No one wants to step into a room that feels like it was lifted out of a furniture catalogue. But adding that personal touch while achieving a stylish, cohesive design can be tricky. So whether you’re passionate about animal prints or traveling to exotic places, these expert tips can help create a room full of things you love. “That’s what makes it a home,” says Laurie Lindbloom, founder and interior designer at LZL Interiors. “It’s because it’s personalized.”
Pick a color. You’ve likely been answering the question since you started talking. So incorporating a favorite color into your home is one of the easiest ways to personalize your space. But rather than splashing the shade over every wall, introduce it in more subtle ways, suggests Lindbloom. “Rugs, pillows, artwork, candles or vases,” she says. “There are so many ways to incorporate color without making it incredibly pronounced.”
Let “you” shine through. “Every space should reflect the user’s life and personality,” say Bettyann Helms, founder of the Design Studio of Bettyann Helms. So don’t be afraid to showcase yours with a favorite pattern or two. Helms, who loves animal prints, recommends being bold and choosing two similar patterns that contrast just enough to liven up a space. “You can have a leopard rug and zebra cushions on your sofa, or vice versa,” she says. “They don’t have to be all the same. The scale just has to be right, and they have to complement one another.”
Collect your memories. Whether it’s Lake Erie beach glass or finds from a Bangkok street market, souvenirs from special trips can spark memories back at home. Items can be arranged together or displayed in a shadow box, suggests Helms. “Collections work better when they’re grouped together,” she says. “It allows for them to be better noticed by visitors.”
Find your roots. Sometimes the best inspiration comes from the attic or basement. “I think people are hesitant to put out things that are special to them,” says Barrie Spang, founder and interior designer at Sapphire Pear. So, too often we let family treasures such as grandma’s rocking chair or grandpa’s antique clock languish away unseen. Yet displaying a family heirloom can give something old new meaning. “Mixing contemporary furniture with antiques is delightful,” adds Helms. “I do that all the time.”
Display your passion. Embrace what you love and surround yourself with it. Spang, for example, worked with a family who loves skiing to create an Aspen-chic inspired space. She began with a scenic photograph taken from a chair lift, enlarged the photo into a wall mural and mounted a lift chair to the wall. A white marble fireplace and wallpaper with sparkles creates a snowfall feel. “It really puts a lot of their personality into the space,” says Spang.