What Does Your House Style Say About You?
Whether it be neoclassical, Spanish Colonial, or Victorian, the list of different house styles is almost endless!
Many psychologists believe that your house style and your psychology are linked.
Does this sound absurd to you?
Well, in fact, there is a whole field of environmental psychology devoted to architecture.
Let’s skip the technical jargon, but basically, “architectural psychology” has to do with your experience when entering any building!
Colours, shapes, layout – everything contributes to this experience.
If this is true, then you could learn a lot about a person by their choice of house style, no?!
Of course, I can already see a few of you rolling your eyeballs – you’re probably thinking of these funny house styles!
And then there are also those who would say this is purely subjective and based on speculation.
Yet, if it’s objectively proven that architecture and décor have an effect on our psychology, why can’t our house style be linked to our psychology?
For example, certain colour palettes can have either an energising or a calming effect.
Would the reverse also be true?
Can your psychology influence your choice of architecture and décor?
To the extent that by “reading” your house style, a casual observer can deduce a lot about you?
So, would you agree or disagree that a house style says a lot about the resident in the house?
We all know that, in the end, quite a few of these conclusions are just generalisations!
Bottom line: everyone is unique and even if there are certain clues in someone’s home, we obviously cannot assume that we’ve got that particular person figured out!
Heck, we might be way off base!
Nonetheless, it is possible to build somewhat of a profile of the owner or resident by just looking at the property.
Let me reiterate my disclaimer for some of my hardcore reader following: accuracy may vary and I cannot be held liable for you wrongly sussing out your new neighbour by solely analysing her house style!
Let’s have a look at some specific house styles and point out some (general) observations:
House style example #1 – Contemporary house with open-plan lounges and kitchens
In this arrangement, the kitchen is seen as the social hub of the home.
Not a real secret there, as for many years (and even decades), the kitchen was behind closed doors, where the hosts would hide all the food preparation.
Now, in this contemporary style, the hosts invite friends and family to gather around and be part of the cooking process.
Food preparation has become a social activity as much as the mealtime itself!
- This layout is inviting to family and guests.
- The owners are conveying a level of sophistication with this stylish choice.
- It is currently in vogue.
- But, they aren’t taking themselves too seriously.
- Keeping a well-stocked pantry can get pricey.
- You may have to eat in the bedroom if you want some privacy.
- A well-kitted barbeque facility also shows that this resident is a social person.
- It is someone who enjoys entertaining family or friends.
- Also look for entertainment items such as dart boards, pool or table tennis. They might have a big-screen HD television with lots of couch space in the living room.
Here’s the real deal: layout counts!
If the owner has chosen a house with living rooms that open out onto the garden area, for example, with outdoor facilities such as a barbeque area or pool, then this is an indicator that this person places value on being out-of-doors.
You could perhaps be dealing with a nature-lover.
House style example #2 – Modern and spartan, with neutral colors, and brushed metal finishes
This person is likely to be career-oriented, sees the home as a place to rest one’s head and maybe catch some Netflix, that’s all.
Or, it could be a person who travels a lot?
- This person is ambitious and is working toward long-term goals.
- Generally, he or she will keep the premises uncluttered.
- All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy, or Jill a dull girl.
- When friends or acquaintances stop by, they find that it is lacking in some personal touches.
- This type of style can sometimes be perceived as a touch unwelcoming.
Here’s the real deal: The choice of colour in the house (both on the exterior and interior) can have a big impact on visitors.
Generally speaking, a more expressive and adventurous person might choose a bright colour palette.
If the person sticks to neutral tones, you might be dealing with a ‘look-before-you-leap’ personality.
Unless of course, the resident is renting – the landlord might be more restrictive with what modifications the tenant can make on the house.
This could also affect the appearance of the house and choice of colour palette.
House style example #3. Rustic, bungalow-style house, with warm colors, and wood finishes
This style feels like a home and speaks to an orientation toward friends & family life.
These residents likely enjoy entertaining guests.
- Looking “lived-in” is what makes a house a home.
- People feel welcome and relaxed in a friendly, inviting environment, beverage in hand.
- Whenever the family multiplies, there can be a tendency towards chaos!
- Do you want to keep the house from looking like you’re losing a game of Jumanji? Over the years in which there are toddlers in the house, you need to put in extra attention.
- Just about any parent will tell you, it’s worth it, though.
- The same applies to a house with many animals. Again, animal lovers will tell you that it’s worth the extra effort to keep the house in order.
Here’s the real deal: If the property is generally neat, then you could assume the owner prioritises a sense of order.
I’m talking, a neatly mowed lawn, the edging is done, there’s actually been thought about curb appeal, where everything has a place and is in its place!
The owner is willing to invest money or time into keeping these types of details maintained.
If it is generally unkempt, or in a more messy or chaotic state, you are dealing with a busy resident at best.
Someone focused on their work or other priorities.
And so, they are unable to maintain the level of neatness they may prefer.
Or, at worst, someone who is lazy or unconcerned.
Unfortunately, sometimes it’s human nature to assume the worst!
So, it’s a good lesson for any property owner to invest in the general upkeep and neatness of the property.
This is good practice and leads to a better return on your most valuable asset in the long run.
Family size and presence of pets can all be deduced from a simple look at the property as well.
