How to use Pinterest to better understand your personal style

@psstudio's guide to using PInterest to understand your personal style by @psstudio

Don’t you love a good how-to? Today it’s all about how to use Pinterest to better understand your personal style. As a designer and (obviously) a highly visual person, Pinterest is one of the best tools I have to keep me organized. Lots of people like to gripe about how Pinterest makes them feel bad about themselves, like they’re not adding up in some way. But that’s not how I view it. I use it for a couple of different purposes, and I think it might be helpful to you too!


In the beginning, I stuck with Pinterest’s main recommended boards – for the home, shopping bag, etc. But quickly those began to feel highly disorganized and not really enough to me. Ideas were getting lost. In the past year, I’ve restructured my boards like this: Pencil Shavings Studio-related items and most popular boards at the top, where they’re most visible. From there, I broke it down into the following categories: Style, Decor (specific items also then broken down into categories), Interiors (specific rooms such as dining rooms, living rooms, kitchens), Holidays, Seasonal Style, and Miscellaneous. I created “blank” boards as visual placeholders since I felt it was really easy to feel overwhelmed by all the options. Now I’m better at going straight to the board I’m looking for.

@psstudio Pro Pinterest tips to keep boards organized into sections


Having organized boards leads me to better understanding what I’m inspired by. I realized I was starting to pin a lot of white rooms when we re-did our family room/kitchen and it didn’t occur to me until I started to analyze why I was pinning certain items.  It’s definitely a great way to keep track of bookmarks, and much more reliable than just adding it to my bookmark bar in my browser as I can access it at any point from my phone, particularly handy when I’m out shopping and need to find information on the fly.


Pinterest is one of the ways I stay inspired for decor and home projects, but also to help me understand and hone my own personal style as well as creating the Pencil Shavings Studio girl (the ideal client I want to design for). Here’s how to do that: I begin by pinning things that give me a knee-jerk reaction without giving it too much thought to begin with. Any time I work with a client on a branding project, I always ask for them to put together a Pinterest board of inspiration. Together we sit down and talk about why that particular image was important. How did it make you feel? What do you love most about it?

From there, I can better understand what it is about a certain look that really sings to me. It also helps me pare down to the elements of my style that are absolutely essential (hello stripe and color boards) and filter out the things that aren’t so important.


That’s not to say that all pins are set in stone, though. I find it helpful to go back from time to time and edit my pins, much like I edit my own home and closet. Things that are no longer relevant or fit my style anymore get tossed. Oh, and maybe my biggest money saver is my “In My Shopping Bag” board. I’m amazed at how many things I’ve pinned there as I contemplate a purchase that I’m glad I never wasted the money on. 🙂

Additionally, go through the different accounts you follow, and unfollow the ones that don’t feel like a good fit anymore. I’m trying to clean up both my Instagram and Pinterest follows so that I’m maximizing the amount of inspiration I get in a smaller amount of time. (But don’t get me started on the way Pinterest has started their new Smart Feed – I hate that I don’t see all the accounts I follow anymore. Just goes to show that social media changes over time — so enjoy Instagram while it’s good and unspoiled! I’m willing to bet big bucks that it’ll change one of these days to resemble Facebook. GRRR.)

Finally, are you looking for fresh inspiration? Look at who your favorite pinners follow – you’ll fall down the rabbit hole of fresh inspiration and find some really amazing new accounts!

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  • TheNewDiplomatsWife

    love your pins for the dose of color i seem to never get on my own but agree on the smart feed. (and why does my smart feed show me things i’ve already pinned or things that seem to have nothing to do with what i’ve pinned???) when you follow someone for a specific look, it helps to look them up from time to time to get that full view or theme that you were hoping for.

    • YES – I’ve been going back and viewing all pins for specific users. Which is a huge pain in the butt. It just goes to show that all social media really does have a good shelf life of 7 years before it all goes to pot. ::sobs::

  • I love what you said about personal branding. When I had to make some changes on my logo, I mag a special board for the graphic designer I worked with. Than we had a long phone talk, when I told her why each pin was chosen. This was she could work faster and totally meet my needs. I love your pinterest account!

    • Thank you! Yes, it’s the perfect tool when working with a designer so everybody can be on the same visual page. Words like “modern” just don’t really mean the same thing to everyone, you know?

  • I used to love Pinterest, but the new smart feed is AWFUL! Great idea about using blank boards to help categorize things, I’m totally borrowing that idea when I (someday) get around to organizing my boards!