9 Steps To Reveal Your Signature Furnishing Style

Young woman on staircase in loft apartment
Barry Gnyp/UpperCut Images/Getty Images

Do you know your very own furnishing style? If not, can you have one and not know it? It is very possible. But here's an easy, hands on way to find out. Uncover the clues to find your real furnishing style by walking around your home, and . These clues are everywhere, and not just confined to your furniture.

Difficulty: Average

Time Required: 2-3 hours

Here's How:

  1. Look at the furniture you already own. Is there something you cannot bear to part with, such as a rickety chair, a table that has outlived its usefulness, or a nightstand that doesn't match anything. What makes you hold on to it? What made you buy it in the first place?
    Jot down the reasons as they come to you and don't overthink or revise too much.
  2. Walk around and note what you have on your walls. Old family photographs? Abstract art posters from the museum? The quilt that you made or inherited?
    The content, colors, and textures are saying a lot about what you really like. Note down what they suggest to you.
  3. As you take your walk around the house, look at your latest purchase. Is it along the lines of what you usually buy, or do you sense a departure? Something radically different could tell you that you are ready for a style makeover, and willing to venture into new territory. A single piece that is different from all the rest can also be telling you this.
    Take a good look at this piece if it is different. What do you like about it?
  4. As you walk around your home, do you like one room more than the others? Do you tend to spend more time here than in other rooms?
    Chances are you decorated this room in a style that speaks to you and puts you at ease. Look at the elements that make up this room, and see if you can repeat them elsewhere.
  5. Do you notice a lot of repetition of a certain color, shape or texture? Do you see a lot of objects that are related?
    Sometimes you can build collections without really being aware that you are doing so and they are a clue to what you really care about.
    What if you have many collections and they are all different? You will still see a theme running through them. It could be a color, or shape, or something more subtle like texture, or a mood that these objects evoke.
  6. Make a note of your favorite store. Not just the one where you buy your furnishings, but where you buy other things, such as clothes. Where do you like to browse, where do you go when you want to window shop?
    Your favorite shopping venue tells you a lot about your sense of personal style. Your furnishing style should grow out of that.
  7. Finally, think about where you like to go when you travel. What do you like to bring back from there? What if you could travel anywhere? Where would you go? What would you do there? What would you bring back?
    This can tell you a lot about what really moves and excites you, and can help you in putting together the right look for your home.
  8. Look through magazines. Don't dwell too long on anything, but tear out pictures that appeal to you. No magazines? Surf the web and create a special Pinterest board for anything that strikes you.
    Dwelling too long on any one thing may make you second guess your choice. You have to remember that there are no right or wrong choices, only an effort to uncover your real style.
  9. Now you are ready to wrap up. Go through your notes, and look through your pictures. You are bound to see certain descriptions and themes come up again and again. And that is where you will find your real furnishing style.


  1. Your style is traditional if you see a preference for rich, dark wood finishes, and carved details. You may like fabrics such as chintz, jacquard, damask and brocade.
  2. Your style is modern if you prefer clean lines, little or no ornamentation, and a range of finishes. Leather and microfiber appeal to you more than damask and brocade.
  3. Your style is transitional if you like the clean lines, but you want them softened somewhat. You like classics, but prefer them updated. You tend to like soft finishes, and ultrasuedes, corduroys and chenilles in neutral colors.
  4. Your style is coastal if you like natural fibers and sea-themed prints, seashells, and finishes that are light, weathered or painted.
  5. If a homespun quality appeals to you, your style is rustic. You may find that you prefer florals, checks, calicoes and stripes. You may also like mid-toned woods or painted finishes and vintage fabrics.
  6. An eclectic style will have elements from different cultures and eras. Strong patterns, colors, and textures dominate.

What You Need:

  • Paper
  • Pencil
  • Travel and design magazines
  • An open mind