Decorating your home becomes overwhelming fast, so many options, so many items, so many stores. And how do you pull it all together? One of the fastest ways to tell that someone is lost in their decorating is to see how disconnected each piece is from the other. You see different items, each one possibly even being beautiful on its own, but together it doesn’t make sense. The items have no harmony, no relationship with one another. In design, truly, the whole is greater than the sum of its parts. Items have to make sense together, not match, but coordinate. Each one builds up the strength and beauty of the other. Now, how do you do this when you don’t feel like you have a specific style that you can put your finger on, a specific look that you’re going after, or a clue how to put a room together? Find a role model.
When you don’t know what your style is, borrow someone else’s for the time being. Personally, interior design makes sense to me, but fashion doesn’t. Over the years I’ve collected an assortment of clothing that I like separately. But together, it’s a random selection, rather than a coordinated collection. Truly stylish people have a clear look, and their clothes reflect that. Their clothes are in harmony with one another and are therefore able to be mixed and matched creating an endless array of options. But for those who don’t have the ability, like me, I end up with random shirts that I pair with jeans, put some shoes and earrings on, and walk out the door. I’m wearing clothes, but I’m not wearing a styled outfit. So, what’s a girl to do? Ask myself, would Grace Kelly wear this?
A couple of years ago when I realized I needed to step up my personal style, I read a few books on how to do just that. And one great piece of advice I took away was to have a role model in your mind when making purchasing decisions. For me, that’s Grace Kelly. She was endlessly elegant, understated, feminine, and most important to me, classic. She was the ultimate when it comes to personal style. So while I’m still trying to understand and develop my own style, I borrow hers. Every time I pick up a piece of clothing that I’m considering but am unsure of, I ask myself, would Grace Kelly wear this? If she wouldn’t, I put it down.
The same goes for decorating. When you’re looking at pieces to purchase for your home, keep one or two favorite designers in mind (and if you don’t have any favorite designers, read through home decor magazines and find designs that you really like and do further research on the designer). When you’re looking at a piece that you’re unsure about, ask yourself, would (insert designer here) buy this? And if the answer is no, you may want to walk away. It doesn’t have to be a hard and fast rule, but it is a quick, easy, and emotionless way to make design decisions. It’s a filter that eliminates a choice that may have left you later thinking, why did I buy this?
When I’m unsure about a design decision, my go tos are Suzanne Kasler and Phoebe Howard. I’ve featured their work on the blog before and have listed them here, and it’s what I largely strive for. Some of their design decisions are different than what I prefer, but it still helps to give me direction when I’m unsure. It’s far better to have a filter and purchase too few items, then too many. I’ve found that maybe 80% of the items you consider, you may not want to purchase. Picky is necessary. It drives my husband crazy, and it may make the process longer, but in the end your design will benefit from it. Editing is everything. And if you edit from the beginning, the process is much faster, and much less expensive.
So the next time you’re working on decorating your room, or even considering a simple accessory ask yourself, would (your favorite designer) buy this? And quickly and easily, you’ll have your answer as to whether or not you should buy that item. Try it next time you’re out!