How to find your interior design style

Almost seven weeks into the UK lockdown and I’ve settled into my own little world. I’m finding joy in having time to work on creative projects purely for my own satisfaction. It kind of reminds me of being a kid; spending days making your own fun.

I’ve been reflecting on my goals, and how my creative side is often eclipsed by the 9-5 treadmill, and more positively, lots of time spent socialising, eating and drinking. As much as I have a lot of fun, there’s definitely a part of me that needs more fulfilment.

For several months I’ve been exploring the idea of interior design as a career option. I’ve been doing lots of research online, and was googling course reviews when I came across Sarah Akwisombe’s blog post; ‘Interior design diploma update: I’ve submitted my first project!’.

Sarah describes doing one of the introductory tasks for the KLC Online Certificate Residential Design – creating a personal style board and reflective journal. Basically, over a month you collect images that you’re drawn to. They could be from magazines or online, and they don’t have to be limited to interiors – I ripped out anything and everything I found particularly appealing. At the end of the month you gather the images you’ve collected and draw themes. The theory is that these form your personal style.

It sounded like fun for a grey lockdown Sunday afternoon, so I gave it a go!

Here’s my personal style board:

my personal style board

While some distinct themes emerged, it was also interesting to see how they flowed on from from one to another.

I’d picked out a lot of images with a dreamy, golden hour quality. Some were a romantic fairytale aesthetic, and others more of a relaxed 70s California glamour.

Dreamy images on my personal style board
Fairytale images on my personal style board

In fact, the 70s were omnipresent. I grew up listening to a lot of 70s music via my parents, and it’s always been somewhat of a fascination for me. It’s interesting to see how it’s informed my style, and something I hadn’t really identified before.

I fell in love with this Vogue photoshoot which evokes 70s rock n’ roll glamour in Morocco.

70s glamour images on my personal style board
70s decor on my personal style board

Though I’ve flirted with minimalism in interiors before, it’s never felt quite right, and this exercise has certainly confirmed my maximalist identity. Rich colours stacked on top of each other, busy mixed prints, glamorous metallic touches, and playful eclecticism.

Colourful images on my personal style board
Plush and colourful image on my personal style board

Most of the images I chose nodded to other, ‘exotic’ cultures, from beautiful prints of wild animals, to gold palm trees and earthy Aztec touches. I also love to read novels and travel writing set in far flung places, so it seems I’m trying to transport myself off to more exciting horizons via my decor.

Selection of bright fabrics on my personal style board

Then there was was a selection of more pared down scenes. Simple canvases with fun, colourful, retro touches. These are realistically closer to my current decor. When I look around my flat I can see adventurous touches – a gold pineapple lamp, a bright postcard of a flamingo on a sunshine yellow background, a contrasting orange throw on blue paisley bedlinen. However the bold, eclectic mix of my style board seems to be begging me to let loose a little more.

Eclectic images on my personal style board

Making a personal style board has been a useful, interesting (and fun) activity that’s helped me to define my style. Now I want my home to truly reflect it! Next time I’m getting swept up scrolling Pinterest, or picking the neutral colour to be on the safe side, I’ll be looking back at my personal style board and tell myself to trust my instincts.

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