Developing Your Personal Interior Style

Happy holidays! Did you enjoy your Thanksgiving? I had a quiet one with family, and am making a conscious effort to savor the joys of this season. The time between Thanksgiving and Christmas goes by quickly and I really want to slow down and appreciate all that God has given me. But I've been busier than ever with my full-time job and working on my photography and styling skills. It's definitely been challenging getting my consulting business (read about it here) off the ground, but I'm happy to be finally getting an opportunity to flex my creative muscles after years of classes, papers, and dissertation. I'm currently taking a class with Holly Becker of Décor 8, Blogging Your Way. And I'm learning a lot about how to develop my personal style. I'vebeen inspired by beautiful images on blogs and websites to create my own inspiring spaces. And this past weekend, I put together a scene I call Festive Creative (see images below).

 I love this type of styling so much, and can do this work all day. But it certainly isn't easy, and I thought it would be helpful (to you and me) to talk a little bit about the process that I went through to create the scene and what I'm learning about developing my personal interior style from the perspective of psychology.

One of the first things I did before I put together this scene is think about what type of space inspires me. And after some brainstorming, I decided to create a scene that reflected my love of inspirational, beautiful things. Particularly as a new creative, I need to be around things that spark my creativity, and I wanted to capture that with elements that conveyed a pretty, fun, glamorous, classic, and global aesthic. It's a lot I know, but I like a challenge, hah. Unfortunately, I wasn't able capture all of these in the final cut.

Initially, I was going for an Inspired Creative look, but when I could not find all the props I wanted to use, I changed my original idea and decided to include a festive element instead. One of the more challenging things I learned about styling is that the there may be a huge discrepancy between the ideas in your head and resources to achieve those ideas such as finances, time, and access. But I imagine the more I style, the easier it will be for me to manage these types of issues. This time I took pieces from my home and put them together to create a look that matched the closest to what I was going for. I love using magazine cut outs because it is a stylish, inexpensive way to capture what you want without having to spend extra money.

With regard to the styling elements, I used the peach/pink wall color to evoke a feeling of prettiness; the red roses, leopard fur coat, and vintage pics of Diana Ross convey a sense of glamour; and the bentwood chair is vintage with classic flair. I also used the Asian-inspired vase to infuse a little global vibe into the space; the magazines and magazine cut-outs suggest an inspired lifestyle feel; and the tree and glitter shoes are certainty festive. So what do you think, did I capture "Festive Creative"? I'd say so.

Now let's talk about the psychology behind all this styling. Based upon my knowledge of creativity research, I'd like to share three tips I found helpful with my styling projects.


Number one— intrinsic motivation, or just doing something for the sheer joy of it, fosters creativity. So it's a good idea to seek inspiration when you are not expected to, or when you are not under pressure to do so. This way you can let your creative juices flow outside of the contraints of stress and anxiety. Sometimes I've been guilty of searching for inspiration in the moment when I'm under pressure to do so, like when I need to complete a blog post. During these moments, I tend to feel negative and like I'm not  giving my best. So I'm making more of an effort to search for inspiration when I don't necessarily need to.

Tip number two— It's not a bad thing to be extrinsically motivated either. That's when you're motivated by an external goal.  While extrinsic motivation can be negative it isn't all bad if it's viewed as supportive and useful such as the use of rewards or constructive criticism that motivate you to keep at it rather than undermine you. A greatexternal motivator for me is the class I'm taking. Although I love to style, time constraints have always made it difficult for me to do more of it. But the class has certainly pushed me to do more, and is giving me the momentum I would not have had otherwise. So if you're looking to improve your creative skills, look for opportunities to be extrinsically motivated so that you can be held accountable and make less excuses to do what you love.


And tip number 3— work out the creativity that's in you. Research on creativity shows that creative people use higher abstract thinking, greater divergent thinking, and are highly motivated. And while it sounds good, it doesn't mean it's easy to do. Just because you are creative, doesn't mean ideas and conceptsjust fall in your lap. It's a challenging and strenuous process to think conceptually, explore a bunch of solutions to come up with an answer, and to remain motivated in the face of stressors. That's why it's been challenging for me to go from just admiring and being inspired by beautiful images to actually creating them. But if you feel passionate about what you do, you can bear it, and you will be a better creative for it.

  So this is what I am learning and I hope this helps you too. What are some tips for creativity you have found useful?