If you’ve made a resolution or two this new year, you are not alone; better finances, improved health and more happiness seem to top many lists. Making your home “work” better for you can figure into all of the above!
Consulting with an interior designer about making changes in your home is a decision that can save time, money and really get you the home that you want. After all, your home has a big impact on your well-being. Interior designers need to know a lot about you and how you live your life to make their collaboration with you successful. And each interior designer has his or her own way of gaining the information important for your collaboration. To review what an interior designer does, take a look at a past blog post of mine, “How to Work with An Interior Designer….”
For example, in reviewing your home entry, a designer might ask you, when you get home from a long day, do you look forward to walking in the door? If you’re a minimalist, perhaps the image below appeals to you?!
Or do you want to see one of your favorite collections, to greet you as you move into your space?
Other questions might include: What do you love about your home? What do you just like or even tolerate? And if you don’t like something about your home or apartment, how does that make you feel? Do you avoid that area? And many more….
If you’re not sure of your answers to the above questions, now’s a great time to dig a little deeper!
There are three basic questions I suggest you ask yourself, to help you understand how to make your home reflect who you are and support you in your life. Think about them even before you find your favorite paint colors or look for images on Pinterest of your perfect bathroom design or even meet with your interior designer. And these questions start with you…
Question One – What kind of person are you?
Before you even get to what you’d like to change about your house, think about yourself and whomever else lives with you (family, roommates, etc.). What motivates you? Why do you want to make changes? What is your daily routine like, and does that routine help or hinder you?
There are so many books, webs-sites, etc., that devote themselves to personal improvement, developing better habits, etc.. A recent book that I’ve found helpful is by author Gretchen Rubin: Better Than Before: What I Learned About Making and Breaking Habits–to Sleep More, Quit Sugar, Procrastinate Less, and Generally Build a Happier Life. It’s quite a compendium of research and details, and in the interest of developing the habits that we want, early in the book, the “Self-Knowledge” section helps us put into focus who we are and what motivates us. There is no one-size-fits-all, and the author notes on her web-site that ” …we’re not very different from other people, but those differences are very important.”
Question Two – What kind of life do you have/do you want?
To understand your current lifestyle, think about your daily schedule (as I suggested above), how much time you spend in different areas of your home, how much you entertain, how often you have home-cooked meals v. take-out, who lives in your home, including pets, and so forth. Does your home help you meet the goals of your lifestyle?
If you want to change some of your current habits, if you are expecting a child, if you’ve just been divorced, and so forth, does your home support these changes as it currently is, or does your home allow easy changes that reflect your alterations in lifestyle? Or, do you really need to consider upgrades/renovations to your home?
For example, if you decide that you need to reduce stress, and starting a home meditation practice is the best answer for you, at minimum, you need to create a location to support your meditating; depending on your personality, your schedule, who else lives with you, the size and type of your home, and your budget, a small corner of your home may be just what you need….
Or, you may be the type of person who needs to create a separate location from everything and everyone else in your home, and you have the time and budget to work with design professionals to create the perfect space:
Question Three – Do you feel “able” in your space?
While many of us are aware of public spaces that allow for access by many regardless of ability or disability, if neither you nor a family member has what our society considers a disability, you may not think about your home in the same way and the benefit of design and design components that promote greater ability for all. Perhaps another way to ask the question, is how comfortable are you in your space? If you do need to address specific disabilities, understanding what works well for you now, and what could be improved in your home, can enhance your well-being.
The concept of Universal Design “…is the design and composition of an environment so that it can be accessed, understood and used to the greatest extent possible by all people regardless of their age, size, ability or disability.”
Universal Design considerations could include improved lighting, the addition of grab bars for showers, tubs and other bath areas, wider hallways for easier movement through the space and so forth. This is where I like to add that interior designers can help with identifying which components to add to existing homes or during renovations to address any ability issues. And, these changes are beneficial for everyone. With age, most of us will face physical and in some cases, mental challenges, and accommodations in our living spaces can keep us more able.
Another measure to take to help you feel more able in your space, is to declutter and organize what you have. Do you lose time looking for things, do you have difficulty moving through your home, due to excess clutter, etc.? A quick Google search nets about 20,100,000 results in .43 seconds, just typing in the word, “declutter.” Understanding how best to organize and declutter your space has to be geared to you and your home; there isn’t a one-size-fits-all answer.
As an example, a general article that I found helpful is from Apartment Therapy; Pro Organizer Tips: What NOT To DO When Decluttering Your Home.
Above all, realize that figuring out what works best for you in any space and why, takes time and self-reflection; and is often a work-in-progress. And bring in that interior designer to collaborate with you!