You could build a remarkably accurate profile by checking for the following:
- Are there toys present in the home?
- Is there a nursery with a mobile hanging over a cot, or a room with a child-sized bed shaped like a racing car?
- You can even gauge a rough idea of how many children and what ages, all just by looking at the house.
- You can perhaps even deduce gender of the children can by the choice of colour and décor in these areas as well.
Looking over the property will also often reveal whether the residents are animal-lovers.
- Check for the presence or absence of kennels and other animal-related paraphernalia.
- Some dog owners will have all sorts of animal blankets and toys laid out.
- Others will have just the bare essentials out for their pup.
- Here is an insight into how much value they place on pampering the animal.
- Are there more exotic animals such as reptiles or spiders?
- This can be a hint that the owner is more eccentric or “out there” than your average pet owner.
- Indeed, it does reveal that they have tastes that are different to the majority of homeowners.
House style example #4 – Tuscan, gated estate
These are popular in the new suburbs springing up around our major population centres.
Mid-to-late generation X’ers and the first born-frees are filling up these complexes.
They are establishing themselves in their careers and many have left their parents’ homes in the suburbs for these up-and-coming areas.
- These are usually good planners with a well-mapped career path.
- They enjoy the finer things in life.
- They have an eye for popular design and you can catch them enjoying episodes of HGTV.
- They may be susceptible to “kitschy” eccentricities.
- They might buy an expensive Harley Davidson motorcycle in a moment of mid-life crisis.
Here’s the real deal: Choices of décor and fixtures give us a big hint about the nature of the resident.
Are there expressive, extravagant or quirky pieces on the property?
You could be dealing with an expressive or whimsical owner.
If decor is more demure and downplayed, the owner’s personality is less eccentric, or may be more “straight-laced”.
The presence of security features reveals something about the resident’s personality:
- Are there high walls, security cameras or alarm beams?
- The resident might be particularly prudent (or nervous!) in this area of home security.
- Is there a disadvantage of having too much security? Well, the resident could be considered unwelcoming or stand-offish.
- In these kinds of matters of opinion, that might be a small price to pay to ensure safety in the home.
Let’s consider the other end of this spectrum:
- Is there an absence of any security features or boundary fencing or walls? This might reveal a trusting, welcoming owner.
- It may also reveal a lack of wisdom or savvy, especially if the property is in a high-crime area!
House style example #5. Neoclassical or gothic revival architecture, vintage furniture, manicured landscaping
People in these uncommon houses enjoy a rich connection to the past.
They are grounded individuals with a fondness for nostalgia.
- These people appreciate their roots.
- Their antiques reinforce their connection to generations gone by.
- They hold a strong sense of good old-time values.
- They have an obvious level of sophistication.
- Old-timey values can sometimes be a little mixed up!
- Also, these personality types may be in danger of taking themselves too seriously.
Here’s the real deal: What shows the owner’s preferred lifestyle, and approximate earnings bracket?
The major primary factor is the size and location of the property.
Other factors – a pedicured garden, opulent and extravagant fittings, furniture pieces – are secondary.
When you are choosing a property to buy, invest more capital and effort into the right location and size.
The property’s finishing touches perhaps should be just that – finishing touches!
House style example #6. A mash-up of styles
These owners are adventurous individuals.
They see something they like, and they immediately snap it up and install it in their home.
Who cares about whether it fits in with a prevailing theme?
- Eclectic tastes belong to interesting personality types with loads of great stories.
- There may be some odd pieces which are good conversation starters.
- Taken as a whole, the appearance of the property becomes divided and directionless.
- You may find clashing colours and styles. These will need renovation for uniformity in the event that the house goes up for sale.
Here’s the real deal: I’ll admit it.
Some of these examples are tongue-in-cheek and even rather unlikely.
It may be an accurate reflection, or maybe not.
But I hope your eyes opened to the different ways your house style can represent your personality.
Here’s a good exercise:
- Take a fresh look at your property.
- Put yourself in the shoes of a first-time visitor.
- Do you see anything glaring that is misrepresenting your personality?
- Recognising it is the first step!
Some of these ‘issues’ are easy to rectify.
- Be true to your own tastes and styles in selecting an architectural, design and house style.
- Browse magazines and websites aimed at homeowners and designers for ideas.
- If all else fails, you could hire a good interior decorator!
Remember: it is always possible to work on making positive changes, both in your lifestyle and in your house style.
You are never stuck to a single house style – as you, as an individual, change over the years, your preferences will very likely change as well.
And with it, your ideal house style!
Other Related Resources:
- How Home Improvement Projects Impact Home Values via Behance
- Warning Signs You’re Addicted To Home Renovations
- 6 Home Improvements To Net You More Money via Ryan Fitzgerald
- Popular Architectural House Styles
- Home Renovations Mistakes That Can Cost You via Bill Gassett
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About the author: The above article “What Does Your House Style Say About You?” was written by Xavier De Buck, your top-producing Johannesburg real estate agent with the Luxury Portfolio team of Chas Everitt International Group. Xavier has been nationally recognized and awarded for providing service excellence, exceptional property sales, whilst exhibiting the highest level of professionalism. With over 15 years combined experience as a real estate agent and real estate investor, if you’re thinking of buying or selling luxury real estate in Johannesburg, Xavier would love to share his property knowledge and expertise.
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