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FURNITURE + DESIGN

6 Tips to Simplify Your Home
by Modelhom

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In today’s hectic and stress inducing lifestyle, it’s more important than ever to create a peaceful and calm environment in the home. People are not meant for the collective sense of urgency found in our high-tech society. This modern world sets off frequent stressors but our homes should not. The home should be a sanctuary, a place to re-charge, re-fresh, relax, and re-connect. Even in the midst of the chaos that is “life”, imagine walking into your home and shedding the constant “to do” list and demands of this digital age and letting peace and calm take its place.

“We are noticing that more and more people are simplifying their homes in order to establish a sense of harmony and control.” Says Karen Deering of Modelhom, “they feel the stress of everyday life and they are tired.” It becomes difficult to relax in a space that has so much going on visually that the eyes race from one element to the next. People are moving from visually stimulating décor to clean, simple lines, and modern furniture, simplifying their cognitive intake. It’s not uncommon to change from an eclectic and knickknack heavy décor, to a modern “less is more” approach.

In her book “Place Advantage: Applied Psychology for Interior Architecture” Sally Augustin, PhD, states that when people look at their space (the furniture, accessories, layout, and design), they are influenced psychologically by color, texture, the amount of light, the forms of objects, how those forms are arranged, and whether lines are curved or straight. There is an unconscious emotional response to our homes. With all the noise and information “clutter” in our brains, people are desperate to reduce the “noise” and “clutter” in their homes. Below are six tips on creating peace and calm in the home using a modern approach:

1. Add some glass pieces of furniture
Modern homes tend to incorporate lots of glass. Glass furniture make a space look bigger. Modern home design is meant to maximize space so you never feel cramped. A glass top dining table or coffee table allows the eyes to move through the furniture creating an illusion of more space as well as eliminating the mystery of what lies beyond it (which causes unconscious stress).

2. Bright light or dim light
Lighter and brighter spaces are perceived as less crowded and can increase the energy level in the room. Dimmer light creates a calming and relaxing mood, prompting a desire to connect or reflect deeply. Depending on what you need (to re-vamp your energy level or relax) will determine the amount of light you should incorporate into your space.

3. Appropriate Color
Lighter color furniture appears light weight, while darker colored furniture appears heavier. Too many dark pieces of furniture (even dark artwork, curtains, rugs, etc.) can create a “heavy” environment effecting the mood and depleting energy. Try working in lighter colored furniture or accessories to lighten the atmosphere.

4. Simple Lines
There is a misnomer that modern homes are cold and unwelcoming –this does not have to be the case. A modern style home exchanges the elaborate detail of a traditional style home with clean lines, and the many small collectables/accessories for one or two big pieces of art. Instead of our eyes and brains having to process all the detail, the brain can relax and process the room as a whole.

5. Bring the outdoors inside
There is an inherent desire for humans to be outside and to connect with the natural environment. Images of nature scenes such as open fields and big skies create a sense of peace and calm. Having wood floors, plants, and wood furniture incorporates natural elements into the home and elevates the mood. Consider choosing modern furniture with solid wood, some glass, and clean lines incorporated into them, as well as art that reflect a place in nature that you want to be.

6. De-clutter the bad mojo
According to Dr. Augustin, sensory history should be considered when designing a space. The items on display in the home have memories attached to them. These memories by all account could be positive, however, even a small amount of negative memory attached to these items will affect the emotions. When the associations are negative these reminders can be draining. Consider purging the items that are associated with undesirable feelings.

There are many ways to make your home relaxing and a true place of refuge; these are just a few. Start with the above ideas and see how your mood is affected. Guests too will notice a difference, even if they can’t identify exactly what. Our five senses take in a lot of information and our brains process only a fraction of it. It will be interesting to see how stress is lowered by following these simple tips! We would love to hear your success!

Designer Michelle Starnes and owners of Modelhom, Karen and James Deering, have been in the interior design industry for over 14 years and have helped thousands of people re-design and furnish their homes. Call us at 805-489-4277 for your next furniture purchase or design project.

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