How My Design Style Has Changed & Figuring Out Your Own

A lot of my clients struggle because they don’t know their design style. Or maybe they think they know but when it comes down to making decisions for their home they are all over the place. I’ve seen this struggle become a huge obstacle when it comes to decorating their homes.  I try to help most of my clients find out what it is they really love and I always remind them that figuring out your design style is not an overnight process. It has taken me years to get where I am at today.
To get a feel for my current design aesthetic take a look at a sampling of my Pinterest Living Room pins.

I find that I tend to gravitate towards lots of white and lots of color.

I love almost everything about this room. I’d probably add a little more color and some more graphic punches  but other than that this room is very  “me”.
Now lest you think I’ve always been so design savvy please feast your eyes on our home 7 years ago when we were first married….

At the time I must say this was very “in” if you lived in Utah in 2005. I saved for months to buy that red and tan Pottery Barn Duvet cover and matching shams. That faux fern on the dresser was a T.J. Maxx find and I was obsessed with it. I also decided to put floating shelves a million feet up on the wall. I guess if I ever wanted to actually use that alarm clock I would need to stand up on my bed to reach it.
And then there was our Living Room.  I tried my best to mimic a Pottery Barn catalog. Do you think I succeeded?

Although part of me wants to look back on these pictures and cringe another part of me is proud of the home I created. I did the best I could with what I had and what I “thought” looked good. It has been fun, however, to see my style evolve over the years. 
The home I have now is SO different. Not only have I learned what it actually means to have style but I’ve really been able to discover what my own personal style is. 

There are a few key points I’ve figured out on this “design style journey” that have led me where I am today. This first point is,,
Let go of wanting it all // What I mean by this is, let go of wanting all the design styles in your home. For example, I love a lot of things about this room: 
But you will never see this room in my house. I  may take aspects of it, like the striped window bench and the striped rug and incorporate some of those elements in my home but I won’t be mimicking this entire room. I have learned to look at this room, appreciate it and then let it go when it comes to my own home. Just because a style of design makes you excited doesn’t mean it’s a right fit for you or your home. 
Now this is not to say that you can’t mix styles! Because of course you can. But thing carefully about the elements you are choosing to mix and make sure they are “you”. 
The second point…
Stop buying stuff just because it’s on sale //  I can’t tell you how many clients I visit that have hoards and  hoards of things they have purchased because they were on sale or because someone gave it to them for free. These are the woman who spend way too much time browsing the home decor section of Target. (you know who you are). I am definitely one of these people! For example I really love this little gold accent table. I mean $59! I feel like that’s too good to pass up. 
But I have absolutely no where to put it. I mean not one spot. And if I did put it anywhere it wouldn’t really make sense in the spot it ends up. 
I feel like you are doing your house a disservice by filling it with things that you don’t truly love or fit the style of your home. Most of the time we don’t end up using much of what my client has collected.  So in the end your “sale” items were just a waste of money. If you can’t think of place to put something or if it’s not “perfect” for a certain spot chances are you won’t end up using it. Save your money for the pieces that you really love and are “just perfect” for the spaces you end up putting them in. 
The last tip is to..
Start curating rooms you love and figure out what it is that you love about them. 
I’ve been obsessed with this bathroom from Sarah Richardson ever since I first saw it. I love the pops of dark pink, the white and accents of black. I love how it feels a little traditional but not too traditional. I can identify what I love about this room and carry it into my own home.
I am sure my design style will always be ever-chaning but at it’s core I hope there will always be colorful and happy rooms involved! 
How have you figured out your design style? 


46 Responses to How My Design Style Has Changed & Figuring Out Your Own

  1. Ms.JayQue Tuesday, November 19, 2013 at 11:38 am #

    I agree with everything you've said Kristen. I'm still in the process of decorating my home and the hardest part is trying to figure out what I like when I see an inspiration room and how to apply it in my own home. Hope you have a great day.

  2. Abby M. Interiors Tuesday, November 19, 2013 at 12:13 pm #

    Agreed! Wonderful post, Kirsten. I also had a red and tan PB duvet (floral) circa 2005–it's from when I thought I wanted a French country house. ;-). Loved this post.

  3. Julia Konya Tuesday, November 19, 2013 at 12:21 pm #

    I totally gravitate to lots of white and color. White has always been on the top of my list.
    Love this post Kirsten because it is so true.

