There are plenty of simple changes that you can make to your space to ensure that it better reflects your unique personal style and truly feels like you. Below, designers share a handful of useful tips on how to invoke plenty of personality into any size of living space.
1. Display Art
Why not create a mini gallery in your living room? “Art always makes a home feel more personal,” says Michelle Gage of Michelle Gage Interior Design. “You can collect pieces over time and while traveling or visiting local markets and galleries.”
Don’t feel the need to opt for what’s trending; focus on works that speak to you. “Selecting something that feels so specific to your personal style always makes an impact,” Gage says. “Even more so, you can attach memories to your new favorite find.”
Whitney Riter Gelinas of Wit Interiors agrees. “There is no ‘right’ type of art because it’s all about what the piece evokes for the viewer,” she says. “Foodie clients of ours recently had us frame menu’s from Chez Panisse and French Laundry so they could remember those meals for years to come.”
There are other creative ways to showcase a love of food and cooking within your home. “One of my passions is cooking, and I love to collect various salts and herbs and spices that I’ve found,” says Peti Lau of Peti Lau Inc. “I love to put them in cool ceramics, all different sizes and shapes, and that individualizes my kitchen.”
Or perhaps you’re simply passionate about all of the humans and four-legged friends in your life. “Putting up photos—with matching frames in different sizes so they feel consistent—with pictures of your favorite humans or pets having adventures reminds of you great times with great people,” Lau says.
Whether you rent your space or own your home, you can easily use paint to transform the rooms of your choosing. “Paint is a great way to personalize a space,” Gelinas says. “The cost is low but the impact can be dramatic.”
Think beyond coating the four walls. “Think outside the box—is there a feature wall that you could paint a bright color? A ceiling that could use a punch? We love using painters tape to define geometric patterns like stripes,” Gelinas says.
Don’t be afraid to take risks. “Going for a bold paint or drape or accessories is easiest, but if you’re unsure of a bold tile that you really love or a cabinet color engage a designer to help you decide,” comments Isabella Patrick of Isabella Patrick Interior Design. “A lot of what we do for clients is support them while helping them get to the essence of what they love. If you can’t afford a designer, enlist a trusted friend to help you feel courageous in a bold move.”
Don’t feel wedded to bland, builder-grade lighting just because it’s already there. “Layer your lighting in every room,” suggests Jocelyn Polce of August Oliver Interiors. “Harsh overhead lighting can feel sterile and basic. Consider the uses of the space and the mood you want to create.”
Use lighting as a way to add texture and whimsy to your space. “Add lamps with printed fabric shades to bring in a pattern, or pop a mini lamp on the kitchen counter on a tray for mood lighting,” Polce says.
5. Buy Only What You Love
Filling your home with pieces that you consider extra special will make any space feel more like your own. “If you’re desperate for a new sofa, and you rush to purchase one during a big sale you may end up with a great deal but a sofa that never quite fits your actual style,” Patrick says. “It is far better to spend that extra $500, pay full price, and love it.”
In that same vein, don’t scoop up pieces just because they seem like a good deal, Patrick notes, adding, “The exception here is with antiques or vintage items that are smaller wares.”
6. Be Confident in Your Choices
Don’t hesitate to make design choices that please you, even if they’re not going to be everyone’s cup of tea. “The number one way to make your home feel like ‘you’ is to know and be confident in your own design aesthetic,” says Brandi Wilkins of Three Luxe Nine Interiors. “So often we lean into what’s trending rather than what we personally gravitate toward.”
It’s possible to admire a trend or enjoy videos of it on TikTok without needing to emulate that style in your own space. This may mean going the old-fashioned route when planning out your space.
“The internet and social media make it nearly impossible to be unaware of trends,” says Laura Hur of Lorla Studio. “Whether we intend to implement trends into our home or not, they are hard to avoid.”
Hur encourages looking beyond the internet and social media, instead drawing inspiration from design books, travel, museums, and other similar resources.
“When you do see a room on Instagram that really resonates with you, hone in on what it is about that room that you are drawn to,” she says. “Once you understand what it is you like, you can then implement the concept in your home in a more personal way, by using colors or brands that are more aligned with your personal style.”