can now look at the incredible white rooms with admiration and respect and KNOW in my heart that it's not me. That's a challenge I've only recently become slightly successful at.

    I especially being true to your own style is important as trends change so quickly and are so much easier to access (blog sites) than they used to be.

    Happy Thanksgiving to you and your family.

    Karen at Garden, Home and Party

  25. Love this post! I love many styles and sometimes have difficulties with how to incorporate them. I'm also relatively new at this (late twenties) and have a very limited budget. So I have wound up with LOTS of Aunt Beverly's things. Your post is encouraging. I'll get there! ๐Ÿ™‚

  26. Thank you for this great advice. I've ran around in circles for years buying this, trading that, good-willing all of those…then starting back at buying this again. I started to realize a few years ago that through out my goodwill drop offs, I couldn't part with particular pieces or styles. I'd stuff them back into the car to bring them home. I've held onto those pieces and added a few more along the way. I'm not sure what style you would call this stuff in my home. I guess…I am a plain jane. sort of. I'm sure there is not a plain jane style out there, but it's great to hear someone say, 'follow your heart'. Thank you again. I needed to hear that bit of great advice.

  27. I am starring this because at some point next year, I have a gut feeling I'll be coming back to it for my starting points.

    I'm defining my style (I've done that whole style statement thing) and working on getting my closet to reflect the true me.

    Meanwhile the house is going through a decluttering… then it'll be ready because the pieces I love and that my hubby loves will be left….

  28. What a wonderfully introspective post today, MMS! Thank you for that!!!! I can totally relate to what you're saying. When we moved into our farmhouse, I saw so many wonderful "beach house" styled homes out in blogland and since I had just moved from one, I wanted to carry that into our new home.

    It just didn't work.
    It didn't feel right.

    Thus, the recent "re-do" to incorporate more of a French-inspired farmhouse look with a tiny bit of coastal influence.

    THAT seems to work here. Very nicely! It's just a matter of trial and error sometimes. My obsessions have gone from seashells to grain sacks! lol!

    Thanks again for your knowledge on style and decor and for helping us rookies out here! ๐Ÿ™‚

    xoxo laurie

  29. Wonderful post and great advice. I would like to add that don't be in a rush to get it all done…take your time..feel your way through it!!
    Hugs
    SueAnn

  30. Wonderful advice! It can be so easy to get caught up in the 'oh that's beautiful' that we forget whether or not it's something that will fit into our homes and lifestyles. It's always good to see someone come along and remind us that it's not necessary to use all the lovely ideas that come along. Because there really are many!

  31. despite I am thrown from one side to the other because I simply like so much.. I managed to keep pretty on track in my own style and house ๐Ÿ˜‰

    Great post!

  32. Thanks so much for posting this. I think the blog world and the beautiful rooms and homes that are out there have been causing me to question my own style which, up until now, I thought I had down pretty well. I love the whites and have a little of that in one room, but I have neither the budget nor the desire to scrap everything else in favor of that look. In fact, as an older gal, I think what is so great about the whole vintage white cool junk look is that it is a great one for when you're just starting out because you already probably have the minimalist thing going (cause you have nothing! LOL). Once you've been at this housekeeping thing for 20 or 30 years, you have gathered quite a few things, some more precious than others, but it just isn't practical to start all over. SO, I think I will take your sage advice and try to figure out what it is that I absolutely love that I already own, what it is that I absolutely love about the current Jeanne d'Arc look, what I can live without, and see what falls out in the end. And the best part is, it won't look like anyone else's house which, IMHO, is the goal.

    Hope your Thanksgiving was wonderful. Now, let the games begin…Christmas is coming!

    Judy

  33. Absolutely! There have been several instances in the past where a "professional" gave decorating advice, which I followed. They were professionals, after all. Regret is too strong a word, but a some of that advice was costly financially and I plain ole didn't like the result. Live and learn. Go with your gut.

  34. I think you are in my head!!! As I read this I have two dining room tables sitting in my living room because I LOVE THE FARM TABLE but the french table goes with the dresser that our tv is sitting on and one day will hopefully end up being the buffet in our dining room! So I thought matching the table and buffet (Dresser really) would be great! But I'm not in love with the french table! It is a lot shorter and smaller in size and my husband looks ginormous sitting at it!! So I thought gosh can I really mix french with farmhouse! And I am going to! Thank you!! I will just have to mix farmhouse with french through out the house! =)

    I miss ya! Hope you had a good thanksgiving!!

  35. Gosh I needed to head that.
    I recently blogged about this conundrum.

    I love so many styles. And, I love each. And, I just got married (in my 40s) and we're merging lives.

    I have mid century modern in my bedroom. Er, old bedroom. My former kitchen was 1940s white/pastel. Living room was Cottage. Now we have a Rustic living room, 50s diner kitchen, and Rustic Santa Fe bedroom.

    The biggest downfall of all these loves – and they really are loves – is that the pieces don't flow from one room to another it I want to rearrange.

    But, I AM finding some common denominators. Now, I'm thinking…Rustic Vintage -sort of turn of the century cabin.

    Who knows.
    But, I'll keep reading!
    Thanks!

  36. What a fabulous post. (I've been reading your past posts lately!) This is fabulous advice. It seems that I am constantly wanting to try new styles after all of the inspiration that I find in blogland, and haven't found one that I like the best, because there are so many that I love. I really like your idea about combining the styles you love the most into your own style. Thank you so much!

    I just love your blog so much!

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