What's Your Design Style?

When decorating their homes, many people become overwhelmed, because they don't have a clear vision of what they want the final result to look like. You get caught up in what's trendy or what your friends like (or dislike). Sometimes, it's really hard to identify what you truly like and need to make your space feel like your space. Below, I've listed some helpful tips and strategies to help you take the first steps towards defining your unique design style.

1. What colors permeate your wardrobe? Take a look in your closet and dresser drawers. This will give you a clear indication of what colors appeal to you. So many times our wardrobes are filled with gorgeous, fun, rich colors, yet the walls which surround us are white, off-white, and ivory. Take some cues from your wardrobe and think about bringing some colors out of the drawers and onto the walls!

2. Flip through design magazines & furniture catalogs. Browse through magazines and catalogs and see what rooms, furniture, and accessories instantly appeal to you. Don't censor yourself, and don't look at prices (not yet, anyway). Just see what jumps off the page at you. Often, you'll be surprised that what attracts your eye is different than you'd expect!

3. Online inspiration. Visit http://www.hgtv.com/ and browse the designers' profiles. They have endless pictures of all sorts of rooms in various styles. Observe what you're drawn to, and then take some time to really study the picture and see what elements they used to create that space - often you can use derivatives of their ideas in your space!

4. Watch your favorite movies and TV shows. Ok, so sometimes, we like certain shows just because they're funny and make us laugh - but sometimes the characters we identify with live in homes or apartments that we identify with as well. Think about what it is in these spaces that appeals to you - the comfy sofa, the soft lighting, the colors....

5. Where is your favorite vacation spot? Is there a place you go back to time and time again (or went to once and can't stop thinking about) - then something about its design style definitely speaks to you. Try to identify what it is: the relaxing atmosphere? the chic hotel rooms? the candle-lit dinners? How could you incorporate some of those elements into your home?

Just for fun...

Which of the following movies would you rent first?*
a Something's Gotta Give
b Lost In Translation
c The Notebook
d An Inconvenient Truth
e Casino Royale

A: Hamptons White Wash
You don't live by the sea, you live with the sea. You like a calm and balanced environment. Your home is treasured and a temple to all you love. You fill it with loved memories, often with pieces that have a story to tell. You love details (sea shells, raffia) and you create your home to be a central meeting point - an environment for people to come together and spend time. Rooms go beyond their initial function (eg, the kitchen is used not only to prepare food).

B: New York Loft
A global trendsetter. You believe the built environment is more spectacular than the natural one and you're hooked on architectural detail. Your style remains distinctive, yet ever-evolving and true to your own self - you don't buy off the shelf. High ceilings, open-plan, rich and luxurious are key components. You pick up on trends but integrate them into your life. While you enjoy the finer things in life, you fill your home with loved memories and key pieces collected over time. A balance of function and excess.

C: Nostalgic Nest
Like a bower bird, you collect bits and pieces. You are earthy, sentimental, individual and your home is rich with detail. You treat your home as a gallery filled with happy memories, photo albums, unique souvenirs from travels and your own made treasures. Displaying your true self on the walls, your collection tells a story. Spending time away from the home - outdoors and exploring - is just as important as spending time in the home. You are not concerned with what your neighbours' homes are like: you are true to your own style.

D: Sleek "New Earth"
You love the outdoors and bring that into your living environment. The technological side of the environment is considered. You evaluate trends and bring those that complement your lifestyle into your home.

E: Sophisticated Retro
You recognise and respect good design from the past and present. You pick up key pieces over time and enjoy making them work together. While you are aware of innovations, you do not necessarily follow trends. As you are both confident and authentic, you have been collecting pieces for years and you display them with pride in abstract ways in your home.
*This question is part of a questionnaire developed by the International School Of Colour And Design.

Have fun discovering your design style!

For more information about Cailen Ascher Design or my upcoming book, Well-Designed Living, visit www.CailenAscher.bravehost.com or email CailenAscher@gmail.com.