Design Tips

4 Steps to Creating Your True Design Style

You have been collecting decor for years, you thought you had the perfect color scheme, and you thought you knew your true design style.  You look around and realize that your home is not a reflection of who you are.

Don’t feel bad, we have all been there!  I have been there!  Just a couple of years ago I was trying to decorate my home in a way that was very clearly not my style.  You may like the way a design style looks, but that doesn’t mean it is YOUR style.

I had a style identity crisis and it really did affect the way I felt about our home.  I watched every Fixer Upper episode with Chip and Joanna.  I LOVE the look of shiplap, I LOVE all the rustic elements she put into every design, I LOVE the neutral color pallets she used.  I LOVED the clean open spaces and the homey feel she managed to infuse into every design.  I set out to add all things farmhouse to our home.

Her designs are amazing, but as much as I loved everything she designed, farmhouse style is JUST…NOT…ME.  I ended up with decor that didn’t tell my story or our home’s story.

Joanna’s designs evolved and by the last season of the show she did some homes that were more than just farmhouse design.  She managed to incorporate her clients style into every design she did and she told their story.

That is what is important, to tell YOUR story and have only things you truly love in your home.  So, how do you do that now that you have all this stuff that just doesn’t feel like you?

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4 simple steps that will have you on your way to creating your true design style in your home.

4 Steps to Creating Your True Design Style

  • STOP BEING WHO YOU AREN’T.  Don’t try to fit a square peg into a round hole.  It is a recipe for disaster and discord in the way your home makes you feel.  Also, know that you don’t have to have just one design style.  It is okay to incorporate different elements of different design styles into your home.  That is what will make it YOUR true design style.
  • You may like shiplap, but you don’t like it painted white.  Wing backed chairs may be your          favorite type of chair, but you like a more relaxed overstuffed sofa.  The tufted headboard you made over yourself with drop cloth fabric is the perfect contrast to the contemporary dressers in your bedroom…oh wait, that was me.  I love my headboard, but I don’t want the entire room to have a rustic feel and I tufted it to soften the look.


  • ASSESS WHAT YOU HAVE.  Gather your decor and group it by like items.  Pillows together, wall decor together, etc.  You can do this by writing it down if you would rather, but I recommend physically putting the items together in one place.  You could do this room by room if it is easier for you.  
  • DO NOT worry what design style the items are.  That isn’t what is important, what is important is taking stock of what you have.  Is there a dominant color in your items?  What material are they made of (metal, wood, linen, cotton)?  Is there a prevailing theme such as a collection of porcelain birds or pictures of beaches?


  • EDIT WHAT YOU DON’T LOVE.  Now comes the hard part.  Get rid of anything that doesn’t speak to your heart, anything that you don’t absolutely, positively love and couldn’t live without.  
  • Just because your best friend loves galvanized buckets and topography wall art, it doesn’t mean you have to.  Don’t fear that you will make your mom mad because you don’t keep that crystal glass vase she gave you.  If you are really worried she will be upset, put it up in the closet and get it out when she comes over for a special occasion.  Keep ONLY the things that are a true reflection of who you are.
  • What do you do with the things you aren’t keeping?  Have a garage sale, gift them to someone you know that will love them, or donate them to a local thrift store.  Just say goodbye to them forever.


  • NOW, TELL YOUR STORY.  Putting together you have left to tell your story is not as hard as it may seem.
  • Make sure every item has a buddy.  Each decor element should have something in common with at least one other thing in the room.  Maybe it’s the color, or the shape, or the material it is made with.  For example, even though the stripes in your pillows aren’t the same pattern as the area rug you have, the blue is the same shade.  The vintage brass trumpet and the old shoe stretcher have the same patina and come from the same time period.  The picture of the beach has the same color frame as the family picture you posed for 2 years ago.  See how that works?  And it isn’t even about what design style the items are, it’s about wether or not they are a true reflection of who you are.

Bonus Tips for Creating Your True Design Style

  • Choose a color scheme that suits you and the feeling you want your home to have.  You can find inspiration from the post I wrote about Valspar’s Paint Colors of the Year for 2018.
  • Don’t forget the other members of your household, my post on DECORATING AS A COUPLE gives an easy way to blend your likes with your spouses (or any other family members) and live to tell the tale.
  • When shopping for your home, keep a list of colors and other distinctive characteristics of your decor to make choosing new items easy and eliminate the risk of buying something that just won’t fit.  Remember….if you don’t LOVE it, leave it at the store.


Making your home a true reflection of who you are and discovering your true design style is a process that does not happen over night.  I am still working my way through our home, getting rid of things and incorporating new things that tell our story.

My favorite interior design book for styling your home and learning how to tell your story is Emily Henderson’s book Styled: Secrets for Arranging Rooms, from Tabletops to Bookshelves

I am also anxiously awaiting Joanna Gaines new book Homebody: A Guide to Creating Spaces You Never Want to Leave.  It is available for pre order and will be released November 6th.  It’s sure to be one you won’t want to miss!

If you learn nothing else from this post, please know that you can love decor from different design styles.  They can live happily together in your space as long as they tell your story.  When your home is place that you can happily walk into after a long day at work, kick off your shoes and sink into that comfy overstuffed sofa with a smile of contentment, you will have achieved your true design style.

What room will you start with first?  Or will you go all out at once and do your entire home?  I would love to hear how it works out for you in the comments below!

Happy Decorating!


Step by step guide for making over a room for JUST $100.





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  1. Such great tips to really figure out what style you love and how to make it work in your home. It’s been years of gathering and editing, and I still have some things I no longer love that I’m waiting to either makeover or replace. And you hit it on the head with the square peg/round hole analogy; trying to incorporate a “hot style” into your home when it’s not really you will only set you back dollars and time (been there). Our home’s style should evolve just like we do but finding a way or the know how to do that is hard. Your great tips are going to save a lot of people a lot of work in creating their dream space!

    1. Thank you so much for the compliment! That’s the big issue, wasting time and money. Our style should evolve with us and jumping on the latest design trend just because it is popular is a recipe for disaster. Thank you so much for stopping by I really do appreciate your support 🙂

  2. I like the part about assessing what you have. Seriously, I try to do what I can with what I’ve got rather than spend stupid money on new stuff just bc I didn’t take the time to see if I had other ways to rearranging and use my existing décor items.

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