By Rita Wilkins
The Downsizing Designer

Have you ever wondered what your signature look is for your home and home office?

Have your friends and colleagues ever commented about that look being “so you”, but you weren’t even sure what that “look” is? Maybe you’ve never thought about it or took the time to define your “special look or brand” that helps identify your signature look.

To put it simply, think of your signature look as an expression of who you are, what you value, and how people picture you when they think of you.

One of the many reasons why it is important to know what your signature look is, is that it will help you save time and money when you’re shopping. You won’t be so tempted to buy things there are incongruous with your brand.


What is a signature look, what does that really mean?

  • It’s when you’re crystal clear about what you like, don’t like, want, and don’t want.
  • It’s the essence of who you are and what you care about.
  • It’s the things you most love in your own home.


The Process of How to Discover and Define Your Signature Look

There are actually a few steps you can take right now to get more clarity about your signature look:


  1. Gather Information

  • Look around your home.

Identify pieces of furniture, artwork, rugs, lamps, accessories you absolutely love. When you look at them, they should make you smile, they should make you happy.

  • Take pictures of each of those items and write down what it is that you enjoy so much about that piece.

For me, I have a favorite sofa that I have reupholstered at least three times. It is the most comfortable sofa I’ve ever sat on, so likely I will continue to reupholster it when it looks worn. The reason it appeals to me is that it is neither contemporary nor traditional, but falls into my love of clean classic lean design.

I also have two pieces of artwork by an artist that captures a fun, slightly sassy woman who has gained wisdom throughout her lifetime, exuding both confidence and strength. These two pieces of artwork have traveled with me to four different houses and will continue their journey with me. When I look at them, I’m reminded of how far I’ve come on my own downsizing journey.

A third thing that I absolutely love is an inexpensive pillow that I picked up years ago. It has a quote from Katherine Hepburn: “if you obey all the rules you won’t have as much fun”. People who know me, understand that I frequently follow a different path.

So look around your own home and identify those special pieces that inspire you, make you happy, and even make you laugh.


2. Gather Inspiration

Think of people whom you admire… their homes, their décor, their use of color and pattern. What is it about their style that you most admire?

  • It’s warm, cozy, inviting, and friendly.
  • It’s simple, uncluttered, sophisticated, and peaceful.
  • It’s fun, colorful, unusual, and eclectic.

Write down what it is that you admire. If you can, take pictures of them also.

Do the same exercise on Pinterest and Houzz, various shelter magazines, and design books.

  • What consistently captures your eye and attention?
  • What styles, colors, patterns?
  • How do those items make you feel when you look at them?


Learn a Few Tricks of the Design Trade for Refreshing Your Home

3. Gather Practical Data about Your Life and Lifestyle

  • What daily activities that are important to you?
  • How does your home need to function for your daily activities?
  • Are you more casual, formal, or somewhere in between?
  • Do you enjoy variety and change or do you prefer to keep things the way they are?


4. Combine Information from Steps 1, 2, and 3

  • Gather information about pieces you love in your own home right now.
  • Gather information from people and places that inspire you.
  • Gather practical data about your life and lifestyle.

Study all of the information in front of you: pictures that you’ve taken, stories that you’ve written, feelings that you’ve experienced while doing this exercise. Then, spread it out on a vision board or a whiteboard.

  • What similarities do you see that help you connect and identify a look that more clearly expresses who you are?
  • What design elements best represent you and fit your lifestyle right now?
  • What style, color, pattern, scale, and function appeal to you the most?
  • Which of these do you naturally gravitate towards?
  • Which ones lights you up and just make you happy?

Determining your signature look will likely take time. Your style will change, develop, and evolve over time.

As your lifestyle changes, it is likely that your signature look will shift according to your current needs.

For me, now that I have a granddaughter, I find myself thinking much more practical than I have in the past… What fabrics, rugs, furniture are more durable and practical for this new life stage.

The most important thing to do to continue refining your signature look is to:

  • Keep observing
  • Keep listening
  • Keep noticing

Once you have discovered your signature look:

  • The one that gives you the most comfort…
  • The one that best fits your lifestyle…
  • The one that simply lights you up…

just embrace it!

After all, isn’t that what our homes are supposed to do for you?

Want to know more about interior design and lifestyle design?

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