How do you design a home that feels like you? 10 tips for creating spaces filled with character

Create a meaningful space with our ideas on how to design a home that feels like you

design a home that feels like you, vintage style kitchen with shiplap walls and ceiling, open shelving, fluted sink, mustard kitchen island, lace at window, brass faucet, artwork, fringed pendant light, dining table
(Image credit: deVOL)

No one wants their home to feel like a showroom –  a house that exudes warmth and personality is much more appealing. 

'The key to a home that feels like YOU is leaning into what you already love! Shop your home for things you collect, or plan to begin collecting things you love. Display the things you already own together in groups (don't split up a collection!) and craft your spaces around those items that already bring you joy,' says Courtnay Tartt Elias, founder of Creative Tonic Design. 

Together with our expert interior designers, we showcase below advice on how to design a home that feels like you. From small changes like updating your walls to adding favorite vintage finds, there's something for everyone, including when to go for interior design trends and when to think more timelessly. 

How to design a home that feels like you

'What makes a house a home? Layers of personal adornments that speak to inspiration, love and layers! Organic earthy textures and tones, wood, lived-in linens, unique lighting…' says Sarah Solis, principal and founder of Sarah Solis Design Studio

Essentially, what makes a home feel more like you is depth and interest. No single style, no obvious trends, each piece and each design decision feels like there is a person behind the rooms.

1. Hang prints that mean something to you

how to design a home that feels like you, entry way with botanical prints on stone coloured wall, mustard lamp base with neutral shade, vases, large console with shelf, books on shelf, basket, antique style rug

(Image credit: OKA)

It's all about adding a personal touch and paintings and decorating with art can be perfect for adding character to a room. Make sure you pick something you love, it could be a series of photographs you took on vacation or some vintage portraits you found at a flea market. 

'Artwork, photographs and frames are such a great way to bring in different styles or add character to a space; it’s deeply personal, which really helps make a home feel unique,' says Sue Jones, co-founder and creative director at OKA

'For me, it’s how I add color to a room, but for others, it might be the starting point of their entire scheme. In my opinion, anything can go on a wall – I’ve been known to hang beautiful rugs just because I love them. If you can’t find one perfect piece, look to treasures that you’ve collected over the years – photographs, postcards, mirrors or artifacts can be just as striking as a painting, and will make your space feel all the more personal to you.'

2. Decorate with colors that make you happy

Green textured wallpaper in bedroom with floral artwork on walls, cane bedhead and red bedside table and white bedding

(Image credit: Kasia Fiszer)

Find your favorite color and use it as your starting point for a scheme. It might be that it's white, and there's nothing more stunning than an all-white room with its light and airy nature. Or, it might be a bolder color that you can color drench a room with. A large space can take color well, just make sure you have some visual balance by adding some white and plenty of accents.

Helen Shaw, director of international marketing at Benjamin Moore suggests, 'To be able to design a home that feels like you, you need to be brave with color and embrace what you love – at the end of the day it is your home, where you will be spending most of your time. Although bright and bold colors can be daunting to decorate with, if done in the right way and paired with the right furnishings and accessories, you can create an aesthetic space, full of character.'

3. Choose finishes that suit your personality

how to design a home that feels like you, dining room with white walls, hardwood floor, navy and pale blue velvet dining chairs, pale blue sideboard, gloss table, plant, candlesticks on table, cream ombre drapes

(Image credit: Kristen Elizabeth Design)

Your personality will help you to design a home that feels like you – do you like a pared-back scheme? Or full-on maximalist? 

We asked Kristen Fiore, owner and principal designer of Sacramento-based Kristen Elizabeth Designs for her advice. 'To design a home that feels like you and reflects your personality, we encourage our clients to be bold and not hold back. Nothing is really off-limits. If you are vivacious, it should show in your home. If you are a person who craves calm, consider leaning into softer hues and organic materials.'

'Lighter blues, greens and earthy wood tones always bring the high vibe to a quiet hum and instantly say, relax! Glamour Girl? Think about incorporating highly luxurious finishes and lots of shine. Layer rich wools with soft velvets and top it all with a sparkly lighting fixture or other element of glam like lacquer like this elegant dining room.'

expert headshot of Kristen Fiore
Kristen Fiore

Kristen Fiore, owner and lead designer of Kristen Elizabeth Design based in Sacramento, California Kristen Fiore, the founder of Kristen Elizabeth Design, is a talented interior designer with a lifelong passion for design. Growing up near New York City, she was immersed in a rich environment of inspiration and resources. She honed her skills and gained valuable experience in New York before moving to California.

