Home Design Furniture

For a contemporary look, stain or paint woods in light or metallic colors.

A friend of mine emailed me an article entitled, “How to Stay Young.” In it the unknown writer says, “Surround yourself with what you love, whether it’s family, pets, keepsakes, music, plants, and hobbies, whatever. Your home is your refuge.” At the end he adds, “Life is not measured by the breaths we take, but by the moments that take our breath away.”

I was moved by that and couldn’t help but think how we have an opportunity to make this happen every day — surrounding ourselves with what we love. It’s in our home where this comes together and can be expressed. Once we decide what makes us happy, we can make it happen. It is the only place we have that kind of control.

The things we allow into our homes, our most personal spaces, are intimate, healing and revealing. These are the possessions that speak to us consciously and unconsciously. This is one of the reasons you hear so much about decluttering, which allows us to breathe. So many of us live with items that have no meaning to us, yet we hold on to them for reasons we excuse.

When I first meet my clients they often tell me about their ideas of what they think they should do. My tendency is to ask if money were no object and nothing else had to be considered, what would you do? What is your ideal style of living? Many of us live someone else’s expression because we just haven’t taken the time and thought to find our own.

This opens a whole new world. This change in thinking generally results in a different outcome. We hold ourselves back from what we really want because we think we can’t have it. However, when we talk it out, things change. This leads us into a new way of thinking and gives us the opportunity to think outside the box. When you do, amazing things can happen.

As an example, a client came to me not knowing how she wanted her new home to be decorated. She was feeling overwhelmed by all the decisions she had to make, knowing she had to live with the outcome for a long time. 

She wasn’t sure what she wanted to live with. I encouraged her only to make decisions that were essential to moving into the house and wait several months until she was ready to decide how to move forward. After all, her new environment would be filled with things she hadn’t experienced before.

Next, we discussed the things she was sure about — the things that would satisfy her senses. I asked her the following questions, which you can ask yourself under similar circumstances:

• Which colors are you attracted to? Think about what you like and don’t like.

• Which furniture styles do you enjoy — traditional, retro, Southwest, contemporary, etc.?

• Which type of wood do you prefer — light or dark color, light or heavy grain, laminate or lacquer? 

• Which metals and finishes do you prefer — chrome, brass, copper? Shiny or matte?

• What type of window coverings serve your needs?

• Which floor surfaces do you prefer — hard or soft?

• What sounds are important to you — bubbling water from a fountain or music?

• What variety of textures do you desire in fabrics?

These are some of the details that help you feel your spirit in your home, your refuge. When you decide these things, you’ll create an environment that takes your breath away.

And remember to think holistically, because rooms have no feelings, you do! JN

Barbara Kaplan, IFDA and Allied ASID, is a Phoenix-based holistic interior design consultant and the founder of Barbara’s Picks, an online resource for the best of the best design and lifestyle resources. Visit barbaraspicks.com for more information.

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