Before I wrote In the Spirit of Home, I never really looked at home design as a form of magic. Pillows are pillows, right? And a sofa is just a sofa. But digging deep into the finer details of what makes a home tick from the inside out and on microcosmic levels, I began to see the shimmering threads that connected everything together.
Making a home a truly personal space involves more than meets the eye, and there are many layers that work together to make a home nurturing, peaceful, healthy, and inspiring. I have been "making rooms pretty" since I was a kid, and have spent many hours telling people what's wrong with their spaces.
Then I started to notice more and more the things that were right.
I could suddenly pinpoint what it was that felt good about a room and began my work from there. Whether it is well-placed furniture, good lighting, heartfelt treasures, or the perfect cozy chair by a comforting fire, sometimes things just work on levels we cannot see, but feel. This is where I want you to start when you decide it's time to give your home a little rejuvenation. Of course, it's beautiful when your home looks good, but how is it going to feel, and how is it going to nurture your mind, body, and spirit?
Why You Should Care How Your Home Feels
You spend an awful lot of time in your home to not care about how it feels to be there. Do you enjoy being in the kitchen? Does it inspire you to prepare food? How about your bedroom? Is it sincerely the place you feel you can rest every night, or does the clutter and dirty laundry and kid's toys and electronics make you too anxious to go to bed? You may instantly know the cause of unease or restlessness in your home, but many people do not.
Here are some easy ways to spot those problem areas in your home and find simple, long-lasting solutions that support your current self.
- Start with the basics.
Behind many uncomfortable rooms and spaces lies a heap of stuff that has travelled with you through time. This baggage can take many forms: old clothing that doesn't fit, items from past relationships that once made you smile but now dredge up less than joyful memories, boxes of kid's toys from 15 years ago, or maybe even a broken toaster. Make space clearing your top priority by donating or tossing out whatever you have outlived or outgrown, or anything that no longer brings you peace and joy. Believe it or not, physical items affect us on deeply psychological levels by what we attach to them. Be honest about what you're holding onto and let it go if it needs to go.
Space clearing also means tackling those unwanted energetic patterns that might be hanging onto the walls. Burning herbs is an age-old tradition used to clear negativity and allow new energies to flow through. To make the most impact with clearing away the unseen "stuff" in your home, make sure to flex your visualization muscles and be clear as to what you want to achieve.
- Assess your space.
This is one of my favorite parts of the design/re-decorating process, and the one that gets you the most involved in actively creating new spaces.
When you have successfully cleared out the old, take an honest look at the space you live in before you start shopping for new things or repurposing loved belongings. I have known many people over the years determined to keep walls in disrepair or in desperate need of a paint job. There are also those who insist on keeping furniture that doesn't fit the room it occupies, or neglecting the need for proper lighting.
In order to make the most of your space—no matter its size, shape, geographic location, or Feng Shui orientation—make sure you know the requirements of the space first. Large rooms need large furniture to make space work and create a sense of comfortable living. Small rooms need small furniture to maximize the flow of energy through tiny areas and tight corners.
You should also take advantage of windows and views. If you can see something pretty outside a window, make that your orientation. Avoid blocking windows with furniture (unless you are trying to hide) and keep entryways clear of objects that might hinder ease of access. Make a habit of walking around your rooms while placing furniture and see how effortless or death-defying your space actually is. Sometimes a floorplan looks good on paper, but when the family piles into its daily routine you might find that extra wide ottoman trips people up on the way to the television.
- Take it personally
When you get comfortable that you have successfully cleared your home or room and assessed the space for awkwardness, weirdness, or other such insufficiencies, its time to tackle the important task of ensuring that whatever new items you add are working to refresh your world and not throw you back to square one. Because you are decorating and designing in the present time and no longer living in the past, you might be pleasantly surprised at just what colour schemes, objects, textiles, or art looks good to you now. Maybe your home is still stuck somewhere back in your gothic stage and you suddenly discover yourself drawn to bright colours or soft pastels. Perhaps you have developed an affinity for chic Boho décor or lots and lots of plants, or find the irresistible urge to snatch up that painting of a smiling llama. If you are purchasing anything new, follow these intuitive and playful bursts of inspiration. They reflect a YOU that maybe you didn't even know about.
But, you don't need to go out and buy new things to make your home your perfect haven. You may already be surrounded with the things you love. Sometimes all we need to get energy flowing and moving in the right direction is a little change, or maybe a BIG one. But the change is the magic, and you have the power to create and alter your personal space to be whatever it needs to be right now. And remember, there is no wrong way to decorate a home. There is only your way.
I wish you all a happy home and haven.