  4. E Hayes Tuesday, November 19, 2013 at 12:50 pm #

    I've been preaching #2 to my husband since we bought our house earlier this year. We still have lots of empty rooms, but I'd rather wait and save for pieces we love than buy more junk like in previous years and fill our home with things that dont make sense and that we hate after a few months.

  5. Cathy Wall Tuesday, November 19, 2013 at 1:04 pm #

    Great tips Kirsten! Sometimes we all have to just slow down and take things in to get to the inspiration. With so many ideas and beautiful rooms just a click away, this is a difficult thing to do!

  6. Back Row Girl Tuesday, November 19, 2013 at 1:35 pm #

    Thank you for posting this! It sort of confirms the things that I've started formulating for myself about my own style, and it's really validating to head/read it from someone who's more of an expert at this.

    I also would like to add one more point – just because something is trendy and EVERYONE is doing it (or it seems like, judging by Pinterest) does not mean you should, too. I feel like grey on walls is so unbelievably in and everyone talks about it, and I felt almost guilty that I did not want grey on the walls of my living room. But I think I got over that, because it's just not me and because I feel like in 7 years, the trend will be totally different.

    • Kirsten Krason Tuesday, November 19, 2013 at 6:05 pm #

      yes that is such a good point! Sometimes it's fun for me to use my home to experiment with trends but only if their not expensive experiments 😉 I've done so many trendy things in my home that I now regret. It's a fine line between being stylish, current and also not being "trendy"

    • Meghan Wednesday, November 20, 2013 at 11:37 pm #

      Great post! I agree 100% with Back Row Girl–given our Pinterest-filled world, sometimes I have to actually ask myself, "Do I really like (XYZ home decor item) myself, or only because I've seen it on a billion blogs?" Lately I've been pulling my 'favorite of favorites' from my pins–asking myself which of the bazillions of images I've pinned would I actually want to live in, then comparing all of those for the common denominators (in my case, I veer towards masculine furniture with ladylike accents, lots of dark grey with blues and greens, and things with a history like patina on metals or vintage wood dressers). So interesting to hear how people define their style!

  7. Angela and Enrique Tuesday, November 19, 2013 at 1:44 pm #

    This is a great post Kirsten! I love how you showed us how your style has evolved! Looking forward to seeing you guys over the holidays!

  8. Jackie Tuesday, November 19, 2013 at 1:46 pm #

    Kirsten, Such an awesome post! I love that your shared the truth about your style past, because I think we have all been there. I teach an online course called Define Your Style and it echoes many of these same themes. A huge distinction I like to make is learning and accepting the difference between things you love (and want in your home) and things you merely appreciate (that are nice for someone else's home)!

  9. Aja Tuesday, November 19, 2013 at 1:55 pm #

    Such a great post! I'm guilty of buying things on sale or purchasing without an exact spot/purpose in mind. Yikes!

  10. Katie @ Team Skelley Tuesday, November 19, 2013 at 2:16 pm #

    Red walls! Remember when that was in style a decade ago? I think every member of my family had a red room and we thought that we were being so bold. We were! But then the red wall trend went away and we were all stuck with red kitchens. 🙂

    I am also a former PB striped duvet owner. I decided when we moved in this house that I would no longer buy accents because I was trying to emulate someone else's house, and instead I would only buy things that I love. It has created a unique, slightly quirky home that fits us to a T.

    Great post!

    • Kirsten Krason Tuesday, November 19, 2013 at 6:01 pm #

      Katie, yes I had a red wall in the home pictured above!! Just one red accent wall in my dining room. Red walls must be like a designer's rite of passage. I swear every designer has had one in their home!

  11. Leslie Tuesday, November 19, 2013 at 2:35 pm #

    This is a great post! Thanks so much for taking the time to explain part of the design process and making it accessible. I may be one of those people who check out Target too much, but I'm slowly getting better. Now, I really try only to bring things into our home that I love/need.

  12. val Tuesday, November 19, 2013 at 2:51 pm #

    Such a great post. And fun to see your style evolve too. And good reminder not to buy just to buy.

  13. IUAK Tuesday, November 19, 2013 at 3:00 pm #

    I love seeing designer's homes, before they were designers! I think back then, we really only had the PB catalogs and such to go by versus all of the online inspiration that we have today.
    ps…did you announce the winner of the Minted giveaway?? : )

    • Kirsten Krason Tuesday, November 19, 2013 at 6:00 pm #

      Yes! It's the bottom of my post from yesterday 🙂 I used to pour over pb catalogs getting so much inspiration. Now there is almost an overload of great design inspiration to turn to!

