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Colour in Fashion

Your Home should Reflect Who you Are; Helpful or Not?

By 04/05/2011January 23rd, 201773 Comments
Several months ago I found myself at a downtown department store listening to a fashion designer talk about her style, how she got to where she was, etc. Someone asked what she would recommend as her top 5 ‘must haves’ for spring.  In response, she launched into a lovely and I guess meant to be ‘empowering’ little speech on how we should buy clothes that makes us happy, what we look good in and it doesn’t matter whether it’s the latest trend, etc, etc.
Top 5 ‘Must have’ Accessories for Spring 2011

Since I have recently hired a fabulous stylist to help me pull my wardrobe together, I heard that answer and started thinking how that wouldn’t help me one bit to have someone tell me to ‘buy what I love and what looks good on me’.  There are many, many items that fall into that category which is why I wanted a professional to help me take my ‘look’ to the next level as well as help me buy the clothes that work for me, my lifestyle and my business.

Since then, I notice when interior designers in interviews have similar philosophies like “Buy what you love and it’ll all work out” I get a little annoyed.  And don’t get me wrong, I know there are a great many inspirational tips and ideas we all read in blogs and magazines and our homes get happier and prettier. Fundamentally though, here’s my question. When you see an interview with yet another designer saying ‘Buy what you love. . . your home should reflect who you are. . . ‘ does this help you? Inspire you to run out and do just that or. . . what?’

Please post your answer below, I’d love to hear your opinion.

If you would like your home to fill you with happiness every time you walk in, contact me.

Related posts:

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Is Colour the Best Neutral? Yay or Nay
Pattern or Solid? Yay or Nay

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  • Tracy says:

    Hmmm – SO many things to consider on this question!
    As a Decorator, I totally encourage people to surround themselves with what they love, so that their rooms have some soul, and reflects who they are, where they've been, etc. BUT sometimes people love too many things, so nothing is even noticed! (Coco Chanel said 'take one accessory off before you leave the house', right?) But of course you have to consider whether things are going to 'work' together – and they don't always.
    Always love what you write!

  • pretty pink tulips says:

    This is definitely thought provoking! I think that you should buy things that you are drawn to and love….I think the key is in the editing and in the mix. I think that is where a professional can come in and help you take the things that are "you" and elevate a room so that it is the best reflection of you.

    xo Elizabeth

  • Cherie says:

    Great question! I see that phrase, all the time: "Buy what you love, surround yourself with what you love," etc. What it does is remind me that it matters what I love, apart from what others are buying or are being urged to buy via advertisements, endorsements, etc. It matters how I define "home" and what I feel most comfortable in. That said, it is very helpful to work with someone who listens to me and exposes me to design elements that fit my style. And, like a good friend, will let me know when something just doesn't work. I do not have a trained eye for color, for example, nor do I understand how to combine all the elements I love. I just discovered I can wear stripes after years of avoiding them. But I wouldn't have tried if it hadn't been called to my attention to give it a go. I so appreciate designers with expertise and a keen sense of their clients. Intelligence, client-focused, tact, and a contagious enthusiasm for what they do and know — that's what I appreciate and see as money well spent. What we love sometimes can mean what we feel most familiar with. Going out on a limb and still embracing what we love are a good thing.

  • Jenn says:

    I completely agree that you should wear/fill your home with only things you love. BUT, sometimes when a professional says this, it feels like sort of a cop-out answer. I look to *experts* to get a feel for what will make my home or wardrobe look up to date and fresh. So to answer with only *what you love* is not enough. This is great to reinforce, but should be followed by a few concrete ideas.

  • Laurie says:

    I think it is the right philosophy, the problem is knowing if you really love something. And then even if you love something you need to have an eye to pull it all together, that is where a professional comes in. In some cases, just having a decorator come in and "do" your space reflects the decorator and not the owners who actually live there. It is a tough balance to get it right.

  • Donna Frasca says:

    Interesting … well as far as color goes, what I chose in my house I would never choose for a client – for several reasons. But, I chose to surround myself in colors that I like and what makes me feel comfortable in my home.

