The Aesthetics Of Happiness: How Interior Design Affects Our Wellbeing
Interior design is no longer seen as a luxury reserved only for the wealthy. It has become a necessity for all of us who feel our homes are our sanctuaries where we find balance and strength.
As we become more invested in our wellbeing as a society, we’ve become fully aware that our health and happiness don’t only depend on how we treat our bodies and nurture our minds. Among all the physical, mental, and emotional factors that comprise wellness, we’ve learned that the environment we craft for ourselves plays a crucial role in nurturing our wellbeing on a daily basis. In this post, I’ll talk about why interior design is much more than creating comfortable spaces, and how we can approach it mindfully to help us build better lives.
A Profound form of Self-Expression
That feeling when you come back home after a long trip, drop your bags on the floor, and sweep a long look over the entire room – it’s complex and priceless, isn’t it? It’s a feeling of belonging, of being reconnected with an intimate part of yourself. And no matter how great and exciting your trip was, or if you’d wished to prolong it, or even if you think your home has too many faults, getting back to it is an intimate experience that helps you ground yourself. Because, after all, your home truly is an inherent part of you – a material manifestation of the bits and pieces of your identity.
In an educational video titled What Your Home Says About You, modern-day thinker, Alain de Botton, describes best why our homes present the anchor to our identity and why that consequently makes interior design a very meaningful process, saying:
“Our homes have a memorializing function, and what they are helping us to remember is, strangely enough, ourselves…The quest to build a home is connected up with a need to stabilize and organize our complex selves. It’s not enough to know who we are in our own minds. We need something more tangible, material and sensuous to pin down the diverse and intermittent aspects of our identities.”
So if you take too much time deciding on furniture, cutlery, or the ideal plants for your bedroom, don’t blame yourself for being indecisive. You’re looking for the details in them which will help you communicate parts of who you are – nostalgic, forward-thinking, spiritual, thoughtful, restless, serene, nature-loving, optimistic, and so on into infinity. This is a noble, albeit difficult pursuit.
The Quest to Better Ourselves
A part of our identity is not only who we are but who we seek to be, as an extension of our values, hopes, and dreams. By carefully constructing your living space and choosing the objects which belong, you’re subconsciously orchestrating the space to help you get closer to the concepts and qualities you’re drawn to and wish to find in yourself.
De Botton Explains this Eloquently in a Few Words:
“An object feels ‘right’ when it speaks attractively about qualities that we are drawn to, but don’t quite possess strong enough doses of in our lives day to day. The desirable object gives us a more secure hold on values that are present, yet fragile in ourselves; it endorses and encourages important themes in us.”
By being aware of this subconscious drive to align our objects with who we seek to be, we can create homes that not only reflect our will to better ourselves but help us in the journey. One of the most practical things you can do is appoint spaces that reinforce good habits – a meditation corner, a stretching station, a bedroom as a spiritual sanctuary, a beautifully decorated kitchen that inspires you to cook healthy meals. Keep in mind that what you choose to get rid of is also important – declutter your mind as you declutter your home and get in touch with your true values.
Channeling Positive Energy
You’re simply not the same if you spend days in a dingy and darkened room as opposed to living your days in bright, airy spaces. That’s evident, and on the surface, that’s what interior design is about – creating comfortable spaces that encourage positive feelings. On a deeper level, creating a conscious living space means being mindful of the energy flow within your home. You might reflect on the rules of feng shui to guide your interior design decisions, or you might follow your intuition, but either way, you need to closely observe and listen in. From finding the right places for crystals to choosing the right color palette for your walls to embracing natural materials, the objects you surround yourself with have the power to directly affect your emotions and your inner energy.
Very often, we feel the need for a change so we turn some furniture around. It’s a rejuvenating process, representative of a small new beginning. Or, the process of changing our homes could help us mentally prepare for the times ahead – such as when you set up a home office for the first time, prepare a nook for a new pet, or furnish a room as you anticipate a new family member. These are not just practical processes that have to be done to make a home functional for new circumstances, but they help us mentally prepare and welcome the change ahead. It’s where the very process of designing our interiors is an important part of finding inner peace and stability.
As we invest ourselves more into health and wellness, we’ve been investing more in our homes and personal spaces. Interior design and decoration have never been more popular. There are blogs, magazines, catalogs, enticing Instagram feeds and Pinterest boards, all dedicated to inspiring interiors. And it’s much more than a mere trend of the consumerist era. Our homes are inseparable from us, and we need to treat them with the love and mindfulness we should provide for ourselves too.
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