A Fresh Look at Your Living Space

Do the rooms in your house support the way you live? Do they speak about who you are as people? I’m not talking about perfection or impressing your friends with an expensive decor. I’m referring to how you choose to arrange your furniture and possessions in creative ways that give your rooms interest, inspiration and function. Do your rooms have a fresh quality that nurtures and balances the well being of those living in them?

Some people are fortunate to design their homes with their own list of requirements, using the skills of an architect. Most of us live in our homes using someone else’s design choices (or lack of). There are many ways to maximize the spaces in which we live. Here are some ways to help breath new life into your rooms – using what you already own.

Reflect on the words of William Morris, British artist, writer and designer…. "Do not keep anything in your home that you do not know to be useful or believe to be beautiful.”

Having too much stuff is a common problem. Keeping Morris’ philosophy in mind, begin with a fresh look at each room in your home. Start with the largest pieces in the room, likely your furniture. Think carefully about he function and/or beauty of each piece. Only keep the pieces that are really doing their jobs and serving your current life style well. Do the same with each piece of art and all accessories (vases, figurines, candles, flowers, etc.).

You may have too many small accessories from holidays, spontaneous purchases and gifts. You don’t need to have everything on display all the time! So you’ll want to store some of them. Group them by the material that they are made of. Keep all your glass items together, all pottery in another area, all wood pieces together. You get the idea? It makes it much easier when you are looking for a certain type of piece to complete a vignette (artistic grouping of items) rather than purchasing something

new because you can’t find or remember where your pieces are. The underlying thinking here is that you don’t have everything out all the time. The same principle goes for wall art.

Lighting will be your final layer. The goal with lighting is to have three different types. The first type will be any ceiling fixture and/or wall sconces that are wired into the room giving ambient lighting. Secondly will be lights used for specific purposes such as reading. Thirdly will be mood lighting which might be a standing lamp on a dimmer switch or hidden uplights on a special plant.

How do you keep from having a room too full of stuff? Some people are strict with themselves about passing on their unused things regularly, perhaps with the change of each season; an excellent way to keep practicing letting things go. Others will choose to bring in a more functional piece and move pieces out in exchange rather than continuing to add. The larger goal with these and other principles is to simplify your space with thoughtful, intentional choices.

This process is called redesign. It may take some effort but it’s much cheaper than moving. Give it a try! You’ll get more time and space for the activities of living and literally give your rooms breathing space. A refreshed space to live and nurture your positive energy.

Jan Laurie lives in Nanaimo and is a fabric artist and hand drummer/ percussionist. She is a partner in Cooperative Design, Home Staging & ReDesign Specialists.