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how do i know what design style i like

Interior Design & You: Discovering Your Personal Style

Welcome to Interior Design & You, a virtual design seminar led by Alessandra Wood, Modsy’s VP of Style. In this series, you’ll learn some of the basics of interior design, as well as how to personalize your own home. Watch session two, How to Identify Your Personal Style, below—or scroll through the post for a recap!

Interior design is deeply personal. That’s because it involves the spaces in which we live. And we all want our homes (where we’re now spending more time than ever before) to be a reflection of ourselves. At Modsy, we love helping people discover their personal interior design style. But so many people don’t even know where to start when it comes to identifying or talking about their own interior design style.

So, if you’re wondering “How do I know what design style I like??” we’re here to help. In fact, that’s what today’s seminar is all about. Of course, we’d be remiss to not mention our style quiz, which is an easy way to help you hone in on your preferred interior design style, especially when giving our online interior design services a spin. But, beyond that, we have some other tips to share today on how to think about your personal style!

Getting Started

When we talk about style, we might use terms that are very stylistically (and industry) driven—terms like Mid-Century Modern, Minimalism, Boho, or Rustic. But all of these styles are really just a mix of some basic elements. We created a scale (which you can see above) that helps illustrate the five basic spectrums on which all interior design styles live. These spectrums are empty to full, old to new, formal to casual, organic to fabricated, and safe to adventurous. We’ll define each of these spectrums below!

But before that, a couple grounding thoughts to get us started…

We’re All Eclectic By Nature

In terms of interior design styles, most of us don’t fall squarely into one style category. Rather, we all tend to have a slightly eclectic mix of interests. We all have so many different inputs and sources of inspiration in our lives when it comes to style—from our parents or grandparents’ styles, pop culture, places you’ve travelled, along with all the beautiful images you see on Instagram and Pinterest. All of those things influence what you are attracted to and what you love. So, we want to show you how to merge it all into one space.

Style Is Super Personal

As we mentioned earlier, style is super personal. What you love is what you love—and that’s the most important thing. An interior designer can help you unearth what you’re naturally drawn to, but at Modsy we believe what’s most important is that you have a space that you love and that reflects who you are. That’s what drives what we do every day! Through today’s seminar, we hope you not only start to pinpoint your personal style, but learn to be daring and accepting of it!

Now, let’s dive into these basic elements and spectrums of interior design, explore how they come to life in a space, and help you figure out your own personal style.

how do i know what design style i like

Empty vs. Full

Empty or full? No, we’re not talking about hunger here. In interior design, empty or full spaces refer to how much stuff is in a room, whether physical objects or visual stimuli.

how do i know what design style i like

Empty: When referring to an emptier space, you might hear design terms like minimal, contemporary, and modern.

Full: If you lean more toward a style that feels full, with more objects, colors, and patterns, words that describe these spaces might be eclectic, bohemian, maximalism.

Somewhere in the Middle: But, like we said, these two elements are a spectrum. So, most styles will live somewhere on the spectrum rather than being completely empty or entirely full. Some of these style combinations that blend empty and full are contemporary eclectic, like the room shown above, and minimalist maximalist.

Shop This Look

Old vs. New

On the spectrum of old versus new, you might be someone who wants everything to be vintage or antique. (We’re talking to all the Emily Gilmore’s out there!) On the other end of the spectrum are those who only want to fill their homes with new objects—to go to a store and buy everything off the shelf. But there’s a lot of in between here; you don’t have to choose just one extreme. In fact, a mix of old and new gives a lot of depth and a sense of story to your space.

how do i know what design style i like

Old: As we think of different style terminology that might align with the old side, you might think classic, formal, or American traditional.

New: On the new end, you might lean toward contemporary, modern, or mid-century modern.

Somewhere in the Middle: Some great examples of styles that meet in the middle are Victorian Farmhouse or even an “old meets new” style that combines one statement antique piece paired with furniture that has modern and minimal lines for added drama and higher contrast. (Want to learn a little more about decorating with antiques? Check out episode 2 of our podcast!)

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Formal vs. Casual

It’s probably pretty easy to visualize formal and casual spaces. Formal spaces are those where everything is pulled together and not a pillow is out of place. There’s probably a lot of symmetry going on, with pieces designed for more formal entertaining. Meanwhile, a casual space is where you can kick back and lounge. Rooms with casual style tend to feel more welcoming and inviting and less precious and stiff.

how do i know what design style i like

Formal: Design styles that lean more formal are those like classic, Hollywood glam, and traditional.

