Changing Tastes?

By Kate Riley January 3, 2013

I was organizing some pictures over the weekend and I stumbled across some images (below) of favorite rooms from 2010 that I had I gathered in an inspiration file on my old computer from that year (in those pre Pinterest days, do you remember them?) 

As I went through this “favorites” file I recognized something about myself, something that made me feel really good.  When it comes to my personal taste, I know what I like when I see it.  I like white bookcases and clean lines together with touches of wood and a mix of traditional and modern.

fitzhugh karol design sponge bookcase


I like graphic wallpaper in a powder room paired with a fretwork mirror.

elizabeth dinkel powder


I like sculptural modern accents paired with classic Louis style chairs trimmed in nailheads and a healthy dose of dark and light contrast. 

style at home magazine white chairs


I like tin ceilings in a white kitchen with dark wood floors and a chunky wood table. 

tin ceiling house beautiful


I will always love a white kitchen filled with colorful ceramics. 

colorful ceramics waterleaf interiors


I don’t think you can ever go wrong when you have a tailored upholstered bed.

calico corners upholstered headboard


Greens, blues, stripes mixed with contemporary florals, whitewashed or pale wood walls, and rustic beams?  Amen. 

vibrant blues southern living


A velvet sofa in a room covered in thoughtful architectural detail with touches of gold – bring it. 

phoebe howard living room


Blue and gold and wainscoting and white accents and neutral furnishings… predictable affection for this of course. 

blue and gold thibaut


A brightly painted piece of furniture next to a chair upholstered in a bold pattern?  True love.

turq dresser waterleaf interiors


So the moral of the story is I feel lucky that despite the constant barrage of design inspiration, my personal tastes haven’t changed all that much in the last few years.  I appreciate great design in all styles and forms but when it comes to my own home, I know what I like and I decorate as I please. 

And I think that is the greatest challenge in decorating our homes, honing in on what we like and then staying true to our personal style.  So often we’re bombarded with images, especially if you hang out on Pinterest, read design blogs, and absorb shelter magazines like I do (and I love it!)  But like I said, I realized something about myself that I think is an important lesson.  Figure out what you like and display it in your home with pride and without apology.

With all the talk of design trends, there’s one quote that sticks out in my mind, “fashion fades, style is eternal.”  As much as we love to ogle and discuss the trends, and even play around with them in our homes in doses large and small, I always find in my favorite spaces a constant theme – timeless style that showcases the homeowner’s personality.

Have your tastes changed over the past few years?  Are they influenced by images from Pinterest and shelter mags or have you realized that you too just know what you love? 




  1. I think it’s important not to hop on a trend just to be trendy. Personally, I am attracted to what I love whether it be on-trend or not. Trends are fun to watch. I know we have all had that “WHAT WAS I THINKING” moment. xo Kristin

  2. I agree with you 100%. Its so easy to almost lose yourself when designing or styling your home with all that we are exposed to everyday. I am guilty of this myself. I see so many design blogs and say to myself that I want my living room or bedroom to look more like that. I think if you really don’t have a true eye for that particular style, your decor will make your room appear confused and disorganized.

  3. I love your blog.
    My day starts with cofeee and checking your site.
    You are such an inspiration and I Thank You for it!

  4. Totally agree! I love to dabble in a trend every now and then, but that’s just it, dabble. I don’t let it take over my home so that our personalities are lost just because it’s the “in” thing to do/have.

  5. I have had the same experience looking back at what I liked in my pre-Pinterest days, and seeing a theme. This was a fun post. I’ll have to think more concretely about what has stayed the same. Love your choices–they’re definite classics–and the quote about style.

  6. My taste has certainly changed over the years, but I am realizing that what I like now are styles that are more timeless, not just based on a fad at the time. And I’m so thankful for that!!

    I’ve been following your blog for a few months, and you have incredible style! Your work is beautiful.

  7. I find I get less and less from shelter mags and more inspiration from regular blogging ladies. At the same time I always seem to gravitate to the same thing. It makes it easier to change things up and maybe add a little trendy item here and there when you are pretty steady in your style.

  8. I think Pinterest has actually helped me identify my personal style. After I’ve pinned a bunch of things that catch my eye, I go back and look at my boards and think “Oh yes, THIS is me!”

  9. My tastes have definitely changed. I used to be all about bright colors on the walls with neutral furniture, and I’ve ventured into neutral walls and bright furniture and color everywhere else. I also loved Turquoises and Lime Greens and my life is slowly going towards greys, yellows, and reds. Much more Rustic than Hippie :)

  10. I agree with Catherine! Pinterest has really helped me narrow down what I like (IE white kitchen, dark floors) as we re-do rooms in our home!

  11. We should design our spaces with what we love. I like a white backdrop with dashes of colour, and a simple layout, I hate clutter and like room to move in my house. Furnishings should be easy to look after, there are quite a few light fittings I like but they look tedious when it comes to cleaning.
    Being a practical person I always try to look at the practical side of things. I have seen so many beautifully designed spaces, that are not really practical when it actually comes to living in that space.
    Peoples tastes change over time or minutes, but its good you have found your style and colour preferences.

  12. I like changing trends and changing with them… My style will always be a clean and simple one, whether in my home or my wardrobe. But I enjoy incorporating trends into that, like getting a velvet armchair for my living room or wearing a gigantic snood this winter :)

  13. My tastes have changed over the years but I do not follow trends. Such as this year the color is emerald green and I do not like that color. This year’s pattern to watch out for is polka dots… I do like it but in small doses like in a pillow, not a whole wall, for example. I am beginning to decorate my empty apartment and I am having fun just being me instead of following someone else’s tastes!

