The messages your home sends to you and about you
YOUR home has the power to change your mood in an instant. The right environment calms, excites, relaxes or revives. It reminds us of who we are or who we want to be. On the flip-side, the wrong environment can drain us, make us feel anxious, depressed, uncomfortable or even ill.
It’s a relationship that few of us can put into words yet we know it exists. We feel it every time we walk through the front door. Architects have long understood the power of buildings to invoke a response.
They create spaces designed to communicate a message, whether it’s the soothing space of a hospital or the solemnity of a court room. Houses work in exactly the same way and we endlessly create, re-work and maintain our nests because as well as fulfilling our basic need for shelter, we want our homes to satisfy our emotional needs.
Unfortunately, we don’t always succeed. “Home” should say something about who we are. When we step into a room, we want it to reflect what’s important to us, to say something about where we’ve come from and where we’re going.
We want our houses to make us feel homely, comfortable and relaxed. We also want our home to reveal what we value about our family life, passions and pastimes.
So many houses miss the mark. So many houses just don’t feel “homely” and they say nothing about the people who live there. Interior design seems so superficial but at the heart of good design is the power to change people’s lives for the better.
When it comes to happiness, buildings matter. But what can we practically do to change the spaces we already live in? With the right know-how, we can create an environment that uplifts, supports, nurtures and enhances our lives. Just follow some basic rules:
1. Make yourself comfortable. It might seem obvious but comfort can often be lost in the pursuit of creating a dream interior. Ask yourself how comfortable you are in each room – does the furniture make you feel supported, rested or cushioned? Is the lighting and heating adequate? What about unwanted draughts or noise? Tackle these elements first and you’ll soon improve the sensory elements and physical experience of being at home.
2. Create a space that works. There’s nothing more frustrating than a home where it takes lots of effort just to do the simple jobs. You need to ask yourself how useful is your home as it’s currently arranged? Is it working as a practical space to carry out your daily life? Consider de-cluttering and creating more storage. Look at your systems for washing clothes, recycling, making food etc.
3. Live with things you love. Real decoration is about associations, memories and personal taste. Make your home reflect who you are and represent what you hold dear. Express your ideals and creativity. Create collections and hang photographs of friends and family. Display the things that make you smile whether it’s your children’s artwork or a treasured heirloom.
4. Create character. Make friends with your home and celebrate its personality. Discover your home’s innate character by revealing its age, quirks and history. Make the most of any period quirks or architectural features.
5. Think beyond the threshold. People feel happiest about where they live when they feel connected to a wider community. To stop yourself feeling isolated, pluck up courage and make friends with the neighbours, get involved in community events or volunteer for a local scheme. Make the most of your local shop, library, church or playground – you’ll soon start seeing the same friendly faces.