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Decorating 101: Using Pinterest to Find Your Style

When my friend Erin suggested that a few of us surprise another friend, Carrie, with a makeover of her master bedroom for her birthday, I jumped all over that opportunity and totally geeked out about the chance to participate in a quick-and-dirty room refresh challenge!
We only had $200 and one week while Carrie was out of town to pull off this makeover!

Step one was figuring out Carrie’s style. We started talking about bedroom design – basically dominating all conversations we had with Carrie with talk of decorating – and thankfully, it motivated her to start a pinterest board of rooms she LOVED. The girls and I started stalking her pinterest board, and we saw lots of rooms like this:


Joel Snayd

Ashley Helvey

See a common theme? Light and bright. White walls. Pops of color. Natural wood tones. Cool, happy, fresh. We figured we had her style nailed and couldn’t wait to get started.

THEN, late into the planning, she threw us a major curveball. She said, “I’ve found the bedroom that I’d love to have inspire my bedroom!” And it looked like this:
That’s the master bedroom at Liz Marie Blog. Beautiful, right? But it was SO SO different from everything else she loved. WARM colors. Darker. More textural. Total redirection.

We were all: “ummmmm.”

(*Long, confused pauses.*)

But we tried to gather all these ideas into one space and find what they had in common for her room. (I’ll show you how we translated it in the next post!)
Using Pinterest to Find Your Style

If you’re ready to redecorate, pinterest is the PERFECT tool to analyze your own tastes and zero in on what would be a wise, long-term decorating decision versus something you end up not liking in a year. (I can’t be the only person on earth who does that mind-changing thing… right? *crickets.*)

Create a pinterest board for the room you’re making over, and start pinning. But be RUTHLESS. Only pin what you LOVE. Rooms where you’d want to live. (I have lots of room-specific pinterest boards if you need somewhere to start looking!)

Then, study your board and find the commonalities. How do these photos “feel” to you? Dark and moody? Light and airy? Happy and cheerful? Sultry and sexy? What colors and textures do they have in common? (This post at Fieldstone Hill is a great help for this process.)

This is what I did when I was planning my laundry room makeover. I really looked hard at what made me get all giggly-happy inside. (Here’s the post on that process.) And it helped me SO much when it came time to make real decisions. Because if you love decorating, sometimes the hardest part of making a decision is that you’re simultaneously NOT choosing a hundred other things.

If you choose bright whites with happy pops of color…

Madeline Weinrib

…you have to let go of the idea of a calming neutral space.

If you choose light and airy…

…you have to say buh-bye to the idea of a moody, sexy situation.
Rue Magazine

If you drool over home photos for kicks, sometimes it can be a little tough to mourn the kinds of rooms you’re NOT choosing. It’ll help focus your efforts so much when you know what you’ve pinned and what you LOVE LOVE LOVE to the deepest depths of your soul.

For example, I could just stare for days at pretty french country rooms like this:
french country


That is gorgeous. Totally droolworthy. The more I look at photos like this (and I do often – I have some blogger friends I read who do French Country beautifully, like here, here and here), the more I start to be influenced by that for my home.

But my pinterest boards are all about glam, with a nod to tradition and chunky moldings all over the place. There’s not much rustic, not much burlap, not much all-neutral. When I find myself getting drawn by this style for my home, I “recenter” by checking out what I’ve pinned. It’s okay to admire other styles and love them! Just give yourself permission to admire them without decorating that way.

I have to do this, or else I’ll end up buying a Country-French sofa the day I saw a pretty photo in that style, then a midcentury coffee table when I read a magazine about midcentury style, then painting my walls black on some other decorating whim, and it’ll look like decorating confusion just puked all over my house.
By the way? An eclectic look with all different styles can be GORGEOUS. Just know that that’s the look you want, know what I’m sayin’?

I’ll show you how we translated Carrie’s pins in the next post! (UPDATE: see it here!) How do you find inspiration and narrow down what you dig when it comes to decorating?

P.S.: Check out past Decorating 101 posts right here!
Using Pinterest to Find Your Style

Let's connect


  1. Julia @cuckoo4design says:

    I can’t wait to see how and what you did for your friend Carrie!
    So exciting!

  2. I love this post! I just had to do this for our floor plan. It’s so difficult to narrow down (and mesh styles with the husband) when I am all over the place with pinterest! I love light and airy but dark and moody is pretty awesome too. What a great decorating 101!

  3. Ok, You really need to post every day! I can’t stand the suspense of waiting to see what you’ve done and I’m getting older you know, it’s not good for my heart!! LOL I now go thru my mail every day all ho-hum like until I see I have one from you and then I’m all like Woooohooooo!!! everyone needs to really be quiet now and leave the office I have work to do! 😀 <—– and yes, that's exactly the way I look, with a big 'ol smile on my face. So thank you for that, very much, but could you please post a little more often? Thank you!

