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  • Writer's pictureStacey Martin

A FASHIONABLE HOME // How to use your wardrobe to find your interior design style

Finding your personal style can be a challenge. "Style quizzes" and Pinterest boards and instagram - oh my! Even if you do complete a style quiz, you may find out your style is "Japandi" and that you have ZERO idea what that even means. The inspo-overwhelm and struggle are real.

In fact, probably the number one complaint I hear from a new client is, "I just don't know what I like! I have NO IDEA what my style is!" So they freeze and the room sits and no decisions are made. Well never fear my friends, because today we will help you catch your elusive style unicorn. Here's a clue - it's hiding in your closet!

Yep. More often than not, finding your personal style is as simple as looking at your wardrobe. Find the common - ahem- threads and use them to inform your decorating decisions. But before we get into the how, let's chat briefly about the why.

Before I transitioned into interior design, I began my career in the fashion industry. My job, in part, was to travel all over the globe to attend fashion week and fashion trade shows, to keep my finger on the pulse of the trends. And you know what I ultimately discovered? That gorgeous combinations of color, texture, form, and material transcended a single category. What was influencing high fashion would ultimately influence furniture and interiors a year or two down the road. So then why can't what influences you in your personal fashion also have an influence on what you put in your home? If you love it on your body, there's a good chance you'll love it in your home, too.

LET'S GET STARTED // What outfits make you feel your absolute best?

Start by thinking about all the apparel pieces you LOVE to put on. What are the ones that make you feel amazing / attractive / in-charge / on your A-game / Whatever? Identify those outfits - including accessories - and pull them all out. Only 3 max, though, or it can easily get too overwhelming!

Lay them all out on the bed or a freshly-vacuumed floor and note their commonalities. First, let's start with color.

Erin, here, loves her some neutrals. Creams and whites and tans are her go-tos, with a little black leather bag for good measure. Be sure to note the common color palette of your items, but expand on some of the colors to include the lighter and darker ends of the spectrum. This will keep your space from feeling too "one-note".

Next, look at the fabrics and materials. Are your pieces mostly natural fibers? Do you have a lot of performance fabrics? Is it all wool and alpaca? Now you not only have insight into the color of the items to source for your home, but what materials to focus on as well.

Are there any recurring prints and patterns of note? Even though Erin tends to love solid, classic pieces, there are a few subtle patterns in her wardrobe. These can be brought into her space through pillows and accessories. The Herringbone pattern on the right, for example, would look gorgeous as a rug to anchor the rest of her neutral space.

What descriptors come to mind when you think about your favorite outfits? Erin's looks tend to be polished, tailored, and classic (or timeless). Determine these keywords and write them down - they will be invaluable when you start searching the endless interwebs for furniture! You have identified your palette, your materials, your patterns, and now your keywords. Online searching should now be a breeze. Erin needs a sofa? She can now just type "Cream Brushed Canvas Tailored Sofa" and get results that are much closer to meeting her aesthetic needs.

The last thing to think about is where most of your favorite pieces were purchased. Are all of your tops vintage rock tees? Maybe 1st Dibs or Ebay are the perfect spot to hunt for that new accent chair. Is a bespoke boutique the only place you'll buy new clothes? Maybe a local furniture artisan is more your vibe. Knowing all the details of your shopping habits will help you define, and refine, your search for home decor.


Is your closet full of mostly neutral pieces and great pairs of jeans? Look for furniture that's in a similar color palette (white, cream, light gray, beige). Now that you've got your base, accent with neutral textures - supple leathers, denims - and don't forget those small hits of dark to add that much-needed contrast.

Have a rock n' roll look that's mostly black on black with graphic tees? A dark gray accent wall could be the perfect base for black accessories and a graphic art piece. The room remains mostly neutral and pulled together, with one statement pop, much like the outfit.

Do you have a mostly girlie wardrobe with funky little twist? Seeing lots of pinks, pastels, and florals in there, with a pair of cowboy boots for good measure? Your room could probably go in an eclectic direction! Chose furniture pieces in neutrals to cut the sweetness, and then go to town with the accents! Mix in florals and stripes in varying shades of pinks, with some teals and oranges inspired by the pattern on the dress. And don't forget those leather accents! You need to pay homage to those vintage cowboy boots, after all.

Are you all about athleisure? Whether you're always off to a yoga class or just a busy mom on the go, athleisure is all about performance materials that create polished comfort. That design directive translates into modern silhouettes, cozy accessories, and performance materials, so you can live an active life without worrying about stains on your beautiful sofa.

Is your closet full of prints and patterns, flowy fabrics, and statement sandals? Boho may be the perfect vibe for you! Create a light and airy feel by hanging items from the ceiling (here, a rattan chair) or by using sheer fabrics. Combine ethnic and geometric patterns that vary in scale. Lastly, look for a color theme in your closet and use that to choose your palette. Here, pinks, reds, and tiny pops of teal (in the artwork and vase) nod back to the favorite outfit.

This last one is totally me all the way. My wardrobe is very much black, white, and gray, with lots of vintage band tees and cool booties. This color palette is easy to translate into a space, but how do you achieve the rock n' roll vibe? Here, a leather banquette with a suede cushion adds the edge. The light wood of the table adds some warmth, as seen in the sunglass. The spiky table legs nod to the heels on the booties, and the texture of the vase (as well as its color) brings in the vibe of the jeans. Edgy artwork and unexpected light fixtures put the finishing touches on a rockin' breakfast nook.


Wondering what direction you should go with your metals? Look at your jewelry! Wear a lot of gold? Brass could be a great choice. Do your accessories have lots of tassels? Try a pillow with some fringe!

Did you ever think to look in your closet to design your living spaces? Well, what are you waiting for? Go on and get in there - get inspired! Your old college t-shirt may be the key to finding your new favorite accent chair.

Have any of you used your killer style to inspire one of the rooms in your own home? Post your pic on Instagram and tag @TheFreshmakerDesign! We love to see your skills!

*This post was originally written by Stacey Martin for KLH Home Staging.

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