Functional is Fine. Is that true?

Screen Shot 2014-09-27 at 12.53.14 PMI was speaking with a customer service rep on Godaddy last night; and we started talking about this blog.  She told me that she loves to look at shelter magazines and is inspired by beautiful images of well-put-together spaces; but for her, “functional is fine.  It’s just me and the dogs, and they don’t care about anything but their dog beds and food bowls.”

We talked about this for awhile, and I encouraged her to find some way to make her home uplifting and inspiring, even if it just meant going outside and bringing in something from nature to spruce up her kitchen table.

She lives in Arizona, so there won’t be colorful leaves or pumpkins for her to use at this time of year. So I suggested succulents. Succulents, rocks and sand are plentiful in the desert.

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After we got off the phone, though, it occurred to me that I missed an opportunity to talk about something deeper that she was revealing to me.  She said that if she could afford it, she’d hire a designer to ‘do it for’ her.  She doesn’t want to do “all that work” on her own.  We talked about how there are a lot of ways to change up what you look at every day without hiring a designer, and I mentioned the natural, free, things growing outside again. Then she remembered she had some things in her closet she could bring out and set up. A pumpkin for Halloween, for example. YES! If that makes you feel good, do it!

But, still, we didn’t talk about the core issue I came upon later.  She doesn’t value herself as much as she values her dogs.  “They don’t care”, she said.  Well, what about YOU?    Surely the dogs don’t need an inspiring environment. They need food, love, safety and comfort; and she’s right about their lack of concern for anything beyond that.  But she didn’t see that she does need something more.  And she doesn’t allow herself to believe she can have it.

So, my point here is that EVERYONE, every single human being, needs to have beauty in their lives. Some form of beauty. Because beauty in one’s outside landscape will remind them of the beauty of their inner landscape. And every human being has beauty in their soul. Imagine the change that would take place in the world if everyone saw themselves this way.

It doesn’t have to cost more than you can afford. Find a way to include something beautiful and/or meaningful in your home, just for you, today.

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Three of the Most Important Reasons to Update Your Interior Design Now

Updating your home interiors occasionally is more important than you might think.  Here are three reasons  you should do it now, and how those changes will affect your life:

1.  You haven’t changed anything for three years or more.

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If you haven’t changed your surroundings for this long, they no longer reflect the person you are today and will begin to stagnate your life.  We all change constantly. Every experience, person, circumstance and event in our lives affects us and creates a new viewpoint from which we function in the world.  If our home environment doesn’t move along with us, it creates a drag on our evolution.

Look at it this way.  Imagine you are in a boat, floating down a river. Every bend in the stream changes your view as you go along.   At first you might see wide vistas, but then travel through a forest, where your view is much more limited.  Soon, the river gets shallower and rushes along. The landscape whizzes by so fast you almost don’t see it.  But then, you enter a place where the river is stagnated by an overgrowth of algae, and you slow way down.  Nothing seems to change. You become bored as a result of the lack of change in what you see around you, day in and day out.

The same thing happens in life.  If what you look at every day is the same year after year, your viewpoint gets stuck; and you tend to get stuck in life along with it. Update your home as your life evolves and notice how it inspires you toward positive growth.

2.  The seasons are changing and you’re getting into a NESTING mood. 

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As the leaves fall and the temperatures drop, humans, like all living things, tend to return to a more internal form of living.  The light changes (another subject for another blog), grows shorter and shifts our sleep patterns (if we allow it).

Nesting is a natural part of the rhythm of life, redirecting your attention to the inner landscape of your home.  Now is the perfect time to update things, bring in fresh and/or different colors, textures, patterns and forms or shapes. Move from cool, open, light and bright to warmer, darker, softer, closer.  Change things up to reflect the change you’re experiencing within and see how your life moves more smoothly as well.

3. A major change has been taken place in your life in the past six months.  

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You added or lost someone in your household (human or animal, old or young); you reached a certain age; you moved; you changed careers or position in your work; you completed a major project.  Anything that has brought about a big adjustment in your life can throw off your normal rhythm; and it’s a good idea to give yourself something fresh in your surroundings to ground you at this time.  Something seriously different.  It could be art, or new bedding (this is a really good and comforting one, pun intended), or a new piece of furniture, or a change of color that reflect a new stage of your life.  Don’t be shy on this one.  The importance of acknowledging major changes by changing what you see each day cannot be over-emphasized.

Hermes Transmegistus said (a really long time ago):  “As above, so below; as within, so without.”  This quote has been getting a lot of play in recent years.  What it means is that everything affects everything else.  What goes on within us is reflected outside of us.  Equally, what we perceive outside of us reflects how we feel within.  If your home design is not reflecting what’s changing in in your life, bring it up to date, and even move it ahead of you, so it acts like a beacon toward the life you want.

What you choose to do in this regard doesn’t have to be huge, or expensive. You can change the furniture around, paint a room, add or change pillows on a sofa, shift area rugs around, bring in seasonal things from nature, change your light bulbs (NOT to fluorescent, please. They are very unhealthy for you; and I’ll explain why in an upcoming blog).  Or you can bring in something new, whatever your budget will allow, that will change your perspective, improve the energy of your home, or inspire you in some way.

Let your surroundings lead you forward into the next phase of your life, whether through incremental or huge changes, or the changing of seasons; and discover how supported and safe you feel – about all of it.

Write a comment below and let me know what you are planning to update and why.  If you’ve updated recently share with us how that change has affected you.

Welcome to Inspired Living by Design

it’s great to see you here.  Inspired Living by Design is an offshoot of my Interior Design practice, Carolyn Anderson Design, where I can share the font of knowledge I have acquired over many years of practice.  Here you will find many ideas, thoughts, insights, tips and tools that will help you create the home of your dreams. You’ll learn what the Pros do that makes those amazing photos on Pinterest or Houzz so great.  There will be announcements of online classes I’m offering, that will give you more detail than a blog can, on subjects I’ve taught in the past or that you ask for in your comments.

A little bit about my background:

I have been practicing interior design since 1991, and started my own studio in 1995. My first independent experience involved updating the interiors of some of San Francisco’s Grand Dame hotels.  My passion at that time was historic interior design; and I spent a number of years focusing on that before concentrating exclusively on residential design for houses of any age.   Since the beginning of my career, I have created the interiors of homes across the US and in Canada, working with people representing a wide variety of styles and income levels.  What I have learned along with way is what I want to share with you; and is the reason I launched Inspired Living by Design.

So WELCOME! Enjoy the blogs to come, and as time goes by, the archived blogs.  You will learn a lot. I look forward to your feedback and your thoughts on the subjects I cover here.  Lets build a community of people passionate about Inspired Living by Design!