Our home can serve as an external representation of our internal experiences (e.g., sometimes our rooms are messiest when we are stressed). Similarly, our outer environments can radically influence our inner emotional landscape (think of physical places that stir a feeling of peace inside when you are there). Here are five tips for crafting a personalized and resonant environment that feels more like home for you:
1. Foundational Awareness
Understanding our particular needs and wants is key to crafting a space that feels true to who we are and the time in life in which we live. Take a moment and reflect: What do you want your home and its spaces to feel like?
2. Color Matters
Consider using color to shape the experience you’d like to have in each room. Light or bright colors can make a space feel more open, while darker tones can conjure a moodier, cozy feel. Maybe you’d like the public spaces to feel more open and the private spaces to be cozier?
3. Mix It Up
What kind of tone do you want to set? Different materials and textures can reflect different emotions or feelings. For example, wood can convey a raw warmth, while metal can have a cool precision.
4. Guiding Light
Maximizing access to natural light makes spaces feel more expansive, so avoid putting large pieces of furniture or heavy curtains in front of windows to increase your access to nature (and visual square footage!).
5. Still Life
Curating our spaces with meaningful symbols helps tell our stories. Objects, images and materials can serve as personal artifacts of our history. What kind of story do you want to share with the objects in your home?
Amy Larimer is the assistant director of Stanford’s architectural design program. She co-teaches CEE32A: Psychology of Architecture with her husband, Drew Krafcik, a longtime counselor and educator.