Find Your Design Style in One Easy Step

Understanding your design style is not as difficult as you’d think. Why? Because you already have the answer. You just need to know where to find it. Over the years I’ve had so many clients ask me how they can figure out exactly what their design style is.  I see the stress in their faces as they try to figure out how to make their home fit a “magazine” style or influence when all they really need to do is one thing.  Open their closet door.


Neutrals at work in one of my go-to fall looks with a super fun necklace.

Yep. The fact is, you’re probably wearing the answer to this burning question.


That’s right! Take a look in your closet. What are the items that you looooovvve to wear? I’m not talking about the sequined cocktail dress or any other special occasion attire that may or may not require Spanx (wink, wink). I’m thinking about the clothing that makes you happy and is in your comfort zone – what you typically gravitate towards. What does THAT look like?  On any given day you’ll find me wearing a collection of neutral colors; the overall palette perfectly suited for my personal style.


I have a tendency to lean towards greys, tans, black and white but love to throw in a statement jewelry piece or use a bold shoe color – something that adds a wow-factor to my look.  Not surprisingly, my design style conveys that aesthetic almost to a “T” (Ha! Get it?).


My Florida condominium. Wood tones warm up a crisp white, grey and black palette. Fresh floor plants, cut flowers add color and make the space feel even brighter.


But what if you live in jeans and like to pair them with a cute shirt and a pair of heels? What does that say about your in-home design style?  I’d be willing to bet you like a comfortable home where people come, kick their feet up and stay a while. But, you also care about the design details, pull them together purposefully and with intention, i.e. the high heels!


How wardrobe translates into your interior design is something that most people don’t really think about, yet it’s so obvious once you know what to look for.  A while back I spoke at a home show about this very subject. Jokingly calling myself a “design psychic”, I asked audience members to come forward so I could give them a design style “reading”.


Then I saw her. 


Wearing this big, wild, feathery hat, I instantly knew this woman loved to live life to the fullest.  Her outfit included florals galore, a furry vest, all kinds of accessories, jeans and sneakers.  She was “extra” in every way.  I’m sure you’ve met people like this. The ones who walk into a room and everyone immediately knows they’re there.


I guessed that her home was the party house…where everyone likes to hang out and have only the best time.  I noted that she probably wasn’t afraid to use pattern in her home and warned her not to take the following the wrong way but…I had a feeling she just loved a tchotchke – like, a lot of them. We had a laugh and she admitted that I was right on the money with my “design psychic” predictions.


If she hired a designer, I imagine her playful personality would be depicted a little something like this fun, eclectic design. Credit: Colleen Scott Photography & HGTV


Now that you know how to use your own wardrobe as inspiration, go ahead right into your closet.  Pick out pieces that (in the words of organizational guru @mariekondo) “spark joy” for you. If it’s a print, pay attention to the colors and imagine that palette in your home. If you already love it for your clothing, those colors would probably make you happy in your space. Bedding is a great (non-committal) way to pull in multiple colors if you don’t want to go bold with wall paint or furniture, which by the way…is a lot easier and more affordable to change up from time to time.

If you pulled out your favorite pair of skinny jeans, my guess is you like a comfortable home and you should choose design items that convey a more relaxed vibe.  Think cushy, down throw pillows, natural fiber rugs and a welcoming, large farmhouse table.

If you chose a crisply-ironed button down shirt, you probably prefer a more tailored aesthetic for your home. This refined style would be represented by furniture with clean, modern lines and structured, yet simple finishes.  Instead of patterns, opt for a concise color palette to highlight the home’s architectural details.


Modern. Clean. Fresh. Bright. Together these elements create a simple, sophisticated aesthetic.


Did you pick out an animal print dress and a black leather biker’s jacket? Celebrate your spirited personal style at home by using fun wall colors, patterns, textures and finishes that make unapologetic, bold statements. Use fun, whimsical art pieces to help translate your live-out-loud personality.

It seems so basic when we say it but somehow we overlook what is right there in front of our eyes; the notion that what we wear on our bodies every day can make sense in our own homes.


And, if your favorite go-to date night outfit is gym shorts, a tee and flip flops… girl, we need to talk beyond this blog.  So message me @taniyanayak and I’ll do my best to offer some advice.  Thank you for spending part of your day with me. Send me your ideas for future blog and vlog posts.  I’m listening and always inspired by you.