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Four Reasons Why Interior Design Is Important

The late counter-culture comedian and postmodern philosopher George Carlin once declared a home to be “a place for my stuff.” In the most straightforward sense, lacking any touch of nuance, he’s correct. Nevertheless, Carlin’s point was more of a counterargument to American materialism than design critique. And in that aspect, per usual, he's still (mostly) right. Not only is minimalism perhaps the most pervasive trend in the design world today, clutter can quite literally be bad for your mental health. However, some “stuff” is important. Your home, whether it is a studio apartment in a city center or a suburban new-build, is an extension of yourself. We spend a lot of time, money, and effort on presenting ourselves in a curated way we wish to be perceived by others, and I would argue that the same level of importance should be placed upon the spaces in which we live. These are my top four reasons why interior design is crucial to your happiness.

1. I Repeat, Your Home Is An Extension of Yourself.

This part comes in two points. Beyond interior styling, we’ll first start even more simply. Not only is your ~space~ an extension of yourself, as previously mentioned, it is a reflection of you as a person. Is your bedroom tidy and clean? Do you organize your closet by color? Do you recycle? Whether we realize it or not, everyone who enters our home makes an immediate judgement on the space- and most importantly, that includes ourselves. It’s very easy to let things “pile up” so to speak, and how this manifests in your home can often be analogous to your general happiness levels. Now more than ever, we’re spending extended periods of time within these four walls, and it is absolutely vital to try our best to create a space that is calming, soothing, and peaceful amidst the increasing chaos that has enveloped much of the world this year. On top of that, cleaning your home can be therapeutic. Taking care of your home helps you take better care of yourself. After all, you are living here.

Beyond cleanliness, what else does your home say about you? A lot, actually. As a further expression of your personhood, where you live should be the most comfortable place in the world. It’s where your pet lives, it’s where your middle school scrapbook is tucked underneath your bed, it’s where your significant other greets you after a stressful day. A house isn’t just a box full of “stuff” or things, but a place for tender moments, for the making of memories. Most of us can reminisce on what we cherished about in a childhood home, or our first city apartment. They were where we had countless sleepovers with our oldest friends, and where a city skyline view helped make us feel part of something bigger than ourselves. Proper (and personal) home design allows for a space to share and create countless more of these long-lasting memories.

2. A Functional Home Is A Happy Home

We’ve already touched briefly upon minimalism. If that’s something that intrigues you, go for it. In my opinion, apart from decreasing clutter-capacity, what minimalism is really striving to achieve is optimal functionality in a home. What purpose does every item in your home serve? Do you really need to keep that old coffee machine tucked away in your cabinets? While this certainly allows for more space, functionality doesn’t always have to pertain to something practical. Something can serve a purpose just by being visually pleasing. After all, aesthetics alone can brighten your mood (but more on that in point number four). I’d ask you to survey your home. How do you use each room? Is how you move about the space dictated by furniture? Do you feel inhibited by said furniture? Are you space-limited? Think critically about your home. Reorganize and rearrange. Play with layouts until you’re satisfied, and see how they work for you on a day to day basis. Once complete, audit the areas where you feel most overwhelmed. Do you need all of those tchotchkes, or could your bookshelf be better served with only one or two things that express the same point?

3. Home Design Is A Creative Outlet

For me personally, this is the biggest win. I’m fairly positive that many of us didn’t dream of becoming an Information Technology Project Manager or a Customer Support Specialist when we grew up. And not that there is anything wrong with that, I myself am guilty as charged. Nonetheless, while these corporate jobs are what pays the rent or puts food on the table, they can be exceptionally stifling in a creative sense. Many of us grew up drawing, playing sports, taking music classes, and so on. But by the time we’re adults, most of these activities have long been stripped away from us, and we may not realize why things seem to feel so stagnant. I can attest to this sensation. Having time at home to put art on the wall, paint a bedroom, arrange plants in the window sill, satisfies the creative itch I often experience. Most vitally, there are no wrong answers with your personal tastes. Sure, there are some things to avoid. But in relation to design choices, it’s all up to you (and perhaps your partner, if you’re lucky enough to have one of those). Your home is a place to express all of your interests, whatever they may be.

4. Interior Design Affects Your Mood

At some point or another, I’m sure we’ve all audibly stumbled upon the term Feng shui. And while I won’t dive too deeply into that subject, it is quite evident that we curious humans have been modeling our interiors with a specific goal in mind for a long time. We’ve been pursuing that elusive ~good vibe~ for more than a millennia. In the modern age, the key purpose in interior design has become more about achieving tranquility- or to put it even more simply, to make us happy. Burnout is becoming more and more inescapable, in part due to both longer work hours and the omnipresence of social media. We all need a place to unwind and be our authentic selves, and it will take more than a room with a couch and a bed to accomplish that. Even without tiptoeing too far into the trepidatious world of design, simply reorganizing a space to feel more open could partially achieve this. Lighter paint colors for a bright and airy sensation, or a moody accent wall for a sensual bedroom ambience- there are endless choices to evoke any particular sensation. As strange as it might seem, I'm happy to be greeted by a gallery wall full of eclectic pieces in our living room and fresh sunflowers in our kitchen.

As a parting thought, I would emphasize that not everyone has to be absolutely passionate about interior design or decorating. Diverse interests make the world go ‘round. That being said, if you’re reading this, I’m going to assume we both have something in common: you live somewhere, and that somewhere is important. Therefore, how it looks and operates is also of great import. I’m not saying we should all have the same taste in throw pillows or oriental rugs, but I would recommend at the very minimum reflecting on your home and what you’re drawn to- are you focused more on comfort, or will you sacrifice function for chic design? As an exercise, think of your favorite hotels you’ve stayed in. What details led you to rank them so highly? Was it the solid, grounding marble floors in the primary bathroom or the floor to ceiling windows that drew in endless natural light?

In the end, I’m not sure how I’ve come to the conclusion of putting George Carlin and Marie Kondo in the same thought bucket. Whether or not your home is just a place for your stuff is debatable, and I’m not going to tell you how much stuff you can have or how you’re allowed to arrange said stuff. Still, that stuff is important, and the space that contains you and your stuff is even more imrportant. Discover what little things bring you joy- unless they're fake plants. We do not support fake plants.

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