The idea for this article came from a reader’s question: “Why do we love interior design so much?” It may seem like a straightforward answer, but I think the true benefits of interior design and the reasons we love it go far beyond aesthetics alone.
I often find it difficult to identify exactly how much external factors affect me in my daily life. For me, design has always been a way to contribute to my own sense of well-being. It’s a way for me to create a space where I feel safe in the world.
Safety is one of the most fundamental human needs. While we each find it in different ways, designing a home that feels inspiring and soothing is one of the main ways I provide a sense of safety for myself. And the impact of this extends far beyond aesthetics. For me, it’s about incorporating cues into the design of my home that nudge my nervous system to find its way back to a sustainable resting place. I think this is why coming home from a trip can feel so good, no matter how amazing the place you visited was—because there truly is no place like home.
There’s so much about life that we can’t control. Designing our homes allows us to set the stage for the good things to come. It allows us to create a space to celebrate special occasions like birthdays and anniversaries, a space to simply be with loved ones. Over time, our home becomes the keeper of all the memories we created within its walls.
When we first moved into our current house, I immediately thought about where the Christmas trees would go. From the moment I stepped foot inside, I pictured how these kinds of annual moments and traditions would unfold.
In a day-to-day sense, watching my kids grow up within this home makes me emotional more often than I care to admit. Sometimes, the emotions hit on a simple Sunday morning—with music in the background as Joe and I are reading and drinking coffee, while the kids happily play nearby. These are the important moments. I don’t think it gets much better than them.
We all look for something to anchor ourselves to, something to better define our sense of self as we try to answer the question, “Who am I, really?” Interior design is one of many outlets that can help us get a little closer to the answer.
The process of designing our homes is one way we define and express who we are. It may not be the primary way all of us express ourselves, but for many of us, it’s a core element of how we build our sense of self.
I think one reason for this is that our opportunities for expression often dwindle in adulthood. When we’re younger, many of us have outlets like extracurricular activities, clubs, and sports that are the cornerstones of our identity. As we grow up, those kinds of activities become squishier and more nuanced. They become somewhat rare. And when we go through big changes, which inevitably are a part of life, finding a means of expression can help give us a sense of stability.
We all look for something to anchor ourselves to, something to better define our sense of self as we try to answer the question, “Who am I, really?” Interior design is one of many outlets that can help us get a little closer to the answer. It certainly has for me.
BY Kate Arends - February 13, 2023
Thank you for being here. For being open to enjoying life’s simple pleasures and looking inward to understand yourself, your neighbors, and your fellow humans! I’m looking forward to chatting with you.