By Jackie White
Lately, many of us have been spending a lot of time at home. That got me thinking about how our home affects our lives. We get to choose the environment in which we live, but are we making it really conducive to being a soft place to fall at the end of the day?
Environments have a lot to do with our mood and state of being. Color, texture, decor, personalization and the level of clutter in your space can all affect you either positively or negatively. As we work to live our best lives, considering your living space as a huge influence is one thing many of us tend to forget. Survey the walls that surround you and see if they make you feel comfortable and really at home.
Have you ever walked into someone’s house and felt that it was sterile and impersonal? The four white walls are screaming for something? There is not a picture or photo to be found only hollow empty space. Then, there are the homes that evoke a feeling that is instantly comfortable? Those houses are best described as homes that feel cozy, and you feel right at home. What’s the difference in these spaces? It is utilizing design principles to showcase your authentic self. That may sound daunting, but it really is not. The psychological effects are significant and ultimately beneficial to your quality of life.
The Design Principles that Can Change Your Space from Blah to Ahhhh
All aspects of your environment are important to assess to transform your space into a home. It’s everything from the colors to the textures to the decor to the clutter level that attribute to your level of comfort.
Certain colors and textures can evoke either feelings of comfort or discomfort. For example, many fast food restaurants use red, orange or yellow in their interiors for very specific reasons. Red stimulates appetite while orange and yellow encourage you to move on quickly because they are unsettling colors. Lately, McDonalds may have ditched these bright interior colors but now have replaced them with very hard uncomfortable seating, and the interiors are cold and unwelcoming. That is for a reason, to encourage fast customer turnaround and not staking out a spot for hours at a time. Think of places like Starbucks, where people do tend to sit for hours. The interiors are welcoming, albeit the seating is not overly comfortable, it still offers a place to hang out.
In homes, colors that are warm and inviting tend to be the most welcoming. A warm mustard or butterscotch, soothing greens or dark red can make a space feel warm. Grey and blue may not seem like obvious choices, but using the right tone can bring about a calmness to a space. Some choose lots of color because it brings them joy and that too is an excellent option. Decide on the mood you want to evoke and choose a color that stimulates that sense.
Adding texture with fibers, pillows, fabrics, rugs, greenery or window treatments bring a space to life with dimension and comfort. Greenery, whether it is real or not, lends life to a space. It can brighten up a dull corner or add a pop of color. Textures can be swapped out, and you can change the mood of your room very easily. Many forget that textures are a great finish to a room.
Does your home contain photos and decor that help tell your story? Does it feel personalized, or does it feel void of personality? If your rooms look empty or sparse, add some personal touches to define your space as yours. our space may be perfectly decorated as if you bought up everything from Hobby Lobby and placed it around your house. Again, you might want to add a few personal touches. Adding your personal favorites to your spaces makes you feel like it’s your home. Maybe there is a quote that describes the life you want to live; that would be a great addition to your space. It could be a picture your child drew for you that makes you smile every time you see it. Then, frame that special piece of happiness and enjoy it! When you add touches like this, your home becomes a reflection of you and your personality. You will feel most authentic in a space that fits who you are.
Clutter is a huge downer when it comes to how it affects your mood. Think of clutter as a blockage to your comfort. It creates more work for you and can even stifle your creativity! Clutter may be an indication that your life may be falling off the track a bit. Nothing will ever be balanced completely, but if you don’t have time to attend to your clutter, that mights hould indicate to you that something has to shift. You need to change up your time so you can handle the clutter or, perhaps, you can delegate or hire out help to manage it.
Clutter can also be a sign that you are withdrawing and walling yourself in, quite literally. If that scenario makes sense to you, you may want to seek professional help in managing your state of being. Ultimately, clearing clutter will make you feel more relaxed and in control. One final note about clutter, if you are obsessive about cleaning and clutter, that too can be detrimental. Finding a level of acceptability is important for yourself. Having children usually means clutter and messes. You cannot constantly clean and declutter with children. There are seasons of life and being in the trenches caring for kids is a time when you have to cut yourself some slack and live in an acceptable level of clutter.
Have the Courage to Make Your Space Yours
When you apply certain design basics to a home you can totally change your environment from one where you survive, to one where you thrive. For some of you, the only ingredient now that stands between you and living in a space that feels at home could be the courage to the make the change.
Many people do not attend to creating a space they love because they are afraid to commit to a color or style. They are afraid their choices might not be the best. For help in that area, check out Pinterest for zillions of ideas. Also, realize that paint can always be changed, and you can always buy a sample or two to try before totally committing.
A Word About Cost
Cost may deter you as well, but take it from me, thrift shops are filled with great treasures that can instantly lend a homey feel to your space. There is no need to buy high-end expensive items. In fact, many thrift shop finds are the absolute best touch to making a space feel lived in and not sterile.
Your Space - Your Home
Make it a priority to define your space as a place where you do feel comfortable and safe. As you make choices to live your best life, consider living in a home that is defined as authentically as you.
Erika Fehrenbach Prell is passionate about inspiring and educating, others on their path to complete wellness-mind,body, and soul. This desire led Erika to the helping profession of nursing, and she obtained her Master's Degree as a Nurse Practitioner in 2007. Erika specialized in cardiac surgery, largely influenced by her personal experience with heart disease. While she loved working with this population, her heart's desire has always been to impact lives on a larger scale and from a proactive, not reactive, place. The universe answered when her path crossed with Jackie and SoulShine was born. Erika finally feels she is walking in her purpose and is excited for this journey to unfold.