images from interior design and fashion magazines, collect
objects that mean something to you and start sifting through
fabric, paint and finish samples. Take a cue from your closet: a
scarf or pair of shoes can lend inspiration to your color
palette and decorating vibe. Coffee table and area rug, Ethan
Allen, Brookfield. Photography by Dan Bishop. Styling by Pam
Have you ever
walked into a home and immediately felt enveloped by your
surroundings? You couldnít put your finger on it, but you were drawn
in by the homeís effortless design. What was it exactly that spoke
to you? Maybe it was the collection of vintage family photographs that
started a conversation, or the way the homeowner displayed an array of
pottery collected from world travels. Perhaps it was the calm color
palette or a daring color choice?
Some people have
a knack for creating an environment that is both welcoming and
intriguing ó and they make it look effortless. It doesnít feel
like a showroom or a model house; itís full of life and stories. It
isnít fussy or pristine, but welcomes you with ease and warmth.
something is about being true to yourself and finding your personal
decorating style. Sometimes people are afraid, or feel it is too risky
to expose their true selves, when it comes to decorating their homes.
Itís easier to buy the furniture grouping as you see it in the
store. Finding your own style does take time, thought and effort. Yet
the end result will be well worth it. Not only will your family and
friends enjoy your creation, you will enjoy your home like never
As a set stylist
for photo shoots and films, I pay close attention to what gives a
place character. Letís take the mystery out of what makes a great
space and focus on what makes you special. Your home should be a
reflection of those unique qualities.
I create a mood
board or inspiration board for every project to lead my process. This
takes some homework, but is worth the time.
Before you begin
gathering images and paint swatches, ask yourself some questions: How
would you describe your personal style? Whatís your favorite
restaurant or hotel (for the ambiance)? What is it about the decor
that you like? What do you love to do with your free time? Where are
your favorite places to travel? Do you love the city? The country?
iconic Eames lounge chair, framed by a modern library wall,
renders a sophisticated midcentury appeal. Photography and
interior design by Amy Carman Design
vacation, do you want a cabin in the woods? Or a hammock on the beach?
If you go to art museums, what type of art are you drawn to ó
abstract, Impressionist, Renaissance, primitive? What is it that draws
you to it?
ago, I was a guest interior designer for InStyle Networkís home
makeover show called "Area." I was charged to create a space
for roommates who at first glance seemed like polar opposites. I asked
them each to name their favorite restaurant. Their restaurants were
different, and yet the ambiance of both places was similar. This
became the catalyst for a successful design. Asking questions helped
me discover something about their individual styles and opened the
door for discovering a style they both liked. (Married couples take
Here are more
areas to investigate:
your closet. What colors look good on you? Are you more comfortable
with classic neutrals or are you bohemian and free-spirited? Do you
like lots of bold color or just a touch? Do you accessorize with a
statement necklace or something more delicate? Your wardrobe will give
you some hints, but donít let it limit your thinking.
important to you and your family? Your home should showcase the people
and experiences that matter most to you. Do you love to travel? Even
staycations make some of the best memories. Whether you travel the
globe and collect meaningful sculptures or you travel close to home
and collect mason jars of nature finds from hiking together as a
family ó display it. Maybe youíre not a traveler, but you love the
outdoors and sporting adventures. Your memorabilia can be tastefully
displayed for all to enjoy.
Sophistication: Mixed vintage chairs, custom-built table and
lantern-inspired pendants add to the timeless architectural
design. Photography by Jeff Stasney. Interior design by Mary Jo
Luellwitz of Fabulous Pieces. Styling by Pam Stasney
design and fashion photos. Look through some interior design magazines
or Pinterest or houzz or any of your favorite websites. Collect the
images that speak to you in some way: perhaps you love the elegant
lines of a certain sofa or the organic feel of a natural wood coffee
table. Fashion magazines are also great for finding fabric textures,
patterns and designs that appeal to you.
Pretend like youíre
doing a project for art school. Cut out the images that you love, put
them together on a poster board or magnetic board. Or create a
Pinterest board for your inspirations. There are also apps like
Moodboard and Remodelista that can help you collect images and
resources. Add paint and fabric swatches, wood finishes, anything that
inspires the mood you want to create.
all of your likes, will help you envision your style and bring clarity
to your future decorating decisions. Take note of common themes,
colors and patterns.
A sturdy table and a soft color palette are classic elements in
this sophisticated design. Photography courtesy of Ethan Allen
cinema-self. Hereís a fun exercise from "The Artistís
Way" author Julia Cameron. Cameron suggests that you imagine your
"cinema self." To paraphrase Kate Winslet in "The
Holiday," shouldnít we be the stars of own lives? In your
imaginary movie, what does your life look like? Who is the actor
playing you? How do you dress? And in this case, "What does your
home look like?" This exercise helps you free your mind. In your
dream or imaginary world, you arenít limited by budget or other
restrictions. You can create the interior of your dreams.
yourself to one decorating style. Most people are a combination of
styles. As you live life and experience new adventures, your
priorities will change and your personal style will evolve. As you
change, so should your decorating.
quiz online to zero in on your personal decorating style.
Homes and Gardens: www.bhg.com/bhg/xfile.jsp?item=/quiz/style/stylequiznew&ordersrc=googlesearch64986Design-Style-Broad_testB