Home sweet home—I find that saying comforting. Yet, like many others, I feel like I spend more time away from my home than in it. As a mother of three, some of my time is spent running kids to and fro. As a business woman, I spend a lot of time at the office, in the radio station and at community events. Many times I get home so exhausted that I don’t have the energy to make our lovely abode “sweet”. Isn’t it funny how we spend so much time away to have the things we desire, yet we often lack the time and energy needed to appreciate them? Some days it feels like a vicious cycle of chasing after something that is just outside of reach. Believe me — I’m not an interior designer by any stretch of the imagination, but I do believe a comfortable home equals a comfortable mind. With small children, my house easily falls victim to disarray. It only takes a moment for a clean room to look like a tornado hit it. This is almost guaranteed when I’m on one of my “cleaning frenzy” days or if we are running late to get somewhere. But like your personal image, your interior should be an authentic reflection of you and your family. Here are some of the things I believe can make your house a home.
Tell a storyJust like your clothing or accessories, the items in your home should tell a story. The picture we have hanging over our family room fireplace was painted by my son’s pre-school class when he was two years old. To my family, it’s a true work of art and it’s definitely a conversation starter to those who visit. Looking at it everyday brings me joy and reminds me how precious and fleeting his childhood is. We had my father-in-law’s chair recovered to match our décor, which brings a whole different feel into our living room and encourages my husband to tell our children stories about a man they never got to meet.
MinimizeCoco Chanel advised people to “always take one thing off before you leave the house” to make sure they weren’t overdone. The same is true for your home — a house that is visually over-stimulating is difficult to relax in. If you feel uptight or antsy at home, perhaps it’s time to reduce or rearrange your items. Look at your items as a stranger would —could they tell your story or would they have trouble figuring out where to focus their attention?
Think colorThe colors we wear have the ability to make us look more awake, vibrant and youthful. They affect our mood and how others perceive and interact with us. Colors in your home should be chosen carefully as well. I love crisp and simple colors on the wall — it makes me feel relaxed and at ease. White walls and black furniture with a splash of red mixed in is my preference (hmmm…reminds me of my wardrobe choices!). Consider what colors make you feel good and think about how you can work them into your design.
TextureI often recommend that my clients add texture to their outfits for visual interest. Wooden earrings, a glass ring or a hammered metal bracelet can make a basic outfit exciting. This is a great choice for your decorating as well. Even if you do tone-on-tone, adding texture will make it unique and appealing. An oil or watercolor painting adds depth that a print doesn’t. A bamboo throw or greenery can bring the outdoors inside. Contrast and the unexpected can be fun too and would be a great choice for someone with an adventurous streak. Home is where the heart is and where some of the best memories of your life will be made. Just like your personal image, you should intentionally and deliberately put it together in a way that makes you and your family feel good. Whether you own or you rent, there are things you can do to make it something you are proud of. When you feel good about your surroundings, it makes you want to spend more time there. Before the cold sets in, make it your mission to do one thing to make your house a cozy place to hunker down for the winter.
Shelley Davis Mielock
Shelley Davis Mielock is a certified business image coach and the founder of Mieshel Image Consulting, a Lansing-based firm that specializes in image development for individuals and businesses. She is also a co-host of In Her Shoes, a a weekly women’s talk radio show. To ask Shelley an image question, please e-mail her.