Finding your own personal style in interior design is one of the most freeing and exciting things. It helps you to feel like you can really see yourself in your home. But it also gives you the confidence to push the boundaries and create some really unique design. Once you figure out what your personal style is, the world of design becomes so much more interactive. But knowing how to experiment with your personal style to identify what that style is can be a little confusing.
This process of experimentation is so crucial in figuring out what suits you. You will come across a lot of styles, techniques, patterns, etc. that you love. But you will also try some things on for size that totally aren’t you. Discovering what you don’t like is just as important as what you do like. The process of finding your personal style is an ever-evolving habit of elimination, adaptation, and reconsidering.
But I promise it’s not as intimidating as it sounds. Although some experimental styles you give a shot may make you cringe looking back, it can be a really fun and rewarding process. Because identifying and building out your own unique style is truly the best part of interior design. And a process that you should treasure.
And just a note before we really get started. Finding your personal style does not simply mean choosing between the popular interior design styles like mid century modern, scandinavian, etc. Although that is a great starting point and can serve as a foundation to your personal style, there’s a lot more renegotiating and customization that goes into your style. In other words, personal interior design style is not one size fits all.
Here are some tips on how experiment with your personal style
I know, I know. When people say, “just experiment” when it comes to any kind of style – interiors, fashion, art, etc. – it seems a lot easier said that done. What does it really look like to experiment? And what are the easiest ways to dip your toe in the water without committing to an expensive potential mistake? That’s what I’m here to help with.
My best, most general piece of advice when it comes to experimenting is to start small and flexible. Don’t commit to buying a whole new $5,000 couch if you’re just testing the waters with that style. That’s when experimentation can get pricey and frustrating.
There are several ways to start smaller and help you take baby steps to piece together your ideal personal style.
But before we get into what pieces to experiment with, let’s talk about how to even know how to decide what styles you want to play with.
To get started, consider favorites from other parts of your life
Interior design does not exist in a vacuum. The very best design represents all the little unique aspects of the person who is inhabiting the space. And this can include more than just your favorite colors and which interior design styles you like seeing on your pinterest board. Things like hobbies, memories, passions, and more can contribute a lot to your ideal personal style.
So one of my best starting tips for how to experiment with your personal style is to consider how you can incorporate other areas of your life that bring you joy into your interior design style.
This process of experimentation can look extremely different for every single person. Because we are all very different people.
I touched on this briefly in a few posts on both eclectic interior design and how to add personality to your home. So definitely go check those out if you want a deep dive. But in general, just consider what things bring you joy. Is that music? Cooking? The outdoors? A certain place you love to travel to or remember fondly from childhood?
Once you identify these, take some time to really consider them and think of how that can be translated into your home. Google that item and scroll through the images. Look on pinterest. Scope out the hashtag on Instagram or Tiktok.
Once you look at whatever this source of joy is through the specific lens of interior design, you may surprise yourself with ideas of how to incorporate it into your home. And truly, once you start doing this, it’s like a domino effect. You’ll discover one thing, which leads you to another, which leads you to another, and so on. So enjoy the process!
Examples of incorporating other interests into interior design to experiment with your personal style
You may be a little confused what this looks like in practice, so let’s break down some examples.
This is not an exhaustive list by any means. And remember, this process will look different for literally every single person. So this is hopefully to just get your creative juices flowing. Some can be practical, and others can be simply aesthetic inspiration.
- You’re a dancer, so you include lots of abstract art of the human body and movement into your home.
- Music and entertaining are really important to you, so you want to make a really cool speaker system a focal point in your living space.
- One of the best trips of your life was to Morocco, so you incorporate some Moroccan patterns in your textiles and furniture to give you a little reminder of that feeling every day.
- A big focus for you in therapy is healing your inner child so you incorporate facets of neotenic design in your home by adding lots of soft, organic shaped furniture.
What items should you experiment with to find your personal style?
The question of all questions. And this goes back to my advice from earlier on starting small.
