Designing Your Home with Love and Appreciation


In light of the New Year and the likelihood that improvements to your home are on your list of resolutions, I offer that starting from a place of love and appreciation rather than disappointment and disgust will give a better perspective. Loathing or resenting what we feel we can’t change flows freely when thinking about our homes. We often forget to see our home as a vital part of our support network. Similar to when you make changes and improvements to yourself, success is more likely when you approach your goals from a place of reward rather than punishment.

Many years ago when I quit smoking after numerous failures, it was a shift in how I thought about it that finally worked. Rather than focusing my mind on the loss of my beloved habit (and I did love it),  I focused on what I was gaining. For example; social acceptance by not having to stand outside the party shivering and freezing in my platform shoes while I watched the merriment through the window, more money for more platform shoes and oh yes, better health.

When we first meet our clients we always ask them to identify what they love about their home and what they like in general as far as décor goes. They often falter and struggle with these questions. Many say they would rather show us what they don’t like. They find this easier and believe that as design professionals we should be able to extrapolate what they like from what they don’t. It is assumed that from this negative view we would make their home look beautiful and work beautifully thus making them happy in their home.

Screen shot 2015-01-19 at 7.28.52 PMNeuropsychologist, and New York Times best-selling author Rick Hanson’s latest book Hardwiring Happiness: The New Brain Science of Contentment, Calm, and Confidence tells us our brain has a bias to the negative and to some extent this might explain it.  The same research shows that redirecting our brains to recall positive experiences can rewire how we think. I believe the thoughts we apply to our homes can be shifted using the same methods used to change how we think about health, relationships, work and other important happiness issues.

As interior designers we create beautiful spaces. The flow of this process  and the outcomes are enhanced by the mindset of the client. When we  guide people in this way they discover the things they love about their homes, but most important, they are able to identify how they want to feel in their homes. No matter what the scope of the project, knowing our clients and their desires for “living” in their home is the foundation to our design work and planning

Screen shot 2015-01-19 at 7.30.02 PMShining a positive light on what works, what you love and how you want to feel at home creates a healthy contrast to what doesn’t work for you and what needs to change. Planning for changes from this point of view becomes an act of love and kindness to you and your home. Then we can take it from there.

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