Interior Decorating Information

Whats Your Design Sign?

If you've been consistently bewildered about how to make your style happen in your home, relax, take a deep breath and forgive yourself. We don't come into this world with knowledge, we learn as we go!

At first glance, interior design appears to be about the latest trends, beautiful fabrics, furniture or rugs, and the hottest label.

First of all, let me tell you what I'm not going to talk about! I'm not going to talk here about current trends, what's in, what's out. I'm not going to show you homes of movie stars or business tycoons. I'm not going to show you rooms and rooms of expensive furniture that you might be able to afford-- or not.

So, you won't find the answer on any TV show, in any magazine or website.

The answer is in you!

After serving over one thousand clients in 25 years, the secret of creating a dream home is-- dreaming! So, the first step is knowing what you want.

Experts and authors who talk about goal setting, from Napoleon Hill to Anthony Robbins to Lynne Grabhorn, talk about a FEELING. Yes, written goals are essential, but where does the writing come from? A book? Someone else's goals? No! They come from YOU! Have you ever really explored what is important to YOU?

From trash to treasure

Here's an exercise for you to do. It will help you pick your home accessories, but it will also help you find your individual style, your "Design Sign".

Go up into your attic, rummage through your closets, look under your beds and pull out the things you packed away. Pull them out and lay them on the floor. What items make you feel good, bring you joy that you'd forgotten?

Look through any decorating magazines you have lying around (or any other magazines, for that matter). What images stir your heart, make you smile, and move you? Start clipping pictures and pasting-just a few if you don't have a lot of time.

As you go about your day, look for things that make you feel good. I'm not talking about expensive things or status items; I'm talking about the simple, subtle images and memories that bring you peace, joy and comfort. Only you know what they are. These are the things that bring Beauty into your life, not the latest trip to the shopping mall.

Echoes of Childhood Past

Think about the places you lived growing up. If you have pleasant memories, recall them. What gives you a sense of safety, excitement, wonder?

Growing up, I loved to ride horses on our family farm. I liked everything about it: the green fields, the sound of wind in the trees, and yes, even the smell of manure!

So it's not surprising I live in a bungalow in the middle of horse country. No, it's not a "McMansion" in a trendy zip code. I moved there because of the feeling of freedom I had when I was a kid.

Believe it or not, your conscious intention to find these things will influence your attention to noticing them! If this sounds strange, believe me when I tell you I've seen stranger things. I have my clients do just these things, and I've seen them come alive when they rediscover parts of themselves they had forgotten.

For me, this is the whole point of interior design: creating a home that is warm, expressive, and personal. The first step on the path of self-discovery-- before buying anything, or reading anything-- is to spend a little time with yourself and those you love.

Good luck and happy decorating!

Mary Cynthia Knowles is an interior designer with over 2,500 clients in her portfolio. She has been sharing her home decorating knowledge and teaching the joy of self-expression for over 25 years.

For an expanded version of this article, complete with a quiz and illustrations, please visit

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