I've been trying to expand a bit when it comes to decorating my sims houses. Design preferences have come and gone and have come back again to Apple Valley. Originally based on Simmerville's system, it has been modified for Apple Valley residents.
I now use a combination of my sims' favorite color and their two design styles randomly (or not randomly) chosen from ten options.
The design styles that I use in my hood are: Coastal, Contemporary, Cottage, Country, Eclectic, Exotic, Modern, Rustic, Traditional and Vintage.
Each design style has a few different key words to help me visualize a sim's preference.
A Vintage design style can mean anything from Mid-Century Modern, Hollywood Glam, 1950's Simplicity, Art Deco to Retro 1970's.
A Country design style design style can mean anything from Wine Country, Southwestern, to...well, Country.
An Exotic design style can mean anything from Tropical, Asian, Ethnic, Moroccan or something evoking that sim's cultural background.
A Traditional design style can mean anything from Classic, Arts & Crafts to Colonial.
A Rustic design style can mean anything from Western to Mountain Lodge.
A Coastal design style can mean anything from Nantucket to Mediterranean and all the coasts in between.
A Modern design style, besides Modern and Minimalist can also mean Zen.
A Cottage design style can mean anything from French, Shabby Chic to English Country.
A Eclectic means anything goes and can also mean Bohemian
A Contemporary design style is comfortable and welcoming without being cluttered and dark.
Sometimes I am able to use some of my sim's traits and One True Hobby (OTH) to assign design styles. I don't do this as often as I find that design styles and personality often don't match and I prefer the more randomness of rolling a design preference.
Personality & Design
My neat sims are more likely to like modern or contemporary styles thanks to the clutter free aspect. If they like exotic, then it will be more of a clean zen style.
My serious sims tend to prefer a traditional style.
OTHs & Design
My nature loving sims are more likely to like rustic, cottage or country styles with their natural and organic cues.
My tinkering sims are more likely to like modern styles with lots of metals and glass.
By looking at a sim's favorite color and two design traits, I consider their background and why they have those design traits (besides the fact that it was randomly rolled). My database is allowed to roll the same trait twice, ie Cottage, Cottage. To me, this signals that the sim's design style is pure 100% Cottage.
A Few Examples of This is Action
You might remember, Jane Smith from my previous post on traits and personality. Jane was assigned Modern & Exotic as her design styles. This gives me three keywords to work with when designing her first apartment: Yellow, Modern, Exotic. Due to her earlier travels around the world as an animal linguist, she collected a lot of souvenirs for her apartment. Considering that she's very neat, she hates clutter and prefers a minimalist style. In fact, it was during a trip to Kimikura that she fell in love with the zen-like design and has tried to incorporate it into her apartment.
John Doe lives across the hall from Jane Smith. His design preferences are Grey, Modern, Rustic. He moved with his father to the city as a teen after spending his childhood with his mother in the country, hence his combination of sleek modern with touches of rustic elements to remind him of home.
Designing for single sims is easy, but once you have two or more sims together, then it gets complicated.
The Doe Family: John, Jane, Jack and Jill
Of course, John and Jane eventually bumped into each other at the mailbox and it was love at first sight. Three months later they were married and eight months later they delivered their extra wedding guests twins, Jack and Jill. Their design traits are Jack: Black, Rustic, Vintage. Jill: Brown, Contemporary, Coastal. This gives me a total of 10 design preferences: Yellow, Grey, Black & Brown; Modern, Rustic, Vintage, Contemporary, Exotic, Coastal.
The family must compromise in the living area of their home. Since the John and Jane pay the bills, the living area is mostly a combination of their styles, but a few touches from the teens can be found as well.
If you decide to try this out in your game, let me know how it works for you.
PS: If you want to take a fun little design quiz yourself, head over to Sproost.