In the long hours dwelling in your home during this pandemic, have you noticed the details of your home interior?
The carpet and furniture of differing material suddenly mismatching. How these and the furniture clash unattractively with the colour of the walls. The furniture being inharmonious with the flow of the space, perhaps.
As it turns out, the thoughtfulness given to interior design can drastically impact one’s mental well-being when immersed in that architectural space. It must feel like a safe protection from all the ills of the outside world.
Karol, a financial lawyer living in Boston, has been documenting her interior design journey since October. But when she and her husband bought their home, the style with which they were to decorate it was difficult to settle on.
“I’m not an interior designer but I came across [Instagram] pages like Athena Calderon. She uses a lot of Vintage pieces, maybe mid-century pieces. And my husband and I, luckily, we have very similar tastes, so that wasn’t an issue.”
Both Karol and her husband have a taste for fashion and see interior design as an extension of this taste in fabric design. She has been living in the US for 19 years but only worked as a financial lawyer for nine of those. According to her job atmosphere and Boston’s fashion milieu, it is conservative and in hindsight she wasn’t really expressing herself with fashion. It was then that she realised it was beauty of the inner home that was the medium of her personality.
Her home design had not changed since they moved in but only evolved as time passed, all the furniture staying in their original places. “It took me a long time to figure out what design we were going for,” she says. “A lot of thought has gone into every single piece of furniture that we have gotten – probably took me two weeks just to pick out a dining table.” Patience and diligent research are key to ensuring that the home is a comfortable space. After all it is a personal retreat from the evolving world of noise where we can’t seem to keep up.
It just may seem that patience and research are what is needed because your interior design can have an impact on the occupant’s mental health. As Sarah Barnard writes in her article “Design for a healthy mind: Interior Design and Mental Health”, our psychological well-being is directly affected by our immediate environment and how one lives within this.
It isn’t the walls and the distance between them that constricts a room, she continues, but its improper selection and placement of furniture. And a cluttered environment with no creative and harmonious direction can drain energy levels and deflate mood. Freeing up your space allows for an organised feeling and induces better flow of movement.
Living in Boston and its building density swayed design choices as well, especially when it came to colour. “We live right in Boston and so the space is an issue”, Karol says. “we don’t want to feel crowded. We went for ‘less is more’.”
“For people, the meaning of ‘calm’ is different. For some calm means a lot of colour. I’m not saying that ‘calm’ has to be white and those earthy colours that I’m using but for me – and for us – that’s what ‘calm’ meant.” Working as a lawyer, taking care of two small kids and three dogs, the home urged the necessity to take the role of being a tranquil sanctuary.
Are there any mistakes that first time interior designers should avoid and to tip toe around unnecessary prolonged aesthetic suffering?
“I think maybe settling with something”, she states without hesitation. “You see this beautiful piece of furniture, but you can’t afford it. So, you look for something that is okay but it’s cheaper [rather] than getting this beautiful thing that you really want – I think this is a no-go for me because you will end up regretting it and have to live with it. If you can’t afford it now, save up or keep looking. Don’t settle.
If working from home is the norm for an extra few week, a major re-haul of the interior may not be necessary or realistic; but maybe a minor re-shuffle or a clean-up of the living room may help the work mood and boost your productivity.