Your personal style is not limited to what you wear—it’s everything about you, from your desk to the way you fill the rooms of your environment. However, getting dressed in the morning is much easier than designing a bedroom or a living room, especially when you’re not sure what your style actually is.
Over time—and many apartments—I’ve learned how to create a space that mirrors how I see myself: a little bit vintage, a little bit country, and a little bit kooky library lady. Whenever visitors stop by, they always seem to comment about how unique my home is, and how much it resembles me. My home is always a work in progress, but there’s nothing like the feeling of coming home after a few days away and feeling like I’m back in my element.
Putting together a home that feels like a reflection of you doesn’t require a prescriptive, assigned “style.” It’s all about being creative, looking inward, and finding items and design pieces that you truly love and want to be surrounded by 24/7.
Putting together a home that feels like a reflection of you doesn’t require a prescriptive, assigned “style.” It’s all about being creative, looking inward, and finding items and design pieces that you truly love and want to be surrounded by 24/7. These are a few of my tried-and-true tips to making your residence a reflection of you.
Take a peek in your closet.
What you gravitate toward sartorially may inspire your interior design style too. Do you go for bright colors, lots of patterns, and eclectic vintage pieces, or are you all about subdued, minimal silhouettes and luxe textures? These can all be a clue to making your environment feel more like you. For example, if your favorite thing in your closet is a classic tweed or camel blazer, consider adding preppy plaids or rich earth tones to your rooms to cultivate a very Ralph Lauren-esque vibe. If your most-worn item is a yellow silk ‘80s blazer with polka dots, well, there’s your answer—you should infuse your environment with lots of color and pattern! Paint the walls. Mix textures. Go wild.
The Instagram “save” function is your friend.
Instagram may drive us all a little batty at times, but there’s no denying it’s one of the best places for inspiration. You’re probably following a handful of accounts whose style aligns with yours, so there’s no harm in taking inspo from them! Create a special folder for interiors and when you scroll past something that vibes with you, save it so you can come back to it while you’re shopping or decorating to spark your creativity.
Start a collection and show it off!
Over the years, I’ve amassed a huge collection of Virgin Mary statues. I’m not religious, but something about Mary and the many ways she is depicted struck a chord with me. I started picking up statues at thrift stores and while traveling, and then friends and family began to follow suit. The Marys have become a trademark, and they live in a large group on top of my bookshelves. They’re pretty, a little spooky, and part of me — I truly love each one of them. Start a collection of your own (the sky is the limit!) and give it a prominent place in your home for a touch of personality.
Don’t worry about perfection or aligning too closely with one aesthetic.
Sure, your personal style is minimal, but that doesn’t mean you can’t have a shock of hot pink via a throw pillow or a fun grouping of personal photos in unique frames on a side table. Or maybe you’re full-on Hollywood glamour, but you can’t stop thinking about that super-modern piece you saw on Facebook Marketplace. Let go of your preconceived notions of what a room is “supposed” to look like. Mix things up—too curated is boring, and perfection is impossible! Sometimes the best interior design moments come from a clash of styles.
Sure, your personal style is minimal, but that doesn’t mean you can’t have a shock of hot pink via a throw pillow or a fun grouping of personal photos in unique frames on a side table. . . . Let go of your preconceived notions of what a room is “supposed” to look like.
There’s no tweak too small to make a difference.
Even the kitchen utensils, storage containers, and toilet paper holders you choose can show off a sparkle of your personality. Sometimes such little touches make the biggest difference in a space, so try swapping out that bland beige switch plate for something more fun or changing out the hardware in your bathroom for a little flair. These miniscule updates can totally change the vibe of a room.
Let your style evolve with you.
In my first solo apartment, everything was pink, gold, floral, and extremely feminine—very indicative of who I was at the time. When I moved in with my boyfriend (now husband), I had to meld my fancy taste with his midcentury pieces and more subdued style. We eventually created a space we both loved and that showed who we were as individuals and as a pair. Your home won’t look the same forever, so don’t be afraid to donate or store things that don’t feel like “you” any longer. (As a packrat, I’m team “store in the basement and revisit when you feel like redecorating,” but you do you.)
Buy what you love.
It’s simple advice, I know, but it’s true. If you’re out shopping and see something that puts a smile on your face or a spark of joy in your life, buy it—tchotchkes included and encouraged! Life is too short not to be surrounded by things that make you happy. Creating a space that’s a reflection of your personality is all about celebrating the things you love and showing them off.
Kara Nesvig grew up on a sugar beet farm in rural North Dakota and pretended to be Dorothy from The Wizard of Oz for about three full years. Things haven’t changed much, except she now lives in an adorable ’20s house in St. Paul with her husband, their Cavalier King Charles Spaniel Dandelion and many, many pairs of shoes. Kara is a voracious reader, Britney Spears superfan and copywriter — in that order.
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