Purposeful Design

1.21.2015




Jonathan Adler says your home should be an antidepressant, and I completely agree.  In a very concise way, he's making reference to the psychological impact our surroundings create. The way our visual environment affects our mood is very interesting, and it's also something we should consider before we begin any interior design project. In looking at the paint colors above, you're drawn to some more than others, and it's all about how those colors make you feel. I see fascinating information from time to time about the psychology of color as it applies to branding and product design. Obviously, it also applies to our interiors.



Understanding the psychological effects of design is something I find fascinating, and I'll be thinking and sharing about that here. The interior design process is always most successful when it begins with specific purpose, and I think that purpose should be optimal enjoyment of our homes.

So many of us never consider this as we contemplate our interiors. We do think about what we like, which actually may not correspond to how we'd like to feel in our houses. For example, I like this room below, but the mood it creates isn't right for me.


While it's not what I need, it's no doubt the exact tone that many others want which keeps design interesting.  Wouldn't it be tedious if all of our spaces were alike?

Instead of looking at the entries below in terms of whether or not you like each one, focus on the tone each room conveys.  If you were to walk into each space from the front door, what's the mood that would greet you?
  
 1)  Sue De Chiara's house via Domaine

 2)  HAUTELOOK

3)  Domaine


 5)  Domaine

 6)  Domino




 10)  via Desire to Inspire

 11)  via McGrath II

 12)  Lonny


14)  Lonny

As I imagine being in each of these entries, I notice extremely varying tones, and I prefer some much more than others. We should all have an awareness of the way we want to feel in our homes before making design choices. Interior design can be both expensive and time consuming.  Shouldn't the greatest enjoyment of our surroundings be the result of these efforts? 

There's no right or wrong with this approach; it's, of course, completely subjective. Some feel best in a darker more moody space. Others may need lots of white and pastels. Neither is preferable or correct. It's about pinpointing what you need from your environment if you haven't already.  And, beyond that awareness, it's important to know how to create that climate in your home.  Next Wednesday, a chic guest will tell us the tones she wants her house to convey, and what she's done to achieve that.

Lastly, I'll share my recently redesigned entry for The One Room Challenge.  This space makes me feel exactly the way I want to feel in my house.





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15 comments :

stephanie at Stephanie Kraus Designs said...

Great post Jennifer... you are so right. And I agree with you I need an upbeat colorful space that feels fun and fresh! Can't wait to hear more from you on this subject!

Linda {Calling it Home} said...

I love this. I think it is something that I have always felt, but was never able to articulate. I definitely want my FL house to feel different than my NJ house.

Christina Baker said...

Jennifer, This is such a great post! Being an artist, I work in an array of colors but when it comes to living I prefer that my surroundings be tranquil, serene and somewhat rustic. My husband and I adore nature which could explain my desire for this direction. I'm also very much drawn to minty or chalky colors (seen in your color image at the top) that are relaxing and non-competitive or jolty however I love using black in selected areas to add a nice crisp contrast. Some of the images selected above show how well black can work next to wood. I want my living space to feel peaceful. I could go on forever on this subject!!

Kim said...

Spot On Jennifer! I love color and more traditional spaces, I still drool over white modern spaces, but at the end of the day I know it is not for "me". xokim

home before dark said...

OK, I'll take the bullet for black. Yes to Christina's comments about how black is a great backdrop for wood (and I dare say paintings). After living in an almost all white house, I felt my needs changing. One, all white is EVERYWHERE. And I'm just so not a go along kinda' girl. My inspiration is the old-fashioned photo books with the black pages. I see black as the margins, framing the art. I am not the blue-eyed, blonde who craves (and needs) more sunlight. I like the comfort, the drama, and the easy on the eyes (sunglasses not needed inside!).

Tiffany Jones Interiors said...

Beautiful Post! xo

Albertina M. Cisneros said...

I loved, loved this post! It's so true...I love so many designs I see but I just could not live with them. I think this series will be great. And I just love so many of these photos you chose. Many of them were new to me so I will pin away.

Dianne said...

So glad you are approaching this subject. As an artist I work with so many colors that I need to have a very calm home. I love looking at crisp, clear color but when it is time for me to choose I usually go with muddy or grayed tones...more calming to my brain. I also need to throw in some global and modern. I look forward to your posts on this.

Kathleen DiPaolo said...

Great post, Jennifer!! I am so with you! I always think about the homeowner's response to their interiors and the mood the interiors convey! If you are in a media room, you don't want light, bright and happy! In the bedroom, you may want quiet and serene. LOVE it!! xoxo, K

Kathysue said...

I totally agree, I have always said it is more important to me how my home FEELS than how it looks. I use what I call buzz words to convey a feeling in my home and each selection I make has to evoke those words, Crisp, clean, fresh, happy, peaceful, relaxing. Love this post and this philosophy! As designers I feel it is our job to pull out the best FEELING for our client in the choices we make for their home. Anyone can copy the design of a pretty room, but it takes great talent to give a room the FEELING and personality that pleases the homeowner. Can you tell I am passionate about this? Great post Jennifer!!

BRASWELL said...

great images + great post. xxpeggybraswelldesign.com

Kristen @ Pursuing Vintage said...

Very interesting post - and great collection of images to get me thinking. Thanks for tackling this topic - looking forward to reading more!

Julie Taylor and Danni Greenwalt said...

Great post...I love your entry way!

Diane Stewart said...

Most people don't think about how they want to feel at home. They're too influenced by trends, and aren't thinking in personal terms of what they want or need.

therelishedroost said...

This is a post right up my alley! I have been saying this to clients for years! Its emotional and psychological at the same time. Everyone thinks they want someone else's room but really you need to know who that space will effect you each day. Great Post- Bravo!

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