Signature Style

Home Snapshot 1 There’s been a lot of talk over the last couple of years about defining your signature decorating style in a sound bite – I think it all started with “Shabby Chic.”  Designers and decorators started coming up with 2-word catch phrases for their style.  A few years back a couple of women started their own business where you sent them several hundred dollars, and they told you what your signature style was based your answers to a series of questions.  This was supposed to get you focused so that you acquire new things with purpose and stay focused on your vision.


I believe that if your house works well it really contributes to your well-being.  Signature style isn’t based on trends that may come and go.  It’s more like putting a name on your basic personal style type.  Identifying a person’s style type can help act as a filter when out shopping for the home.  It’s not like this is something that locks you into one “look,” but more of a guiding principle so that you don’t make so many mistakes.  If you decide what you want your style to be, everything you bring into your home either contributes to that or moves you away from that.  Having that guiding principle can help you make better decisions for your home.



I’m not going to ask you a bunch of questions about your idyllic vacation, what kind of tree you are, or what environmental sound most appeals to you, then tell you what your Signature Style is (we shall capitalize it from now on).  Instead, I’m going to let YOU decide what you want your home to be.  Let’s see if we can define your Signature Style for FREE.



Below are a list of words to consider.  Pull out all the words that sound like you or appeal to you (or add your own).  Consider these questions:  Does this describe what my style is now?  What comes naturally to me?  Does this describe what I like?  Does this describe the style that I want?  That I wish I had?  That I strive to be?


Vibrant Edgy Glamorous Eccentric Urban Playful Fresh Dramatic Serene

Sassy Dynamic Eclectic French Romantic Feminine Cheeky Regal Nostalgic

Whimsical Strong Enchanting Country Modern Seductive European Lavish

Comfortable Charming Contemporary Witty Offbeat City Atomic Rustic

Timeless Elegant Tranquil Sexy Mid-Century Organic Inviting Refined

Warm Balanced Fun Exotic Southern Asian Tropical Retro Vintage Calming

Oddball Shabby Antique Regency Scandinavian Chic Sophisticated Sleek

Mediterranean Arty Woodsy Loft Mission Hollywood Suburban  

Bright Funky ArtNouveau ArtDeco Gustavian International Bollywood

Ethnic NewYork Soft Laidback Formal Informal Easy Traditional Downtown

Kitschy Victorian Cottage Natural Mellow Uptown Charmed Noncomformist

Classic Neoclassical French Bohemian Beachy Restless Simple Frenetic

Metropolitan Polished AvantGarde Basic


Make your list, choosing from the above list (or add a few of your own I didn’t think of).  Think carefully, then starting pairing them down until you have 3 or 4 words.  Now start combining.  Is your Signature Decorating Style:   Rustic Modern?  Vintage Chic?  Warm Organic?  Tranquil Urban?  Playful Traditional?  Bohemian Funk?  Lunatic Fringe?



I’ve scattered some pics of my home throughout this post so that you can help me figure out my Signature Style.  I would say my words are:

Glamour, Nostalgic, Retro, Enchanting, Gustavian, Vintage, Kitschy, Elegant, Charmed

Can you think of any others?



Now let’s start trying combinations of those words to really describe my Signature Style.  Although all the words apply to different things about my home and my style, what two words really sum it up for me?

Here are a few I came up with:

Glamorous Nostalgia 

Charmed Vintage

Enchanted Rewind

Enchanted Nostalgia

Vintage Enchantment

Please tell me what YOU think fits best.  And I’m officially daring you to define your own Signature Style in the comment section below!  Make a statement – it’ll be good for you 🙂

Photo Credits:  The Decorologist (formerly StoneBrook Staging).



  1. Erin

    I LOVE this idea–so much fun, but arrgghh, I’m starting with 19 words! At least they’re similar for the most part (and I do love words so…) If I can bear to let some go I’ll give you the revised list.

  2. kristiebarnett

    Erin, try to get it down to 5 words that really do it for you – then play around with those

  3. Jen C.

    I cannot resist the lure of the enchanted gnome! This was so much fun, Kristie. I started with 24 words and was really surprised at how quickly I weeded them down to four. I think I am now ready to declare to the world that my signature style is: (drumroll, please) Simple Modern. Thanks, KB!

  4. renee

    I’m like Erin, I ended up with way too many words and I’m not sure how to hone them down. Is this supposed to be what I think my current style is, or what I wish it would be?

