Knowing what you love is problematic in a world with endless options and seemingly less and less thinking time. In my blog Honest Interiors, I posted about why it’s crucial to your home interiors to focus on your own tastes rather than what’s popular at the moment. In a quick summary, sticking with a personal style means longevity for your furnishings, which means a larger budget for each item. Rather than switching cheaper items every year, you can invest more money on big-ticket items slowly over time. But this is not a quick and easy task in today’s market; there are endless product options and style suggestions available to us at the click of a mouse. This swarm of options can often cause us to be more fragmented and easily persuaded when making decisions about furnishings. The following steps will be helpful in discovering what style of furnishings or interiors you really love, or even to develop your own style.
- Scribble Memories. Physically putting a pen to paper triggers different areas of your brain, increases memory and helps engage your creative side. Yohana Desta has an amazing article about the benefits of writing by hand. Write down your favourite memories, including your favourite places. Write about why you loved them: the feelings, the textures, the furniture, the lighting. Write about your favourite artists, musicians, sports teams, cities, countries, languages, fragrances, brands, movies, celebrities, relatives, hobbies, anything…absolutely anything. The main thing is to remember why you love life, and the things you treasure. These can be in lists, mind maps, paragraph or any other format you find easiest.
- Detect the Patterns. Scan through your lists and try to find one or two common threads among the words. Is it nostalgic war era in the music, fashion and celebrities you love? Or perhaps the idea of innovation. It could be absolutely anything. If you’re struggling to find constellations within your galaxy of interests, snap a photo of your list and send it to me. I would love to help!
- Do your research. Once you’ve found your theme, go deeper. It could be eclecticism, poetry, handmade arts, comic books, etc. If your underlying themes are too large to research, such as wanderlust, try researching people or architecture that embody these themes. It helps the most of you can tie your themes to location.
- Pictography. Put your research to use by google searching images of things you’ve found in your research, for example, “Interior of Buckingham Palace”, “1920’s Speakeasy Party”, or even “1950’s interior design”. Other online tools and social media platforms are great for this, such as Tumblr, Pinterest, Instagram and Houzz.
- Interior Interpretation. This is probably the hardest step. Take the images you’ve found from step 4 and find interior aspects you love about them. This could be colours, materials, shapes and style of furniture, inventions, room layouts, decor, or types of art. Then you slowly pull your look together by merging these things.
Here’s a brief, semi-fictional example:
Otis is a middle-aged, single IT professional. He loves gadgets, but he also loves Jazz music and extraordinary geology. He enjoys the outdoors and cooking. One pattern he finds is he likes man-made organisation, very structured programmes and gadgets, yet loves natural variations in music, art and nature. He loves the soothing, yet unexpected feelings in nature and jazz music. He researches the jazz age and famous early jazz musicians. He also researches the philosophy jazz, which is actually quite innovative. He researches natural phenomena and architecture in New Orleans, the birthplace of Jazz. He then looks up pictures of his research and saves images he likes.
From all the photos, Otis interprets that he likes industrial buildings, with exposed brick, timber floorboards and I-beams, and that he really enjoys the seemingly unnatural occurrence of order within nature, such as in the Moeraki Boulders and the Giant’s Causeway. He likes modern gadgets with the same phenomenal amount of order and design that nature can sometimes bring, which explains his natural preference for apple products rather than PCs or androids. This translates well into kitchen appliances, speakers and even furniture.