Identifying themes

I'm beginning to sense a theme in my inspiration pictures for our living room. Take these two photos for example:

One of the first things I ask my clients to do is send me inspiration images that convey their style (or if they aren't internet fiends like us and don't have a photo stockpile, I send them to the bookstore to buy some shelter magazines and leaf through them). Visuals speak really loudly, especially when people have trouble articulating their style. Even if someone didn't describe their style as "High contrast neutral mid century modern with a English traditional  twist" but showed me these two pictures, I could suss out their style pretty fast. Even faster than if they used that phrase, actually!

For instance, both rooms have somewhat masculine black and while (high contrast) rugs and traditional English rolled-arm sofas. Both rooms feature a fairly neutral-based color palette and light walls. They both have interesting accent chairs. The first room's chair is much more traditional and feminine, of course, but also features natural wood on the arms and legs that you see in the second room's desk and table. Both have large items framed and a large piece of furniture to balance the sofa (a daybed in the first, the desk in the second). In general, both rooms are un-fussy with minimal accesorizing. Even though the desk in the second room features a pottery collection, the pieces are monochromatic and don't have a lot of visual bulk and instead lighten up the desk.

What I would do: After taking this basic formula of striped rug, English rolled arm sofa, interesting accent chair, coffee table with simple lines, one large piece (depending on the needs of the space, but I always love a daybed), and painting the walls a light color, I'd add my own twist. I'd bring in a very modern cocktail sized side table, maybe in ceramic or lucite or glass. I'd do a funkier fabric on the throw pillows. I'd bring in a luxe drape similar to the first room, but maybe slate gray. I'd add a shot of red somewhere (maybe in a lamp?) and I'd add a vintage chandelier.

Of course, as I'm using this inspiration for my own home this time and we have several existing pieces that don't fit this formula but must stay, I'll be doing my own less literal interpretation but trying to evoke a similar calm vibe.

Do you know what inspiration images you'd hand over if someone asked you for examples of your style? If not, spend some time looking for some. Spotting themes that appear may help guide your room's design come together in no time.

Photos from Carmina Baygual spotted on 79 Ideas, and Lonny.