One of the biggest questions I get from readers and friends alike is how to define their style when they are starting a new decorating project. One day, they are digging Scandinavian style – all striking black, grey and white and natural wood. The next, they are desperate for some jungle wallpaper and boho textiles. But they also rather love that glorious Parisian style look that’s all herringbone floors, panelling and touches of glamour. It’s difficult at times to narrow what you love to look at aesthetically and what you actually want to live with on a day to day basis.

eclectic boho glam living room from swoon worthy blog

A little something I like to call ‘Eclectic Boho Glam’

How in the world do you go about defining your own personal style? I admit, it has taken me a few years to really nail down my own ‘eclectic boho glam’ look. But really defining it was a pivotal moment – a point when every purchase decision after that made some kind of sense. Previous to this, I was just trying to imitate what I saw online, in magazines, on other blogs. It was a bit of a mishmash. I found that no matter what I tried to pull together, things just didn’t mesh quite right. It didn’t have the same panache and elegance I was seeking and it certainly didn’t look like my inspiration pictures. I couldn’t understand what I was doing wrong or how to fix it.

Looking for a way to figure out what you truly love for your home? Check out my tips on how to use Pinterest to define your personal style!

About this time, Pinterest came on the scene. I used it like everyone else – pinning lots of different beautiful images. Dreaming of all the different things I should be doing but never got around to. Deciding one day I wanted a space that looked like this and the very next minute thinking oh wait, no maybe this is better. Or maybe this one. Oh this is nice too. And then pretty soon it became… Oh shit. I have no idea. I became totally overwhelmed and all that inspiration suddenly became a bit of a burden because well, I like A LOT of different styles. And I’ll be honest, I can probably love just about any style at all if it’s executed really well.

eclectic boho glam dining room from swoon worthy blog

Another example of my eclectic boho glam style…

So how did I finally decide what my true personal style was? I’m going to talk you through it today.

Create your Personal Style Pinterest Board

First, I created a new Pinterest board. A secret one. (Of course, yours certainly doesn’t have to be secret but if you know you are pinning just for you and that no one else will see it, you may feel freer to make choices without feeling you have any ‘watching’ eyes on you).

This Pinterest board absolutely became a sort of VIP area. Not just any ol’ common pretty pin will do. No, before I pinned to this board I would ask myself, ‘Do I truly love this pin? Could I see myself living here? Would I want to sit in that chair or lay on that bed or gaze up at that light fitting?’ If I could answer with an emphatic ‘YES’ to those questions, I would pin it to my board. If I wasn’t really sure or the answer was ‘probably not’, then that pin did not get pinned on that board.

I’d recommend if you want to try this approach to go into it without any expectations or preconceived notions (‘I’ve always like Parisian style so I’m only going to pin those things’) and pin based upon your gut feel. Do you REALLY TRULY love it? Being absolutely ruthless about it will allow you to end up with a board that contains only images of those things that really make your heart skip a beat.

How to Find The Pins You Really Truly Love

So, where do you find the pins if you can’t yet define your style? After all, Pinterest is really a search platform rather than a social platform. If you don’t know what you’re searching for yet, how do you search Pinterest to find it? Well, you can let Pinterest do some of the work for you.

Let’s say, you really love this pin. It’s on your VIP board for your personal style but you don’t yet have a real name for it so how do you find other pins that are similar to it? How do you actually find MORE pins to pin to your board? You can use the related pin function on Pinterest.

When you click into a pin you’ll love and you scroll down, you’ll see that Pinterest will recommend other pins to you that are similar.

Find out how to find related pins on Pinterest to help define your personal style

You can also let Pinterest show you different styles by simplifying your search terms. So perhaps you search ‘living rooms’. Pinterest will then offer up a number of different options for you to further filter your searches (country, neutral, rustic, bohemian, shabby chic, etc etc). Go for what appeals to you and filter your results. You can always back out of that search and try another tag they’ve offered. Keep trying different search tags until the search results turn up more of what appeals to your style rather than less.

Find out how to use the search tags function on Pinterest to help find content you're interested in

Identify the Pin Patterns

Once my board had a nice healthy number of pins (I’d recommend at least 30-50 but no more than 100), I started to look for patterns in what I was pinning. There was a lot of velvet furniture, tufted backs and elegant shapes. Animal print, cowhide rugs, houseplants and woven tactile fabrics were commonalities as well. Of course, there was a silly amount of gold and brass. There was saturated colour as well as more muted shades. The styles of the furniture were a bit of an eclectic mix – Mid-Century, Chinoiserie and Hollywood Regency, Faux Bamboo, Lacquered pieces and some contemporary shapes. My style just started coming into focus. I wrote down a list of all the patterns that jumped out at me.

Identify Your Three Defining Buzz Words

Once I identified the patterns and I knew various elements that I really truly loved, I had a better idea of my favourites but I hadn’t defined anything yet. It wasn’t until I was asked in an interview how I would describe my style in three words, I blurted out on the spot with a laugh, “Eclectic Boho Glam!” The interviewers nodded in agreement, seemingly excited that what I’d said married to what they saw in my home.  And I realised, holy crap, that’s it.

However, it didn’t stop there. I knew those three words were my ‘buzz words’. Those three words encapsulated my entire Pinterest board and would later encapsulate my personal signature style. Almost every pin on my VIP board fell into one of those three categories, I just hadn’t bothered giving it so much structure before.

So once you create your Pinterest board, once you start to identify your patterns, write them down. And then, using that list, I want you to come up with three words to define your style. Really think about them. Make sure they feel right. Make sure you resonate with every single one of them. This is not going to necessarily be an easy task but spending the time now before you start decorating can mean the difference between making a lot of expensive and time-consuming mistakes in the future and absolutely knowing what’s going to work for you and what’s not.

Use Your Buzz Words to Shop Your Style

When you are shopping in the future for your home, I want you to carry those three words you’ve chosen for yourself with you. Not physically (although hell, if you want to, you can) but in your mind. When you are searching for a specific piece – furniture, wallpaper, accessories – ask yourself, ‘Does this {insert thing here} fall under one of my three words?’ If it doesn’t, put it back.

Check out my tips on how to use Pinterest to define your personal style including using buzz words

People always say, ‘only buy what you truly love’ and that’s damn good advice because I say the same thing. But how do you really know what you really love? Finding a way to define it made sense to me. It made things a lot clearer.

As an example, I love the new Scandinavian trend for string shelves but do they fall under Eclectic, Boho or Glam? Probably not. So while I can appreciate it from afar, I know it’s not right for my own personal style or for my own home. I could also gaze lovingly at a Scandinavian bathroom that’s all white marble with gold detailing. Does it fall under Eclectic, Boho or Glam? Well, the gold and marble are certainly glam so yes, that could work (in fact, marble and gold feature quite heavily in my recent kitchen makeover). I do this little exercise every single time I consider bringing something into my home.

eclectic boho glam kitchen with open shelving and gold and copper accents

My eclectic boho glam kitchen

The result is a home and a personal style that’s completely unique to me. Each of my rooms is a little different but they all make for what I feel is a cohesive style because they all share the same three elements – eclectic, boho and glam. Once you discover your own buzzwords, you’ll find your home will become not just more cohesive but also a reflection of your own personal style and even better, it will truly become one you love.

So I hope you found this post and the exercise in defining your personal style using Pinterest helpful! Have you ever tried to define your style with just three words? Want to give it a go using this method? Let me know in the comments!

**UPDATE: Want to see some real life examples of people who’ve tried this method? Click here for 3 case studies!**

PS. Are you following me on Pinterest? Go on then.

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