    You should buy what you love and your home should reflect who you are otherwise wouldn't all our homes look the same? It's called personality!

    Great post 🙂

  • Ginger@cottageonrosewood says:

    Well, for me, it doesn't help one bit. I buy what I love and sometimes, there are just too many different looks that don't always come together.

  • A Delightful Design says:

    Great post, as always.

    I really think it depends on the person. Some clients really don't know what they love. So many say, "I like Pottery Barn", but when we look at the catalog and I ask them to show me something they LOVE they can't actually find one thing. It's my job to educate them that it's the FEEL of the room they like, and then follow through as a guide to pulling together that same feeling in their home.

  • Kristie at The says:

    great question – i agree with some of the others about editing. i think a lot of people are perfectly capable of choosing what they love, but most have no idea how to edit or to effectively incorporate those loved objects into their home in a way that looks cohesive, peaceful, and stylish. that's where a good decorator comes in!

  • Soma Pradhan says:

    Of course, you should buy what you love, your home is the truest narrative of who you are, who you you were, where you've been and where you see yourself going. The best "designed" rooms aren't one that carry every trend listed in the last few months, rather the collections and moments that were appropriate and inspirational within the context of the person that lives in it.

    This is why EVERYONE should hire a designer – to devise the space plan or color scheme that make the hammer pants work with the turban, and the over the top wooden bangles.

    And also why hiring the right designer is the biggest decision. The designer edits the pieces you have, interprets your design sense, and gives you the home you've had inside you, but couldn't quite access.

  • tina - Half Of What I Say says:

    I struggle with this issue, as I tend to buy only pieces I love, but then I'm left with gaps. Certain elements that would bring a room together, sometimes just don't call out to me. My interior designers have definitely helped with this process, but I still have a ways to go.


    Great and intersting question. I am a big fan of buy the things you love. All our years of travelling Europe . . . I would buy what stood out to me, even if I didn't have a specific spot for it. And I was always happy.

    BUT. . . not everyone know how to use the stuff they love well. So some design sense is important. Some people come by it naturally ~ I grew up in a family that was good with design and just picked it up and passed it on to my daughters.

    If you don't – you need help using the things you love well. Thus the popularity of design blogs, design books, and designers.



  • Fantastic and thought provoking! Here's the thing. I think the "buy what you love and it will work" philosophy is GREAT for someone who knows what they love and how to work it! But, buying what you love can have you ending up with a house full of stuff that looks like a nightmare together. I love flowy, loose fitting blouses, but I don't dare buy them — they make me look pregnant and I've been there done that! Same applies to design — I don't buy every style I love because I like ecclectic, but not chaotic. The caveat to all of this? This advice only matters IF YOU CARE ABOUT DESIGN! Outside of the world we blog in and we design fantatics live in, most people want a nice home, but they don't really care if it comes together or works — as long as it makes them happy to be in it at the end of the day. That's who this famous advice is good for. If you follow it and don't know how to pull it together, it can get ugly fast!

  • funcolors says:

    If someone asks you for design/color help they are expecting an answer.

    Telling someone to buy what they love and it will always work out isn't helpful in the least.

    Because if they knew what "buy what you love and is right for you" meant they wouldn't be asking such a designer related question in the first place.

    The advice that goes "it's your home buy what you love" doesn't give any tangible direction or guidance. And what's the point – might as well not answer at all.

    People want to make good design decisions and buy what's right for them. Love something lots or not, if it's ultimately not the right choice it might be liked to a degree but it's not going to be loved.