Casual: Styles that lean more casual are eclectic, bohemian, rustic, and mid-century modern—styles that are all about livability.

Somewhere in the Middle: But, of course, there are always styles that are happy mediums. This includes styles like Traditional Comfort and Bohemian Glam.

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Organic vs. Fabricated

You might be wondering how the terms organic and fabricated fit into the world of interior design. But in this realm, organic refers to the materials, shapes, and forms of furniture and decor. These are pieces that take inspiration from the natural world—whether in their materials or shapes, which are often evocative of nature. Fabricated pieces, on the other hand, are clearly designed. Their shape, form, or style have a clear guiding hand; you look at them and know that a craftsman or artisan created them.

how do i know what design style i like

Organic: Styles that fit into the organic realm are eclectic, rustic, farmhouse, and coastal.

Fabricated: Styles that align with fabricated pieces are industrial, modern, and minimal.

Somewhere in the Middle: Combined, you’ll find styles like Mid-Century Minimal and Bohemian Glam.

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Safe vs. Adventurous

On the spectrum of safe to adventurous, you might not want to define yourself as safe—but In interior design, safe definitely doesn’t mean boring! It simply means it’s a design style that feels less bold and trend-forward, with pieces that lean more traditional and have a more neutral color palette. Adventurous designs, on the other hand, are more wild. They layer more colors, bold materials, and sculptural elements. People who lean toward adventurous designs indulge in trends and tend to change out pieces every few years to keep up with those trends.

how do i know what design style i likeSafe: On the safe side are design styles like contemporary, transitional, modern, and rustic (proof that safe can absolutely be stylish and beautiful).

Adventurous: If you want to go big and bold with color, pattern, and form, you probably lean toward eclectic, bohemian, and Hollywood glam.

Somewhere in the Middle: Styles like California Modern and Comfortably Chic do a beautiful job of mixing safe and adventurous design elements.

Shop This Look

Putting it into Action

These are our five scales that we’re thinking about as we help you understand and think about your own style—and elements we take into consideration in your room designs. We hope they give you a good framework to think about your own personal style. And remember—you don’t have to stick with just one style. You may do different styles in different spaces within your home, or gravitate toward different styles at different times in your life. We contain multitudes—so there’s no need to limit yourself.

Now, you’ll be set to explore some interior design ideas to visualize these design elements in action. And if you’re curious to learn a little more about interior design styles, be sure to check out episode one of The Render, Modsy’s very own podcast, where we unpack how to discover your interior design style and what your style says about you

So, where do you fall on these spectrums? What styles do you resonate with most? We’d love to hear! And don’t forget to check out session 1 and session 3 of Interior Design & You!

Want to work with an expert to bring your style to life?

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sofa buying guide

Sofa Buying Guide: Should You Skimp or Splurge on a New Sofa?

With so much of life currently spent at home, it’s more important than ever to have furniture that works for your life. And, after countless TV show binge-watching sessions on our sofas (and some reading of books too—don’t worry!), we’ve decided that a good sofa is worth its weight in gold.

So, it might be time to ask yourself if you have a sofa you love or if it’s time for something new? And if you’re embarking on the hunt for the perfect sofa, you’ve come to the right place.

The “perfect sofa” looks different for everyone—but there are some universal non-negotiables when it comes to finding the right sofa for you. It should be comfortable, fit in your living room, reflect your style, and hopefully last a few years (if not more). Not to mention it should be a price that fits within your budget!

But all that is easier said than done. It doesn’t take long in the search process to discover that shopping for furniture isn’t always simple. There are a lot of decisions to make: Do you opt for a sectional or sofa? Do you try to save some money with a cheap sofa or splurge on a more high-end sofa? Is it even possible to find nice couches under $500—or sectionals under $1,000? Oh, and what about sofa materials??

Before you get completely overwhelmed by all the possibilities, we’ve found that it’s generally best to start by thinking through your budget and how much you’d like to spend on your sofa before getting lost in the world of sofa styles and materials.

sofa buying guide

What you choose to invest in a new sofa is totally up to you and your needs. For some people, it might make sense to invest in a quality piece that will last years. For others, buying something that works for right now is a better option.

If you’ve been asking yourself, “How much should I spend on a sofa??” we’re here to help. We’ve designed countless living rooms and have helped thousands of Modsy customers pick the perfect sofa for their style, space, and budget. And we’ve created a sofa buying guide to help you uncover how much money you should spend on a new sofa.

