Bobby Berk says this is the one question you should never ask about interior design – plus, he shares what to ask instead

The anti-trend interior designer (and former star of Queer Eye) says that the best spaces do quite a bit more than simply look pretty. Here's how he suggests approaching your next project

(Image credit: Getty Images)

Discovering your interior design style is easier said than done. From minimalism to maximalism, Scandinavian to Spanish, and organic modern to coastal grandmother, the already endless list of design aesthetics seems to grow by the hour. Knowing where you fit into the mix isn't an exact science, and seldom tells the full story of your design preferences, taste and style.

If you can't make up your mind on whether your design style leans more mid-century modern or transitional, there's no need to stress. In fact, one of interior design's biggest names says that the label you select for your style doesn't matter too much at all. Bobby Berk – renowned interior designer and former Queer Eye star – just took to Instagram to share the interior design question you should never ask: What is your design style? This is why, plus what Bobby says you should be asking instead.

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'This is why you should never ask anyone what their design aesthetic is,' Bobby says to start off the video, explaining that his background designing heroes' homes on Queer Eye and helping others spruce their spaces has taught him this valuable lesson. 'When designing your space, you should have a space that not only looks good, but makes you feel good.'

We all want our homes to be beautiful – that's a given. But designing a home that'll boost your mood (and one that feels like you) makes a good space great. By thinking beyond design aesthetics' restrictions and rules, Bobby says you'll be able to craft a home that fills your cup.

What's more, everyone's interpretation of design styles is slightly different. Even if you approach a designer with a Hollywood Regency style in mind, there's no guarantee you'll love every element of the final product. Bobby learned this lesson quickly when working with his Queer Eye heroes, he shares in the video.

'Often when you ask somebody what their design aesthetic is, they'll just kind of choose a random one that they might have heard before. Instead, ask somebody what visually makes them happy. It can be things out in the world from architecture to food to clothing,' says Bobby. 'In the very first episode of Queer Eye, I asked Tom, "What's your design aesthetic?" and he said, "French industrial." And I was like, "Tom, are you sure? Can you tell me what French industrial is?" And he's like, "No, I just heard it once."'

A blue and white kitchen with a large island designed by Bobby Berk

(Image credit: Sara Ligorria Tramp / Bobby Berk)

'Right then and there, I actually learned not to ask heroes on Queer Eye what their design aesthetic is, because like a lot of people in the world, it's not something they've really thought about. Either they haven't had the luxury of thinking about it, or it's just not something that they've cared to think about,' Bobby continues.

There's no harm in using an aesthetic as an anchor, or source of inspiration. Whether you look to fleeting trends or classic interior design styles, there's value to be found in each and every look. But when it comes to designing your own home – especially one you plan to cherish for the long haul – Bobby says it serves you better to design based on what brings you joy.

'When thinking about design, either for yourself or for your friends and family, think about the things that really make them happy: dream vacations, movies, television shows, food, your favorite sweater. Those are the things that you need to infuse into your home, because those are the things that you're passionate about, and ultimately the things that are gonna make your home work for you,' says Bobby.

Bobby, who's staunchly anti-trend, has become an advocate for joy-driven design. In the video, he shares that the first chapter of the book he published last year Right at Home – delves into the topic of 'figuring out what you love and what makes you happy.' If your personal taste happens to line up perfectly with an established aesthetic, take it and run. But if your tastes feel a bit more complicated, take a step back and design with happiness front of mind.

Abby Wilson
Interior Design News Editor

I am an Interior Design News Editor at Homes & Gardens. Most recently, I worked with Better Homes & Gardens, where I wrote and edited content about home decor, gardening tips, food news, and more. Before that, I studied Journalism and English Literature at New York University. I’ve moved around quite a bit in the last several years, most recently making the trip to London, and love transforming each new space into a comfortable retreat that feels like home. When it comes to decor, I’m most drawn to unique vintage finds and calming colors.