Find Your Signature Style
WITH THE INNUMERABLE DECORATING STYLES OUT THERE, IT CAN BE hard to figure out what style most accurately reflects you and your personality. While trendy magazines are a great way to learn what’s popular, the best decorating style is ultimately one that reflects you and provides the most comfort and satisfaction. We’ve developed a quiz with a few lifestyle questions to help you determine where you fit in the decorating world. So take out a pen and read ahead to determine which decorating style works best for your tastes.
1. You’re in the mood to entertain guests with dinner at your home. Your idea of a good time is:
(a) Hiring a sushi chef, inviting a few close friends over and enjoying exciting, new foods.
(b) Homemade, potluck dinner, an open bottle of wine and good conversation.
(c) A backyard barbecue complete with tiki torches, paper plates and citronella.
(d) Heavy appetizers served on decorative dishes, hired wait staff and several guests.
(e) Pizza and beer.
2. A friend buys you a shirt that she says “screams you.” You expect to find:
(a) A fine silk shirt.
(b) A floral button-up blouse or Hawaiian-style shirt.
(c) An oversized flannel shirt that could be years old or brand new.
(d) A funky, low-cut top in a bold color, or a trendy, button-up dress shirt.
(e) A classic, white short-sleeved T-shirt.
3. You’ve just been awarded a weeklong getaway, all expenses paid. Your ideal trip is:
(a) A visit to a foreign country complete with cultural tours and exotic food.
(b) A trip to France and Italy to a bed and breakfast, with visits to the Eiffel Tower and boat trips down the canal.
(c) A week at the lake or in the mountains in a peaceful, serene location. Activities include hiking, canoeing and watching sunsets.
(d) Visiting a film festival or opening of a large art gallery, complete with red carpet treatment and after-hour parties.
(e) A trip to the Caribbean for a week of fun in the sun.
4. The company you keep can best be described as:
(a) An exciting group that features people from all areas of your life: work, school and neighbors.
(b) A bunch of couples.
(c) Anyone and everyone. People come and go in your life and that’s how you like it.
(d) A mix of friends who share your passions and are exactly like you.
(e) Your high school and/or college friends you’ve known forever.
5. Your idea of a perfect day off would include:
(a) A picnic near natural waterfalls and sticking around to watch the sun set.
(b) Spending the day trying out new recipes and cooking a huge meal for a friendly feast.
(c) A five-mile hike in the mountains.
(d) Taking in a cultural event followed by some heavy shopping at several designer boutiques.
(e) Relaxing with a good book, catching up on housework or a day of golfing with friends.
6. Of the following, your favorite accessory in your home could be:
(a) A shoji screen room divider.
(b) A black-iron, six-light chandelier.
(c) Your grandfather’s old acoustic guitar.
(d) A large canvas abstract painting.
(e) An antique pine bookcase.
Now...let’s see what your decorating style is...
If you chose mostly A, your style is ASIAN. Typically referring to both Japanese and Chinese influences, you prefer highly stylized furnishings that feature hand-painted designs on lacquered finishes. You appreciate serene, calm settings and the popular Feng-Shui style of decorating. Screens and low-profile tables are popular accessories.
If you chose mostly B, your style is FRENCH/COUNTRY. Romantic and comfortable, this style appeases to the senses through soft fabrics, floral patterns and furniture in its natural state and color. You appreciate classical architecture and rich color schemes. Casual elegance sums up this decorating style.
If you chose mostly C, your style is RUSTIC/LODGE/NATURAL. Characterized by natural materials like leather, wool and indigenous woods, fans of this style enjoy furnishings in a rustic, natural state. You relish comfort and simplicity, and think elegance can be found in things most natural. Interiors often feature exposed wooden beams, wood paneling and stone.
If you chose mostly D, your style is MODERN/CONTEMPORARY. You appreciate clean lines, up-to-date looks and furnishings with polished surfaces, sleek geometric shapes and asymmetry. Chrome appliances are popular as are bright graphics, curving lines, shag carpet and sculptures. You appreciate fine art, black-and-white color schemes and new furnishings versus antiques.
If you chose mostly E, your style is ENGLISH/TRADITIONAL. This relaxed, comfortable style features a lively and bright color scheme. Textiles include embroidered rugs and muted floral prints in fabrics, while furnishings range from dark-stained chests to pine bookcases. You appreciate things heavy in tradition and enjoy comfortable living.
If your answers reflect various styles, then you are most likely ECLECTIC. As the trendsetter, you are not content with one particular style but rather incorporate comfortable, familiar accessories with new furniture and various color schemes. Eclectic style doesn’t rigidly adhere to any one major influence and is characterized by freedom of expression and vibrant individuality.
While this quiz briefly describes five popular styles of decorating, there are literally hundreds that overlap and can be filtered from broad categories to detailed trends. In the coming paragraphs, we’ve implemented each decorating style into the bedroom. Because the bedroom is completely yours, it is the one room that is allowed to directly reflect you! So if you prefer the funky eclectic style or the less formal, rustic look, the bedroom is a great room to incorporate your personal style from ceiling to floor.