  4. I couldn’t agree with you more!! I’m always on pinterest thinking, “oh that’s pretty” or “hmm maybe that could work” when in reality my pins are all over the place in terms of design. I like so many styles it makes it so hard to narrow it down!!

  5. I don’t worry too much about what my style is because if I like mid-century and eclectic and vintage then that IS my style and somehow it works. I do make sure to edit often however to makes sure it continues to all work and people who know me know that I am all over the place and thats what makes me fabulous! I don’t fuss too much about it because then it feels like I am worried about what others think and that is for sure, not my style!

    Thanks for a great post about narrowing it down though. SOmetimes I need a reminder!

  6. This is so great! I am totally in inspiration curation mode and my ideas are all over the place. It really is fun to over analyze a picture and find out exactly what it is I truly love about what I’m looking at. Great tips here. Now, if you and some friends want to surprise me with a room overhaul I’d be totally cool with that, and totally surprised!!

  7. I have recently started following your blog and I am really glad I did. I can’t wait to see what you did with Carrie’s room. We are preparing to move into a new house and I can’t wait until I can start decorating. The waiting is driving me mad!

  8. I’m sort of thrilled to see what you did with her bedroom. Such different styles.

    Pinterest is practically the only way I can figure out how to “decorate.” When we were doing our kitchen, my husband really wanted cherry wood cabinets. I like them well enough but my kitchen board is 100 percent white. And that’s what I love the most. We went with white and I love that room with all my heart.

    I also totally know what you mean about appreciating other styles but knowing it’s not your style. I’m a traditional-country-classic type decorator. I love the beachy look. I love the glam look. But, they aren’t me and I know I wouldn’t be happy with them in my house. But that doesn’t mean I can’t ogle over them elsewhere. (Like here.)

  9. This is great! I remember Erin (his and hers) hit on the head for me when she said there are rooms she loves to LOOK AT and rooms she loves to LIVE IN. That is where I was (ok, still) get all confused. 🙂

  10. Great post!! It’s so easy to get influenced all over the board when it comes to those of us who are a bit interior-obsessed. And I think people are always surprised when I drool over stuff that’s very ‘not me’ – but the reality is that done right, there are very few styles that I DON’T like. I love your example BUY ALL THE THINGS!! Hahaha! If I jumped at every single whim in my own home, god knows the mashup. Sometimes I like to think of designers I really love and think ‘Would so-and-so buy this for their room?’ If that’s theirs is the look I’m after and the answer is NO then I’ll skip it. I still have pretty eclectic tastes but it’s making all those delicious styles blend seamlessly that’s the challenge – still working on it myself 😉 xxx

  11. Yes! I’ve often thought my mood board would look like the last one you showed with a big “I don’t know what I want!” on it, lol. This post helps me. I like everything but when I think about what I’m saying no to if I choose “this” it brings it all into focus for me.

  12. Love all your inspiration and I am so all over the place with what I like when it comes to decorating! Mid-century modern….farmhouse….art deco….see what I mean? Can’t WAIT to see what you come up with!

    Happy day!

  13. Great post! You put into words so nicely what I’m often feeling about decorating – and the major cause of most of my decorating paralysis – mourning the rooms/styles you’re not getting by choosing only one.

    I’ll think of this post often when I need to recentre. Good advice!

  14. Oh, great… Now I have to start all over. Blug.

    Just kidding. I’m all over the place and I know it. But I know what I’m not, so that’s better than nuthin’ I guess… {love French Country photos, but tain’t no way that’s happenin’ over here, yo}

    Bok. Bok.

  15. Great post Kelly! I am a lover of all design styles but have my own style and often have to remember that. Sometimes it’s hard when you read blogs and look at photos all day, drooling over all those different styles! Your post is such a reminder that its important to really know what you like! Darlene at Fieldstone Hill Design is so good at that too! Love that post of hers that you included!!!!


  16. An AWESOME post, Kelly! Tons of great tid bits and encouragement. Well done!
    xo Heidi

  17. Gretchen says:

    AHHH! The SUSPENSE!!!!! I can’t take it!

    Okay, I can – I have too. Looking foward to the next post!

  18. Oh my gosh what a fun idea to makeover a friend’s bedroom. Looking forward to the reveal.

  19. Oh dear. Anyone who looks at my pinterest will think I’m a total multiple personality decorator. I am going to go clean that up now so that you can take a look and then surprise me with a makeover in my living room, okay? Can’t wait to see what you do! (I mean for real, in your friend’s bedroom, not for pretend in my living room)

  20. I am all over the (pinterest) board! I definitely need to try doing this. Can’t wait to see how your friend’s room turned out!!

