What’s Your Design Style? This Two-Step Trick Will Help You Figure it OutWords by Gabrielle Savoie
Photo courtesy of Mark D. Sikes
What Do Amber Lewis, Brigette Romanek, and Leanne Ford have in common?
Their designs all have contemporary influences—so why are their styles so different? If you’ve spent any time on fashion Tiktok, you’ve probably come across stylist Allison Bornstein’s viral “three-word method.” Essentially, it encourages you to find the three words that best describe your current personal style and the one you aspire to have. (Then, apply those three words to every fashion choice you make moving forward: how you get dressed in the morning, what you buy, and how you edit your closet when it’s overflowing.)
This method is just as effective when it comes to decorating—while Amber, Brigette, and Leanne all have one word in common, their other two diverge their individual styles in totally different directions. This trick can help dictate your design decisions, keep your space cohesive, and save you from falling for a trend that you’ll tire of in six months.
So how do you find your three words? Look at what you already have around your house, especially the pieces you cherish. Are there common threads? What words would you use to describe these items? For your third word, turn to your Pinterest board or inspiration folder instead, and look for similarities in what’s currently catching your eye—which term would best encapsulate the home you aspire to have? As a starting point, here are some words we use to describe our Experts:
These are by no means exhaustive: maybe your words include: theatrical, relaxed, maximalist, romantic, playful, or effortless—so feel free to come up with your own descriptives. If you need a little help finding your three words, we narrowed down the styles of some of our most in-demand Experts:
Design by Jenna Lyons
Photo by Simon Watson
Modern, Colorful, Eclectic
Jenna Lyons has the most-saved bathroom on Pinterest, so you know her interiors are just as influential as her fashion. Hen Soho loft is no different. It’s modern: just look at the Paul McCobb coffee table, the wall shelving system, or the Serge Mouille sconce for proof. It’s colorful: She re-upholstered her vintage Milo Baughman sectional in pink velvet! And it’s eclectic: just because she’s modern doesn’t mean there’s no room for distressed vintage chairs, Beni Ourain rugs, leopard foot stools, or a large collection of art and books.
Photo courtesy of Martyn Lawrence Bullard
Martyn Lawrence Bullard
Glamorous, Colorful, Eclectic
Martyn Lawrence Bullard’s style is also colorful and eclectic, but it feels completely different from Jenna’s. Why? Instead of modern, his third word is glamorous, so every piece is seen through a lens that’s less sleek and minimal and more over-the-top luxe. Think shiny brass, lucite, fur, and ornate paisley patterns, all wrapped into a big, beautiful Hollywood regency bow.
Design by Brigette Romanek
Photo by Douglas Friedman
Contemporary, Glamorous, Californian
Brigitte Romanek has a glamorous side as well, but her two other words are contemporary and Californian, so her interiors feel lighter and airier. In her house, an ornate chandelier and black fur chair would be paired with white walls and a midcentury Hans Wegner rope chaise longue for a California edge and contemporary art for that sleek factor.
Photo courtesy of Amber Interiors
Contemporary, Californian, Coastal
Even though Brigette and Amber Lewis have two words in common, they have opposing aesthetics. How does that happen? Amber views design through a more casual coastal lens instead of a glamorous one, so the overall look feels more laid-back and soft: consider lots of woven textures, cozy textiles, and faded colors.
Design by Mark D. Sikes
Photo by Amy Neunsinger
Mark D. Sikes
Coastal, Traditional, Colorful
The only word linking Amber to Mark Sikes’ classic style is coastal. Both designers create interiors that evoke beach homes, whether surf shacks or historic cottages, but Mark takes the look to the opposite side of the spectrum to a more traditional aesthetic and doesn’t shy away from a healthy dose of color (especially if it’s blue and white).
Design by Leanne Ford
Photo by Tessa Neustadt
Contemporary, Rustic, Cottage
Meanwhile, Leanne Ford also shares a word with Amber: contemporary. However, her style is a complete departure from Mark’s style because they don’t share any common words. Instead, her other terms are rustic—which explains the heavy reclaimed woods and beat-up leather—and cottage which feels more intimate, laid-back, and casual.
Photo courtesy of Heidi Caillier
Classic, Cottage, Historic
Heidi Caillier and Leanne’s styles are quite different at first sight, but they both share the word cottage. What makes Heidi’s homes moodier and more heavily layered are her two other words. Classic: her spaces are filled with timeless lines, time-tested materials, and traditional prints like florals and checks—and historic: most of her projects take place in older homes and she puts a lot of emphasis on staying true to the bones, whether it’s a craftsman or a Victorian.
Your turn: which Expert best encapsulates your style—do their three words resonate?