Time for a refresh for the new year! Refreshing your space is not just about decluttering and organizing; it’s also knowing how to personalize your room so that it feels more familiar, more comforting, more “you.”
But how do we know if our space feels a bit more personality? The most tell-tale sign that your room doesn’t reflect your personality or preferences is when you don’t feel at ease in your own space. You’re sitting in your room and you feel like there’s something missing. It feels blah or generic. Or, the colors don’t suit you or your taste.
Take a look at this example to visualize how you should personalize your room.
My eDesign client Kelsey (check out her website here!) and her husband had moved out of the city and into a house that had been previously owned by someone else. The home office used to have deep blue walls. This kind of blue wasn’t at all in the shade that Kelsey likes or is used to.
She began by painting the room white, but after that, she wasn’t sure what pieces to buy to personalize her room. She already had a desk and a chair, her favorite marketing and business books, a bookcase that she wasn’t sure coincided with her own personal style.
Get clear on how you want to use and what you want to see and feel in your space.
Before beginning a project on how to personalize your room, ask these two important questions first.
What activities will you be doing in the space?
It’s very important that you identify first the main functions you want to use the space for, as that will largely dictate how you need to lay out the furniture pieces, if you will need additional lighting, and how to style your space accordingly.
In Kelsey’s case, she works as an online business coach. She conducts quite a number of online classes or webinars, records videos or podcasts for her brand, and does a lot of brainstorming.
Knowing these activities helped her narrow down on her must-haves for the room:
- a Zoom-worthy background for her frequent Zoom calls
- Proper and easily accessible storage for her desktop recording equipment
- a wall-mounted spool containing craft paper, for her brainstorming needs
Most importantly for her, Kelsey wanted to be able to “bring her brand to life” in her home office, which is why we took a lot of our design cues from her own business branding and personality.
How do you want the space to feel?
During our online consult, Kelsey told me that she wanted the space to feel cozy and comfortable, but still make her feel productive and inspired enough to work on content for her brand and courses.
We took cues from her own business for her room’s color palette and decor we were going to use.
We knew what her major neutral hues would be, and assigned those to major surfaces (like walls, ceilings, and floors). We also identified what accent colors to use following her business colors, and assigned those to art, soft furnishings, and other decor.
(Want to know how to create a mood board for your space? Check out this blog post: How to Make an Interior Design Mood Board)
But sometimes, these things aren’t as clear-cut for us as hers was. So how do you figure out what makes your space feel more personal to you?
Look for common things among all the images you’ve pinned or saved.
If you are a frequent Pinner like I am (and most of my clients for that matter), go through all your Pinterest boards again and try to see: Do they have common images, icons, colors, or themes running through them?
They may be:
- Light gray sofas
- Sheer white curtains
- Fluffy rugs
- Ethnic prints
- Plants in an all-white environment
- Light wood
- Traditional shaped furniture repainted in more modern colors
Going deep into the things that interest you personally is key to knowing what pieces to add into your own space.
Try to write down DESCRIPTIVE or FEELING words that the photos convey.
Generate words that you feel describe what these common images or themes convey.
- For example, sheer white curtains to you look “serene” and “calming.”
- A light gray sofa to you feels “sturdy and dependable.”
- Green plants to you feel “life-giving.”
- A fluffy shag rug to you feels “fuzzy and warm.”
If words escape you, just input the first word you think of on a tool like thesaurus.com.
Identifying feeling words helps you narrow down your design pegs to those that you feel closely matches the feeling you want for your space.
Say, you like the look of a marble-topped tulip table with its sexy pedestal leg. But if you want a certain room to feel moody and masculine, perhaps a sturdy, iron table with a reclaimed-wood top is more aligned with the feelings you want for your space.
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Pick colors you would wear.
Look to your wardrobe for color cues that mean something to you. If you’d wear that color, you’d most likely want to see it in your environment.
Choose a major color and then 2 to 3 accent colors.
More than that might make it feel chaotic (unless you are going for a maximalist look).
But if you’re like Kelsey and have identified more than 3 colors, then pick a neutral main color first, and apply this to the major surfaces and bigger pieces of furniture.
Look at your own personal belongings for special iconography that you repeatedly use.
Are you drawn to stars? When you go to a home or decor store, do you immediately go to star-shaped decorative objects? Do you like circular or spherical forms? When you go to museums, do you immediately look at the dark and moody abstracts, or bright and vibrant still-lifes?
As mentioned previously, Kelsey seemed to love speckles and dots. In fact, this is evident in many of her business branding and collaterals.
So we created an art print that resonated with her personality and branding, which she could display in a very conspicuous part of her room. She had this printed out by Canva, and framed using a store-bought frame.
Then we also sourced wall decals that would allow her to bring her favorite iconography out into her environment.
Here are our renderings of Kelsey’s home office, showing off the beautiful Visionary artwork by Ayana de Ocampo, and dotted decals from Urban Walls, and her preferred functional and decorative items.
Staying true and authentic to yourself should extend to the environment you always find yourself in.
Whether it’s just a small corner in your house, or an entire room like Kelsey’s, it pays to be able to spend time in a space that reflects who you are and what you love.
Numerous studies and articles have been devoted to the importance of how to personalize your room, and what the benefits of these are. In fact, this piece about personalizing your work space from the Association of Psychology Science makes that quite clear.
Check out more tips on refreshing the look of your home here and here.
Need help figuring out how to personalize your room more?
I love being able to help people get clear on what they really want for their spaces, which is why my online design consult remains one of my most popular services.
We can get on a 60-minute call and you can tell me the things you don’t like about your space, and what you would like to see more of. I can give you a lot of ideas on how you can make it look and feel more like a reflection of you—as many as 60 minutes can give you!
Want to get on a call with me?