5 Simple Ways to Find Your Home's Style

While I am busy moving into my new home a few of my blogging buddies are helping me out by sharing some guest posts this week. I'll be back very soon with an update on my new house but in the meantime enjoy this post from my friend

Ashley

.

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I’m thrilled to be here and talking with you all about how to find your home’s style. It’s something I LOVE to do but don’t tend to write about. Let’s dive right in! One piece of helpful advice came from my friend and Instagram fashion maven,

Karla Reed

, as we were talking about how to get out of the mom-rut of jeans and old t-shirts. We kept coming back to dressing your home like you dress yourself. Some of us might have a thing for fashion; others of us might be intuitively great at decorating. For me, I just knew how I wanted my home to look but finding my personal style was a challenge. So I translated the things I loved about my home into my wardrobe. You might be just the opposite.

1. Wardrobe to Room

Let’s start by asking yourself a few questions about your wardrobe and how you like to present yourself, because what makes you feel most like you when you get up in the morning, will probably make for a

home

that feels like you. Write down the answers to these questions:

  1. What colors do you gravitate towards? Warm, cool, neutrals or brights?
  2. Is texture important to you?
  3. Do you like layers and cozy fabrics? Do you like your outfits neat and tidy or more boho?
  4. What shapes feel the most like you? A full skirt? Skinny jeans? High heels, workout shoes, yoga pants?
  5. What do you feel the most confident in?

For me, I love classic outfits with a bit of glam or a bit of edge. We’re talking fifties silouhettes with pearls but then rocking an unexpected necklace or camoflage and faux fur. So I knew that I wanted to have a classic style but with some unexpected whimsy. You'll see our year-round Advent calendar and lots of metallic surfaces in our house to balance out the black and white and wood.

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2. What’s the Function of Your Space?

Now with your notes in hand it’s time to think about the

function of your space.

What feeling do you want to convey when someone walks into your home? Do you want it to be cozy, really laid back and accessible or more formal yet still inviting?

Also you’ll want to consider the architectural style of your home here. If you have an old Victorian house, you’re probably not going to pull of urban minimalism. If you have a condo in the foothills it might not be best to do a coastal look. But you can take elements of these design styles and use them well. For us, we’ve made our Living Room more about us, while we have a family room where anything goes. It’s up to you to decide how your space can best serve you, your family and guests.

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3. Gather ideas!

Now comes the fun part. I found home magazines to be really fun to flip through and get ideas — not renovation dreams, just:

do I like this? Does this space make me feel at home? Would I want to live here?

So go and browse at your local Barnes & Noble and take a few home; plus they’re look pretty on your coffee table! You can also start looking at Pinterest. I have a huge “design” board where I pin everything I love. I don't limit. If I like it, it goes on my "design" board.

Follow Ashley's board Design on Pinterest.

From there, I can start to gather conclusions. I’ll see that I have a lot of white space, a lot of neutral grays and lots of texture, for instance. But then I’ll also see that I like pops of bright, vivid cool colors. So we chose to decorate our Living Room in black and whites with a hint of metallic glam that’s both modern and harkens to Deco period, which fits with when our house was built. It also means that above the wainscoting, our kitchen is bright teal and I love it.

4. Collect over time

I wish that I could go on a shopping spree or get my entire home made over by an HGTV show. Alas, it’s not going to happen. But we have collected little pieces over the years. And you know what? They each have a

story —

and that makes them so much more valuable than just filling my home with stuff.

We’ve bought our couches at smaller independent shops when we lived in Los Angeles; we bought our wingback chairs off of a Craigslist ad; we’ve bought lamps and light fixtures on sale after Christmas. We’ve mixed our IKEA cowhide with an old buffet inherited from my husband’s Danish grandmother.

But start small. Find a great couch you love and a coffee table. Find a pretty tray and fill a mason jar with flowers. Little touches can make all the difference -- and they can tide you over when you can't remake an entire room! Just remember that when you fill your home with what you love, it will not only feel like you, it will be a place of hospitality for your friends and neighbors.

5. Resources

Keep your eyes out for inspiration. We found our accent colors by looking at my husband's favorite flower, the orchid. Nature is your best resource for color pairing! Also, I frequent sites like

Houzz

where you can search by style or room. I've also taken home stacks of design books from the library and love the

Domino book

on decorating.

Most of all, have fun! Once I realized that my home's style just reflects me and our family, that it doesn't have to be perfect, I've loved it. Each addition (or subtraction) gets us closer to a home that is meaningful, beautiful and open to others -- because, ultimately, it's a reflection of us.

Ashley Hales writes at

Circling the Story

and is a regular contributor at

The Mudroom Blog

. She has 4 kids, one pastor husband, and a PhD in English. She loves writing about the intersection of place, faith and beauty in the mundane.