The desire to slow down and appreciate life's simple blessings hardly sounds like the philosophy of the average interior designer. However, a new design ideology known as "spiritual decor" is gaining enthusiastic followers. The premise behind it is straightforward enough: a home should be a haven, a soft spot to land in a world that's increasingly hard. And if that's the case, then shouldn't the primary purpose of design be to improve our quality of life?
Dos and don'ts
DON'T engage in a quest for perfection. It doesn't exist. Designer Lori Abrams, owner of Creative Licence in Toronto, says her outlook changed after a battle with breast cancer: "I realized I was striving for pristine rooms, and it was getting in the way of creating spaces where families could relax together."
DO create a meditation corner. Include a comfy chair, ottoman, side table and reading lamp, and keep the area sacred—off limits to work.
DON'T let clutter destroy clarity. A well-edited home induces a feeling of order and harmony. After her illness, Lori took this to heart. "Now I want my home and health to be in optimum condition," she says. "My advice is to throw away stuff you never use."
DO remedy "serenity robbers." Evaluate your home for small annoyances that chip away at peace of mind. Is there a reading lamp where it's needed? What about a water-resistant chair to perch on after showering? Can you easily locate keys and reading glasses?
DON'T deprive yourself of affordable luxuries. Plush towels, scented candles and beautiful bedding reward us daily.
DO honour family history by displaying items that evoke pleasant reflections—a child's watercolour, shells collected on vacation, or even a silly sculpture that made you and your spouse laugh.
Image courtesy of Pottery Barn.
Kimberley's 5 feel-better home improvements
1 Recognize daily blessings. Appreciate the beauty of a single object—the drape of a fabric, the contours of a chair, the warm glow of a lamp. Take time to savour a well-prepared meal. Enjoy the scent of freshly cut flowers or soothing candles. Listen to your favourite music.
2 Bring the outdoors in. Harness the tranquil sounds of trickling water indoors with the addition of a small water fountain. Add a solarium. Open drapes, allowing sunlight and fresh air to fill rooms. Display rocks, crystals or seashells prominently as a reminder to slow down and breathe.
3 Embrace colour. Surround yourself with colours that make you feel happy. I never fail to feel enlivened by a bright pink coat I own. On the tough days—too tired, bad hair—it's the coat I reach for, and it invariably gives me a lift. Look in your own wardrobe for pick-me-up colour cues.
4 Reconsider existing elements. Can you rearrange, reupholster or refinish what you already own? Try moving pieces around—a new position frequently brings a new perspective. If necessary, hire a professional to help you.
5 Celebrate life. Remind yourself that a new dining room table isn't just a showpiece; it's a circle around which to gather with friends and family. Seize every opportunity to share good times.
Image courtesy of Pottery Barn.