Many of us are re-evaluating the look and size of our homes as we consider other even larger lifestyle changes.
We may be thinking about a move to a more age-friendly locale or a home that is either bigger or smaller than our current one. We might find ourselves shedding possessions or adding new ones in keeping with our revamped life choices. Some of us are seeing our households transform into multigenerational compounds or are caring for an infirm loved one, both of which can impact our homes’ layout, fixtures and furnishings.
I’ve devoted various chapters of my editorial life to creating architectural design, home improvement and decorating content with the intent of helping people shape beautiful and nurturing physical environments capable of supporting their lifestyle choices. Over time, I came to see that a home is truly a 3-D reflection of its residents’ values and personalities. Ideally, it’s flexible enough to accommodate shifts in the way they choose to lead their lives; if it’s not, it’s best to redesign and renovate.
However, if altering one’s surroundings is a fairly straightforward process, reshaping the form and substance of one’s life is often far more confusing and difficult. While home revamps give many people pause, there are at least clear, long-established guidelines for executing them successfully.
It recently occurred to me that the principles of interior design that help us shape our homes can also assist us in reshaping our lives. Here's how to apply guidelines for a room redo to a life redo:
1. Size up the situation.
Room redo Decide what purposes the space should serve and develop a suitable layout and furniture scheme.
Life redo Identify your new priorities, purposes and goals, then draft small and large steps that, over time, can lead to the desired outcome.
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2. Create a hierarchy.
Room redo Arrange things in a way that emphasizes key functions and subordinates lesser ones. Establish one or two focal points (think fireplace or large piece of furniture) and one or more groupings of furniture of differing proportions and scale.
Life redo Rank your various goals according to what feels most important — not all are of equal weight. Dedicate most of your efforts and energy to what you know is most vital. Analyze how you are really spending your time and adjust your schedule to prioritize the steps that can help you achieve your new goals.
3. Tinker with composition and textural quality.
Room redo To strike a balance between utility and appearance, tinker with colors (paint, fabrics and accessories), textures, patterns and the overall arrangement of furnishings and fixtures until you arrive at the most eye-pleasing and practical solutions — those that maximize beauty, ease and comfort.
Life redo Be sure to factor variety into your day. Integrate different types of experiences and social interactions that feed both heart and mind. Ask yourself if you are adequately balancing learning, working and volunteering with leisure pursuits and rest. Adjust the time you spend on each, as needed.
4. Reinvigorate frequently!
Room redo Refresh and renew your space every so often. Even small actions can have a big impact. Adding a pillow or lamp, painting a single wall a bold color, setting a chair at a different angle or rearranging furniture can virtually transform the look and feel of a room as well as enhance your sense of well-being in it.
Life redo Old patterns and entrenched ways need to be overhauled, reconfigured or jazzed up to sustain continued growth and allow you to feel relevant and useful. Seek out fresh perspectives and ideas, take up a hobby, meet new people, listen to new music, read books on various subjects, sample new recipes and try out a new exercise routine.
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5. Get in the flow.
Room redo Set up a sense of rhythm in your space by alternating the heights of furnishings and repeating and/or contrasting the patterns in your upholstery and curtains. Think about how the shape of a chair leg or arm guides your eye in a particular direction and how your furniture arrangement affects your movement through that area. Try to establish a sense of harmony — your space should add to your peace of mind and comfort; nothing should stop you in your tracks.
Life redo Allow ease and harmony to take root in all that you do by eliminating or reducing obstacles that will impede your sense of forward movement and progress. Clear out stressors that inhibit well-being and prevent you from accomplishing what you want to do. Also be mindful of the fact that we all need to prepare for the future (and various eventualities) while making the most of today.