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  • Writer's pictureNicole Baxter

From Spaces to Emotions: the profound meaning of home

Home is the biggest word I know. It’s an intimate construct loaded with deep meaning and nostalgia. It’s not simply the town we grew up in or a place where we store our stuff and tend to our bodily needs, but the place where everything begins and ends.

As a designer, it’s easy to think of home as a series of rooms with floors to specify, walls to adorn, furniture to select, and a pretty place to spend time, but that ignores what home means to us and reduces it to something to be decorated, like a cake, rather than something meaningful, nuanced, and nourishing. It is, instead, a convergence of many other ideas that all come together to form the greatest place we’ll ever know.

Practically, it's the architecture of the building, how the floor plan, kitchen, and baths are configured to make life efficient and easy. It’s the furnishings that allow us to comfortably interface with the architecture, our tasks, and other people. Psychologically, it’s a reflection of us. Whether it’s clean and tidy or messy and cluttered, or decorated to reflect our unique style or furnished in the latest trend to project an ideal version of ourselves, it reflects our mental state and values. Emotionally, it’s the seat of family and the tenor between family members also reflects who we are, where we came from, and what our values are. That’s one of the most vital aspects of home, because shelter aside, it determines if the home is a safe place for us to thrive and grow or one that is existentially dangerous because we’re not respected, cherished, and valued. We can come from an economically unstable home but still emerge as well-adjusted adults with a strong and kind identity just as easily as we can come from a life of ease and money, but struggle with anxiety, self-confidence, and boundaries, where the romantic idea of home is more of a myth than a reality.

I love the fact that design can help build stronger relationships. Kitchens that are welcoming and a pleasure to cook in become the center of the home where great conversations spontaneously happen. Cozy family rooms with an array of different seating options, like a sofa/sectional for the extraverts and individual chairs for the introverts invites everyone to hang out together even if they are doing different things, like watching tv, texting with a friend, or playing games. A beautiful primary bedroom allows us to rest and recharge while promoting physical intimacy and encouraging dreams, and most importantly, it demonstrates how valuable that relationship is to us. Design also can be used as a tool to reinforce breakthroughs in therapy by helping us to identify what in our environment triggers unhappiness and anxiety so we can be calm and present when engaging with others.

Home is, in short, all about the relationships—the relationship between the architecture and the furnishings, their relationship to us, and our relationship to one another.

Design consciously, live beautifully

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