vision :: personal style words
Wednesday, February 16, 2011 by {darlene}

Personal Style Words:

In defining what we love, and creating a vision of personal style, vocabulary is so important.

If we can find the words to describe what it is we love,

1. we can communicate that to others, and

2. we can remind ourselves of our goals as our spaces evolve.

In my first post on this topic, I encouraged you to try to NOT use interior design words to define your style {words such as: “eclectic” or “country” or “traditional” or “minimalist” or “coastal” or “modern”}. Begin thinking outside of these boxes to find your style words.

Instead, today, I am going to encourage you to try to find your style words by using regular adjectives or descriptive words that appeal to you on these levels:

These words should describe:

  1. How you want your home to feel
  2. How you want your home to look, and
  3. The purpose you want your home to serve.

{Sound familiar? It is the same basic list to the one that I shared in this post on how one begins refining your personal style.}

Sooooo, Homework time!:

One.

take out your design style notebook and jot down the first words that come to mind in reference to the above list of 3 criteria.

Two.

After you have written down all of the words that you first think of, refer to the list below, and see if any of these additional words help you to refine your vision.

Three.

Final step?  Think on it, and then, narrow it down to five or so words that best describe what you want from your home.

More Descriptive Style Words:  {this list is certainly not exhaustive. In addition, why not take a thesaurus and try to nail down the perfect words for your own personal style?}

playful,  vibrant, classic, comfortable,  lush,  fresh,  flowing,  rich,  bold,  energetic,  peaceful,  serene,  elegant,  simple,  conservative, interesting, adventurous, unpretentious, unexpected,  order,  neutral,  textured,  showy,  artsy, funky, flashy,  glamourous,  regal, effortless, timeworn, spacious, formal, informal, bare, unique, creative, musical, sophisticated, wild,  daring,  fun, artistic, hospitable, welcoming, charming, uncluttered,  warm, hip, crisp, airy, breathable, bare, edgy, industrial, breathes,  minimal,  reserved,  homey, sentimental, inviting, ordered, natural, modern, unexpected, soothing, earthy,  cool,  cozy,  earthy, quality, sparse, storied, refined, lux, purposeful, kid-friendly,  rustic, vintage, relaxing, light, firey,  exciting,  calm,  open,  colorful,  free,  comforting, sumptuous, light-hearted, organized, colorful, gutsy,  posh,  plush,  proper, imperfect, beautiful, etc.


{pic. via Jones Design Company }

Here is my own personal list. I use it whenever I make a design decision for my own home.  This keeps me in check for my overall vision for our home, and it is especially helpful when trying to make purchase decisions:

{darlene}’s personal style words:

*Glamour
*Simplicity
*Comfort
Sophisticated
Elegant
Order
Breathes

The starred choices above are the three that I have memorized, and “take with me” in my mind – especially when I am purchasing for my home. I also try to keep the whole list in mind. This way, when making decisions or purchases, I can ask myself: “Is it elegant? simple? will it add a touch of glamour or a touch of simplicity? will it help my space to breathe? will it help me unclutter?”

What is on your personal style words list??

Don’t worry if you think that your home does not currently fit into the description that these words offer. In time, as you keep these words of design reason in mind, you will slowly be able to turn your home into a place that you love, where everything serves the purpose of your home and family.

I would love to know your word list. Whenever you come up with it, come back to this post, and share it here in the comments!

 

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Labeled: defining your style, lessons in design, vision

39 Comments

  • I would use many of the same words to describe how I would like for my house to feel. I would also add welcoming and comfortable.

  • @Red Door Home! So true. What good is a beautiful home if you have no desire to linger there, and you don't want to sit on your own furniture!

  • How fascinating! Thank you for sharing your wisdom! After much thought my words are: Inviting, Cozy, Orderly, Preservation, Inspiration, Creative, and Unexpected. :)

  • inviting
    comfy
    classic
    clean
    bright

    Our house was built in 1916 so it’s a fine line between wanting it to be classic and toddler/dog/kitten friendly :). Your website is beautiful thanks for blogging!