  14. Big D and Me Tuesday, November 19, 2013 at 3:51 pm #

    Love this post and appreciate you sharing your before pics.
    I agree about the sale items but I do love a good find at the Habitat Store 🙂
    I think the thing I struggle most with design is bringing my husband on board.
    He cares a lot.
    I tried to do white walls but he would have none of it.
    Of course, in a couple of months he's going on a 2 week business trip so we will see what he comes home too 🙂 Alright, not white walls, but something will be different.

    • Kirsten Krason Tuesday, November 19, 2013 at 5:58 pm #

      You'd be surprised how many of my clients struggle mixing their design style with their husbands! You are not alone 😉

  15. Beth // Design Your Dwelling Tuesday, November 19, 2013 at 3:54 pm #

    I love the pictures you shared of your home from years past! 🙂 Amazing how style always changes…

  16. Becca Tuesday, November 19, 2013 at 3:57 pm #

    Great advice for me right now thanks

  17. Brent Tuesday, November 19, 2013 at 4:06 pm #

    I was just thinking about this the other day! It's amazing how our tastes and aesthetics shift and evolve, and become more sophisticated over time. I looked at my pins/likes the other day, and realized just how in love I am with neutral palettes with pops of color. I look at the stuff I pinned when I first joined the site, and I'm like "…but why?!" 🙂

    It's taken me a while to feel okay with an unfinished space. I've learned to wait for the perfect piece of furniture or accessory, instead of just buying something that might look okay, but isn't my absolute favorite. I want to be surrounded by things I adore, not just things that are nice to look at an "make sense" where I've put them.

  18. Brittany Cramer Tuesday, November 19, 2013 at 5:29 pm #

    This is such a great post! I love hearing your advice, I too am one of those "sale shoppers" browsing the aisles of Target. I fall pray to items, even stuff at thrift stores, that are a "steal" and in the end I don't have the perfect place for them and regret every buying them. Or worse, when i'm in my "design change" phase where I used to like one look but now like another, I totally think back on purchases that I regret!

    • Kirsten Krason Tuesday, November 19, 2013 at 5:57 pm #

      I know it's so hard to not buy things that are a good deal!! One thing that helps is that I live in such a small space I am forced to only buy things i have the space for! 😉

  19. Angela Tuesday, November 19, 2013 at 5:38 pm #

    It took me a really long time to figure out my style, and it has only been in the last two years with design blogs and pinterest that I have finally begun to figure it out. Nice post!

    • Kirsten Krason Tuesday, November 19, 2013 at 5:55 pm #

      yes Pinterest has certainly helped me figure out my style as well!

  20. Lyssa Tuesday, November 19, 2013 at 6:04 pm #

    Thank you for posting this! I'm just now figuring out my style, and I have all of this "stuff" I accumulated when I THOUGHT I knew. Sometimes I look at all these bloggers and designers and think I will never be that creative, or have that sense of style. So it's nice to see that great designers have a starting point just like me!

  21. Jennifer Lippi Tuesday, November 19, 2013 at 7:22 pm #

    I love this post!! So honest and refreshing. I have the same feelings about my design choices from long ago. Some of which I am still living with. It is about collecting and living with"placeholders" until we find the perfect thing and there is usually no way to have it all at the same time.

  22. michelle Tuesday, November 19, 2013 at 7:36 pm #

    i love this post! finding a style is so hard. i agree with all of these so much. i have been looking for years to find the perfect sofa and have just found it. i have a hand me down one now that works fine but isn't my style at all and everyone thinks i am nuts because "it's just a sofa."

  23. Brooke Romney Tuesday, November 19, 2013 at 8:40 pm #

    Thanks Kirsten! Great post. I have become comfortable with empty rooms instead of filling them up with items I don't love. One question, I submitted the form inquiring about your 7 day design services for my space, just wondering how long a reply usually takes and wanted to make sure you got my inquiry.

  24. Jennifer@ClassicStyleHome Tuesday, November 19, 2013 at 8:53 pm #

    I love so many different styles that it is hard to choose just one. I took a cue from my home's architecture and went from there. I love light neutral colors with natural elements, but not country. I still like a bit of glam/sparkle thrown in so it doesn't get boring, too. It may look like my pinterest boards are all over the place, but there's something I can take from each of them…usually. Sometimes I just love them because they are pretty!