  • Anonymous says:

    I'm so glad you're bringing this up. I can't stand it when we ask the question and the answer is "Buy what you love." I'm a decor-challenged person. There are lots of things I love. The problem is that they don't all work together or the scale is wrong or the colors are just a bit off and I can't figure out why or…you get the idea. Does the person who gives the advice really think we would buy what we hate without that advice? I suppose some people might be swayed by trends, but I suspect most of the problem is that people like me need people with a good eye toward these things to edit what we "love" and make it work together. Violet

  • Grace @ Sense and Simplicity says:

    Nope – doesn't help a bit, especially because I love a bazillion different styles and colours and am influenced by who I'm shopping with, the weather, my mood etc. There would be no cohesion whatsoever if I were to just buy whatever I loved and drag it home and expect it to work. I always read that and think – right- I bet my room would look like a dog's breakfast if I did that.

  • Kare says:

    I am like Mrs. Blanding; I have design ADD!! It is hard for me to complete a design idea,before I am on to the next trend. Having a plan or a decorator to help me stay focused would help.


  • Cindy says:

    Cherie said "What we love sometimes can mean what we feel most familiar with." Perfectly said! I have to agree! It's important to me to help push my clients a wee bit out of their comfort zones by exposing them to new ideas, colors and designs they might never have considered before. But to do that I need to understand where they are now (in their comfort zone) and interpret that up to a new level. Great post, Maria!

  • Pink Overalls @DIY Home Staging says:

    I have always thought that the advice of "simply surround yourself with what you love and it will all work together," is a dangerous simplification. I hear this advice given to beginning gardeners, and it drives me nutso! Maybe I'm a garden snob. Then I must be a fashion snob and a decor snob as well, because I think it's a cop-out. When websites and magazines give that advice, it's just to make friends and build readership, I'm convinced.

    Even if someone buys a painting they adore, chances of hanging it too high or with the wrong frame are a strong possibility. If I buy a scarf, I'm going to tie it the wrong way unless I do some research. After you've seen how others do things, you can put your own spin on things.

    And then there's the danger discussed above by many, of ending up with a collection of artifacts that have no business living together.

    We all can't be experts. Unless you just don't care a smidgen about pleasing others or developing a deeper appreciation of things in general, why not go to the pros for advice, whether it's gardening, fashion, decor, or even books to read and places to vacation.

  • Kitty says:

    Just a blanket "buy what you love" doesn't help. Following that to the letter, I would end up with an unattractive mish mash of Fail.

    The most helpful hint for me was my friend's sister, a designer, who kindly pointed out that if I want furniture that goes to the ground, I need leggy tables so the room doesn't feel cluttered.

    I would love 5 simple rules like that so I could buy what I love AND make it work.

    Of course, it would be lovely if we all could engage talented designers such as yourself and my friend's sister. One day my designer will come! LOL

  • A-L, says:

    Like Tina, I'm drawn toward certain things, but not toward others that might help a room feel finished or complete. So, the advice to buy what you love isn't all that helpful. It's also important to be clued in to what things to be on the lookout for so what can develop other areas of interest (or at least other types of things to pay attention to when shopping).

  • pimp my bricks says:

    I think a house should reflect its owner, but that translation of personality etc into furnishings can be very difficult, and can often need outside help.

  • Pat says:

    I feel ambivalent towards the "get what you love" sort of advice.

    On one hand, for far too long women have been pressured to do things or get things because other people liked them, or because they "went", or because they had kids, or it was sensible and frugal, or whatever. It can be a freeing experience to really get down to "what do *I* love?"

    On the other hand, if you don't know what to do with the stuff, you can end up with a mess. I remember a show where they took what someone already had, got rid of what wasn't LOVED, cleaned the rest up, moved it around and maybe added some things to tie everything together, and it was like a whole new house.

    That's the sort of thing I find fascinating, because anyone can go to Pottery Barn, but the things that are truly loved by someone says a lot about who they really are.

    I guess I wish people talked more about finding out what you love instead of just tossing off the phrase and leaving people to figure out what exactly they are supposed to do. 🙂

  • pve design says:

    Conviction and trusting one's eye is important. It is more than just loving it. One has to see or appreciate the value it brings. I have met many people with wonderful homes and have objects to share from places. I love homes that look well traveled and happy to come home to.