  • Hi Darlene, I am SO glad I came upon your blog and this post! Since moving last year, I’m really trying to hone in on what my husband and I love and what our family needs from our home. After 15 years together we found our belongings were too traditional for who we are and how we live! I love this approach to figuring out how we want our home to feel, look and function as opposed to choosing a design style and sticking to it!
    So far my list has: casual, comfortable, pulled together, meaningful, organized and welcoming. Can’t wait to read more here. I’ll make sure to take notes! Thanks so much for your advice!!
    PS I absolutely love what you did with Edie’s house. So eclectic and beautiful!

  • I love this post! thanks for sending the link. Smile.
    my words::
    Charm
    Alluring
    Natural
    Comfortable
    A Shelter

  • I truly wanted to make a simple word to appreciate you for all the awesome ideas you are writing here. My incredibly long internet investigation has now been recognized with really good tips to talk about with my company. I ‘d claim that many of us visitors actually are undeniably endowed to dwell in a fine community with many marvellous professionals with beneficial hints. I feel truly grateful to have come across the webpage and look forward to plenty of more brilliant minutes reading here. Thank you again for all the details.

  • wow, such simple advice, yet I feel like I am so much closer to a vision! Thank you!

  • Hi, Darlene. A friend of mine pinned your Overcoming Decorating Paralysis post and I love this approach to figuring out what I like. That’s my main issue…I haven’t spent enough time defining that. So, for step one, I found these words:

    funky
    artistic
    musical
    hip
    pop culture
    modern
    unexpected
    organized
    colorful
    creative

    Basically, I think I want my house to look like a Duran Duran music video…that’s cool, right? :)

  • I have my list!

    welcoming
    warm
    hospitable
    informal
    quality
    peaceful
    charming
    storied
    relaxing
    kid-friendly
    light
    uncluttered
    open
    airy
    unpretentious
    natural

    Is that too many words?

  • Great exercise. My list:
    Light
    inviting
    comfortable
    peaceful
    order

    and I have to “borrow” charming from the above post. originally beautiful came to mind but it seemed too generic. I think charming fits perfectly!

  • DH & I took a recent weekend trip to Columbus OH. We spent one day relaxing, another enjoying the quaint German Village and yet another window shopping at Easton Town Center. I took the opportunity to figure out what my DH was drawn to style wise. I’m naturally wordy and have yet to narrow our list down. If I had to reference influences, I’d say farmhouse, Restoration Hardware, Arhaus and touch of shabby chic.

    So here’s where we’re starting:
    soothing, sumptuous, neutral, imperfectly natural, classic, vintage, timeworn, handmade, refined, lux, purposeful, spacious yet sophisticated-ly cozy, industrial, interesting, effortless, ordered yet unexpected, beautiful.

  • Fun exercise! Here’s my list …
    Light
    Unique
    Vintage
    Cozy
    Sentimental

  • Fabulous series! My words are:
    Welcoming
    uncluttered-ish
    home crafted
    confident
    comfortable
    love nest.

  • I just found your blog via The Nester and am eating it up. My list is:

    Inviting
    Informal
    Graceful
    Well-Crafted
    All the Time in the World
    Mischievous

    I pin a lot of stuff that looks like a freshened up version of European country houses, but if I just said “European country house style” I would not have a clue when I was out looking for stuff. This is a great exercise. Thank you!

  • Hi! So happy you rote this series. I’m taking myself through it.

    Today, my words are:
    Simple
    Comfortable,
    Unexpected,
    Unpretentios,
    Welcoming, and one more from raeding the comments above,
    Handmade.

    Thanks for this. On to the next step!

  • Rote should be “wrote” of course, and it should be unpretentious. Gah. Typos. Hope I caught them all and didn’t make any more!