  25. Jacquelinne Tuesday, November 19, 2013 at 11:51 pm #

    This is such a great post! I have just started finishing up a few projects in my house and I had to assess this very question for myself. I really had to go back to my Pinterest boards and start dissecting why I like certain things and what elements were truly "me."

  26. Wednesday, November 20, 2013 at 1:25 am #

    Love how your style has evolved. Its great to see the journey along the way. I went through a massive Pottery Barn Phase too.

  27. House Envy Wednesday, November 20, 2013 at 2:02 am #

    this is such an honest post. personal style really does evolve over time and travel and experience, which is what makes it so much fun to invent and re-invent. As we grow, so does our style and hopefully we can translate that growth into our homes and personal style.

  28. Courtney {a thoughtful place} Wednesday, November 20, 2013 at 2:37 am #

    Oh, yes! I was sporting the red/cream floral from Waverly for years. My style has changed so much and continues to. Great post, girl. We should all post our former spaces! Fun to see.

  29. Andrea @ Decorating Cents Wednesday, November 20, 2013 at 2:04 pm #

    I am definitely one of those people that buy because it's on sale. In the end, I return the item because I don't really have a spot for it. Sometimes I try to tell myself to keep it because I got such a good deal.

  30. Sita Wednesday, November 20, 2013 at 6:36 pm #

    Great post, Kirsten. I know the my personal style is always evolving, which is why I continually change things up in my own home…I think it is an occupational hazard. Whenever I meet with a new client we discuss the difference between room you think are pretty and appreciate, versus a space you would want to have in your own home and live in. It is such a "A-HA moment" for so many of them! BTW – my first home was an homage to Pottery Barn as well. 🙂

  31. Jennifer Jones Wednesday, November 20, 2013 at 10:09 pm #

    Love this so much! It was so refreshing to see someone who has such great style, share their previous spaces {which looked similar to ours!}. Makes me feel SO much better about our previous burgundy office and Waverly floral pillows. Great post!!

  32. Abby Lawson Thursday, November 21, 2013 at 3:50 am #

    GREAT post! I am definitely still trying to pin down my style and am also guilty of buying stuff just because it is on sale! You make so many excellent points, and I can't wait to incorporate them into our own home! Hope you're having a wonderful week, Kirsten!

    ~Abby =)

  33. Samantha Hawes Friday, November 22, 2013 at 3:02 am #

    Such a great post!! It's so true; my taste has done a 180 from just a few years ago. I used to love rich browns, and beiges, and dark heavy everything, and now I'm all about light, bright, colorful spaces. This is the perfect example of why people need to be constantly updating their homes, and allowing their spaces to change and grow with them. I'd love to share this with my readers. 🙂
    XO – Samantha

  34. Tasha Friday, November 22, 2013 at 3:07 am #

    I enjoyed this post and can relate to your thoughts on how our style changes.

  35. Bethany DeVore Monday, November 25, 2013 at 6:48 pm #

    Very well said! My taste has changed a lot over the last few years and I'm sure it will continue to. It's always fun to look back and see how different the rooms in my home used to be.

  36. willowinteriors Monday, November 25, 2013 at 9:09 pm #

    It's so true about wanting it all… I gravitate towards color and then see a nice calming, muted room and think that it will bring calm into my life. Your old PB look cracks me up…I had the exact same entrainment unit (aka monster) back in the day. I love your evolved style now! 🙂

  37. Chelsea Tuesday, November 26, 2013 at 10:45 pm #

    I'm pretty sure I've told you this before, but my design style is basically your house. 🙂 Now if only I could incorporate it better into my own house. It is so hard to figure out how everything goes together and what exactly are things that fit my style. I think I'm getting better at it too…and realize I will never have a perfect house, but I can still love it and be happy with what I have. And realize that it is always going to be changing and evolving.

  38. Chelsea Sunday, December 1, 2013 at 4:05 am #

    I am just chuckling looking at these pictures… I'm pretty sure your "before style" are pictures of my first home with Wyatt. haha. Deep red, olive green, tan, beige (lots of tan and beige). Get this- I had faux olive green snakeskin lamp shades with red, green, and tan multicolored tassels hanging down around the edges. Oh.My.Word. It's a good thing we did figure out our style right? Hoping not to look back at my house now & feel the same in 10 years though:)

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