Bay Area Home Improvement Guide

Finding Your Interior Design Style

A Los Gatos interior designer shows how to make the right design decisions to get the look you want.

Determining a personal design style doesn’t come naturally to everyone. That’s why interior designer Catherine Canfield, who owns Austin Design in Los Gatos, uses a variety of tools to help her clients identify and cultivate their design aesthetic.

“People hire an interior designer to educate them on what best suits their lifestyle and budget,” Canfield says. “Clients often feel there are too many choices available, which can be overwhelming. My job is to help them home in on the best choices for them specifically.”

Inspiration is all around. “I use whatever resources I have, whether photographs, samples or actual pieces, to help convey a particular style to my clients,” Canfield says. “It’s imperative to generate many ideas and to keep communication open to ensure that the finished project will meet or exceed your expectations.”

Start with a budget. Information overload about styles and options can make the design process less productive and helpful, Canfield says. “Budget plays a role in determining what’s realistic. Itemizing your budget and determining where to allocate the money when there’s a big spend is a starting point. Where necessary, substitute or decide something’s an absolute must-have and alter budgets accordingly.”

Ready to explore your options? Read Canfield’s tips below for help with your design decisions.

1. Find Common Ground 

Canfield often works with couples who have different tastes and style. “I help clients focus on the things they agree on, such as a wall color or type of flooring,” she says. “It reinforces the fact that they’re absolutely on the same page in some areas.”

Clients in Sonoma who have an artist’s loft agreed on “wanting an interesting color for the backdrop to the artwork,” Canfield says. “I pulled together the pieces in the room and selected a color that either was used in the paintings or complemented them. Both clients were thrilled with the result.”

2. Balance Busy With Neutral

Spaces often have a standout design feature that is the focal point; Canfield advises to strive for balance with the surrounding design elements. For example, clients in Los Gatos had a small galley kitchen they wanted to rearrange, and they also loved a particular bold tile. “In order to not compete with the tile and still give a sense of openness, we used mahogany cabinets, a gray quartz countertop on the island and durable hand-scraped oak on the floor,” Canfield says. “It was about balance and proportion. All the elements complemented the tile to make it the focal point.”

3. Go Bold for a Big Impact

Some of the most beautiful designs happen when homeowners step outside their comfort zone and use bold, dramatic colors, Canfield says. Clients in Sonoma originally had a narrow bathroom with white cabinets, floors and fixtures. “We added a glass sink, a copper and glass countertop, hand-scraped mahogany floors and hand-painted layered wallpaper, all in warm colors and textures,” she says. “We transformed the space into a dramatic powder room for the homeowners and their guests to enjoy.”

Austin Design by Catherine Canfield has been creating distinctive interiors unique to each client's personal taste since 1985. Her design philosophy involves working hand in hand with her clients, listening carefully, so as to define their individual style.By integrating their treasured possessions, combined with the necessary experience, imagination and inspiration, to result in an exceptional interior and loyal clientele.

Catherine consults on design concepts, color, space planning, lighting, finish materials, fixtures, furnishings, wall coverings and finishes floor and window coverings, art and accessories. Their focus is to assist you in expressing your own unique and individual style, which best suits your budget and lifestyle.  Specializing in all phases of interior design, from in home consultation to complete redesign, remodel or design & build, providing design advice for every aspect of your home or office.

This story was written by the Houzz Sponsored Content team.

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