5 Questions to Ask Before You Buy a New Sofa

sofa buying guide

Question 1: How much do you want to spend on a sofa?

It can be hard to wrap your head around how much you should spend on a sofa, especially if you’re not even sure what the average cost of a sofa is. A good place to start is getting familiar with some average price ranges for couches and sofas.

Average Cost of Sofas:

  • $1000 or less: The sub-thousand dollar range is what we’d consider an inexpensive sofa.
  • $1000 – $2000: A mid-range priced sofa generally falls in between one to two thousand dollars.
  • $2000 or more: We’d consider anything above two grand to be an expensive sofa.

The Bottom Line: Survey the sofa landscape to help you get a sense of how much you might want to spend.

Question 2: How nomadic are you?

Sofas are large, bulky, and not the easiest pieces of furniture to move. One that works perfectly in your current home might not fit through the doorway at your next. So it’s important to ask yourself if it’s worth investing in a high-end sofa if you move every year or two or if you should look at more inexpensive sofas for the time being. So, think through how nomadic you are and how invested you are in moving a sofa from place to place.

Your solve:

  • I move a lot or will be moving soon: If you plan to only live where you are for under a year, consider skimping on an inexpensive sofa that you won’t have to worry about lugging to a new location.
  • I’m relatively settled: Around five years? Maybe a slightly higher-quality option is the best fit for you. You want something that will last you that half-decade or so, but won’t be missed if you can’t bring it with you.
  • I’m in it for the long haul: Finally, if you are relatively settled in your current home, it makes more sense to invest in a high-quality sofa that will last.

The Bottom Line: Your overall timeline is important to consider before making a big-ticket purchase that isn’t easy to transport with you.

sofa buying guide

Question 3: Are You into Trends?

A trendy sofa looks great right now, but you might find you’re sick of it after a short time. Depending on what you think of decor trends, here’s what we’d recommend for your next couch.

Your solve:

  • I love trends: If you can’t say no to a sofa with a bold color or statement pattern, consider opting for a lower-cost option rather than investing in a more expensive one. Unlike decorative accents, you can’t as easily move a sofa from room to room when you get tired of it. Don’t sink your money into something you’ll be sick of in a year. Instead, consider incorporating that velvet trend into a few pillows.
  • Trends don’t phase me: If you’re looking for a sofa that can transcend your current tastes, consider investing in a high-quality option. This can be a sofa with a neutral fabric, a quality leather option, or even a sofa with a versatile shape, such as a chaise that can switch sides.

The Bottom Line: If you want to splurge on a quality sofa, it’s important to find one that works for both now and later.

 

Question 4: Do You Have Kids or Pets?

Although we love kids and we love pets, it’s a fact that they are the culprits behind a lot of our furniture’s wear and tear. Be sure to factor your real and fur babies into the equation when buying a piece of furniture.

Your solve:

  • Don’t stress: One way around this is to choose a budget-friendly sofa that you don’t mind replacing as it gets worn out.
  • Call for reinforcements: The alternative is to invest in a higher quality option. Opt for a sofa that’s durable and can take whatever your kids/pets throw at it. Consider choosing a stain-resistant fabric or with a slipcover that you can easily toss in the wash. Quality leather is also great for pets. You want something that won’t stain or rip easily and doesn’t attract fur like a magnet.

The Bottom Line: You know your kids and pets the best, so factor them into the picture when deciding what sofa makes sense for your family.

 

sofa buying guide

Question 5: How Much Time Will You Spend on Your Sofa?

Just like your mattress, if you use your couch a lot, don’t make yourself miserable with something that’s uncomfortable. (And let’s be real—with the current state of the world, we’re all spending a lot more time on our sofas, aren’t we?)

Your solve:

  • My sofa is just for looks: If you’re always on the go and rarely spend time on your sofa, no need to invest in a high-quality, ultra-comfy option. Something inexpensive but stylish can suffice.
  • My sofa is my other half: If you’re a self-proclaimed couch potato or your living room revolves around TV-viewing, don’t skimp on a cheap sofa that makes you uncomfortable. You can find plenty of inexpensive and mid-range sofas that are also comfortable and of high quality.

The Bottom Line: Invest in quality and comfort for the things you use daily, like your mattress and sofa.

 

Ready to find your perfect sofa?

Read our guide to sofa styles and learn more about how to buy a sofa online to make shopping for this living room staple as comfortable as lounging on it.

Or, if you want some insurance before splurging on a sofa, try on some options in your home before you make the investment. Modsy can help show you how real sofas will look in your actual home with our 3D designs.

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