  21. Totally great strategy Kelly… I have helped a few people with room mood boards lately and starting a group pinterest board where they pin and I pin to it has been the best way to really figure out what they want – lots of people know it when they see it but don’t know how to translate that into their space… there is a little gap there I guess:)

  22. Too funny, I just blogged about this yesterday. I struggle with finding my style as I’m always all over the place liking too many random things. But, I tend to reference back to my Pinterest activity to find a common theme.

  23. Great post! I’m inspired to start a board just for my living room.

  24. I am the same way. sometimes i am all over the place when i am reading blogs and magazines and looking on the darn internets at beautiful homes. but i know what fits in my home and what doesnt…and i need to stick to that when i am shopping. but sometimes its hard!!

  25. I just love all your tips. I am totally guilty of loving too many styles. I do lean more modern lately, but then I see a some French County and think… oh great, let me re-do my entire house LOL.

    I really love all the bright and crisp pictures she chose. I love white with bold color.

  26. I can’t wait to see how you made over a room with $200!

  27. I love that you actually did a moodboard representing that plaguey multi-style mishmash that happens when you buy disparate items after having lost track of your style!! With this post you’ve put into words what we all KNOW about but often have never put into words.

  28. $200 to make over a whole room? Yes, please! The idea of using pinterest to help “find your style” is genius! In my mind, I just want it all!

  29. so exciting! what a decision to make too! I can’t wait to see what you do! 🙂

  30. I’m one of those people who love the look of so many styles but only have a few in my home. I’m like you that the french vintage look is so pretty and it always catches my eye, but no where in my house do I have that. I love this kind of post because I know for me, I can tend to be all over the place in the way I decorate but pinterest has helped me really understand what I really gravitate towards the most so I’ve been trying to be more consistent, even if it still have some eclectic things in it. I have a question for you that maybe in another one of your decorating 101 posts you can answer or just answer here – do you think an entire house should be decorated along the same “look”, or can rooms have different styles and be okay? They should probably all sort of “go” together though, maybe – I don’t know if I could take having a circus dining room and a modern metallic living room right next to it. 😉

  31. LOL I Loved this line ” and it’ll look like decorating confusion just puked all over my house.” I never thought to make a board with the different styles I like to see how terrible it would work together! great advice 🙂

  32. You are such a great friend to do a makeover for Carrie’s birthday! I’d LOVE it if my friends did that for me! I love pinning decorating ideas but have a hard time translating them into what my style is–this post helps a lot! I’m stopping by from Tatertots & Jello (#26 Easy & Flavorful Italian Chicken #37 Favorite Crock Pot Recipes) Have a great weekend!

  33. So curious to see how you integrated this curveball of her “inspiration room” into the mix…off to part 2! (By the way, you guys are the best friends ‘EVA.)

  34. I really enjoyed this post and look forward to the “rest of the story”. But how do I find it? I am having trouble navigating the posts.

  35. Elizabeth M. says:

    I’ve stumbled upon your blog 4 times via Pinterest tonight. Spotting an idea here and a DIY project over there. And then I lurk over to this. Are you spying on me? Reading my mind because this post is ME! My home. I can’t believe it! I love so many styles I can’t choose. My home is painted in colors I really don’t care for because I bought a stupid olive green sofa because I thought, hey, it’s a dark color and because I have kids the dirt won’t show…much. Thank you for this post and the many others that make me feel like you understand (stalk) me and help clear the cob webs of design.

    • LOL!! I did the exact opposite, bought a sofa in a color I absolutely adore and now am wondering how to make my room fit the sofa….cause my OTHER color choices don’t match well at all.

  36. Thank you so much for sharing your thoughts on this! There were a few points that totally hit home for me! My degree is in interior design, and I’ve always loved all things decor, DIY, etc. It’s sometimes so difficult to decide on my own home, which is funny because I usually can peg another person’s style easily! Thanks again!

  37. Kelly, I just have to tell you that after stumbling upon your blog last fall (and enjoying every post I’ve read since), I have had a sentence you wrote go through my head SO many times… except that I couldn’t remember who said it or where I had read it. I find myself back here today reading this post again, and THERE IT IS — the sentence that altered the way I think! In case you are wondering, it was this one: “Because if you love decorating, sometimes the hardest part of making a decision is that you’re simultaneously NOT choosing a hundred other things.” Life changing, I tell you! Well, maybe not *life* changing, but perspective changing for sure! Just wanted to let you know. 🙂 Thanks!!

  38. Excellent post! I’ve heard of so many people who have redecorated their house with the help of Pinterest inspiration!

  39. Great !! Pinterest is also a significant source for search anything. Thank you so much for sharing these guidelines.


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