How do you prefer to live? Do you take the time to treat yourself well at home? Do you do things in your home that make you happy and feel good? 

Last week, I had a conversation with a client about bringing rituals and ceremony into her home. 

She had read one of my articles and realized she wanted to bring her “signature” into her environment. 

To do this, she knew she had to better understand herself so that she could customize her personal space. 

As we talked about doing this, she discovered that better understanding herself in this context required an inventory of her preferences. 

It was about identifying her habits and things that give her comfort and connect her to her surroundings. 

Of course, her favorite things are very different from yours and mine, and that's what makes this exercise special.

If you want to do the same thing, you have to get in touch with your inner self to determine what you want to express in your most personal spaces. 

This type of connection with the self is accomplished by repetition, when you do the same one thing every day and look forward to it. The habits and preferences you practice in your space are what personalize them. What you do can be peaceful and serene, or fun and exciting. Here are a few examples of what I’m referring to:

Your kitchen can be a quiet place in the early hours before anyone else is awake. It’s where you have a cup of coffee in your special cup looking out into your garden or reading your emails. Perhaps it’s taking your vitamins with a crystal or “funky” wine glass. This all depends on how you design your preference for starting the day. 

Your bathroom can have candles around the tub for relaxation and meditation. You can have a special color toothbrush in a particular glass. Your night clothing can be hanging, waiting for you on a pretty hook. I have a glass that only matches my bedroom color (and doesn’t match anything else in the house), which I take to bed. This is where I take my evening vitamins that I keep on my bedside table in unique containers.

Any area of your home can contain your favorite things, whether pictures in beautiful frames, private collections, flowers in a vase, personal mementos or printed sayings.

For fun or whimsy, games you enjoy can have a dedicated area with a table designed in playful colors.

A ceremony is something you might do when you bring a new piece of furniture into your home — you can bless it and state the intention for it.

When creating personal spaces, all your senses come into play. You can surround yourself with your favorite fragrances, colors, textures, sounds and flavors. 

When you make yourself important enough to nurture yourself, you are creating healing. When this healing is experienced and is repeated, it becomes a habit.

As you make changes in your environment, remember this is your sacred space and refuge from the world. Be open to the possibilities. 

Look inside yourself — at the true “interior” design — to see what you would like in your surroundings and then make it happen once your vision is clear. 

Trust yourself and your choices. It takes a great deal of honesty to get what you need and want. 

Interior design is a creative process where there is no right or wrong. If it feels right, it is right! JN


Barbara Kaplan, IFDA and Allied ASID, is a Phoenix-based interior designer and the CEO of Barbara’s Picks, an online resource for interior design. For more information, visit

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