When decorating your bedroom, a few rules apply no matter what your preferred style is. Because the bedroom is where you’ll ultimately want to rest, choose colors that reflect relaxation. Green and blue are two colors to consider, and available in a variety of hues, these colors can create a calming environment while easily blending with your favorite decorating trend. You’ll also want to take into consideration the furniture you choose. Keeping comfort in mind, think about furniture that will last over many years. Changing your accessories to reflect your current décor is much easier than buying all new bedroom fixtures.
Don’t forget to treat your feet to a little luxury and choose a rug or carpet that both compliments your style and creates comfort. Whether you prefer rugs, wall-to-wall carpet or funky shag pile, a comfortable floor will work wonders to complete your nighttime oasis.
ASIAN If you found yourself preferring the calming look of the Asian influence, the bedroom is the ultimate place to create your serene setting. Beginning with the bed, the Asian style would be best showcased by a platform bed with no headboard. Night tables and drawers should be made of smooth, dark wood. When coupled with light-colored walls, such as cream or light green, the dark furniture creates a Zen-like setting. Bamboo is also a big accessory and can be used in a variety of ways. If you prefer the look of a headboard, consider using bamboo to create one. Bamboo mats work well as window treatments and keep the room stylish, yet simple. Furthermore, they provide a balanced look when used on the floor. Accessories include screens, rice paper lamps, plants and/or water fountains. If you find yourself void of any color, textured fabrics and strong patters can be used in bedcovers and cushions to spice up the décor. Remember, the Asian style of decorating can include both Japanese and Chinese influences, so don’t be afraid to incorporate lots of red for good luck and silk fabrics, such as a kimono, in your accessories.
FRENCH COUNTRY • ROMANTIC For those who appreciate the romantic look, you’ll want a bedroom that is balanced and features soft, muted colors such as sky blue, ivory or pearl gray. Don’t let one color dominate, but rather blend the colors delicately with a variety of luxurious materials. The bed is your dominant focal point and should be chosen wisely. Canopies and bed coverings are equally as important as the bed, which should be light-colored wood or possibly a scrolled metal. Consider covering the headboard with a floral fabric. Other furniture to consider would be anything antique, since the romantic/country style appreciates rustic versions of formal French furnishings. When it comes to flooring, this style of decorating lends itself to wooden floors covered with wool rugs for added warmth and luxury. Armoires, bedside lamps with drop pendants and fabric screens in lace are great accessories.
RUSTIC • LODGE The relaxed rustic look incorporates nature at every turn. A wooden or wrought iron bed works nicely atop wooden floors that are either lightly stained or varnished. Walls are left relatively bare, but can include stencils or patina techniques to add a little flair. Rustic does not have to mean boring. Exposed beams, wood paneling and stone add a great sense of the outdoors to any interior décor. Colors include invigorating shades of mustard yellow, copper reds and light apple green, while fabric choices should be patterned (think leaves, checks and stripes). Natural materials are also frequent throughout this decorating style and include cotton, burlap and wool.
MODERN • CONTEMPORARY Perhaps the most dramatic of our five styles, the modern/contemporary look features clean, streamlined furniture and is characterized by polished surfaces and contrasting color schemes. Everything about this style is clean and unfussy. Any clutter should be hidden, and accessories are a must! While wood still works, consider metal and/or leather when choosing a bed. Bed coverings should be minimal, like a duvet or bedcover made of a natural material. Avoid floral prints and spruce up the bed with accent pillows and overhead artwork.
The window treatments should also be minimal. Metal and wood blinds, or plain-colored fabric panels are great options. Large windows should adorn the room, allowing natural sunlight to flood through.
The color scheme will often include black and white or a neutral tone-on-tone. For the daring decorator, however, cobalt blue, bright orange and fuchsia can be used in small doses to make a statement. Remember, accessories such as large paintings, throw pillows and lamps will add bold color and spruce up any simple color scheme. Using recessed or special lighting to highlight your accessories works wonders against a relatively bare background.
ENGLISH • TRADITIONAL Our final category is one of comfort, relaxation and an interpretation of traditional looks and various eras. A brass or dark, wooden bed is typical of this style. The color scheme is one that has considerable choices. Pale shades create luminosity, while darker colors such as rusty red and earth brown add character. Keep wall coverings simple with symmetrical motifs such as stripes. Window treatments must play a big part in the décor and are usually made of rich, colorful fabrics such as silk or velvet. You’ll want to include an embroidered rug or dark-stained chest as accents. A fireplace and chandelier are two other accessories that complete the luxurious look of a traditional bedroom.
As mentioned before, decorating the interior of your home should ultimately be about what makes you most comfortable at the end of the day. If you are living in a room that you feel belongs in a museum, then chances are, that is not the style for you. And while your taste might fall more into the eclectic category than an above style, incorporating trends from each will give you an idea of your true decorating sense.