The above quote about refining your taste struck me, because I've actually learned a lot from you about refining taste in terms of clothing. You refined your taste over the years by trying different styles, makers, etc. You figured out what you like and what looks good on you, as opposed to what you thought you would like or what you thought would look good. You did this through practice, experimentation, etc. It took time and trial and error of just living in your clothes. You changed your coats from one button to 3-roll-2. You ditched a tiemaker for another. You found the One Shoe. These helped you refine your taste. I enjoyed observing the process and learned a lot from it.
You haven't lived in this new apartment very long, but it appears to be almost completely designed. You lived with your clothes. Live in your apartment. You will find quirks about where the light comes through the window, and that will affect what type of lamp you want. You will find yourself taking a certain path to the bathroom, but always having to angle your body around the table that was seemingly perfectly placed in the mock-up. You will want to throw your coat on a hook that is hung in a different place than you did in your last place. Live in your apartment, like you lived in your clothes.
You can learn a lot researching rugs on the internet, but it can't truly refine your taste. I also did a ton of research on rugs before I bought one for the living room in my first house. I found what I thought was the perfect rug. It fit my aesthetic. It was made of high quality, natural materials. It was even made in Georgia, which I thought was good, because it meant a) I was buying American and b) the rug was made in the state where I grew-up. Maybe silly, but not insignificant to me. Anyways, the damn thing hasn't stopped shedding for nearly three years. It drives me insane to constantly be vacuuming. I vacuum so much that I wind-up leaving the vacuum out a lot. Now that I've lived with the rug, the shedding is ugly. The vacuum always visible is ugly. All the damn internet research, but it took me living in my house to figure out the rug was not tasteful.
You can research as much as you want on any subject: wine, cameras, etc., but it's not just about learning. You acquire taste with actual experience. While you may have a lot of knowledge about design and some practical experience with furniture, you don't have the experience with this new setting. That's not your fault. It just takes time.
At the end of the day, I think your place looks very nice, and I think you have good taste. However, it seems that you need to experience living in your home, not just have a good eye for nice looking things and doing some online research, before knowing what will be tasteful in your home.
Edited by zbromer - 8/31/13 at 4:57am