Discover Your “Unique to You” Decorating Style

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What is your decorating style? Do you have one? Is it the right one, unique to you, your tastes and circumstances? Learn how to discover the “just-right-for-you” decorating style, one that will become uniquely your own.

I have a post to share with you that I wrote back in 2011. I had forgotten all about this post as it got lost deep in the archives of 12 years of blog posts.

Yesterday, a new reader found the post somehow and asked me a question in the comment section about the vintage decorating books in one of the photos. I didn’t remember the post, so I had to go in search for it.

Linda McDonald Design

After reading the post, I smiled. Smiled with personal satisfaction, realizing that what I wanted 10 years ago, I actually made happen.

What I love about the post more than my thoughts and images that I included, is that I discovered that what I wished for 10 year ago, I have slowly created without thinking about it much.

All I did was stick to what has always felt and still feels right when I go about choosing how to decorate every room in my house.

The photos in the post were found online back before Pinterest was a thing. They are old, but in my mind, not dated at all. They share a classic vibe that spans time.

So I thought I would update and share the post as I think it can be inspirational to anyone who enjoys the process of making their house a home in the best way possible – in YOUR own style!

I love what I love for no other reason than it makes sense in my head.  I have tweaked and edited my style over the years, but haven’t strayed very far from what I documented in the 10 year old post.

Others may not get it or even like my style, but that is OK. I am not trying to please anyone, only myself. My goal when decorating my home is to just stay true to what I like and or need, which in turn makes it authentically my own and perfect for my family.

Creating Your Own Authentic Decorating Style

I updated the original post with the addition of mentioning Pinterest and including new photos to show how I reached my decorating goals.

Here is the old post…

Like most of you, I keep clipping files and have Pinterest boards filled with ideas of decorating and more that show what I like and dream about having in my house. Some are lofty goals, but most are doable ideas that just take focus and time to see come to life.

Home Decorating Books by Dorothy Rogers

I refer to these magazine clipping files and pin boards as The House In My Head – named after the vintage Dorothy Rodgers book above on my bookshelf.

The book is her story of how she went about building her dream home.  One that would be perfect for the way her family would live in the new house as well as how to make it perfect to entertain in.

Since her husband was the Rodgers part of Rodgers and Hammerstein – they entertained a lot! I loved the title when I found the book at a thrift store many years ago.

Reading it was fun as so many things about decorating a home have changed, but just as many have stayed the same.

If you had my actual House In My Head file on your lap right now (without ever seeing or reading my blog) and began to page through it, you would definitely see what my personal decorating style in is all about.

How to Discover a Decorating Style That is Right For You

House-Beautiful-Magazine dining table and chairs.

My decorating style is a mix of styles, but it is not eclectic – it’s uniquely curated to fit my exact taste and needs. I am not shabby, nor am I chic. I am not beachy, but I love to live by water. I like modern, but it has to have soft comfy lines. I like stone and natural textured surfaces in an open airy setting. I like decorating using the color white with pops of color here and there.

My decorating style is just that– my style.  And your personal decorating style should be unique to you too.

If you struggle to make choices when it comes to decorating or if you often bring a piece of furniture or an accessory into your home to find its all wrong. Or if you feel like you can’t make a choice when you are presented with dozens of decorating options, then take the time to do this one simple thing.

How to Break Down a Decorating Style So You Can Claim a Name as Your Own

Can you give your decorating style a name?

Not just a general term like traditional, farmhouse, eclectic, modern- but something more descriptive that breaks the general decorating style term down even further by adding one or two more descriptive words to the style that better explain what it is you like. An even better way is to make up a decorating style name that is completely your own.

  • Once you come up with a name – write it down so you remember it.

For instance here are some examples of bloggers who I think have defined their specific decorating styles:

Collected Eclectic, Vintage Modern, Cottage Farmhouse, Transitional Neutral Farmhouse, Fresh Flower Vintage Beach House

Give it a Try – Name Your Decorating Style

It may take some time to come up with a name so no need to rush. Just put some thought into until you come up with something authentically right for your decorating tastes and preferences.

The name you give to your decorating style can become your personal decorating guide in a way. When decorating your home, keeping the style in mind will help you stay on course as you navigate the dozens of options to choose from.

For instance, back in 2011, I didn’t have a name for my decorating style. Now I do. I call it White and Woodsy.

When out shopping , I see many things I like, but always ask myself, “Will this work with my white and woodsy style?” If it does, I consider purchasing it. If it doesn’t, I know to pass on it.

Adding a color to your decorating style name can help reinforce decision making if you find yourself not knowing what to choose when faced with color decisions. For instance – Blue & White Refined Ranch or Turquoise Boho Beach Shack.

My Decorating Style Goals Reached Without Me Really Realizing It

What I actually created may not be exactly like the photos I shared 10 years ago, but what I have been able to do was create a resemblance of them within my means and resources. Living by the water – white, texture – all came to life.