  14. Kate, so fun to look inside your design taste. I am pretty true through and through to what I have always liked. It is one my design philosophies, stay true to yourself and what you like. Where people have a hard time is figuring out what they like. When I worked with clients before I retired, I had a few methods that would help them. I wrote a post about one of them here…..
    I found that it is just important for people to know what they DON’T like as what the DO like. I can tell you are very grounded in your design aesthetics. Great post,

  15. I’ve been thinking about this a lot lately, too. When I first discovered Pinterest I was on trend overload. There was so much to take in and I made many trendy design choices which I soon regretted. I do know my style, so I don’t know why was I so easily distracted. I’m much more in tune with staying true to what I love now. I often think to myself “own it” when I’m doubting my decorating choices, meaning if I love it, then stick up for it. Very similar to your words about displaying what you like with pride and without apology.

  16. That’s my problem. I can look at something and think, “Oh, I like that” and I have a hard time honing in. Sometimes with say, clothes, I can like something but it isn’t necessarily me. It’s easier for me to figure out that distinction with clothes than with decorating.

    The second problem is the things I do know I love aren’t necessarily in my house, and I have to find a style that works with my house. My house has some lovely features, it’s just a style a little different than mine and I’m trying to figure out how to make it all work as it is so important for me to live in a place that I love. (I wish I had the money to hire someone to help me!)

  17. Thanks for sharing! I find I like so many different styles and am still honing in on what I like for my own dwelling in particular. I think I’d be happy with many color combinations, patterns, styles. If its pulled together well, I like it! Maybe one day my style will be more focused, but for now I’m happy being open to all sorts of looks and hope it will work to my advantage in an interior design career.

  18. Regarding Pinterest, I think it has really helped me to hone in on what I like. I have a “Homes I Like” board that has a million rooms that I love and appreciate. However, I would not want to actually live in them, either because they would clash with the items I already own, or because their ideas would be impractical for the dimensions of my own home. Example: I love breakfast nooks but I will never have the space for one at my house. Then I have a few much smaller boards to hone in what I actually want inside my own home. On those semi-private boards (of interest to few people besides me I am sure), Pinterest makes it easy for me to see what will work and what will clash with my own, personal, specific-to-my-home aesthetic.

    Regarding trends, there are some that I am not afraid to follow. Pantone’s color of the year for 2013 is Emerald, and I already love that color – no problem here! Regarding some other trends, like faux or real animal heads for example, I know they are not right for me, and thus I have no trouble resisting them. On the whole though, I will say I am quite pleased with the trend towards rustic design and some of the other major interior design trends that have become popular recently.

  19. Happy New Year Kate. Pinterest has helped me as well. I’m heading into retirement soon and will be on a fixed income. With the new financial picture in mind and knowing that I’ll still want to switch things up each season and love change so much, I’ve painted out all my furniture white to provide a neutral back drop. That way I can make my changes and keep myself satisfied with small, affordable items like pillows, vases, thrift finds and the sort. Thanks to your blog, I also have new DIY ideas – thank you Kate.

  20. Kate,

    Happy New Year! I love this post and was wowed by your choices. I love them all and have pulled a few of the picutres for my dream house file myself. I remember those Pre Pinterest days well. I have a huge pile of pictures in a briefcase from my favorite Southern Living and Better Homes and Gardens. Also a slew of pictures I downloaded to a file from the internet- some of which are duplicated from the magazine. That’s how I know I really like something now- if I pin it over and over.

    About tastes changing, mine have evolved since my 20’s where it was all bleached wood tones and greens and blues to my 30’s where we could afford to purchase a larger home with 2 story ceilings so I went for the medium to darker wood tones with a french country feel to them. I still adore my soft furnishings shapes, but wish I could slipcover to a little lighter linen look fabric from the beige/gold/taupe chenilles I chose. One thing however, they look 1 year old instead of the 10plus years that they actually are! With all the wear and tear my kids and our 2 doggies dole out they look amazing. The subtle texture looks great. I love that the base is already handled and I can concentrate on changing pillows which I rotate on a frequent basis and my built in bookshelves which really need an overhaul. I look to you for inspiration girl! I love your style. Thanks for providing us with all the home decor eye candy!!!!!!!!!!!

  21. I don’t think my taste has changed, but I realize that for a while I was decorating my home for other people instead of myself. After reading the new book by Nate Berkus, The Things That Matter, my thoughts on decorating a home have really changed. You have to surround yourself with things you love, that have meaning to you.

  22. I am still in the identification process when it comes to defining my ‘taste’ sometimes it feels over-whelming, but slowly I’m beginning to see common themes in the numerous ‘inspiration’ photos that I was attracted to, (but couldn’t rightly tell you *why* at the time).

    I’m drawn to many of the same themes you noted here (I have that exact photo of the white kitchen with the colored ceramics in my collection as well) Thanks for drawing out the details even more for me to identify! :)


  23. My tastes have changed considerably over the years. When I was first married I loved two colors, red( the deep lush kind) for decorating. And crisp white for decorating myself lol. But recently I’ve discovered a huge mix of colors as I’ve opened my mind. I’m loving grays(something I always hated) and orange. I like green more and even some blue. I still love my white, now it’s crossed over into decorating my home. And I’ll always have a place for red in my heart. As I’ve gotten older I have let go of my must haves and have welcomed a mix of trendy and classic. More prints and less solids. And most definitely more contrast. I love a white and marble kitchen with dark wood flooring. But now I’m allowing myself to live a little with a pop of color here and there and some texture to sprinkle throughout my home. I’m in the process of redesigning my dining room now. In a palette of gray, white and peach with some burlap and green thrown in.

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