Defining personal style can be a daunting task. As an interior designer, I am often faced with clients who don't know where to start. Here are three basic tips to help you get started.

1. Begin with choosing one of these four styles.

(I believe that nearly everyone's style falls into one of these categories.)

• Country chic

• Contemporary

• Modern

• Global

2. After identifying your basic design category, it is time to narrow it down and define your style more specifically.

Pick one signature piece that you feel defines you most. It can be an area rug with a big, bold graphic pattern, a fabulous piece of artwork or a gorgeous chandelier. Whatever piece you choose will serve as the anchor for the room and help to fill in the rest of the blanks of your decor.

3. Purchase large pieces first, then accessorize.

Once you have selected the signature piece you feel best represents your personal style — and that will serve as your inspiration — from there choose your largest pieces, then your accessories. Remember, your furniture enhances the space, and the accessories enhance the furniture.

Cathy Hobbs is an interior design and home-staging expert with offices in New York City, Boston and Washington, D.C.