After you’ve identified some trends, objects, colors, or whatever else it is that you want to play with, it’s time to decide small ways to give it a test run in your home.
Once you feel a little more comfortable with a style, feel free to make a splurge and make bigger changes. But when you’re first trying to decide if an aesthetic is for you, here’s a great place to start.
Find some artwork
In my mind, every home should be filled with art. But that could be a personal bias. Either way, though, it truly is one of the best ways to experiment with your personal style.
It’s extremely low commitment. You don’t have to swap anything out for it. It includes no structural changes. And wall space is a lot more ample than floor space.
And the great thing is, it’s very easy to find art that can represent the vibe or style you want. Whether you create it yourself, buy it online, commission it from an artist, or get it from an art show, I would always recommend building up a diverse collection of art.
If you’re on the fence about a couple of different – potentially contrasting – styles and don’t know if there are any that you want to lean into more, the great thing is that you can experiment with all of them at the same time. All your art doesn’t need to be – and probably shouldn’t be – all in the same style or time period. What makes a collection really great is that diversity.
So it’s a great first step to seeing how a certain aesthetic feels in your space. And if you like it, the next step could be incorporating it in decor or furniture. If you’re not sure it’s working for you, you can either keep it on a small scale in that art piece or eliminate it altogether. No harm done and you just got closer to your style through the process of elimination.
Add in something that’s flexible
If you want to take it a step further than artwork but don’t want to go all in on buying a new couch, dining table, bed, etc., you still have lots of other options. I consider “flexible” furniture things like side tables, armchairs, shelves, or something else of the like.
I consider them flexible because they’re not playing a 100% crucial role in the room. Meaning if it doesn’t work out and you decide to sell or otherwise remove it, there’s not going to be a gaping hole that needs to be immediately filled.
Another way these items can be flexible is that they can be moved from room to room. If you get a piece and you like it, but it’s not quite right in your living room, test it out in your bedroom or your office. This gives you so many more opportunities to experiment with your personal style.
I’m gonna be a paint advocate until the day that I die. It’s one of the most budget-conscious yet impactful ways to make a change in your home.
If you want to experiment with color, paint is your best friend. It’s cheap in small amounts and pretty much completely reversible. Check out my post on how to incorporate color into your home for a full rundown, but essentially you can do whatever you want with paint.
This can include painting all your walls, an accent wall, a fireplace, a door, the edge of a door, the ceiling. Like I said: whatever. you. want.
You can also get more creative with paint and experiment with more than just color. You could paint a mural on the wall to create a vibe you want to play with. This could be a whole wall or simple a portion of the wall like the corner in my office.
Some general tips on how to experiment with your personal style
You have my very best tips on testing different style to find out what your unique personal style is. But I wanna give you just a few more little tips as a cherry on top:
- Trying buying thrifted or secondhand as often as possible with things you’re unsure about – this is easy on your budget and the environment.
- Don’t be afraid to go outside of your comfort zone. If you start with a small experiment, there’s very little harm in giving something totally new a try – you could end up finding something you’re obsessed with.
- Avoid mimicking other peoples’ styles fully. Taking bits and pieces that speak to you can help you form your personal style, but you’re limiting your ability to find something that really fits you if you’re just playing copycat.
- Similarly, try to ignore unsolicited advice or criticism from other people. Experimentation can be messy, but don’t be scared of going a little out there with your style. You may end up reeling it back in a little as you get more comfortable with your personal style, but you may also end up loving the eclectic and crazy style. Either way, keep in mind that the only opinion that matters in this process is yours.
More resources on finding your personal style and creating design with personality
Hey my name’s Hannah Michelle Lambert, the voice behind homey homies. I’m an LA-based blogger and interior designer. I’m passionate about fun, adaptive, and affordable design that is filled with personality. And I’m a huge believer in a good DIY. Thanks for stopping by and I hope you find the inspiration you’re looking for – and maybe a little extra 😉