5 Ways to Help Your Living Room Spark Joy
September 29, 2022
A few weeks ago, I spoke to Candice Georgiadis at Authority Magazine for her series about making your living room a space you actually love to be in!
I realize so many of these tips have to do with what our brains and bodies psychologically need in order to find and be open to joy.
In my 15 years of being a designer, the homes that work are consistently the ones that follow these principles.
(Image courtesy of Studio MG Interiors)
1. Surround yourself with things that you love!
The number one rule in decorating (really, there aren’t too many rules) is to find pieces of furniture, art, fabrics that bring you joy and build your room around them.
This may seem intuitive but when you’re shopping for furniture, especially if you have a partner in on the decision, it is easy to settle for a piece because of its functionality, price or availability.
Take a moment before you make that purchase and ask yourself if this piece will bring you joy when you look at it every day at home.
And if the answer is “YES!” then you are well on your way to the next decision.
Do you love a round black mirror? You may be working up a Modern Farmhouse vibe.
A textured velvet throw pillow? Perhaps Boho Chic is calling your name! One decision begets another and decisions can also spark joy!! (phew)
(Image courtesy of Brexton Cole Interiors via The Spruce)
2. Add plants in every room, if you can.
Not only do plants absorb our carbon dioxide and put out more oxygen for us to breathe, elements of nature are soothing in a “return to your roots” kind of way.
The organic shape of plants can also break up the straight lines of interior furnishings and give your mind a break in looking around your space.
(Image courtesy of Emilie Fournet Interiors via The Spruce)
If you don’t have enough light or a green thumb to care for live plants, there are a great number of faux plants today that look SO real!
Check out Magnolia Home and Pottery Barn for some of the best that I’ve seen. (Just don’t forget to dust them — that’s also a great chore for an 8 year old) ;)
3. Find harmony in groupings of three and symmetry.
Our minds are always trying to organize, and it feels good to see order in our spaces. I don’t particularly like symmetry in the traditional sense.
So if you’re not a 2 books on the left of the object + 2 books on the right kind of person like me, think about the whole view in terms of symmetry. Do you have a floor lamp in one corner? Then a tall tree is needed somewhere on the other half of the space.
And the rule of 3 is equally appealing as the 50/50 rule. For example, 3 throw pillows on a sofa — 2 on the left and one on the right — works just as well as 2 on each side.
Either is better than random placement all around.
(Image courtesy of Laura Brophy Interiors via The Spruce)
4. Fill your walls! Art, mirrors, wall hangings.
Remember these are the elements at eye level in your space so they can be reminders of things you love even when you are simply walking through a room.
Many customers come to our platform with the basics of a room — sofa, rug, chair — and don’t love their spaces, despite all of the new furniture, or need help “finishing” it all so it looks like a designer helped.
This is most often because there is nothing on the walls, or only small pieces.
Art can be daunting (and expensive), so I get it!
A gallery wall is an easy way to start — collect at least 5 pieces that mean something to you and together they can take up the space on the wall that a larger piece of art will.
(Image courtesy of Andrea May Interiors)
If you’re starting from scratch, I head to the Etsy search bar and type in my general parameters (“blue watercolor”) and set aside some good searching time.
You’re bound to find something that sparks joy and then you can build around that. One of the reasons we call this help an accessoryLift is these smaller elements really can Lift your space!
5. And finally, de-clutter. Thank you Marie Kondo!
“A place for everything and everything in its place” is a good rule to live by in your home.
Clutter psychologically blocks creativity and can bring on more stress.
Along the same lines, keep a clear path around all of your furniture. Too much furniture that you can’t move around feels restrictive.
I recently moved my office out of my Bedroom and now that I can walk around my nightstand without practically side-shuffling, I notice that I feel lighter in my space!
(Even I have to be reminded of these principles as we are all trying to cram too much into our right-sized lives!)
(Image courtesty of Cathie Hong Interiors)
If you consider your home your sanctuary, it should be a place where you can escape the stresses of the world. By bringing in more elements of joy and keeping out elements that block that joy, you are well on your way to the benefits of a well-designed home!