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 BY MELISSA MICHAELS

If you pick up a design book or magazine, you’ll often find that each one represents a specific style, with tips and photos on how to achieve that look. You may even find quizzes to identify “your flair,” but you don’t have to be confined by design rules or design types. Your life should inspire the look and feel of your home. Ask yourself, “During this season, what motivates my decisions? What passions influence my life?” Your style should ebb and flow through each changing season of your life — springing from your unique personality and reflecting the joy you find in living. So go ahead and create a style that has no official category or name. Boldly design a look that is inspired by everything you love. Your décor should support the life you have … and the one you want.

Brainstorm for Inspiration

Designing your home is like writing an ongoing love story. Even though you might be impatient for the end result, remember that the journey is a part of the joy. Taking the time to discover what brings you happiness will ultimately create a more interesting story. Start by creating a short list of words to express the look you want. Think about who you are, what you like, and who you long to be. Consider the style of your home’s architecture, the surrounding landscape, your favorite books, hobbies, and most memorable moments. If you don’t live alone, also list words that describe your family. A few of my inspiration words are nature, clean, airy, light, approachable, relaxed, refreshing, sea, and getaway. Your list will help define the mood of your ideal home and shape your style.

Be a Good Student

Consider it an investment (and not an indulgence) to look at photos of rooms. If you see a style you love, study it and create your unique version of it. The most helpful examples will resemble your home in some way. For instance, they may feature the same room size, layout, style of windows, or architectural details. Dissect the rooms you love, and make a list of elements that you could incorporate into your décor. Don’t be intimidated by price tags or designer brands. You can get a similar look for less!


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