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Mine's colour maximalism modern retro minimalism. What's yours?

Updated: Jan 27, 2021

Back in the good old pre-social media days you were either born with style or you weren't. Or you had the money to pay someone to create it for you. These days it's a lot easier to 'acquire' style, but what exactly is it?

It's a difficult concept to explain. The best way I can describe style is 'effortless and understated confidence'. Clearer now? Thought not.

There only ever used to be 7 or 8 different interiors styles, but these days they seem to fuse and multiply by the second: traditional, modern, contemporary, eclectic, minimalist, maximalist, mid-century modern, bohemian (boho), modern farmhouse, coastal, French country, Hamptons, industrial, Hollywood glam, Scandi, Mediterranean, Art Deco, and new ones are popping up all the time, such as transitional, zen, and the latest fusion: Scandinese or Japandi. Whatever next?!

So which one are you? That's a trick question - you don't have to choose! We've all got style within us, we just might not have the vocabulary, or the confidence to express it. The chances are your style will span a few of the above, and that can only be a good thing. If you pick one style and stick to it faithfully you will end up with a pastiche, an identikit trying-too-hard Instagram home. Style is not about copying others, it is about identifying what makes you as individuals happy and suits your lifestyle and your home itself. It's about mixing the old with the new, mixing colours, textures, and patterns to create something that both speaks to you and tells people about you.

These days we are spoilt for choice of images to peruse: in magazines, on Pinterest, Instagram, Houzz, etc. but how do you find out what you really identify with? Simply by collecting pictures. Pick a room, or a piece of furniture you're after, and create a save list, a moodboard, or do it the old fashioned way like I do and cut pictures out of magazines and stick them into a folder. You will soon find that you are saving or cutting out similar images and it will become obvious what you like.

I've recently helped two clients 'identify their style': one was 'vintage traditional steampunk boho' and the other was 'Palm Springs industrial retro'. Utter nonsense I know, but if there must be labels then it helps to know what to put in your search engine to get ideas.

If all this is bamboozling then I'm quite happy to guide you through it and unleash your inner style. Just promise me you won't do what my sister-in-law did and walk into a department store and buy the whole room display because she knew it worked.

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