Love at First Sight

Yes/No Design: Discover Your Decorating Style With Taste-Revealing Exercises and ExamplesFriends often ask me what my decorating style is.  My response is something along the lines of  - "I don't know. I buy what I love." 

I am not a believer in defining my decorating style, but I know what I like.  The only rule I generally follow is to decorate in keeping with the architecture of the space - colonial, loft, bungalow, beach house, '50s ranch, etc.  If forced, I would call my style comfortable classic.  I hate the term "traditional" because it generally invokes memories of your grandmother's house (think needlepoint pillows and floral chintz drapes), and I really loathe the term "transitional" which is something between traditional and modern which only makes me think of blob-like couches with recliners built-in.  BHG has an interesting article on decorating styles which is worth checking out, even though I don't necessarily enjoy using that terminology.

When you are thinking about big furniture purchases (whatever that means for you), don't settle for something that just works for the space if you don't really, really like it.  You are most likely going to have to live with it for a while so you want to really enjoy using it.  If you keep looking, you'll find something that you do really like, but you may have to be patient.  Of course, don't paralyze the process by always thinking that something better may come along - if you like the piece (and the price) then go for it.  My own litmus test is  if I am still thinking about the piece a few days later then I probably need to get it, and hopefully it's still available!

These same rules are true for hand-me-downs, freebies, or anything else that comes into your home.  If you really don't like it, don't keep it.  This includes things from beloved relatives which may be hard to get rid of emotionally, but unless you have particularly evil relatives, no one would expect or want you to keep something that you don't like for their sake.   

Love it.  Buy it.