  • Jeannine 520 says:

    Good question! No, it doesn't help me at all. When listening to an interior designer or reading an interview the last thing I'm looking for is a pep talk (of course I'm only going to buy pieces I love). What I'm looking for is ideas; furniture configurations and color combinations I haven't thought of, possibilities on and variations of a certain look/style and how I might achieve them. I also like see how classic pieces can be used in new and different ways and how to adapt them into different room styles. Another area I'm always looking for tips is in how to style a room and how select and arrange decorative objects.

  • Marcie says:

    This is my take on your question…I want to listen to blogs and designers and everyone else that says "buy what you love." The problem comes when it is time to put it all together. Just because I love tons of pattern doesn't mean they will all work together. So, I would rather hear how to pull it all together than surround myself with all the things I love.

  • Donna says:

    It's funny Maria..I do buy what I love and that's not hard. It gave me my 'style' I think. I just had to be brave enough to go with it. But what I needed was a more modern or stylish background to tie those things together. That's something you need an interior designer for. And when you are aiming for something more..a cohesive look that is up to date..then that advice doesn't help very much.

    When it comes to clothes, I think that would be terrible advice. The things I love are 20 years out of style. I consult my 20 yr. old because she pays attention to 'style' and can help me update my look. Doing what I love as far as clothes OK I guess…but not FABULOUS! Funny, when I see photos from a year ago, I hardly recognize myself. Plain hair, plain clothes, but the real me showing in my smile. That's good..but I LOVE that now my photos show good clothes, sassy hair, stylish glasses..and the same smile. A better combination I think.

    We need a designer to give 'our look' the update it needs to make it relevant. (Speaking as a total novice of course. :o)


  • Ideezine says:


    These surface answers are given because "Styles" in personal appearance and design in your homes require digging deeper into who you as an individual. We have more variety in clothing and design than ever before in history. Which requires individual attention not an overall definition such as: ‘Buy what I love and what looks good on me’ and "Buy what you love and it'll all work out" in your home.

    There's more to choose from and you need a "personal stylist" and "interior designer" assist you to navigate your way through the selection process. This is how professionals work by eliminating pressure and streamlining the selection process the "magic".

    When you've worked with people, in any profession, you begin to "read them" get to know what they look good in. You also learn how to "read a room" and can pull treasures out of collections and create with it and for others, homes/rooms that really "speak" a clients language.

    So my answer is don't get discouraged just know that there are professional clothing stylists and interior designers out there just waiting to, do what they love, and work with you to achieve your goal of new spring fashions and spring design update to your homes.


  • Jennifer J in Hawaii says:

    Maria, I am back to reading your blog daily and I really love it. I am dreaming of coming to a workshop sometime (since neither Vancouver or Atlanta are really close to Hawaii!) I recently painted my bedroom Natural Linen just like my entire downstairs (recommended by you and I couldn't be happier), because I hated the yellowy-green-tan color (I called it "pus" ha ha) of the walls from the previous owner, and I had 7 gallons of the BM Natural Linen left over from downstairs. It might not be different from the rest of the house, but it sure looks a lot fresher!

    To answer this current post, I think that a good designer will help you pick a FEW TREASURED things that you love and use them as inspiration to create the rest of the room. The secret is to pare it down to just a few things you truly love which she/he will help you do as well as know where to look to get things to go with them!

    I will have to send you some pictures of my much more finished house. I get so many compliments on my white kitchen 🙂 Thanks again.

  • jana says:

    I suffer from loving too much! And although there are looks that I adore, that doesn't necessarily mean I want to live with them 24/7 Edit, edit, edit…a designer can get you to that place where it all makes sense and feels right. That editorial, critical eye is essential to achieving a harmonious "you".

  • Shaz says:

    Obviously one can see the wisdom in "buy what you love". No point living with things you absolutely loath.

    But what if you can't find something you "love"? Sometimes you have to settle for "like".

  • Lisa says:

    Such a great question. Personally I think that advice only works if a person truly knows themselves (so many struggle with this). And many people like so many different things, but have no idea how to make it work together.

