How To Figure Out Your Interior Style
Updated: May 28
Oooh, this is a juicy one. I'll quickly go over how I came up with mine and then show you some steps to figure out yours.
On the front page of this site, I've currently written 'Expat Interior Style' right across the top. What does that even mean? Sure, I'm an expat, but what's an expat interior style?!
Initially, I was going to write 'Mediterranean Interior Style' because that's actually a thing with very identifiable elements. It's simple and natural with lots of blue highlights, and it's mostly bright, airy spaces which invite the outside in.
But, then I realised that my interior style isn't very Mediterranean in a lot of ways. For a start, I'm British, and their interior style is very different. It leans more towards cozy little nooks to shelter away from the shite weather. It's far more whimsical and tongue-in-cheek - nothing is taken too seriously, especially not interior design.
And then I'm married to a Swede. Scandinavians are known for their love of modern, mostly monochromatic interiors, such as the one below.
When you combine those three, you're looking at what I call Expat Interior Style, otherwise known as a hot mess.
I think our needs for each room will dictate my interior style more than any one cultural influence, but I'm pretty sure my house will reflect so many different styles that it will be impossible to pinpoint it to just one. As far as sticking to one style throughout the whole house?! Heck, no. I'm pretty sure moving from room to room in my house will be more like taking a journey. Which, if it turns out like the Nashville loft below, is fine by me.
So what factors should you look at when trying to figure out your own interior style?
I think the first is time. How much time do you have to devote to your home? Are you a busy corporate who's never home? Please don't waste time attempting to get your home just-so. If you're rushed-off-your-feet busy, all you need is a place that provides a comfortable, calm retreat when you are actually home. Your home should be a place that isn't going to add anything to your to-do list. Minimalist should probably be your go-to interior style.
Photo by Shawn Ang via Unsplash
The second issue is the stage of life you're in. Do you have young children? Do NOT invest in beautiful fabrics for your upholstery - that velvet couch will be murdered by a toddler in less time that it takes you to make a coffee. Unless you want to spend all your time picking up the kids' stuff, minimalist is probably not the style for you because your home will rarely look uncluttered - kids have so much junk. In fact, this might be the time to have a bit of fun with colour because the kids' stuff is going to be everywhere anyway - you may as well embrace it. Eclectic might be the best, most euphemistic name for your interior style.
Photo by Marcus Spiske via Unsplash
And then there's money. Do you have the cash for a cleaner every day? Then, sure, get a glass-topped dining table or those ghost chairs if they float your boat. If someone isn't wiping those clean pretty much hourly, all you will see is smudgy fingerprints. If you can afford an enormous house, then you can invest in large-scale furniture and art that makes an impact. You might lean towards a sophisticated interior style that features expensive designer pieces. I've dubbed that style '5 Star Hotel Lobby'.
Photo by Roberto Nickson via Unsplash
Finally, there are the limitations the space itself dictates. If your home has small rooms and doesn't get much light, it's going to be hard to achieve an airy, sun-soaked Mediterranean feel. Conversely, if your home features an open plan living/dining/kitchen area, showcasing too many of your belongings is going to look like a bit of a mess - it'll be too much all at once.
Those are the four critical factors that will force you into one interior style over another. But then there are the 'fun factors' such as how comfortable you are playing with colour, whether or not you want your home to reflect your travels, how you use your home - is it a retreat, is it a showpiece, is it the favourite hangout for your kids and their friends?
There's a lot to consider when deciding on an interior style for your home. I think I'm going to find it hard to settle on just one style, to be honest. However, I like what interior designer Kendall Simmons said about downsizing her home:
"Nothing is allowed in that isn't meaningful or beautiful. There's just no space for things that are only okay."
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