Using photo inspiration to help you define your style
Friday, October 26, 2012 by {darlene}

Photo Inspiration

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Defining your style with pictures

{The post below was part of my Haven Conference break-out session content}

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{this post is part of a series that tackles how we can overcome our decorating paralysis, and how we can begin having homes that we love. today. Click to read the additional Overcoming Decorating Paralysis posts.}

Remember when I told you that, in order to identify your own personal style, you needed to get to work?? Yes. Well. Here you have a gentle reminder to….. get to work! Below is a guide on HOW-TO define your style with photo inspiration.

Now, do the fun part… and start collecting photo inspiration:

{image via Fieldstone Hill on Pinterest}

Decor Blogs.
DIY Blogs.
Online Decor Magazines.
Print Decor Magazines.

Does all this visual inspiration help you to effectively decorate your own home…. or just confuse you?

I hear from clients and commenters all of the time, “I am so confused. I just don’t know what I love. One day it is this, and the next day it is that.” All of this great visual inspiration can cause mental clutter, and keep us in a state of confusion about our own personal style. Just when we think we know what we love… another “more beautiful” idea comes along.

Well, there are lots of ways to narrow down and define your own personal style. And today I want to talk about one of those ways: Inspiration Photos; the very things that can cause so much decorating confusion!

Believe it or not, all of that eye-candy can help us discover what it is we truly love:  if we look at all of our photos collectively, with the aim of finding the common denominators.

So, if you are willing to take my word for it…

1. Gather some of your favorite online and magazine images, and if you have a Pinterest account with a collection of some of your favorite things and spaces, pull that up as well. { is wonderful for this, by the way.}

2. Decide on one room for your focus, and narrow down your pictures to that particular room.

3. Now, narrow down these pictures to those that you truly adore and would actually love to live in. If this part is super hard, that is okay. Even going with your “best guess of what you think you love” will be good enough.

4. Time to get down to business. Take a serious look at all of the photos that just made the cut. And remember, the aim is that you are looking for commonalities and generalities.

And then ask yourself questions of commonality, such as:

  • What furniture pieces, furniture lines and placement do all of these rooms have in common?
  • What colors and/or color moods do all of these rooms have in common?
  • What do the patterns/fabrics present in the spaces have in common?
  • What textures and/or finishes appear in several of the images?
  • What adjectives could I use that would describe most of these images?
  • Do I notice anything else that appears in most of these images?

5. Once you have answered these questions, take note of what you discover about your common loves. Literally, take notes. Write down all of the recurring themes and patterns, no matter how big or small.

Then, once you have made these observations, reflect on them for a while, and see if you can narrow down your thoughts to specific observations and concepts.  Then, confidently “own” these concepts. If you discovered that there is a touch of fuchsia in every single picture, well then… maybe it is time that you admit that you love a touch of fuchsia. Own it! It is YOUR love!

So… the next time you talk yourself out of getting the fuchsia pillow {the one that makes your heart sing….} , because it is much more “practical” to get the brown one, by golly, go with what you finally know you love!

I would love to know:

What are YOU learning about your style from your photos??




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15% off of furniture is kind of a big deal! I LOVE Layla Grace for its stunning, sophisticated furnishings. This great sale is good through the end of October. Use the code below to get your discount!

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Labeled: defining your style


  • Darlene…I cannot tell you enough how much you have guided me to my style. I was so confused but with blogs and Pinerest I am seeing a trend and that trend helped me realize …Hey! I do like that color, dish, ottoman or bed. This is a keeper post for me (answering the questions I did not know to ask myself) and I will read more into your past post this weekend. Thank you and happy Friday.

  • I have noticed that as much as I love color and pattern, I am really drawn to white rooms, white cabinets in the kitchen, etc. It seemed boring or like a cop-out (I can’t choose a paint color for the wall so I’ll just choose white) but it’s actually what makes me feel the way I want to about my space.

  • I have a list of Words of Personal Style, as you recommended, plus a list of:
    Details I Love
    I Dislike
    Colors I Love
    Wood Finishes I Love

    Do you know what has given this process a big boost for me? Maybe it sounds weird, but a good friend and talented artist/designer gave my blog a redesign/makeover last summer. Going through the process with her for In My Kitchen, In My Life has made me understand my architectural, home, and clothing styles so much better!

  • I do not like the ornate and flourish-y frames. I love bold patterns and jewel colors. I don’t like monochromatic color schemes. I love large windows. This is fun! I’m learning tons about myself!!

  • […] Photo inspiration is a key tool to helping you define your signature style. Pull favorite images out of magazines of rooms you truly adore, and scour design websites for spaces you love. Then, once you have collected your favorite spaces, study what common themes these rooms share. Do they all have light walls? Do they all have pops of color? Look for any commonalities and then take note of what you discover. […]

  • I needed this so badly! Worked like a charm for me…here’s what I have found:

    I love comfy, big, brown, cozy, warm furniture, on the traditional side. Dark woods and oversized pillows. Clean oversized frames in clusters on the wall, and jewel tones for a splash of color!

    I’m going shopping!

  • I’m learning that I love bold patterns- almost always in warm, earthy colors. I love a good mix of textures, too- a soft, comfy pillow on a retro metal chair; a clean-framed painting hung on a crumbling brick wall. I’m also noticing a trend of “collections” in my photos- four of five identical potted plants on a shelf, or a bunch of miss-matched coffee mugs displayed on a sideboard. Definitely no “fussiness”, but a lot of “unexpected functionality”.

  • LOVE THIS!!! I just started following my passion of interior decorating in my 30’s… After leaving my 10 year career in the dental field to stay home with my son I had a few friends want me to help them decorate their space and now I’m back to work, only doing something I LOVE but unfortunately have no degree in. This series has truly helped me know how to help others truly define their style and will help me tremendously in the future!!! Thank you SO much!

  • […] that you LOVE, and get to work at dissecting what it is you LOVE about them. Read this post on Photo Inspiration. Then hop on Pinterest and/or start clipping magazines. This is where the magic […]

  • […] that you LOVE, and get to work at dissecting what it is you LOVE about them. Read this post on Photo Inspiration. Then hop on Pinterest and/or start clipping magazines. This is where the magic […]

  • […] and airy? Happy and cheerful? Sultry and sexy? What colors and textures do they have in common? (This post at Fieldstone Hill is a great help for this […]

  • I love white and black with bold color accents, or super colorful walls with white and block furniture. No earth tones. I love lots of natural light and soft, round furniture. I tend to grab pictures of stone and darker more earthy tones because my husband really likes this finish… now to find a way to have both. XD

  • […] As I look at all of these favorite pics together, it helps me to determine what is truly important for me in kitchen design. Gathering several of your MOST fave pics is an excellent exercise in helping you to define your personal style. […]

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