Feel-Good Design For Your Home

By Paige Baxter and Annie Tobey | April 21st, 2017

Using color, light and organization to enhance the peaceful feeling in your haven

Feel-Good Home Design

Challenges abound when navigating public spaces – job stress, traffic, expectations in volunteer work and social organizations, and other daily pressures big and small. Leave the challenges at the door when you come home by creating a haven that renews and refreshes.

Brighten Your Space

Color and light help set the tone

Imagine a room that lightens your mood with splashes of colors on walls, pillows or curtains. Vibrant shades of yellow and orange can evoke feelings of happiness and vitality, while hues of blue and lavender can provide a calming effect.

All photographs by Tony Giammarino

Light influences our mood, too. Research has demonstrated that natural light helps us to be happier and healthier as well as more productive and alert. In the winter, natural light helps combat the seasonal blues.

The color of home

When April Straus’ husband died, she and their kids knew they needed to lift the mood in their Richmond home. As an interior designer, home stager and principal broker of the concierge real estate and renovation firm Bobby + April, she used her training to achieve her goals.

“I wanted to make it as happy a place as possible,” she explains.

She painted over the gray walls with strong, vibrant and bright colors, including orange, purple, blue and green, to create a more cheery place for her family.

Straus recommends that homeowners pick colors that match their own tastes. Don’t be afraid of what colors you may be drawn to, she suggests – after all, it’s only paint. “Nobody can tell you what feels warm to you,” Straus says.

She also suggests adding texture to the walls with different finishes of paint, which pick up natural light differently, modifying the mood.

If you’re unable to splash color onto your walls, consider buying colorful pillows, curtains and accessories. Those decorations can add a fun element, too, Straus suggests.

Color and light contribute to a room’s mood – and, by extension, to yours. How do you want your rooms to make you feel?

The Stuff of Everyday Life

Decluttering and organizing for a feel-good space

Remember the 1990s commercial in which a family, surrounded by clutter, declared in chorus, “What are we going to do with all this stuff?” After acquiring a plethora of Rubbermaid storage solutions, they declared, “Hey, we need more stuff!” Or as George Carlin put it, “That’s all your house is – it’s a place to keep your stuff while you go out and get more stuff.”

For many of us, too much “stuff” can negatively affect our lives. Clutter can weigh us down, from the emotional stress of a messy space, time wasted searching for things or the baggage that comes from hanging on to items that don’t evoke joy.

Japanese clutter expert Marie Kondo has created the KonMari method for cleaning one’s life of unnecessary clutter (as summed up in her books, including The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up), from clothing to papers and memorabilia.

Sara Bereika, owner and partner of Abundance Organizing, says that purging excess possessions can range from tidying up a junk drawer to removing large pieces of worn furniture.

Even after a thorough purge, though, stuff remains. By creating useful spaces for organization, you can cleanse your living areas and ensure that your space is your refuge.

Bereika suggests making sure everything in the home has a place to go and that all family members are aware of the storage system.She also recommends specific ways to add storage for more efficient organizing.

For older homes with fewer storage options, she suggests installing shelving or cubbies in closets, using pocket organizers on the back of doors in the kitchen for items like spices and lids or in bathrooms for toiletries and linens. Dual-purpose pieces make easy storage expanders: an ottoman with a lid, couches with storage under the cushions, or side tables and coffee tables with drawers.

“Little things like that can make a difference,” Bereika says.

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