    If the natural flair is there, this advice would suffice, but if that were the case, that advice would be unneccessary.

    I don't believe everyone needs a designer. Many have a natural ability to make many different styles and eclectic choices work together in a perfectly coherent manner. It basically comes down to whether a person has a good instinct and eye for decorating – or not.

    Being able to envision something is vital. I have friends who have said to me they have no imagination, or can't picture something. I can imagine the final result. When I'm considering buying something, I can "see" how it will look in my home, as is, or after I've redone it. It's a huge asset.

  • Lisa says:

    Love the comment Shaz made. It can be very easy to fall into a cycle of settling for like, rather than holding out for loves. Then when the right piece comes along everything else looks very ordinary even not-so-nice anymore. I've learned to go without rather than settle. It's cheaper in the long run, and worth the wait to get what you love, unless it's something that can't wait and is neccessary.

    I also like Ideezines comment. I figure interior designers take time to get to understand the person they are helping, and really do manage to get to the crux of what a person loves, and then define it in a coherent way. In an interview for the benefit of the public, there is no one piece of advice that really fits everyone except to go with what you love, then do your research. Access as many images as you can to really narrow down the elements you love, and what you love about them. This helps to find a common thread, among what otherwise could be a wide range of options.

    I love lots of different styles, but the key for me is to keep in mind the overall space, and whether that piece or colour will work and whether I need to introduce another element to make it work. I leave behind lots of things I love, because they are simply just not going to work in. But I rarely bring home something I like. I think that's a fair compromise, and it seems to work.

  • MrsDoodlepunk says:

    Not helpful.

    The people who say or write these things don't realize that they are gifted with the ability to just know or feel what is right.

  • Maureen @ Modecor says:

    Excellent question! If a client is hiring a designer/decorator or a stylist, chances are, that person wants//needs the professional help they offer. As a decorator, the first questions I ask are what style, colours they are seeking….then what is staying, what can be replaced. They might not be MY personal choices. If the client is open, I will lead to her to the outcome i believe she is seeking, but if I'm finding the client passionate about her choices, I do not sway her…. I guide the direction of the space so that the outcome will still reflect HER personality. In the end, I am not living in the space, She is.
    I used 'she' as my clients are mostly women.

  • michael says:

    I say: hire a decorator who gets you, and what you love, and go from there.

    I have a good friend/decorator, who gets me. If she told me to buy a purple bull's head with a daffodil in it's mouth, I would buy it, because I totally trust her. She has a 25 year track record of NEVER being wrong.
    A while ago, she told me to buy only what I love, and I gotta tell you, I would never have loved that (metaphorical) bulls head until I saw it in my living room, but, it gives me pause when I'm out without her and am attracted to shiny and new (I'm a sucker for the trends)…Do I LOVE it? Usually, I say no.
    So as a starter question, I find it very useful. How many fabulous purple bull's heads have I passed up?

  • Hello! says:

    I have to agree, also being a design consultant I hear this a lot. To me, this can be quite misleading. I recently had a client who followed this theory with her home and she truly loves EVERY accessory that she buys, however, there is no place to put them AND they are wrong for her look that she also loves and wants to continue to create! I have forbidden her from buying anymore accessories! LOL, it's best to buy not only what you love but also what will really work for the space and what you want to achieve in that space, in my opinion.

  • Red says:

    If I bought what I loved and put it in my house, my house would look like a thrift store. My living room is a perfect example of this. I love my couch.. my table.. my entertainment center, curtains and the paint color, but NOT together. I wish I had a designer in here to tell me what to go with and how to pull it all together!!

  • De tout, de rien says:

    Hi Maria,

    I don't find that comment helpful. Yes, buy what you love, but we need professionals to tell us HOW to mix the things we love. What if you have orange pants, a red and green plaid top, a large yellow bead necklace and silver shoes and you love each of these items? You wouldn't wear them all at once. You need to find a balance to counteract the boldness of some elements. Now I'm using extreme examples, but some people need help with that in their interior, otherwise they would display everything they own.

