How to Answer the Question, “What is My Interior Design Style?”

When we take on a new interior design client, we typically find that, around 50-75 percent of the time, you, as a homeowner, have a pretty good idea what you want in terms of your preferred design style.

But the question often remains: how do you effectively communicate that style/ vision/inspiration to your entire design team?

How do you make them understand specifically what results you’re seeking? What are your expectations, keeping in mind the following elements of the design process: quality, scope, style and budget.

So, Just What is My Interior Design Style?

One of the first prerequisites to effectively communicating your design style to a team of professionals is to make certain you understand and visually communicate your expectations.

Fortunately, the internet is chock-full of home design-oriented websites to help you pinpoint your exact style preferences.

One of the best and most frequently consulted sites is called Houzz.

A glance at their website will give you plenty of information to help you decide in which direction your taste and style preferences are running.

Houzz (and other sites, such as Pinterest) will give you tons of information and examples on every style from “Traditional” to “Preppy” and then some. Spend a few minutes checking it out—it’s fun and highly informative.

Following are some of the Houzz design style categories:


Once you’ve decided on a style you like, you should schedule an initial meeting with your interior designer team to discuss your preferences.

Bring along some examples (photos, magazines, etc.) to the meeting to give the team an idea of your sense of style.

At KRI, we almost always create a “private” Pinterest board for each client, where images “pinned” easily and reviewed by both the client and KRI team.

Another way to help you decide on your personal design style is to simply look at your home’s architecture. Keeping your interior design on a par with the exterior is usually a good rule of thumb. When in doubt about your home’s architectural style, talk to your interior designer or architect.

What’s more, there are plenty of online quizzes to help you define your interior style, such as this Houzz quiz.

We always tell clients that it doesn’t cost anything to “visually spend” in the beginning of the design process.

How to Communicate My Interior Design Style

We refer to this phase as “programming,” a time when we ask how you see yourself living in and using the space.

So, opening yourself up to a lot of ideas can often help you narrow your choices down to the one you really want to pursue.

As I mentioned above, perusing magazines or even creating a scrapbook of ideas is always great. If you tear out or earmark a page for us, be sure to tell us what you like about the image. For example: “I like the wood beams and flooring, the blinds and the mantle, but not the colors.”

And speaking of color, do you like lots of it or selective “pops” of it?

To help convey your style to an interior designer, tell him or her your intentions for the home, including the answers to these questions:

  • Is this your primary residence or second home?
  • Do you entertain? And if so, how? Small or large? Family or invited friends?
  • Describe the feeling of the rooms – is it an elegant, formal home or a laid-back, casual home?
  • Is natural light important? What lighting mood do you want at night?
  • Do like an open room concept or prefer to have unique individual spaces?
  • Will your home need to be child-proofed? Children and grandchildren? Ages?
  • Do you have collections or family heirlooms to show off? Inherited or collected furniture and/or antiques?
  • What kind of Audio/Visual systems do you prefer? TVs and music systems? Where and how big? Do you watch TV in bed, the kitchen and/or bathroom? In what areas of the home do you like to have music?
  • Do you cook at home, order in or go out?

And then there is landscaping and outside living spaces (but that’s for a later blog).

Expand the Dialog and Language

Whatever your interior design style might be, the key objective is to stay in close contact with your designer every step of the way.

Remember, it’s always better to err on the side of providing too much information than not enough. It’s really all about beginning the conversation.

And keep in mind that deciding on and communicating your design style might be just the beginning of the interior design process, but it’s one that will help clear the path for your designer to proceed more confidently and expeditiously, knowing what your home design preference are.

Happy designing and dreaming!

what's my interior design style?