My Design Identity Crisis as Illustrated by Some Favorite Interiors

When it comes to design, I firmly know what I like and what I don’t like so you’d think it’d be easy to settle on a decorating plan and execute it, right?  Only if that were true! The problem is that I like so much. One day, all I want is an all-white, fairly minimalist space;  the next day, I want colorful and bohemian; and then the following day, I want neutral and sophisticated ….. and on and on it goes.

Take for example some of the homes/rooms I’ve blogged about over the past year. They’re all different and yet I love them equally – it just depends on my mood.

Over the years, I’ve learned to balance my split design personality pretty well but there are times (like lately) when it can be paralyzing.

Okay, so who else suffers from this ailment? And how do you cope?

(Click on the photos for the original posts and credits.)


  1. CT says:

    Ally —
    I think I have the same affliction. It led me to living in our house for almost 5 years without doing any sort of heavy-handed design. Finally I just decided to pick one plan and implement it (more colorful and funky rather than all white utilitarian) because it will be better for our lifestyle. I’d rather live with some design then none due to paralysis. And nothing is so permanent that it can’t be undone, but I keep telling myself our next house will be the other style. So I vote for going for it.

  2. I think that it is great Ally–all the greater vocabulary to offer your clients! :)

    I don’t have such a huge palette (perhaps no surprise there) but more a wide difference between my dream (ruined chateau with falling apart Louis XV and worn velvet) and my reality (beat up rental filled with slightly beat up furniture and objects)–but you can see the link between the two, right?

    Bises et bon WE!!

    • Ally says:

      Mais oui! In fact, one is merely a smaller scale version of the other. :) And that’s a really good point about having more to offer clients so thanks for pointing out the upside of all this! Gros bisou…..

  3. escapade says:

    Definitely can sympatize with this affliction. Sometimes it feels as though there are too many beautiful ideas to pick just one! When I take time to really look back at all my favourites though, I definitely start to see some distinct patterns emerging and some things that are tried and true favourites (like black and white! – and that top photo!) I have to admit I generally chicken out and stick with those classics rather than delve into colour (although I secretly would love to at times!) and have fun with lots of art and accessories

    • Ally says:

      Hi, Shar! In fact, that is the best ways to find one’s style, isn’t it? And once again, we’re twins – this time, in our approach to design!

  4. I’m the same way! I think and hope it will make me a better designer for others, but when it comes to my own home sometimes I feel like I have multiple design personality disorder! I’m in the ever-changing stage of life where I rent with a different group of girls every couple years instead of owning, and I’ve seen my bedroom go from vintage to mid-century, to who knows what next!

  5. lisaroy says:

    I can certainly relate and seeing so many gorgeous spaces just confuses the mind! I need several homes to decorate! I find that if I truly follow my gut in what I’m ultimately attracted too (and ignore trends), I can pretty well narrow down my own style. It’s not easy, but I think about how liveable and realistic it is for my lifestyle and the longevity of it (will it seem like a tired trend a year from now?) If I want to inject a little taste of a trend, I stick to a throw cushion that can easily be switched out, as opposed to an upholstered piece of furniture in a trendy fabric.

  6. I suffer…in fact I posted about this not that long ago (titled Aesthetically Confused) and even used your second image from it’s original post as one of my examples…am I cured? Nope, but I have learned that as long as I just keep moving forward it helps. There is lots to do but there is lots of time to do it as well.
    Hopefully your design identity crisis will resolve itself. Until then I feel your pain. Thanks for sharing.

  7. heehee. This is funny, and I can so relate. Right now, I have this modern/industrial/rustic obsession happening. But it’s been my longest running one and I’m surprised by how persistent it is. I’m hoping this means the crisis might end soon…. Love all your images choices too 😉

  8. Scout says:

    oh this is so timely for me. I am paralyzed at the moment trying to make a call on furniture for my living room. In fact, your blog is probably one of the reasons I am so confused..haha. There is just so MUCH to look at/crave these days. While it is highly entertaining on many levels, it also leaves us wanting to see a pic of just one more room. What is Ally going to share tomorrow!! That’s why it’s called decorating porn :)

  9. I feel the same way. My design schizophrenia is immediately obvious when you walk into my living room full of mid-century furniture, walk over to my Danish walnut bookshelf, and see that my design books consist of Bunny Williams, Billy Baldwin, Albert Hadley, Charlotte Moss, etc. I like looking at decorating styles that are entirely unlike anything I’d want in my own apartment.

    In life, I’ve been too good at sticking to a single decorating scheme. I really need to add something to my living/dining (shared space) so that it doesn’t look quite so mid-century.

    My personal rule of thumb is that no room is really complete without at least one mid-century piece, one contemporary piece, and one antique.

    Are there any decorating styles you KNOW you don’t like at all, though? Shabby chic isn’t for me, for example.

    • Ally says:

      Oh for sure. Shabby chic isn’t my thing either (although there are some elements of it I like) and neither are really stark minimalist or super traditional. I like pretty much everything else as long as the space is not 100% one look. P.S. My design library is like yours – I love studying everything. :)

  10. mlleparadis says:

    LOVED the themed art wall post. (and your little office!)

    well of course one could have mulitple residences….that would be the ideal. then one could decorate every room differently. or the easiest really, is mix all the styles in one room but limit the palette!

    oh yeah, i’ve spent a lot of time having this dilemna too. having a husband who hates “old” and “flowery” helps!

  11. DanDan says:

    Oh my! I thought I was the only one with that problem… One day I want white from floor to ceiling, the next a cabin in the mountains complete with unfinished beams and quilts, then a Parisian apartment with all the classic architecture….

    What to do?

  12. Liv says:

    you’ve hit it spot on – i think a lot of us have this ailment. It’s so hard b/c you see so many different inspirations everywhere and various ideas and it’s easy to get unfocused and love them all. And there’s nothing wrong with that either. My only problem with it personally is it might be too unfocused if you live in a smaller space.

Thanks so much for taking time to comment! I read every one and reply through my own comments.