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Many people use the term interior design and interior decorating interchangeably, when really, decorating is part of the interior design process. When you look at a project through an interior design lens, you are taking many more factors into consideration than just the soft goods and objects. You are problem solving, making decisions that add value to the home, upgrading an existing space and/or creating a brand new space that fits your specific needs from a functional perspective, not only an aesthetic one. Just decorating without thinking about the actual design, may not yield the outcome you were hoping for.

Photo by Spacejoy on Unsplash

A well designed home should be attainable, but that doesn't mean everyone can do it. Lots of retail furniture stores offer free design services, online services make it super cheap, but in my opinion, most of it is really decorating. Retail stores only use their inventory, online services limit you to designs that include most of the vendors the company works with. Not to take away from the designers at the store or online, they do a great job with placement and styling, but they will likely not be able to solve any real design problems because they aren’t in the space seeing the conditions of the rooms, the challenges and opportunities of a space.

Think about when you're scrolling through Instagram. What makes you stop when you see an interior? Great design evokes emotion. Most of your basic senses are affected when you walk into the room and you react, consciously or subconsciously. Interior design builds on the emotion you would like to create and how someone moves around in a space.

Before you buy one thing, consider what you’re trying to achieve - not only aesthetically, but emotionally, mentally. Sit in your space, close your eyes and envision what you want. Ask yourself how you use the space or how you want to use it in the future. Make a list of all the things you need (keeping in mind any and all family members), how you want to feel and for others to feel when they walk in.

Everyone deserves to live in beauty.

Following some basic principles, you can achieve balance and harmony in your space no matter your budget.

Of note, if you’re doing a renovation or a new build, interior design is something you can’t not do. Without advanced planning and organization in making the myriad of small decisions that each part of the process requires, knowing where to invest your money to increase the value of your home, it may end up costing you more not only in your pocket but more importantly, irrecoverable time.

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  • Writer's pictureSandra Moreno

Have you ever walked into a space and had a strong reaction to it physically or emotionally, whether good or bad? Think about restaurants or hotels you’ve been to, homes you’ve visited. Do you get drawn in and can’t wait to hang out or does it leave you feeling like you want to leave and unwelcome? What about it makes you feel the way you do when you walk in? People notwithstanding, that’s all a reaction to how the space has been designed - the flow, color palette, materials, lighting, texture, symmetry, furniture and décor. Not just how it’s been decorated. Generally speaking, it’s all a very well thought out plan.

Interior design can affect behavior too. The psychology of color is a whole book unto itself. Color affects mood, appetite, energy, attention to name a few. Too many things in a room or too few things can completely alter how we act.

Think about someone with #ADHD, for example. My daughter has ADHD. Being in a space with clutter just makes it all the more difficult to concentrate and she can’t relax. She needs more white space. Things need to be organized, in their place, before her mind quiets and she can sit and focus. When I moved her into her high school dorm room this year, creating this kind of space away from home was key. We selected linens and accessories with neutral colors that are relaxing, bought plants to bring in natural elements, the wall décor is even of plants. There’s macramé, textures that soothe and table lighting with a soft glow. She rarely turns on the harsh overhead fluorescent lights. Not surprisingly, hers is one of the most frequently visited rooms.

Or do you avoid inviting family and friends over because you’re embarrassed by your space? Or find yourself making excuses about your place when someone comes to visit? Has there been an empty space in a room because you just don’t know what to do with it? Most of us have felt this way at some point. We don’t like the way something feels.

Ask yourself why and what it is that makes you uncomfortable about inviting people over. Is it clutter, is it color schemes, are your chairs uncomfortable, is there too much on the walls, too little, wrong scale, wrong height, so on and so on.

The design and décor, even if it’s not something you say you care about, actually does affect you more than you probably know.

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