  • Marlis says:

    Oh my, what an ambiguous statement, buy what you love. I love too many things and if they were all in the same room at the same time, I'd run for cover! I think it would be more important to say find a look you love and then buy what you love that fits the look. And have an interior designer help you with it! It's what they do for a living and what I do not. So no, the statement doesn't help a bit.

  • LiveLikeYou says:

    I got so excited to see this topic Maria!!! This is exactly why I'm launching my LiveLikeYou site in two weeks. The whole point of that statement is design your home to suit your personality and to live like you. Instead of buying in to a retailer or designers idea of who you are. Now how the heck do you do that and have it look good, and how do you know what's really you?? That's exactly what my site will solve!! Giving you guides how to live more creatively and as the unique human being you are. But of course…with design guidance, yet you never have to leave your home to get your home fully custom designed without paying a designer. CAN'T WAIT!!! I want to help people!

  • Christina Rodriguez | The Diva's Home says:

    What if you are a mess? I s that really what you want your home to look like?
    I would choose the top 10 things that I really love that I already have and put them together to see if they have something in common about them. Such as color, ethnic items, shape, decoration. If not, edit. If they do it will be easier to find a style that speaks to you from those items. And it will be easier to add them into your decor.

  • Anonymous says:

    AGREE. Not helpful.

  • eddieross says:

    I think it is important to stay true to who you are and what you like. Designers can learn about what makes you you and create a space that reflects your taste.
    Happy Wednesday.

  • Liz says:

    Love the question, Maria — when I was new to blogging (b4 I knew the importance of pictures), I stated in my 'Less is More' blog that you absolutely CAN go wrong buying just what you love. (

    I just assisted a client with getting items for her guest bdrm; we found a fab duvet that is boldly coloured (a 'bohemian' feel), and drapery panels that – while the colours coordinate – the look of them leans more elegant.

    She later bought some burnt orange linens for the bed that she fell in love with. They look great with the duvet, but don't work with the drapery panels, insofar as that important 'bridge' to link the two different looks.

    Of course we have to buy what we love, but we can't forget about taking all elements of the space into consideration and using the fundamentals of design such as repeating elements (eg. colours, shapes) and also keeping in mind the 'feel' of the space.

    All that to say – I'm with you, Maria! : ) Liz

  • Julie says:

    So glad you brought this up. I get more than a little annoyed whenever I hear the "choose what you love, it'll all work out" remark. It only makes people feel bad about themselves when they find it difficult to pull together. When instead, they shouldn't feel any worse than not being able to cut their own hair or fill their own teeth. People would feel better knowing it takes years of experience to easily pull a look together, and that's why people hire experts, or take the time to become experts. No one should be left feeling that they're just not creative enough if they can't figure out how to pull ti off.

  • That one girl says:

    Okay, I have a question that I can't really find a good answer to and you like, KNOW EVERYTHING! What about slanted walls in the master room and color? I feel like if I do anything boldish, it will make the room look weird. The previous owners painted every wall and ceiling PEACH and the master room is the only room that needs to be re-painted but the ceiling is lower on one end, high on the other leaving me this slanty focal wall. Ahhhh!

  • Ivy Lane says:

    I think we should surround ourselves with things (and people) that we love… In many homes that I go in, i think that it "works" when people surround themselves with artwork by a favorite artist, or treasures from I think those things help to reflect whom a person is IN their space…. ( Maria, please pop over..I finally got the awnings done in black…you were one of the designers to help me decide! 🙂

  • Anonymous says:

    I think when designers make that comment they are not talking about an entire room or home. I think it can be a bit freeing to be told by a professional that if you love it we can make it work and that following trends is not necessary or even desirable if the trend does not fit your personality or lifestyle. It is probably over used but also often misunderstood. I am a designer and I do not want any one of my clients to be told "it looks like Diane was here" I dont have a signature style…my style is my clients style. (however, I do have a few things I always try to use i.e. contrast welting, pops of black etc.)