  5. Mary Alice

    Oooooh.. Difficult
    I am terrible at this but I think I definitely say “Playful traditional” (with a tad of both Tennessean and Tuscan flair..)

  6. kristiebarnett

    Renee, this refers to both your current style and what direction you’d like that style to go – you might even choose one of the words to best describe the style you currently project, then another to express what you’d LIKE to project – together, they are your Signature Style

  7. kristiebarnett

    Jen C. – I think you nailed it with “Simple Modern!” Good job!

  8. leif i go.. urban cozy with a sultry 25 watt vibe! make sence? 🙂 How’s that for words that I didn’t think I would say today! 🙂

  9. Natalie

    “Modern Tuscan” Or maybe “Updated Tuscan” ????
    – Earth tones, architectural art pieces, antique bronze, wrought iron, wood, pottery with a few contemporary elements for contrast.

  10. kristiebarnett

    Leif, Urban Cozy – love it! and the sultry 24 watt vibe – i’ve got to hear more about that!

  11. Debbie Day

    Okay- I think I am: Balanced Suburban Traditional (BLAH!) which is the direct result of my current circumstances (i.e., form MUST follow function right now). What do I want to be???? Polished Eclectic. Maybe someday…

  12. Melanie

    Definitely Eclectic Nostalgic for me. Allows me to blend the old heirlooms and antiques with my artsy side.

  13. kristiebarnett

    Natalie – what about Transitional Tuscan? I failed to put “transitional” in the list, but it’s kind of a melding of traditional and modern. And Melanie, I’d love to see pics of your Eclectic Nostalgic!

  14. Lora

    For you…Charmed Vintage is perfection.

    I’m between Fresh Eclectic (although reading the previous comments I think “transitional” describes me a little more than eclectic)

    and Balanced Chic

    I will admit, however, that Balanced Oddball appealed to me. And most likely describes my personality if not my decorating style!

  15. Allison Lynch

    Hey Kristie – Very fun!!! I came up with Timeless Elegance and Charming Sophisticated. Tell me what you think. Obviously since my house is a hodge podge of hand-me-downs it’s hard to find my style but I think this sums up what I like.

  16. Amy

    This was hard for me, but I narrowed it down to 11 words that all seem to say the same thing. Finally I’ve come up with Rustic French Country or maybe Traditionally Simple. Those two styles don’t even sound like they could be the same person! Fresh Organic seems like it should fit, but it just doesn’t feel right when talking about style! 🙂

  17. robbie

    Randy suggested “Cozy Viking.” I gave him a stern look for not taking this more seriously. I was thinking more along the lines of “Modern Thrift” — can I put “Modern” and “Cottage” together? hmmmm.

  18. kristiebarnett

    Robbie – I like Modern Thrift. Or perhaps Metro Playful. I would LOVE to see what Cozy Viking looks like!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  19. Jennifer Driver

    I narrowed mine down to “Warm Inviting.” I would like to see some “Timeless Elegance” or “Enchanting Romance” in my future … maybe when I don’t have little kids who like to dump out my drawers.

  20. Erin

    I’ve got lots of work to do! My favorite by far is “whimsical nostalgic”, which I most certainly do NOT have right now, unless a lot of toys on the floor count as whimsy. Maybe closer to attainable right now (assuming time to get things in their place) would be “tranquil inviting”.

  21. Jamie

    I’ve been thinking about this for a couple of days now! I think I’ve got it narrowed down to Vintage Kitsch. I want to think that this plays to my love of flea market finds and Trav’s love of…well…kitsch.

  22. Lorie

    I know I’m way late completing this assignment, but I think I’m something along the lines of comfortable modern or warm modern? or maybe warm mission? I’m just not really sure, but most everything in our house is on the warmish color tone. Does that make sense?

  23. Annie, bossy color

    What an excellent exercise! I’m so glad you pointed me to this post – thank you! From your words (and a few of my own), these are the phrases I came up with:

    Witty charm
    Charming balance
    Witty traditional
    Lighthearted traditional

    One step closer, my friend – one step closer!

  24. Dianne Tant

    Kristi: you are “Enchanted Vintage”
    me “Whimsical Cottage

  25. Euforilla

    I read this post more than a year ago, then got mad trying to find it again, luckily I did, this is great!!!
    And I’ve also linked to it from my blog in my latest post, about style ideed!
    You gave me great help with this, thank you!


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