If you Google ‘Interior Design Styles’, you’ll get hundreds of articles, which may toss around the same names of styles with varying definitions. It’s always fun to look but, in my opinion, the name of the style doesn’t really matter.

We get so hung up on style names that we forget what the important aspect of design really is: you as a person and bringing your personality and lifestyle to the table. Design is a personal thing. It should combine aspects of your personality with the intended functionality of the space.

So how do you figure out your style?

If you are trying to determine your design style, I recommend jotting down key words. These should be feelings, personality traits, sayings, materials, really anything that resonates with you.

When my husband and I moved into our condo and I wanted to take a fresh look at my style, I put together a word cloud. First, I just started writing, not necessarily a cohesive statement, but just anything that seemed to resonate with me. It helps to write in full sentences and use descriptive language. This is what I wrote:

“My personality is confident, agreeable, precise, dynamic, motivated, relaxed, humorous, friendly and happy. I want my space to feel comfortable, sophisticated, personal, bold, relaxing, clean, humorous, warm, inviting, functional, happy, dynamic, and glamorous. Form follows function is a perfect way to summarize my design direction. I like materials like wood, metal and fabric. I like pattern and bold colors like blues and greens in jewel tones accented with soft warm colors. I like creating a space that shows who I am as a person and creates history inside the walls with family heirlooms and personal finds.”

You can use any word cloud creator, I used  Word It Out

Once I could see words that really resonated with me, I could start working on a “name” for my style. My big words are happy, dynamic, warm, bold, humorous, colors and space. I honed those words down and dubbed my style: “Warm Eclectic.” Even though I had a name, I couldn’t just search for that and expect to come up with something. What works better is to use your key words to search. It’s not about your style name, it’s about the many pieces that make up your style.

The real point is that the name does not matter. It is the meaning behind the name that is the important part. I am going to be continually looking for pieces that fit my key words, not always literally. As long as the feeling comes across to me, that will be enough.

Now some of you might have a more traditional style that falls within the confines of mainstream naming: farmhouse, mid-century modern, contemporary, but I’ve found that most people have some mix of styles which makes putting a name on it difficult. By removing the need to define it, you can give power to what makes up your style and really make it your own.