  • Eliza says:

    This is pretty sound advice for buying artwork, but not so great bedclothes. I do buy a lot of things that I love, but also some things that I only love in the context of the room. My duvet cover, for example, is plain white with a couple bold brown stripes at the hem. I needed something that wouldn't add to the chaos of pattern in my bedpillows and carpet. In the store, I was attracted to the patterned covers, but I wouldn't like them in the room. Sometimes loving something is only about seeing it in the right context.

  • Katy says:

    buying "whatever you love" is great if you are born with good taste or are only attracted to one particular style.

    For those of us who need help in that, we could end up with a packed house full of junk that looks terrible together.

  • Donna says:

    Maria, I re-read this article..and it struck me that that really partly depends on WHO you are and if you know who you really are and what you really love.

    Either way, a designer will help you make the most of what you have, I think. But I have to say that I've been in homes that look like they came out of a magazine..and looked just like the neighbors' homes. If that's what they want, I think that's fine.

    But I have been in homes where you could tell that they were just lost. The decor said absolutely was just flat. I always feel like these ladies are afraid to be 'real'.

    I've always been nervous about decorating with what I love..until we moved out in the country. Now..I'm in heaven! But as you know..I needed to hone in on what the proper backdrop should color! I'm starting to really feel happy because my homes says ME loud and clear.

    The answer, in my mind, is yes..if you know what you love..and know yourself and are happy with yourself. :o)

  • Mandy says:

    For me, no, it's not helpful. I love so many different things that can't be pulled together (for example, red & white damask, Central American woven blankets and artwork, The Accolade painting) and when I'm decorating (in my house…I'm not a professional decorator) I have to remember that some things I love are things my husband does NOT and vica versa. I've found that picking my most prominent style and decorating with things I love that work within that realm works best for me. I have to exercise restraint and admire the other things from afar. If a decorator told me to just "go with what I love and things will work out" I'd probably shop for a new consultant!

  • Anonymous says:

    I agree with Donna. If you know yourself and your style and you know you are going to love the result then sure, go ahead but to someone who really doesn't have a clue then, no that advice is not very helpful. Take me for example, I love a lot of different things but when I put them together I sometimes do not like the end product and then it takes forever to figure out why it's 'off'.

  • Anonymous says:

    Oh man, if I had only used a designer in the first place, I certainly would have had more money in my wallet. I have bought countless items for my home that I simply loved and had to have. However, it always seemed that the scale was not right, color was off and the list goes on. I returned some of the items I purchased, but many of the them I tried to make work and was never happy with, and some sat on the floor in the spare bedroom collecting dust. I was so fed up with my house not looking like I envisioned it that I called a designer who helped me pick out items for my house that I loved and she knew would work in my spaces. I tried the "buy what you love" and it certainly did not work for me.


  • Lazy Gardens says:

    "Buy what you love and it'll all work out"
    ROFLMAO … Way to wimp out! It will work out, but will it work out in a satisfactory manner?

    If someone "loves" Gucci stilettos and works on a pig farm, it's not going to work out satisfactorily.

    If someone loves white velvet and fine china, yet has hyperactive triplets and a golden lab … ditto.

    If you reverse it and say "don't buy what you don't love" or at least "don't buy what isn't suitable for your current needs" you get a little closer to working well.

    I always get a "mission statement" from a client that can serve as a filter for the things they "love". It keeps them focused. If they decide they "love" orchids and azaleas after seeing some garden blog, I can wave the "survives at 110+" part of the statement. If they decide to "love" 2500 sq ft of Bermuda lawn, I can wave the "ecologically sound" phrase at them.

  • Anonymous says:

    I think your home has to be a reflection of who you are but you need to have a vision. I love a whole lot of styles but you need to pick a direction to go with to make your home feel cohesive.

