I Like It! Discovering Your Personal Style

By Cooper-Hewitt National Design Museum, October 5, 2006

Grade Level

  • Middle School


  • Other

Subject Area

  • Arts
  • Language Arts

Lesson Time

One or two 50 minute class periods


This activity is designed to help students become aware of the wide range of design styles and choices in everyday living. Students will explore their personal preferences as they investigate different interior design styles, including, but not limited to, Arts and Crafts, Asian, Southwestern, Eclectic, English Country, Cottage and Contemporary. They will conduct research and create collaborative classroom presentations.

National Standards

Standard 1. Level III. Uses the general skills and strategies of the writing process 5. Uses content, style, and structure (e.g., formal or informal language, genre, organization) appropriate for specific audiences (e.g., public, private) and purposes (e.g., to entertain, to influence, to inform)
Reading Standard 7. Level III. Uses reading skills and strategies to understand and interpret a variety of informational texts 1. Uses reading skills and strategies to understand a variety of informational texts (e.g., electronic texts; textbooks; biographical sketches; directions; essays; primary source historical documents, including letters and diaries; print media, including editorials, news stories, periodicals, and magazines; consumer, workplace, and public documents, including catalogs, technical directions, procedures, and bus routes)
Listening & Speaking


Students will do the following:
  • respond to writing prompts
  • conduct Internet research
  • compare, contrast, and analyze diverse sources of information
  • create a class presentation


  • Interior design Internet websites
  • "Design Styles" handout


  • computer with Internet access
  • drawing or construction paper
  • interior design and style magazines
  • markers, crayons, pencils
  • stapler, scissors, glue


Building Background Personal Preferences

The purpose of this activity is to help students reflect on different aspects of their personal taste and style preferences. 1. Ask your students to respond in writing to the following prompts:
  • What is your favorite color?
  • What is your favorite sound?
  • What is your favorite texture?
  • If you were buying a new couch, what material would it be made from? (leather, chenille, cotton, etc.)
  • Describe your favorite room in your house.
  • What color combinations are your favorites?
  • Describe the most beautiful room that you have ever seen.
2. Ask your students to choose three of their favorite colors and write down the words that describe the moods and feelings that their color choices evoke. 3. Have the students bring in a picture of a room that they like. It can be any room in a house. Ask students to volunteer to share their pictures, and describe what they like about their selected room.

Steps for Learning Style Explorations

The purpose of this activity is to help students explore a variety of design options and styles. 1. Divide the class into groups of three students. Give each group a copy of the "Design Styles" handout. 2. Create a classroom design exhibit that features students' presentations. Provide time for each group to present its work to the class. 3. Lead a class discussion about the different presentations, and what students liked, found helpful, and learned about the different interior design styles. 4. Ask students to respond to the following writing prompts:
  • What did you learn from this activity?
  • What surprised you the most?
  • What did you learn about your personal style preferences from this activity?


Create a class rubric with your students that will help them assess their presentations. Use the following guidelines to help create the rubric.-Rate how effectively you analyzed the varied information sources you used. Excellent             Good            Adequate            Poor-Rate the overall effectiveness of your presentation in explaining your selected style. Excellent             Good            Adequate            Poor-Rate your creativity. Excellent             Good            Adequate            Poor

Enrichment Extension Activities

Design a Room
Ask your students to design a room that reflects one of the design styles they researched in this activity. Have them create a floor plan and describe the colors, furniture, and accessories they would use in designing this room.

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