4. Accessorize with personal finds

how to design a home that feels like you, vintage style kitchen with shiplap walls, vintage pieces, fringed pendant light, fluted sink, brass faucet, mustard island, dining table, open shelving

(Image credit: deVOL Kitchens)

'There is something supremely satisfying about designing a room that gives you a feeling of pleasure, or calm or joy or excitement or all of the above! The key is to incorporate personality, individuality, passion, and above all restraint,' says Helen Parker, creative director of deVOL Kitchens.

We agree, and these elements are just as important in your kitchen as in other rooms. A vintage jug full of your favorite blooms, a rug handed down or lace from an antique shop hung at the window. 

Helen adds: 'A room that can begin as a simple space with all the necessities and can be added to over time is a perfect way to achieve a look that is more organic than forced. It is hard to decide on every feature of a room all in one go, it needs time to reflect on where there is light, where you like to sit, what you want on your walls and what colors help you feel happy and calm and joyful.' 

5. Pick a bedroom style that makes you feel good

design a home that feels like you, bedroom with cream brick painted walls, large arched doorway to garden, beams, upholstered grey bed with blue and white bedding, table with foliage, books, sheepskin, footstool

(Image credit: The White Company)

As we spend a third of our lives in our bedrooms it's an important space to get right, and we want these rooms to really reflect ourselves and how we want to feel when in the space.

'An easy way to evaluate how a bedroom is looking is to stand at the door and take a good look in. Is it clutter-free? Does the bed look welcoming? Does it have little touches that make it feel special? These are all essentials that will make your bedroom feel like you. Some simple greenery or flowers, a small candle of your favorite scent, a well-organized bedside table and lovely lamps all make a difference to how it will feel,' advises Chrissie Rucker OBE, founder of The White Company

6. Experiment with your bolder styles in the bathroom

design a home that makes you feel good, bathroom with green and white wide stripe wallpaper, twin basins, rattan mirrors and accessories, white vanity, patterned floor tiles

(Image credit: Caitlin Kah Interiors / Carmel Brantley)

Due to their size, bathrooms are a fabulous space to try out styles that you think you may love and color schemes you want to try out. These are the rooms to can make feel like the boldest side of you.

'Whether your vibe is textural and moody or vibrant and colorful, guest bathrooms and powder rooms are optimal spaces to let the most adventurous side of your personality shine through,' says Caitlin Kah, founder and lead designer, Caitlin Kah Interiors.

Because they're usually higher on size you can splash out on that wallpaper you've yearned for but can't stretch to for the living room, or you patterned floor tiles you fancied in the open-plan kitchen.

Caitlin agrees: 'For this guest bath at my former home, which also served as my daughters’ bathrooms, I leaned into patterns (stripes!) that might have felt a little too bold for a living area, and materials, like bamboo and rattan, that felt most authentic to me and my aesthetic.'

expert headshot of Caitlin Kah
Caitlin Kah

Caitlin Kah Interiors is a boutique interior design firm based in the heart of Palm Beach, Florida, whose fresh and livable interiors range from traditional to contemporary. Caitlin's no-ego approach to design and decoration resonates with our diverse clientele, with residential and commercial projects spanning city to sea throughout Florida, the U.S. and the Caribbean. 

7. Display your collections

design a home that feels like you, green home office with gloss green custom bookcase with books and objet, mahogany desk, grey rug, retro pendant, lamps

(Image credit: Creative Tonic Design / Julie Soefer)

A really great way to incorporate yourself into your home is with collections – this could be art by a favorite artist, artisan ceramics or keepsakes from your travels. 

'If you aren't yet a collector, make a list of things that excite you and craft a plan to collect and incorporate them! If you love to travel, plan to collect a piece of art from each place you visit – each time you look around, it will be like bringing a piece of your sojourn home,' says Courtnay Tartt Elias, founder of Creative Tonic Design.

Bookcases are a fabulous way to display your collections, the shelving sections allow pieces to be placed thoughtfully and they can truly enhance your space whether it's in a home office or a corner of the living room.

'If you are a lover of fresh flowers, display your collection of vases in a bookcase as decor rather than your pantry! The possibilities are endless when you look to what you already own and love for decor!' adds Courtnay. 

expert headshot Courtnay Tartt Elias, Creative Tonic Design
Courtnay Tartt Elias

Courtnay founded Creative Tonic Design in Houston, Texas in 2006 with a passion for weaving brilliance into her surroundings and composing vibrant environments that invite celebration. With a fearless use of color and decidedly inventive flair, Courtnay’s award-winning work has been praised by renowned editorial teams worldwide and can be found within the pages of several showcase coffee table books. She believes that more is splendidly more and delights in sharing her vibrant approach to celebrating everyday moments. 