  • Brenda says:

    I like the "surround yourself with what you love" advice. My home is a mish-mush of all kinds of things that my family and I truly love and it works "for us". I don't want a house that looks like it belongs in a magazine but I want it to speak of our various personalities. Because it does reflect us, people always comment how lovely and "very you" our home is. I think many people want to live in a co-ordinated magazine style home so that it can be judged by others – does it make them any happier?

  • Suemi says:

    I agree… buy what you love THEN have a designer/stylist show you what do to with it!

  • Kristen @ That 70's House says:

    Unfortunately what I love will not fit well in my house. My house is by nature traditional and a little country, and the things that draw my eye in the store are elegant and a little showy. So therein lies my challenge.

  • EleCat says:

    Knowing what styles and colours that you tend to gravitate towards gives you an idea of what you really like. Putting it all together is the hard part. 🙂

  • Satu says:

    I love it when my home looks like me…but I want to also consider my visitors…a bit like putting a dress on…I want to create wows in my audience AND be myself. for example I love flowers and I keep them mostly to my bedroom where I can really enjoy them to the full…have much less of them elsewhere…more minimalistic look. And I enjoy it more when I've had enough of it in my bedroom :0)

  • nella says:

    I do not think this is a helpful statement at all. It's always frustrating to me when I hear designers say this on TV while completely re-doing someone's room. If that was all it took to achieve beauty in a home, then what would be the purpose in design work? I believe it's important to identify objects and styles we like and are comfortable around. However, I think a designer's role is to stretch the canvas and discover things a person hasn't considered on their own. Creating a space with those "loved elements" takes true skill and talent.

  • Anonymous says:

    It helps me if I enderstand it like: "Love what you love! Be brave!"

  • Anonymous says:

    I think it is good advice — it encourages people to not follow trends. But if it is the only piece of advice offered, I agree with you that it is pretty useless.

  • mary thoburn says:

    You absolutely should buy what you love, there's no question about that – you're the one that has to live with the choices you've made. That said, you can buy what you love on your own – and if you have an eye for it, than that's what you should do. But if you're looking for help, a designed can help you tie what you love, into what's new and fresh and will stand the test of time. A designer or stylist can help you narrow down the field of things you love and show you how to make them work together.

  • cheri says:

    I also take it to mean that if you love a style not particularly cherished by others at the moment, that's fine – it's your house and you should love it. Despite all the beautiful pictures I see on blogs, I love my "granny" style even if no one else does. It looks like me 🙂

  • Robyn says:

    I live with what I love and edit. Often. I really think about a purchase before I make it. If there is no place for it. It doesn't come home with me.

  • Rebecca says:

    I think one should be surround by things we love. That does not mean we buy everything we love or what the decorator loves.

  • Jenny says:

    It has helped me because I've been stuck in a rut for the past ten years, thinking that I needed to make my house look "grown-up" or that it should be neutral so that I won't get tired of it quickly. Whenever I would see something with a little whimsy or bright colors, I would say, "I love that, but it wouldn't go in my house." These days, I look for things with bright colors that pique my interest, and think to myself, "I love that. I'm going to make it work in my house." And eventually, I'll have a house full of things I love, and (hopefully) it will work! 🙂 If I hired a designer, though, I would definitely want her advice to be more specific than just "buy what you love."

  • Todd Johnson says:

    I HATE it! If I knew what I loved I would just go and and buy it!

  • Velvet and Linen says:

    I don't think "buy what you love" is a cop out. I think it's a starting point, the question I ask myself first. But then there are the other questions: Where is this piece going? Does it work with the other items in the room? Do I/my client need it?

    When I opened my shop people always advised me on the pieces that I had to stock. Every time I purchased items because someone told me I should, they never sold. In contrast, all of the items I love almost always sell right away.

    Very thought provoking post, Maria!

  • Jessica @ Decor Adventures says:

    By nature people have things in their home that they love. Who would bring in something they don't like?

    My challenge is that my taste changes often, or I should say it's constantly evolving. So I'm having a hard time defining what I relaly love and will want in my home for years. But I guess that's where the fun is! Trying new things.

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