Almost all of us are spending more time in our homes these days, and, even as stay-at-home orders are relaxed, lingering concerns about our safety keep many of us from venturing out as often as we would like. It almost goes without saying then that your home decor should make you feel comfortable and truly at home. Part of that sense of comfort comes from who you are. In other words, how your decor reflects your personality.
So how do you decide what style or styles best match you? Do the unornamented sleek lines of mid-century modern tempt you? How about the clean, easy-going minimalism of Scandinavian? Or perhaps you’re more of a cool brash industrialist? If your answer to these questions is “yes,” then the authenticity movement may be just what you need.
Whether we like it or not, the choices we make in designing our living spaces speak to who we are as people and to the way we want people who visit our homes to see us. The furniture we choose, the color palettes we employ, and even the dominant shape themes we use say something about how we approach the world.
Authenticity is thus about making the choices that please you and that fit the personality you want to portray. In other words, the authentic movement doesn’t necessarily try to match any single recognized movement, such as minimalism, traditional, or farmhouse modern. Of course, you may find that the elements that match your personality also fit neatly within a traditional design scheme, but at its most extreme authentic design may be a mash-up of design elements. Others choose to go with a dominant theme while adding authentic elements to make their design feel unique. Take, for example, the artsy temperament who chooses bold colors like purple and orange but falls in love with the simple lines, the polished metal, and the classic black finish of a comfort lounge sofa.
The trick is to spend time with colors and shapes, to explore furnishings for their materials, textures, weights, and colors so that you know what truly speaks to you. Only then can you build a design scheme that feels authentic.
A great deal of psychological exploration has gone into an understanding of how the choices we make speak to our personality characteristics, so one immediate way to plan your design scheme is to understand how “you” matches with design elements.
Colors, for example, can speak to our characteristics. People who love blue tend to be reliable and sensitive. Their preference for tidiness and their desire for stability suggest that elements of unornamented minimalism or the weighty furnishings of traditional might match well with their authentic style. On the other hand, those who enjoy purple are often artistic, unique, and may be read as arrogant. People of this temperament might enjoy the more unusual lines of a zig-zag chair or the quirkiness of an eclectic style. If you want to know what your color choices say about you, check out Psychology Today’s article on color and personality.
Shapes equally can tell us something about our psychological make-up. Based on Susan Dellinger’s book on psycho-geometrics, and yes that is apparently a field, people who are drawn to squares don’t like surprises, are organizers, and seek a sense of security, traits that connect well to more traditional styles like classicism. Round lovers are more forthright and outgoing and match well with the eclectic sense of style. Look out lovers of curves and waves!
Squiggly lines suggest the non-traditionalist who is creative, motivated, independent, and sexy. These traits of the young professional often match well with urban styles like industrialism and modernism. (Match your own shapes and characteristics by reviewing this chart.)
Even overall design schemes say something about who we are. Drawn to Scandinavian design? Chances are you’re friendly, stylish, and interested in culture. Tend toward the modern? You are likely driven, organized, and professional. The traditionalist is poised and elegant. The minimalist is introverted and efficient. But remember that authenticity is about finding all the parts of yourself so that one style doesn’t have to define you. If you feel like your personality traits bridge styles, then try blending the styles to find what works for you.
Authenticity is about knowing and embracing your personality traits and the ways they connect to the designs you love. Don’t feel locked in by any one trend, by styles that seem chic but that make you feel like a visitor in your own home. Take a look inside . . . both yourself and your home. And don’t be afraid to make home decorating choices that truly say “this is me.”