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Finding Interior Design Style After Your 20's

Updated: Sep 30, 2021

I was mostly broke during my 20's and fumbled around a lot with my finances. "It was the best of times, it was the worst of times..." or something like that. I also love to make art and my friends would all get together regularly to make art. So naturally, my at home design aesthetic consisted of hand-me-down furniture from my parents and weird home made art. Personally, I loved it.

Now that I am in my early thirties and we own a home with a baby and the whole 9 yards, the way I want my home to reflect is vastly changing. And full disclosure here; I am have very little design eye when it comes to interior design. It's not something that comes naturally to my brain, and having an actual thousand options for blue paint color makes me want to disassociate immediately. Not to mention that Im not really popping in the cheddar at the moment so I am still in a DIY state of mind.

I will say also, I have an incredible design-genius friend for many years that can take any elementary idea I may have and elevate that ish to a Haute Couture look. I had her come over to my house recently to help me decide on a paint color direction for the main floor because whoever owned the property before thought discolored tapioca (truly no other way to describe it) was cute. Anyways, she came in and said my house told her it wants to be light, so we went light and I must say that it looks so much better.

So if you're feeling somewhat like me. You've always had hand-me-down or dorm room chic and your graduation plaque is collecting dust in the basement like mine, its time for a MAKEOVER! Below I have outlined some tips to get you started in the right direction and on your journey to your semi-adult home design tastes

Start Small

Your brain might be telling you the first thing on the list to-do is to look at the whole space, feel overwhelmed, and either turn off and think about something else or panic.

Take a deep breathe my friend. A great eye for design can take time to cultivate if it doesn't come naturally to you, and to be clear and upfront, your own personal design eye is what I mean. Not your neighbors tastes, or your Moms, or even your oddly competitive bestie from high school.

I first made a list of all the big price tag ticket items that needed done. Example; remodeling the kitchen, etc. Then I made another list of smaller priced changes I wanted to make and could mostly handle doing myself with one or ten trips to the hardware store.

Do Some Light Research

This part is fun for me because I gain a lot of inspiration by seeing how others are doing things a bit differently. Get on Pinterest and make a board for the project you're working on. Get that search bar fired up with different key words that you want to know more about. I tell people about Pinterest all the time, its one of my favorite apps to use for just about every aspect of my life. It is an incredibly user friendly and accesible site for finding ideas that peak your interest.

Doing a little of your own research is really important for not only helping guide you on what you like, but more importantly, what you don't like. I may love a back splash tile I see in a photo but I don't necessarily want my kitchen to scream farm chic. I also really want to be mindful about the future of my home. How many years do we plan to be here? Is this our starter home that has potential to become a rental when we up size for a growing family/life? Do we have small children and/or pets that may alter the way a room should function as well as how its decorated. And trust me, you will make wrong (for you and your home) choices along the way, I certainly have. I won't call them failures because I don't believe you can fail if you continue to try.

Make A Plan

Whats your budget for the project? Will you need to hire out help for complex jobs? If you are like me, people might tell you that you have a champagne taste on a beer budget. And while those people are highly accurate and quite possibly ill mannered, its something you'll need to consider at every step because things can get carried away fast!

*Here is where I will enter my soap box suggestion*

Over the years, we have been conditioned that new is best. Some will spend top dollar to have the newest, highest price items because they attach a perceived status with it. Im here to tell you that we don't have to do that anymore. There are some absolutely incredible second hand furniture stores here in Louisville (and probably in your town too). Some antique, some re-furbable, some that look brand spanking new. Buying used home furnishings is one easy way to help your local businesses, the environment, and best of all, your wallet!

A prime example; I found a gorgeous, orange leather chair at a consignment furniture store that easily was bought first hand for over $1000. It has a small stain on it and was marked at $125. Still in range of what I was willing to spend for what I perceived to be a great piece to add to my bigger design vision. So when I watch my rambunctuous toddler climb up and down it 700x a day with his water cup, I don't have to freak out about him ruining it. Seriously consider it, buy local, buy used, do your part when you can!


Get Out There And Shop

Pick a weekend, or plan around a mark down event and go out to see whats out there. Take pictures of items you love but aren't ready to purchase and bring a tape measure so you can make sure things will fit where you want them too. And again, start small. When I have a little extra money leftover from bills and I have the urge, I browse my local shops to see if I cant live without something.

If its a painting project or appliance upgrade, use the same approach. Here in Louisville there is a Habitat For Humanity Rehab store where you can find just about anything at a discounted price. Its absolutely worth checking out. Gather all the supplies you'll need PLUS an unearthly amount of patience and persistence and get going! Whether you find obstacles the entire time or its a breeze and you find yourself shocked at how easy that was, you'll gain more confidence in yourself and your ability to change your environment for the better.

Don't Be Afraid To Edit

So you thought that baby bird yellow would make a great color for the kitchen and now you're traumatized. It's ok, the design police are not going to come knocking to scold you for making a choice that you aren't fully happy with. Remember, your home is your sanctuary. It should reflect the dynamics of love of the people that live there. Find what makes you happy and brings you joy, build upon that. Find one idea that sparks more around that original thought. You like blue, start there. You found this exquisite magenta couch at a second hand store and now you are invisioning all the possibilites of how the room can come together just with one piece of furniture.

Be bold, take risks, build slow. There is no time constraints on developing a style that reflects the ever evolving YOU. Thats what I realized was so actually so much fun about this process. Even though I will always be overwhelmed by too many choices and will probably always ask my friends opinion on things, I am the master designer. I can change and grow and evolve just like my style and when you can take a daunting project and find fun in it, thats when the magic really kicks in. Good luck friends!

Leave me a comment below telling me your favorite home designs right now and follow me on Instagram @movetolou for more content.

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