Thursday, January 3, 2008

Find Your Personal Style

I hope that most everyone has heard of Martha Beck by now. Lifestyle coach extrodinaire, Beck is the author of the incredible book "Finding Your Own North Star" and is a frequent contributor on Oprah who calls Beck "one of the smartest women I know." That is pretty high praise, and I must agree. The book "North Star" has spent many months on my nightstand and is completely bent out of shape and dog-eared.

Buuuuut this isn't a life design is home design I want to focus on and Martha Beck comes through with some awesome advice for finding your personal style for your home.

The following style quiz was originally published in Winter 2006 O at Home. I hope I am not being naughty by posting this.

1) Look Within

A) How would you describe your favorite outfit, the clothes and accessories that make you look and feel your best? Study that outfit in your minds eye, then write down three adjectives that describe it (for example, pretty, tailored, or funky).

B) Consider an activity you love such as reading, horseback riding, or formenting revolution-whatever gets you most involved. Describe the energy of that activity using three more adjectives (like exciting or peaceful-if these are the same words you would use to describe your favorite person, that's a good thing).

C) Picture a favorite place-city or country, real or imaginary. What are three adjectives that define it?

2) Look It Over

Next, imagine you're watching a movie that's just beginning. The screen shows a person dressed in the kind of clothing you described, engaged in the kind of activity you prefer, and placed in a setting like the one you love most. Now put the movie on pause and without waiting for the story to unfold, describe the character's personality. Just take a wild guess. Is this person romantic, exciting, quirky, or genteel? Choose three adjectives that describe this character.

3) Look Around

That was the ten-minute part. Now you have a collection of words and images that you can take out into the word. Go shopping or visit friends, and imagine that you are the set designer for the character's movie and must arrange a set to be "her" (your) home. What does it look like? Can you "spot" her style in a store or the homes you see, or in the magazines you read? Do you see a wall painted a perfect color? A painting that is just right, hanging in an antiques store? Within a week, you'll notice your style items everywhere. Jot down light fixtures, chairs, towels, or any other detail, and when flipping through magazines, tear out and save pictures of rooms that appeal to you.

4) Bring Home Your
Personal Style

Once you begin to identify your style, be brave and start incorporating elements of that style into your home. If you're about committing to large pieces, start with the small things such as "you" paint accents or throw pillows. And always follow the "one in, one out" rule. For each new item you bring into your home, remove an object that feels less representative of you. Soon your personal style will feel right at home, at home.


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