Five Questions That Interior Designers Ask to Define Your Home's Style

What defines you translates into choice of fabric, color palettes, and overall aesthetic.

We've all been there: You're trying to describe your interior design style to someone—and you just can't put it into words. "It's often challenging for clients to clearly describe their aesthetic," says Jessica Geller of Toledo Geller. "Instead of having them use words like transitional, modern, and so forth (which can mean different things to different people), we instead ask our clients how they want a room to 'feel' and it is the most telling assessment of all."

Of course, functionality should be taken into consideration when determining one's interior design style, too. "I think it's most important to know who is living in the space," says Christine Gachot of Gachot. "While aesthetic can generally be sorted out by looking through imagery with a client, the real core of the design is rooted in an understanding of who is in the space and what their lives look like day-to-day." What if you're not sure how you would define your homes unique style? We reached out to a handful of interior designers to find out what questions they ask their clients when trying to figure out what specific aesthetic they're searching for, and here's what they had to say.

powder blue sofa in living room
Jacob Snavely, Courtesy of Toledo Geller

What do you love to wear?

If you're struggling to figure out your what your interior style is, Rayman Boozer of Apartment 48 recommends defining your taste in fashion first. "When shopping for clothes, what colors or patterns often intrigue you? What things do you try on and love, but end up not purchasing?" He says: "Through these simple fashion questions, I hope to discover colors and patterns my client gravitates towards. I'm also curious about what items they might secretly want to try, but fear they can't pull off."

Can you draw from travels?

According to Becky Shea, nothing says more about your style than the places you've enjoyed traveling to. "Where have you traveled to that inspired you aesthetically and what were some of the key elements during your stay that made your home away from home streamlined, relaxing and memorable? Aesthetic evolution happens when the influence of culture and travel ignite your spirit," she says.

What do you look to in inspirational images?

If a picture is worth a thousand words, then Beth Webb says pictures can help reveal and define your interior style, too. "In the instance of a new client interview, I always ask if they might have imagery to share," she says. "One can use all the words in the world, but there is nothing like an image to convey their overall aesthetic. Clients usually have a preconceived notion of what that home looks like and feels like in their heads. Whether they articulate that with pages torn out of magazines or a Pinterest board, visual aids communicate volumes."

What are your hopes and dreams?

If you're unsure how to define your home's style, then Danielle Fennoy of Revamp Interior Design says to try using your imagination. "In a fantasy world what car would you drive?" she says. "We like people to really let loose on this one, it's not about their current lifestyle, number of kids, income, geographic location, but what kind of car really represents their soul. A new tricked out sports car, an old-school muscle car, Range Rover, Prius. There are so many options that tell a little bit about the true character of a person and yes, their style."

What's your favorite restaurant?

John McClain says few things reveal more about your interior style than where you like to eat. "The one question I would ask all clients is: 'What is your favorite restaurant?'" he says. "If the restaurant is casual dining, this is most likely how they like to live their lives. On the other hand, if it has low lighting, romantic tables and a modern menu, this reflects a completely different style of living. Next time you go to your favorite restaurant, make note of the details that reflect your own design style and how that emulates your life."

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