April 11, 2024

Understanding and Communicating Personal Style in Interior Design

We’re in the age of trends - you can’t scroll through Instagram or Pinterest without encountering the latest must-have sofa, the coolest new design aesthetic (hello, Japandi!), or the most stunning room inspiration. It can be easy for our personal style to get lost in the noise. At the same time, it's never been more possible - or important - to discover exactly what speaks to you.

We sat down with two professional interior design experts: Palazzo co-founder Venus Williams and in-house designer Adnan Anwar, to talk personal style. Here’s what we learned about defining, understanding, and communicating this key piece of interior design.

First things first: defining personal design style

Let’s start at the beginning: what is personal style in interior design? A lot goes into it, from the aesthetic tastes, preferences, and sensibilities you want your home to reflect, to the colors, textures, patterns, and overall vibe you're drawn to. Ultimately, your personal style is about surrounding yourself with items and design elements you connect with on a deeper level. What showcases your unique personality and brings you joy?

Ask the experts: how do you define personal design style in interior design?

"Design is more than just using words to say 'My style is mid-century modern.' I define design style as the mood you'd like to evoke, because interiors do evoke moods. Is it comfortable? Is it warm? Is it chic? What does that mood look and feel like?

I would say my own personal style is about discovery. I think when you walk into each new space, it should be an adventure."

- Venus Williams

Photo credit: Brenda Vidal's São Paulo living room, photographed by Fran Parente

"My personal style revolves around a curated but eclectic mix of art, objects, and textiles from around the world, from antiquity to the present day. I love the hunt and education that comes with finding these one-of-a-kind pieces.

In terms of furniture, I start with a comfortable and practical floor plan. I like a classic foundation punctuated with funky and modern accents."

- Adnan Anwar

Understanding and communicating your personal design style

Your personal style is already inside you - you just have to uncover it! Here are some ways to get started:

  • Reflect on spaces where you feel most at ease. What’s already in your home that you love? What elements have you seen that you wish you could bring into your own space? What likes and dislikes have withstood the test of time?

  • Collect images of interiors, colors, patterns, and textures that inspire you. Are there any themes in the pictures that speak to you, perhaps in the palette or furniture style? Turn them into a mood or Pinterest board to see how they coexist.

  • Take a design style quiz to better understand what you like. When taking the quiz, go with your gut and choose the answers that speak to you. If you get a result that surprises you, that's great! This process is all about exploration.

Once you have a good sense of what you like in a space, communicating it becomes easier. Understanding design words and styles can be helpful in getting across your likes and dislikes, but our experts recommend not relying on words alone. Instead, they recommend using images. So, bust out that mood board you made earlier!

Ask the experts: what are your top tips for communicating personal design style to interior designers?

"My top design tip is to really get down to the nitty gritty of what you’re looking for in a space. Deeply understand the nuances of what you like in design, using images.

That’s what we're doing here with Palazzo - really helping people communicate in a language that we all understand, which is pictures. We think in pictures, so design should also be communicated in that same way."

- Venus Williams

Photo credit: Bedroom design by Clara Jung of Banner Day Interiors, photographed by Christopher Stark

"Inspiration images with specific notes about what you like and dislike are uber helpful. It’s about showing, not telling, because a lot of design words mean different things to different people (and have different positive or negative connotations).

I also love to see individual items and pieces out of context that resonated with you. It often leads to a more original output, in my experience."

- Adnan Anwar

Practical tips for working with interior designers

Interior designers rely on their clients to communicate the details that capture their personal style. The more inspiration you can provide, the better your designer can reflect your personality in the finished space. At the same time, your designer will contribute their personal touch to elevate your space and make sure your ideas flow seamlessly together. The goal is to create a cohesive, livable interior that truly reflects the best version of your personal style.

Keep the following in mind as you communicate with your designer:

  • Share your inspiration images. Discuss the specifics around what you like about those photos and inspiration boards that you created with your designer.

  • Communicate your lifestyle needs. Explain how you use your living spaces. Whether you work from home, entertain frequently, or have children and pets, these details can guide the design to better suit your daily life.

  • Be open to suggestions. While it’s important to clearly communicate what you like, be receptive to creative ideas and alternatives that your designer may share. You might end up discovering new elements that you want to build into your design style.

Ask the experts: when you're working with a client, what is most helpful for you to know and understand about their personal design style?

"I think people speak better with pictures than words. Rather than asking a client to describe their design style, it's really about having them show me something that looks like a space they’d like to live in. Then, we can hone in closer to what they like about the space.

For example, the client could say they really like how open the space is, or how much light there is in the space."

- Venus Williams

Photo credit: Luis Laplace and Christophe Comoy's Menorcan kitchen, photographed by Daniel Schäfer

"I really want to understand how my clients live day-to-day and entertain. Where do they like to work? Do they love to host seated dinners? Are they big sports or movie watchers? That helps me get the most out of their space.

I also need to understand what makes them feel happy and at ease. Color plays a role in this, alongside figuring out if they prefer fewer pieces of furniture and lots of open space - or the opposite. It’s so helpful to know about pieces they’ve bought in the past and why. I suggest going on a shopping trip with your designer to show them what you gravitate towards.

My goal is to help my clients find communion with pieces of material culture and love the individual elements that bring their room to life. I really try to celebrate their personal story - their family history, hobbies, and travels."

- Adnan Anwar

Let your design style evolve with you over time

Personal style is not static; it changes over time. Embrace the journey of self-discovery and allow your style to grow and adapt with you. Get inspired by travel experiences, life milestones - and yes, even those trends.

Above all, remember that interior design is a creative process meant to be enjoyed. Explore, experiment, and let your imagination run wild. Whether your personal style is sleek and modern or cozy and eclectic, embrace it wholeheartedly. Ultimately, your space should celebrate your individuality and make you feel truly at home.

At Palazzo, we're dedicated to helping you unlock, visualize, and communicate your personal style, whether you're working with a professional interior designer or not. We can't wait to see what you design!