It is undeniable that we have an emotional connection to our homes. For most of us, they are comfortable, safe and full of memories which promotes that warm, woolly feeling. We rush to get home and relax, to see the people we love the most in it and surround ourselves with everything that says “we love being here, we love being who we are!” They are our haven in the storm and are fundamental to our feeling of wellbeing. But surely you can’t set out to design for “Emotion”?
The interior design market has never been hotter. Blogs, social media and high street brands can’t get enough of it. It the golden age of home décor and it is really exciting to see people creating beautiful spaces. But the secret to the foundations to building happy homes is held within a couple of things.
The first is to design inviting spaces that nurture the lifestyle that brings you joy. Our emotional connection to our home is made by the memories we fill them with. If you want memoires jam packed with the company of the friends you love, then design your home with entertainment and socialising at its heart. Memories are made round the dining room table, enjoying a Sunday roast with friends, in the new kitchen extension. Designing that space allows those moments to be part of your life.
Building family bonds between parents and kids is about creating time and space to be together. A house full of separate entertainment systems isn’t the same as the evening spent cuddled up on the sofa watching a family film. Happy memories create the emotional vibe we love about our homes.
The second is about “What” we fill our homes with. There is a big difference between just a bookcase from the high street or the cabinet found at the antiques market you went to with your partner. You were looking for a rug, but you fell in love with the cabinet. It is the story behind those pieces that the true emotional gold lies. That cabinet doesn’t just hold your books, it takes you back to that cold fun day with the person you love. Our sentimental history is in the chest of drawers inherited from an aunt; the art created by your kids and the holiday purchases from your latest adventure. That is where we capture a feeling of a moment and turn it into a feeling in our home.
We can’t buy a “Happy Home” from a store but we can design and build a home that lends itself to creating happy memories and sharing our life story in it.
Sometime homes can also have a bad emotion connection it, a home that has experience a breakdown of a relationship or the loss of a loved one can bring a feeling of sadness. We might still rush to be home, so we hide away and heal our broken hearts but the memories can be bitter sweet once we are in our house. When my grandmother passed away, my grandfather found remaining in the home they had built together 50 years earlier too painful. I’ll never forget him saying “there’s a ghost around every corner”. He had packed up and moved with 3 months of her dying. I on the other hand wanted to run into that ghost and could have stayed and smelled the air of happy times for decades later.
That emotional feeling that fills our home stretches beyond ourselves. When Genevieve Gorder was asked on Design Sponges podcast (Listen here) “what is the first thing you notice when you walk into a new room?” she said “I feel how people are living immediately what the emotion of the family relationship is. I know if there is happiness or tension, depression, if there is new life just come in, love, I feel all of that first.” Our homes tell our story with just the atmosphere we leave in it.
Yes our homes do serve a function and its import to get that right, after all what kind of a haven has a leaky roof or a carpet you fall over. How can you feel at peace if you are worried about broken stuff or the clutter? It brings us joy to decorate our spaces beautifully – it is an expression of who we are. But it is the feelings, good and bad, that fill our homes and turn it from just any old house into our home.