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How many times have you been asked, what is your personal style?

For some a sense of style is innate. The vast majority of us have not taken the time or effort to define what our personal style is—whether that be in regards to clothing or the interior of their home. Indeed, most people are clueless unless they have real interest on the subject of style.

Which is why we turned to our resident interior design guru, Sherrie Swass, of Swass Interiors, to help us decipher discovering one’s personal sense of style.

Designing interiors comes as natural to Swass as walking, but as a young woman she wasn’t consciously aware that she gifted with a natural ability to visualize and design a room that seamlessly flowed together. That realization came as she began to know who she was as a person. “We are all blessed with natural abilities and just to work a little harder on the ones that were not blessed with. If style is your quest, work on it.”

Style has nothing to do with how much money one has: it can’t buy class. “I have visited homes where homeowners have extreme wealth yet absolutely no skill in designing a room,” said Swass. “Most of these people were purchasing expensive furnishings but had no idea of how to pull it together. I see this quite often, and the saddest thing is they do not feel the difference. When a room imitates a personality, you and your guests feel it and are engaged in the home; you don’t feel as if you are living in a hotel. I refer to it as a heartbeat in a room.”

After being in the interior design business for several years, Swass came to the realization that people need to explore who they are on the inside before they attempt to design the interior of their homes. “I designed a 2-hour consultation that forces people to address their likes and dislikes. I ask the right questions and get appropriate answers to help clients discover their personal style. Most people know what they like and don’t like but again have not taken effort or time to really understand what their real style is.”

According to Swass, this “design therapy” is necessary in order to get any project off the ground if clients are unable to articulate their style, ultimately saving both time and money. No more running back and forth with returns, which is one of the reasons the internet is so popular. It’s no coincidence that many companies offer free returns.

If you choose to take the project on by yourself, here are some tips from Sherrie to help guide you in the right direction:

01. What Colors Do You Love?

You might consider using the same colors you wear. Check out your closet. Do you see the same colors come up again and again? Is there a spouse of child in the home that has an opinion on color?

02. Stick With the Basics

What kind of fabrics do you love? Are you attracted to the heavily textured fabrics or shiny smooth fabrics? Design style is an extension of what you love and who lives in the home.

03. Do Your Research

If you are serious about finding your personalized style you must put effort into your project to hire someone that will do it for you. So how do you do this? Pick up a few magazine or peruse the website This is a perfect solution to defining your style and cutting through agonizing experiences in the whole design process. Many clients show me what they love and I can tell them if it will work in their home. Sometimes it works and sometimes it doesn’t. What it does do is make the client a strong participant in the project, which is what most people want. Few people want surprise at the end of the day. Remember your home needs to be a reflection of who you are and your journey through life. I love to travel so our home reflects artwork and photos of all our travels. It brings back wonderful memories on a daily basis. Don’t bury those memories in boxes in the attic.

Once you determine your signature style (we all have one(, decide what stays and what goes in the room or rooms.

04. Look at Existing Upholstered Furniture

Do you love it or do you wish you could replace it? Upholstered furniture and proper placement is key to making your home the best if can look. If it is off the whole room is off. It needs to be the right size, shape and color. There is no other furnishing that will make or break the room. Most likely these will be the largest and most dominant furnishings in the room.

Take a peek at our sofa selections: Modern, Transitional, Traditional

05. Gather Items You Love and Cherish

Make sure these are part of your future plan. They need to find a perfect home. Most people shove their collectibles on a shelf somewhere. This concept is all based on how these items make you feel. Try to be very conscious of your decision-making. It will affect your mood everyday. A bad day could turn out to be  a good day by just reflecting on a wonderful memory.

06. Look For Common Threads

This could be design, shapes, colors and textures in the things are you intuitively attracted to. Maybe you find yourself attracted to a blend of many styles. Again we all have a signature style. It simply takes a lot of fact finding to discover who you re. If this is just too overwhelming, treat yourself to my 2-hour consultation. I guarantee results.

Original article written for: Lavish Living Magazine
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