How Do You “Know Your Design Aesthetic?

I have been thinking a lot about the concept of knowing your aesthetic when it comes to interior design—partially because it is kind of my job, partially because I am moving into a new space and would like to design it for myself and partially because of Cleo Wade’s apartment.

Working in interior design you get to inspire people to develop their own aesthetic, sometimes from the ground up. But how does one know when they’ve achieved their style?

Oftentimes I try to tell clients that they need to do a little digging before I begin designing for them. I ask them to comb through magazines, Pinterest, blogs, Instagram, and bring me a collection of all of the things that catch their eye—regardless of it being a home, clothing, or photograph, all of these pieces tend to play into one’s own aesthetic. More than likely I can pinpoint exactly what suits them.

It’s like that unnerving moment that you find yourself talking to someone and they say something that hits directly to your core, almost as if they know you better than you know yourself.

You can’t know your style until you know yourself. It sounds platitudinous, yes? But clichés tend to snowball into clichés because they are true, and in reality isn’t this true for most things in life? How can you really do anything until you are sure of who you are? Do we ever, if ever know who we are? It’s like the chicken and egg situation, does the chicken inform the egg or vice-versa.

This seems like a slippery slope that I am stepping on all pertaining the subject of one’s personal aesthetic, but I think for once I am finally beginning to realize myself honestly. It’s like that moment when you sit down in the chair that you love so much and realize that it feels perfectly comfortable, if only just for you. It seems like comfort, even when pertaining to one’s aesthetic, is synonymous with honesty. Personally, that is something I feel like will always be changing. I can feel very honest in a lot of different moments and no matter how short-lived, it does not mean they aren’t true.

Working in aesthetics I sometimes feel frivolous for spending my time picking out marble tiles, or rug placements, but that all fades away the moment I see someone truly enjoy their home—not only enjoy but are excited about being home. It’s never associated with the beauty of the space, but intrinsically linked to the honesty they feel when being there. There is value in what we do.

What makes a space great, is when it feels like you. That is my goal personally but also in every project I take on. The next time you feel like your most honest self, assess what propels that notion? Is it the clothes you are wearing? The people you are with? The space you are in? Great style doesn’t come from constant change, it comes from learning to make the same point over and over through the use of different methods, ala Caroline Herrera or Danielle Arps.

Let me know what works for you? In the meantime, I’ll just be sitting here thinking of how I money I saved you from therapy this week to put towards that settee you’ve been eyeing.

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