  • Thank you a million times over for this! I needed words to put to my style. Here is my initial list:

    Cheerful
    Bright
    Fun
    Timeless
    Family

    Jessica
    stayathomeista.com

  • Never knew what my style was. Always accept things that were given to me and/or on clearence. But now that the children are gone, I would like to be a bit more “organized” in my home decor. So I’m looking forward to this exercise!
    welcoming
    fresh
    calming
    classic

  • […] Hill Design’s invaluable series on defining your style gave me a list of 5 defining words that ought to fit anything I purchase, and 3 no-buy words that, if they fit, mean… I need […]

  • What a fun exercise. I found your blog from The Nester. I think I’ll enjoy getting to know you better!

    My words:
    Comfortable
    Safe
    Happy
    Colorful
    Bold
    Uncluttered
    Fostering Connections

  • […] sharing my results with you.  If you haven’t yet done the exercises, I highly recommend you go here first and then right over here next BEFORE reading my post.  That way when you come back you have […]

  • I’m sort of with Wendy…I’ve got a lot of hand-me-downs, clearance, and “oh-I-need-something-NOW” items that don’t really fit what I wish my home would be. My words are:

    Purposeful
    Uncluttered
    Simple
    Relaxing
    Interesting
    Comfortable/comforting

    I think we take a lot of energy from our environment and right now, I live in a home that is pretty much the polar opposite of most of these words. I want to get there for my family as much as I want it for myself.

  • I found your site through pinterest. :) thank you for sharing your talents!
    I decided to do this because I am considering a move where I will have a roommate. It makes sense to me to figure out what I like so I will know what I am willing to compromise on as far as living space goes.
    My wordlist:
    Cheerful/bright/sunny/colorful
    Comfortable/relaxed
    Welcoming/inviting
    Organized/clean/fresh 
    Handmade/recycled or upcycled

  • […] PS – these thoughts are fuelled by a few blog posts. I am absolutely loving the 31 days of abide by sweetwater, but in particular today’s post shelter practically, and also Darlene’s post words of reason […]

  • At 48 I’m at a place in my life where my home gets to be a reflection of ME and I’m learning so much about myself. Thank you for your posts on overcoming decorating paralysis. My word list is:

    homey
    feminine
    sentimental
    fun
    pastel
    sunlight

  • Thank you, thank you! I am super inspired by this post! It has been so hard for me to pin down exactly what my personal style would be because I try to make it fit in predetermined design “boxes” like you mentioned in the post (”eclectic”, “country”, “traditional”, etc.). I can’t wait to see what lovely paths my style words take me down! :-)

    * Comfortable
    * Warm
    * Welcoming
    * Charming
    * Inspirational
    * Joyful

  • Darlene,
    Having gone from never commenting to now responding to everything on your site :) …. I loved (and needed this), I can see this truly helping stop the clutter build up, and it brings intention to what is allowed into our home. My design words are,
    retreat, serene, playful, natural, and open :)

  • Great idea!

    I love how things feel. Furntiure that is soft and comfortable but rich looking. So how about luxurious!

  • […] and furnishing our new home!  Her “Personal Style Bootcamp” advice of making a list of personal style words and a companion list of “don’t buy” words resonated so deeply with me that I began to see a […]

  • Thank you!

    Grounding
    Releasing
    Resurrecting

  • This is my first time here, and I LOVE THIS SERIES!!! I feel like I get held up and bogged down by the latest trends, and other people’s styles and opinions. I hope to change that! THANK YOU!!!

    My list:
    confident, bright, comfy, cheerful, creative

  • I know it’s been posted a long time ago, but I only found it NOW (from LiveLoveDIY who posted about ViewAlongTheWay, who refers to your blog quite often).

    Thank you very much for this serie of posts. I’m a new and first-time homeowner. And I’m overwhelmed about how to decorate. You offer precious guidelines that demystify Decorating.

    Haven’t done my list yet. It’s kind of hard, as I love many opposite things, like wanting a home that’s both sleek and shiny and antique and worn. I have lots of work to do.

  • Welcoming
    Distressed
    Layered
    Timeworn
    Rustic

  • How I want my home to feel?
    comfortable
    fresh
    peaceful
    hospitable
    restful

    How I want my home to look?
    elegant
    effortless
    uncluttered
    light
    welcoming

    What purpose do I want my home to serve?
    bring people together
    build memories
    give beauty

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