Monday, April 21, 2008

What's Your Style?

Ever wondered what your style is? Does your home feel like a mish-mash of a little bit of everything? Are you ever befuddled by all the different style labels out there, like "traditional" or "country" or "modern" or "eclectic" or...etcetera? The benefit to being able to label your style is that as you shop and decorate, you can narrow your focus and be very intentional about what you're purchasing (or saving for). This will help you to eliminate that mish-mash look (unless that's what you're going for and your style is Bohemian or eclectic) and you can make your space look a little more sophisticated and pulled-together.

an inspiration book (photo via The Cottage Nest)

I recently spent a few hours at the small condo home of a very fun client. She had a variety of styles represented in her furniture, but had no idea what her true style really was. However, she had something most of my clients don't: a file folder filled with magazine clippings of decor, colors, furniture, styles, and fabrics that she likes. Gold mine! I really enjoyed looking through her "inspiration file", and more importantly, I was able to identify common themes, colors, and styles. Next, I looked at her most recent purchases of art and furniture, and voila! They all had something in common: contemporary style.

Have you ever seen that show on HGTV called Find Your Style? It's one of my favorites. Not only do I love the host, Karen McAloon, but I love the concept of a designer who comes and not only helps the clients identify their style, but then gives them shopping and decorating tips so they are able to implement their decorating style on their own. If you'd like a little more help on finding your style, read McAloon's Ten Tips to Finding Your Style.

Here are just a few pics from this wonderful client's little redesign:

living room before...

...this long wall is the first thing you see when you walk into the living room. I like that the client had her furniture off the walls (so many of us assume everything has to be touching the wall) but the arrangement was a little awkward and made the space seem smaller than it really was. The empty wall was a missed opportunity to showcase some lovely artwork.

living room after...
I found several prints around the condo that all had similar frames, colors and style. I brought them together and showcased them as more of a "collection" on the wall. Now it's a cheerful focal point when you first walk into the room. Also, the loveseat works a little better against the wall as opposed to splitting up the room. I suggested that in the short-term, the client make or purchase solid-color throw pillows; in the long-term, get the quality furniture re-upholstered rather than purchasing new. It's still in great shape, and with new upholstery and removing the skirts (showing off the legs!) this furniture can be much more contemporary.
Below is a cheerful yellow vase that was previously displayed on top of the fireplace. Because the walls are also yellow, it just blended in to the background. Now, it really stands out and brightens the dark wood of the coffee table. (That cute red's a dish towel!)
Contemporary framed art that was recently purchased by the client and helped me identify her style. She has several prints with a similar style and color palette, which, along with her recent purchases of coffee table and end table, helped me determine her style to actually be "contemporary".The client had almost NO knick-knacks. Unbelievable! (Yet admirable.) Below is a cabinet that hides an air-conditioning unit. When I arrived it was almost empty. I rifled through the client's kitchen cabinets (I am shameless) and discovered several glass items that happened to be in similar colors that fit perfectly in the small shelf.

The client has an extensive "to-do" list now, with ideas on furniture to paint, curtains to hang, slipcovers to make, and pillows to purchase or make. She is a seamstress and therefore has a huge advantage to the rest of us poor souls who couldn't operate a sewing machine if our lives depended on it. The opportunity to have custom curtains and custom pillows is priceless - so if you sew - get to it! (And make me something while you're at it! :-) )

Read here if you'd like to learn more about redesign or see more before-and-afters.


  1. What a fun project - I will also have to check out that show. I feel a little mixed on my style and think it's eclectic. I love a mix of modern and vintage!

  2. I'm with you, Diana. In fact, I find it harder to label my own style than just about anyone else's! But I would also say mine is somewhat eclectic...I love bits and pieces of traditional, retro, and modern, all thrown together. Possibly Bohemian vintage?

  3. What a great transformation, Courtney! You are very talented.

  4. SUCH a difference! Wow. You're good.

  5. thanks Anne! That means a lot, coming from you. And thank you biggest cheerleader! xoxo

  6. I love seeing how you rearrange things like this and pull things together. Fun, fun, fun.

    I also love that "Find Your Style" show. I'll have to check out her 10 Tips. Thanks, Courtney! -Julia :-)

  7. I took a quiz on the HGTV website- I think it was for Chase Dakota's show?- it told me my style was "rustic." I don't believe it. lol

    Another great re-arrange!! Wanna come do my house next?

  8. I'm there, Marie! You spring for airfare, I'll cover food. Deal? :-)

    yep, check out those tips practical.

  9. Wow! Courtney, what always amazes me is how such simple changes make such a difference. How fun to see the transformation. I was particularly interested in this one since I saw it in the "before" stage. Great job! I am sure she is thrilled, oh yes and challenged with the new tasks ahead with her sewing. Grammy.


thank you for commenting, dahling! I can't wait to hear what you have to say. :-)