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How A Designer Can Help You Find Your Design Style

A design client just told me that when her sister-in-law came over to see her finished home, she was amazed with how well my furniture and accessory selections matched her style. That’s not an accident or a lucky guess (well, maybe once in a while!). But before I even meet with a client for an initial consult, I email a design questionnaire that helps to pinpoint their preferred style. Then when I visit their home, I ask questions about what rooms they like best, least, what colors they prefer or more importantly, DON’T like at all. If they’re not sure what their style is (and many people aren’t), I look for other clues, such as their taste in clothes, scenes in family photos, interior design photos they’ve pulled or pictures I show them, what their favorite stores are (home stores or even fashion stores), how they like to entertain (IF they like to entertain!). I also do a fun “design quiz” using a paint color deck to see what colors clients are drawn to.
Some common design styles are:
* traditional
* modern
* eclectic (a mix of styles)
* country
* French country
* global
* rustic/cabin/lodge
* southwestern
* minimalist (streamlined modern)
This forms the basic “style recipe” that serves as the starting point for putting together design boards and furniture selection. As a decorator, I then add in a little “spice” to the mix with creative and new selections available from to-the-trade stores to see how a client responds to something a bit out-of-the-box for that “wow” factor. Most of the time, clients expect a decorator to help them pull off a more interesting, creative, and unusual design then they would be able to think of themselves or even see in a store. Creative solutions take into consideration such factors as:
* functionality and practical needs, i.e. all purposes of the space, comfort, storage, number of people typically using a space, durability, the age of occupants, and any special height requirements
* aesthetics, i.e. retaining a color “thread” from room to room, mixing and matching elements into a cohesive whole
* architectural elements of the space that should be highlighted
* features that should be minimized
* the desired mood for the room (peaceful and calm, energetic, dark vs. light, formal vs. informal, etc.)
* alerting the client about interesting new trends and products
* client budget
My final goal is always a functional and aesthetically pleasing design that creates an ideal environment for each client!