How to Discover Your Own Interior Design Style for Your New BTO

Congratulations! You took your first step in homeownership and you're about to collect your keys. You've watched too many Stacked Homes and Never Too Small videos and you still don't understand "Interior Design" and what even is a style. If you're a design newbie like me, the world of Interior Design might seem scary, but the key is to take the plunge and have no fear in discovering the things you like.

So here's a guide to help you along your journey to first discover your own personal Interior Design style, and also see how you can mesh that with someone else's style, especially if you BTO-ed with your spouse or family member, or if you're moving into a new home and you want to try taking the design reigns into your own hand.

Ask Yourself the Important Questions

This is the part where you sit down with a pen and paper and really dig deep.

Ask yourself some questions so you can really understand your preferences and not rely on a vague idea as presented by Pinterest:

  1. What colours do you gravitate towards?
    It's important to note that while you may have colours that you really like (mine is violet), they may not suit the theme that you want in the end. But this is the brainstorming part, so put down all the colours that you like down on paper.
  2. What styles of furniture do you like?
    Do you like thrifting a lot (think: vintage), or are you the type of person to prefer a sleek, modern style of hotels? Or maybe you like a mix of things?
  3. What textures and materials do you prefer?
    Dark wood or light wood? Lots of metals? Concrete? What about fabrics? Do you like the style of a linen sofa or something that feels like leather?
  4. How do you want your space to feel?
    Do you want a warm and cosy space, or do you want a dark and edgy cave to retreat to? Or maybe you like the minimalistic lifestyle and to be free of clutter.

Don't worry if you don't know the exact words and terms for now, we'll be using what you describe as a base to find photos of what you like.

Create a Moodboard

This is the fun part!

Open up Miro (yes, the whiteboarding tool that you use at work — make sure you use your personal account for this) and Pinterest, and start collecting photos of homes and objects and things that interest you. You can even look up certain places because you want to bring the feeling of a place into your home (like the calm Japanese lifestyle, or a New York loft vibe).

The reason why you use a Miro here instead of just collecting lots of pictures on a Pinboard on Pinterest is because you can move the pictures around and really create a collage based on similar imagery.

If you need an idea of how this works, just imagine you're a designer creating a new brand for your client. Yes, they'll collect photos, but when they present these photos, they're always in one place as part of a larger presentation deck. Pretend you're the designer and the brand you're designing is your new home.

  1. Use Pinterest as a guide - save pictures on a pinboard for easy access. Search for colours, places, feelings, architectural styles
  2. Pick and choose images to bring into your moodboard on Miro. It's really easy because you can just drag and drop these images in. If you're not living alone, invite your new "housemate" on your team in Miro, and you can both work on different sections of the canvas, creating your own moodboard. And after you're done, you can come together and really compare the similarities and differences in your moodboards.
  3. While you're doing this, think back and refer to the questions that you've asked yourself earlier so you don't get distracted by designs that may look nice, but aren't exactly a fit for what you really want
  4. If Pinterest is too basic, look for design magazines and take photos of what you like to put into your moodboard

Analyse Your Moodboard

Once you're done with creating your moodboard, it's time to put it into action.

This is the point where if you engaged a Interior Designer, usually they'll present their moodboard to you. But since you have a moodboard, you can present yours to them. It'll really help them to understand your style and incorporate elements of what you like to create a home that really reflects who you are.

But if you're taking the plunge and designing your own home, here are some tips on how you can use your moodboard to inform your buying choices:

  1. If you're living with someone else, this is the time to get together and mix your moodboards together. This is why using Miro is useful because you can literally copy and paste your pictures and form a new moodboard. Try to see if you can find ways to incorporate what you both like, but don't be afraid of mixing and matching different elements to create a cohesive look!
  2. Living with others come with compromise. Think of your childhood bedroom decked out in posters of things and people you like. Consider separating specific rooms and areas to each person so they can express their own styles more prominently in these spaces.
  3. When you shop either online or offline, try starting with a focal point or statement piece that really speaks to your style. This can be a nice velvet couch, or perhaps a tea table set that you really like, or even lighting fixtures!
  4. When you bring lighting into a space, consider if they're ambient (there in the background), task (for you to do a certain task or to work), or accent (to help highlight certain places or pieces in your home)
  5. Pick not more than 3 colours in a room so you don't get too overwhelmed by colours. It'll be great if this colour palette can be cohesive throughout the home, so pick a palette that complements the two styles so it can be the thing that ties your home together. Use the 60% 30% 10% Rule:
    • 60%: The main colour that you use in a room. Use this on walls, big furnitures, or rugs and carpets
    • 30%: Use this colour on curtains, accent chairs (like our Kaitekis or Swivel Chairs!), bedsheets and linens, or an accent wall
    • 10%: Throw pillows and blankets, any type of decorative pieces, any artwork, or even one or two smaller kitchen appliances

Have Fun in Discovering Your Style

The most important thing in this whole process is to really have fun and take your time in collecting and discovering your own style.

It's a process that takes time, not a race to find the most aesthetic home. You want to be able to create a home that truly feels like you, so soak in the process.

Back to blog

Leave a comment

Please note, comments need to be approved before they are published.