Design magazines and model homes and Pinterest, oh my! They're the triumvirate that keeps everyone from DIYers to professional interior designers coming back for more ideas. But adopt too many and your home may soon look like a model home - full of style, but whose?
Are you losing yourself for the sake of being trendy?
"We are certainly in a time of mass consumption and with so much on offer it is easy to be sucked in to buying everything we see," explains Jessica Viscarde, Eclectic Creative's principal designer on Stuff Life & Style. "Then you realize your house looks like a showroom or the latest catalogue, but actually lacks any personality."
Yes, being on trend comes with a lot of pressure. What if you don't like lime green, the hot color for outdoors, or marsala, the muddy, much-maligned choice for the 2015 Pantone color of the year? What if the leading trends are mid century modern and industrial chic but you're still loving Chinese antiques?
The underlying rule when it comes to interior design is: there is no hard and fast rule. Yes, paying attention to color, scale, texture, contrast, and function are important to creating a well-defined and well-balanced space. But when it comes to adopting trends, there is no mandate on how many - if any - you need to work into your home, especially if they are in conflict with your personal style.
Defining your style
"When it comes to home décor, injecting a little personality (or a lot) is a way of making your home your own," said Build Direct.
If you're not sure how to even go about bringing your personal style into your home, take a cue from your wardrobe.
The Tao of Dana
Build Direct identifies several styles people may connect with (Bold & Bohemian, Charming & Chic, Flashy & Flamboyant,) but if you're not easily filed into one category, don't force it.
"Like many people, you might not identify with a single style," they said. "Perhaps you balance the boldness of bohemian fashion with the clean lines of chic or classic design. Feel free to mix it up in your home decor, as well as allowing your personality to shine through every piece."
Focusing on the "pattern and color" prevalent in your wardrobe can help illuminate and inform your home design choices.
Don't base your design choices on what you see in open houses
Don't get us wrong. There might be lots of stuff you see while "home shopping" that is appealing. But open houses (at least the ones whose owners have a great Realtor,)0 have probably been cleaned out, pared down, and stripped of most or all of their personality so as to appeal to the masses and get the most out of their sales price. They're designed to sell, not to live in. They may look nice and clean, but that sterility doesn't lend itself well to a daily life.
The 80/20 rule
The 80/20 rule that people apply to an eating plan (80 percent healthy, 20 percent yum!) or a financial plan (80 percent need-based and 20 percent yay!) can also serve as a base for making sure you are designing a space that speaks to your unique style.
Comprise 80 percent of every space with foundation pieces and popular, trendy items that can be changed out as styles change. Reserve the other 20 percent for pieces that are meaningful to you in some way - because they are heirlooms, are reminiscent of a time or place, or simply because you like the design.
Don't take it so seriously
At the end of the day, you want to enjoy where you live. If getting the design right is becoming a chore, maybe it's time to take a step back.
"It's time to get real - homes are for living in, so choose things you love and adore," Viscarde says in Stuff Life & Style. "Have fun with the process; there are no rules, only guidelines."
One way to pull this off: "a seasonal rotation of the things you have on show, which Viscarde says is a great way to keep things fresh and fun and avoid a cluttered interior."
Another? Buy things that make you happy. Want to butt a fuchsia armchair up against a peacock blue wall or sandwich a French antique desk between two ultra-modern bookcases? Go for it! You're not talking about making permanent changes - or changes that could be difficult/expensive/time-consuming to change back. And, you can still bring in touches that will make your space both unique and trend friendly if need be.