Even though when I wrote this post 10 years ago I didn’t have a name for my decorating style, I can see in these photos that my white and woodsy style was emerging.

The View of water from a stone patio

What I Wrote in 2011: The most important decorating element to me – is all about “the view”.  I would love to look out to this, but as long as I have something far and wide to look at out my windows I am pretty happy.  It could even be an apartment on 5th Avenue overlooking Central Park – I’ll take it.

How I Made it Happen: We moved to live on the shores of a large lake.

Home with living room view of the sea

What I Wrote in 2011: To enjoy “the view” I like lots and lots of windows. My style is all about light.

White drapes that are affordable
Dining chair and table in kitchen showing new neutral cushion covers on chairs made from fabric from the fabric of a broken patio umbrella.

How I Made it Happen: I didn’t cover any doors or windows with heavy drapes or window treatments that would block the light or view. Instead I made affordable custom made extra-wide white drapes that are set off the glass.

Cohen-and-Hacker-Kitchen window wall.

What I Wrote in 2011: This is my kitchen in my next house. I really love this white counter/cabinet window combo and lots of light!

Fun fact: Just the other night when watching Longmire on Netflix, I noticed in a house scene that the character, Cady’s kitchen had a window like this. My eyes went to it right away.

White Kitchen Makeover that is light and bright.

Still trying to make this happen if we ever add on to our existing kitchen.

Cohen-and-Hacker-Architects house exterior that is neutral in color and classic in design

What I Wrote in 2011: The style of the exterior of The House In My Head would look something like this.  Plain and simple with lots of windows and classic trim.

View from the water of lake house
Exterior House Paint Makeover using Glidden Premium Paint and Primer

How I Made it Happen: I did have the exterior of my house painted a neutral color. It may not be quite the same as my vision, but I didn’t stray too far colorwise.

4 images of rooms decorated using white with pops of color.

What I Wrote in 2011: My style consists of white or light colored walls with pops of color strategically placed. 

Home Decorating ideas on a budget using a mostly white color scheme.

How I Made it Happen: I have kept my interior color palette the same through the years using white with a few colors pops of these colors: green, pink, blue and purple.

Double swing hung from tree with two girls on it.

What I Wrote in 2011: My decorating style is pretty casual. It is all about enjoying the simple pleasures in life – an outside swing really makes me happy. It is the best way to enjoy “the view”.

chair and fishing pole in yard along the shores of a lake

How I Made This Happen: I don’t have the swing yet, but Ed and I are working on it. For now I enjoy sitting here.

Decorating That Authentically Says YOU

If your home doesn’t look or feel like what you have been clipping and saving through the years, it may be a reminder to do something about it so you can create a home you will truly love. One that will feel just right for you and your family.

Have you taken a look lately at your decorating clipping file and older decorating boards you created on Pinterest years ago?

It is an insightful way to see how your style has evolved over time and if you have reached your decorating goals without even knowing it. This should make you feel good about your decorating efforts.

When you become a curator of sorts for everything related to your home and what you think you can do and bring into it, the more you will begin to see a decorating style emerge that is yours to claim. No one else can do it the same way you can.

When you hear– That is so YOU!  You will know you have been successful at fine tuning your decorating style.

Photo Credits:  Cohen & Hacker Architects, House and Home, Beautiful Homes, Atlanta Homes Magazine

Decorator Secret Why you should give a name to your decorating style

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  1. I love this post. I have been trying to determine my decorating style for years. I will be going back and looking at all those magazine clippings and Pinterest’s I have saved. Should be fun. Thank you once again Diane!!!

  2. I love this post! I especially love that you have been able to look back and see that you are moving towards the house in your head. You are living the dream on our beautiful shores for sure! I have only recently reopened my blog mostly to reinspire myself. I know that sounds silly but being able to look back at where I’ve been and where I want to go now with my home decor really helps me feel more alive. My life is so busy right now with caring for an aging parent, working part time , and living with this new norm of life behind a mask it’s hard sometimes to stay inspired. I know I will always be working towards the house in my head but cannot name what my style is as it is always changing. I can look back and see some constants so that is something to think about. Thank you for the inspiration to keep defining my own style!

  3. I live on a farm so there’s that plus I enjoy elements of steampunk AND shabby Chic so my style is SHABBY FARM-PUNK. ?

  4. It’s really wonderful to see how aligned with your dreams your current life is.
    Really enjoyed this update to an old post.

  5. Hi Diane, I would call my style Collected Cottage Garden or Vintage Cottage Garden. I have had people say that my home is so me, which is so fun! My problem is color. I remember my mom telling me in high school that “pink and green don’t go together!” Hmm. Think of a rose. Anyway, I’ve loved pink and green for a LONG time, but also love lavenders and purple–and lately turquoise! The background for our home is green. Fortunately, my husband likes green and turquoise, too, and puts up with my pinks and purples. I guess I just need to be balanced. I love your blog, and would love to see more of your old posts updated.