“Your soul comes alive in cherished friendships, family gatherings, and the care you bring to your home.” Thomas Moore
What do you value in a home? It’s not easy to put into words. I yearn for a home where ‘soul is nurtured and reflected’, providing daily renewal and refreshment.
I encourage you to be thoughtful about the choices you make when bringing pieces, big or small, into your living space. If the daily renewal and refreshment of your inner spirit is a priority for you, then take the care and the time to provide yourself with surroundings that help nurture your soul.
Let me begin by suggesting what is not a place of the soul. Rooms reflecting the latest trends from the furniture industry are rooms in which someone else has decided what looks good, without awareness of your inner self. We could call these rooms ‘instant mix’ rooms because they are like instant beverage mixes (Kool-aid, Tang) which are usually not conducive to nurturing our bodies or souls. There is more to consider when meeting the needs of our innermost self than just a pretty room.
Homes that exude soul are spaces that we don’t want to leave because they feel so ‘right’. We want to breath a little deeper, settle in, and stay a little longer. There is nothing pretentious about these rooms. Perhaps it’s the story of our belongings and why we value them. True treasures are usually acquired over time. Each piece has its own story of how it came to us: found on a trip, a gift, a family treasure or unique circumstance about how it became part of our lives.
Sometimes the treasure isn’t shiny, with new surfaces. Our ‘soulful’ pieces may have a few nicks or scratches that tell the details of its story. The best kind of wear creates patina. Patina is ‘a sheen on wooden furniture produced by age, wear and polishing, or any such acquired change of a surface through age and exposure’ (Wikipedia).
Be attentive to the amount of furniture you bring into your spaces. Many pieces can serve more than one function. If you have a piece that’s not doing its job, then better to use it elsewhere than crowd the soulful spirit from limited spaces.
Once you have some interesting pieces with personal meaning, put some thought into the best placement of each piece. The first priority is creating a conversation area where people can easily hear and see each other. Next, the placement of lighting creates inviting areas to read, sit quietly, listen to music and visit. Each section of your room is an opportunity to support the activities that your soul longs for. Be aware of those longings.
Finally, think about what you’re hanging on your walls. There is a lot of mass produced wall ‘art’ being sold, something to match every decor. If you want to nurture the soul in your space, why not start with a less-is-more approach? Saving and investing in original art: paintings, photography, small run prints, etc. may take time but will be worth the wait. You may look at a lot of art before a piece calls to your inner self.
How did we come to think of an empty wall as a terrible thing?!
How can we create the nurturing, soulful spaces we yearn for? By making thoughtful choices about the amount and type of pieces we select, attending to where we position each piece and practicing patience in gathering our collections. Don’t be in a hurry to complete your rooms. Good rooms are evolving spaces in which we can breathe a little deeper, settle in, and stay a little longer.
Jan Laurie lives in Nanaimo. She is a hand drummer and percussionist and also has a passion for Interior ReDesign and Home Staging.