8. Love pattern? Incorporate it into your home

design a home that feels like you, pink living room with patterned couch and cushions, painted lampshade, painted fire surround, artwork

(Image credit: Molly Mahon)

'I see pattern everywhere, and this visual inspiration is what forms the basis of my block print designs. Through this art form, I have found I can add personal and unique pieces to my home,' says Molly Mahon, block print textile designer.  'A hand-printed cushion or some block-printed curtains add to the ‘joy’ in my home and I’m on a mission to enable others to have fun and experiment with pattern and color in their own way. 

If you love pattern and print then this is an excellent way to make your home feel personal and 'you'. You can use it as much or as little as you like – a couple of couch pillows on a plain couch, or a pattern on a lampshade are enough to add in a personal element. 

'I am also a big believer in mixing up scales – if you have a large scale pattern on the walls, then it’s a good idea to choose a small scale pattern for the soft furnishings and vice versa,' adds Molly. 'The same goes for texture, varying the textures of cushions, throws, rugs and upholstery helps to keep a room scheme visually interesting.'

9. Consider your finishing touches

design a home that feels like you, bathroom with brass hardware, large mirror, basin, view into bedroom matching brass hardware, rug, bed, throws and cushions

(Image credit: Sarah Solis Design Studio / Shade Degges)

Finishing touches like handles and light fittings can really give a space that individual touch and add warmth to an existing scheme. 

'Custom combinations of hardware and finishes or metal tones are as personal as the jewelry you wear,' says Sarah Solis, principal and founder of Sarah Solis Design Studio.

'Beautiful hardware can elevate the entire experience of a space. It goes beyond how things look, but also how they feel. Something as simple using materials that feel organic to the touch like brass can awaken the other senses, making every day mundane tasks like opening doors and turning on lights that much more intentional. I believe small details create big feelings.'

expert headshot Sarah Solis, Sarah Solis Design Studio
Sarah Solis

Sarah Solis, founder and principal of Sarah Solis Design Studio believes that beautiful design is comfortable and personal, and that our environments should reflect the kind of lives we want to lead. Creating thoughtful spaces that invite familiarity and emotion, the essence of Sarah’s designs are rooted in Wabi-Sabi — the Japanese concept of seeing the beauty in imperfection. Sarah's background in art and fashion strongly informs her sensibility and has fundamentally shaped her creative process and appreciation for thoughtful, curated design. 

10. Show your personality with lighting

design a home that feels like you, seating area with bold wallpaper, pendant with fringing, view to bedroom

(Image credit: Jay Jeffers / Matthew Millman)

'Both lighting and art can be seen as an afterthought, but for me they’re often the star!' shares Jay Jeffers, founder of JayJeffers Inc, designer and co-owner of The Madrona.

'Early on in the design process, I recommend looking for art that really speaks to you and letting that set the tone of the space. Statement-making light fixtures double as art and instantly elevate a room’s uniqueness. I recommend hanging a big, bold light fixture over the dining or living room and swapping traditional lamps on bedside tables for unique hanging lights or sconces to mimic the bedrooms found in your favorite boutique hotel.'

It can be as simple as choosing one standout pendant light that can lift a room and give it that much-needed individual touch. 


How do you make your house feel like you?

'Tailor your home to the things you love to do, places you've been, and people you love to share it with. In reality, where space is often limited, ensuring that each room has three purposes allows for you to tailor the (smaller) area to your likes! Does your large family live for game nights, and you love crafts? 

Have a console near the dining room table to stock your favorite games and craft supplies. Perhaps you and your partner love a game of chess or mah jong – add a small games table to your living space, with comfortable seating and storage for your items nearby if you don't plan to display them full-time! If you're a big reader, be sure to have a comfy chair or reading nook! If you needlepoint, perhaps a comfortable chair is set under walls decorated with framed needlepoints,' says Courtnay.

The main ingredient to designing a home that feels like you is to express your personality. The colors you choose, the accessories you pick and whether you love textures or not are all key aspects. 

Most of all, pick pieces that you love and your home will reflect your individuality. 

Sophie Warren-Smith
Contributing Editor

Sophie has been an interior stylist and journalist for over 20 years and has worked for many of the main interior magazines during that time, both in-house and as a freelancer. On the side, as well as being the News Editor for indie magazine, 91, she trained to be a florist in 2019 and launched The Prettiest Posy where she curates beautiful flowers for modern weddings and events. For H&G, she writes features about interior design – and is known for having an eye for a beautiful room.