Monday, May 9, 2011

“A home should be a reflection of the spirit that lives within.”

So much of our built world has a “generic” sense, neutrality that attempts to create a universal acceptance or likability. We often choose conventionality in order to make our spaces, our homes neutral enough or mainstream enough to be liked by all. But in that “play it safe” approach, we tend to create impersonal spaces that can lack character and personality…specifically—ours.

I am sure we have all walked through countless homes for sale, and have seen the “vanilla” building design. It is usually the “safe” beige color inside and out, with limited elements that would draw attention. The features follow current mainstream trends, and in that predictable design, the result can feel uninteresting and lacking in depth. There is a detached and somewhat stale feeling to the house that shows no sign of who lives within.

And truthfully, it seems to be unnatural. We should always have an impact on where we live, and in turn, it should have an impact on us. It should be representative of who we are, and should naturally reflect our personality. Whether it does so by displaying our tastes and aesthetic style, or by housing special images or mementos with personal significance to us, it should speak to us and create an environment that is both inviting and defining.So as you look around your home right now, does it speak to you? Does it feel like YOUR home, or could it just as well be anyone’s? Do you feel an emotional attachment to it?

There are so many unique ways to inject personality and life into a house, and in so doing to make it a home that speaks to you.

Pictures are powerful images that connect us to places and people that mean something to us. Surrounding ourselves with these images gives our home vivacity and depth. Whether you place them on a console table, the mantle, or fill a wall, use different frames that are similar in color. This gives variety while still feeling cohesive.

Visiting new lands can be exhilarating, educational, and enlightening. And bringing a part of that culture or land back to our homes is a way to maintain those memories. Why not take a wall and decorate it with colorful or antique framed maps of the places you have visited, or plan to visit? Or, create display cases of unusual objects, souvenirs, crafts, or art pieces that have personal meaning from diverse travels.

Kids artwork, no matter how “artistic” always holds significant feelings and memories for us. Rather than storing them all in a box high up in the garage, why not devote a wall to kids paintings over the years? You can help to unify the different frames by painting a “panel” in a unique color as a backdrop for them; for example ,a light slate blue wall, or sage green with black frames of various artwork. They will feel unified, while maintaining a playful aesthetic.

So today when you walk into your home, take stock…look around. Does it reach up to greet you? Do you feel your personality embedded within? Allow your home to surround you with the kind of comfort we get when we are with someone who truly knows us. Let your home reflect the spirit that lives within.

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