Pinteresting Isn’t Interesting: Creating Your Personal Style

I’m tired of looking at Pinterest.  I never cared for Houzz, but my interest in Pinterest lasted a while.  I stopped looking at it (except for my client’s boards) last year and whenever I go back into that world to take a look I feel bored.  In order to understand your personal style and your home’s time and place in the world, I think you need to step away from what everyone else is doing.  I think we are starting to turn into the Sneetches on Beaches.

I recently listened to an interview with John Cleese and, in addition to being very charming, he talked a little bit about his writing process. He takes a very long time to write a script. Months and months of time – Cleese believes in order to get past the cliche, you need time.

This struck me as true and I believe it’s true for design too. When you don’t afford yourself time to think about the layout, the finishes and the overall look it’s easy to go straight for the cliche. And in my world it’s the “Pinterest Cliche.”  If you are struggling with your personal style and find yourself clinging to the comfort of online images – step away from the computer.

It’s important to think about time, place and your personal interior experiences.

Time and place: Consider the age and time period of your home and also the current era. How do you make your home functional for your lifestyle but still flow with the original architecture and intent of the home?  It’s a fantastic challenge and one that is continually inspiring to me.  I don’t think you need to try to recreate the 1912 Bungalow style (for instance), but whatever you do should complement the existing architecture.

Past Interior Experiences: Think about spaces that make you feel great or places where you feel most comfortable. I think our early interiors can have an imprint on us – if there was a place or space that meant something to you as a young person – think about it,  write about it and you will start to develop your unique style.  Maybe it’s your grandmother’s kitchen. You don’t need all that bric-a-brac (I’m projecting here) but maybe it’s something as simple as the lamp she had on the counter and the colorful bowls she used.  Maybe you have a memory of visiting a hotel when you were young that felt “just right.” Dive into the details on this and write it down.  Start collecting images, but images based on you and your home, not based on what everyone else seems to be doing.

florida farmhouse
Marjorie Kinnan Rawlings 1930’s home in Florida speaks to me on a personal level.   I visited here on a school trip as a child and it is an example of old Florida Cracker homes that used to be everywhere. The simplicity of materials and the idea of a woman living by herself and writing novels captured my attention.  (Source)
sunken living rooms
I am also a child of the late 70’s and I grew up in a Florida home with a sunken living room and grasscloth on the walls. Interiors like these also sing my design song.  (Source)

I have other inspirations as well that were incredibly meaningful to me as a young designer, but they live inside my head and some memories just don’t look the same as you remember them.  I think they are more impressions and feelings about spaces rather than literal mind snapshots.

Pinterest-ing isn’t interesting.  Take a break from staring at other people’s homes and live inside your own inspiration for a while.  You never know where it could take you and I bet it’s not a cliche.



4 thoughts on “Pinteresting Isn’t Interesting: Creating Your Personal Style”

  1. I, too, find tremendous conomfort in browsing pretty images. I love studying the details and practical, smart solutions, but doing so has not brought me anywhere closer to understanding MY STYLE. I have no idea what my style is. Thanks for the insights on where to start. When I read your recommendatio to remember a place I have been that felt just right, immediately several places came to mind. When I thought what they had in common, I quickly created a list: off-white interiors…. some warm wood… tall ceilings and doors….white linens. Something to ponder.

    1. Oh good feedback! It’s something that helps me but I don’t know if it would apply to everyone. But, anytime you can think more about places that mean something to you personally, it can’t be all bad, right? Good luck on your personal style journey! – Laura

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