Often we look at the outer shells of our spaces as places to just arrive into and escape the outside world for awhile. We stash our stuff, eat , sleep and do all the mundane utilitarian things we are bound to do. We can of course condense our life down to a TV, refrigerator, bathroom and bed. Simplifying our lives does have merit. But I believe most of us have an innate desire to enrich our environments with design elements that make us feel unique, that tell a story about who we are up to now and who we strive to be.
Design elements work by engaging our senses of color, texture, sounds, smells. They can be subtle inferences or they can loudly announce our stand in this world. The entry in our home makes the first indication of what we are about. It is the transition into our world and makes a statement to outsiders that they are welcome to explore our fiefdom, or intruding into a distressed environment. Color can point the way to come on in as it transitions us into more spaces that flow in an interesting coordinated way or have similar pops. The textures can say this is a friendly place with touchable surfaces that draw you in – or too shiny and precious, off limits to fingerprints and possible scratches. Clutter is also “texture” because it makes a statement . It says “I assume you don’t mind stepping over the detritus of our life and I don’t care if you care…” or “We are stuck in a sea of overlapping disorder and no knowledge of what to do.”
The entry begins a procession into our domain and transitions us into where we relax, entertain, cook, and dine. Each space relates (or doesn’t) and speaks because of color, texture, proportions, smells and accessories. It says, “ Come and visit – we’ve prepared a comfy seating area for you. “ Or it says “Come and sit on the plastic covered couch – you can’t hurt it (or relax)”. Does the large screen tv have place of honor over the fireplace invading the home’s ambiance with its noise and vibration? It once was the fireplace that gave it’s warmth and light drawing people together in conversation
Does the perfectly set table for eight with its shiny mahogany surface and precious accessories say “Look what I have accumulated, please be careful.” Or does an evening of dining together echo back to our desire to give the guests time for enjoyment and relaxation? Have you ever noticed when entertaining at home, no matter how inviting the spaces outside the kitchen, people invariably want to gather as close to the cook as possible. We all relate to the sights and smells of food being prepared for us. This indicates the heart of the home – warmth and celebration in progress.
Décor comes down to subconscious messages we are sending through our senses and feelings. How we keep our spaces is the first part of our conversation with each other. It can set the message about the size someone’s ego, the delight they have in being a creative person, or how hard it is for another to free themselves from their anal compulsions with all their little accessories lined up to perfection and instead just open up to possibilities. Whether we realize it or not the shells of where we live are filled with ourselves no matter our lifestyle or address.