As you begin the process of redecorating or designing the interior of your home, it’s important to have a clear understanding of what the desired style is for your home.

There are many questions that should be answered as you determine which direction to go. Let’s start by addressing these four.

How do you and your family want to live in the space?
What is the overall function of the room? What specific tasks will be performed in the room? If it’s a space designated for small children, you certainly wouldn’t want to place a square glass tabletop or silk upholstery pieces in the space. Use your wardrobe as an indicator of your personal style. If you are a sweats and jeans kind of person, chances are you’ll prefer more natural materials and very relaxed, casual furniture styles. Whatever your level of comfort is as you use the space will determine what type of materials should be selected.

What feeling or mood do you want to achieve for each room?
Color is an obvious mood generator. For example, red and orange create warmth and coziness, while yellows and bright greens create excitement and energy. Subject matter for artwork reveals the vibe of a space. Images of flowing water, jazz musicians and landscape tend to be tranquil, mellow and relaxing. If you are going for sophistication, furniture pieces are more upright with tighter seats and fewer pillows.

(Photo: courtesy of PCL Interiors: Clean lines, geometrical patterns and oversized graphic prints and splashes
of color are trademarks of a Modern Retro Interior Design Style.)

What type of furnishings and materials are you attracted to?
If you like clean, smooth surfaces and an uncluttered appearance ,then your style is more contemporary. Shiny metal, polished wood and cool tile are the textures you’ll most often find in the modern home. Correctly blending furnishing styles from a mixture of sources and time periods defines eclecticism. The arms, back, legs and cushions on upholstered pieces are an indicator of what style is. For example, tapered legs are transitional, bun feet are traditional and metal legs are contemporary designs.

What patterns do you like or dislike?
One of the indicators of contemporary design is the use of solid patterns throughout a room. When colorful oversized floras with strong sculptural lines and a solid background are introduced, the style takes on a more modern, retro look. Checks, plaids, small print floras, toile and stripes are commonly associated with American traditional or European country design. Just remember that scale, color and design of most patterned fabrics can be manipulated in such a way to blend various design styles.

When determining what your design style is, always keep in mind the function of the space, the mood you want to capture and the materials and patterns you are drawn to. These factors are true indicators of expressing your personal style.

Penny Law is owner of PCL Interiors, a personalized studio specializing in residential design. Visit her Web site at

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