The topic from the May 17th episode of Rewired Life™ Radio holds a special place in my heart.
Designing happy is about designing your life inside and out.
Obviously what I am up to right now is very much about designing your “inside” life, but years back, my college degree is actually in Interior Design and Architecture. Although I haven’t worked in the field for almost 10 years, but it is still very much is a part of my life.
What I loved about this episode and my guest, Mandy Straight, is she has taken Interior Design, what tends be thought of as a “materialistic” and sometimes “frivolous”, and made it an inside job. She gives you the tools to make the interior of your home an extension of your best self.
The work I did years ago as an interior designer was in the healthcare industry. Specifically working with hospitals to design spaces that helped people feel more comfortable and therefore less stressed, allowing them to recover faster. For example, creating private labor and delivery rooms that allowed for partners to sleep comfortably, and to accommodate family and friends as they came to visit the new baby and resting momma. 10 years ago this was cutting edge. I am thrilled that it is much more common place in hospitals these days, and NOW Mandy is bringing a similar thought into our HOMES!
I asked Mandy how we can make the interior of our homes support us emotionally, and spiritually, as well as support what we’re up to in our lives.
AUDREY: Mandy, I have to tell you, what I love about your work is that you give your clients permission to be themselves, not some trendy label of light and airy, or farmhouse, or industrial, or whatever the new trend is from year to year, you have this innate ability to take a bunch of random stuff that people love in their home from their travels, antiques from family members, or whatever, and turn it into something that looks great.
MANDY: I think a good way to start is I think that we’re doing it wrong right now. Traditionally, Interior Design has been, well, here’s a look, we’re going to give you a look and you’re going to make your life fit inside the box of that look whether it’s modern, or light and airy like you said, whatever those labels are, we were forced into making our lives fit into whatever that is. I think the truest things in life are stemmed internally, intrinsic motivation is so much stronger than extrinsic motivation. Things that come from within are just truer, and more real, and more transformative than things that come from without.
If we can take our spaces and our homes and we can initiate what that looks like from within us, it’s so much more powerful of a tool to give ourselves the kind of life we want to live. I don’t know that anyone listening to this call would say, “I want to live a modern life,” or, “I want to live a country life,” even if you were to say that, it’s not about the label and the distress finishes or the modern and the clean lines, what it is, is that those are speaking to a type of life that you want to live, it’s speaking to values and a day to day rhythm that you want to live. If it’s country, you want something that’s more laid back, that’s more simple, that’s more handmade. If you want something that’s modern, you want something that’s clean, less cluttered. Those are all things that you’re yearning for within your life that really have nothing to do with the look. The look, if done right is an echo of those things you want to feel.
AUDREY: You presented your work, Visual Mantra, at TedEx Mile High (watch here). What I took from your talk is visual mantra, (mantra meaning a statement repeated often to express ones beliefs) then is a repeated thing in the visual environment of your home. Every day you wake up and you are essentially telling yourself something. So, the question becomes what are you telling yourself? And do you like what you’re telling yourself? I wanted to start here, what is the first step in creating your visual mantra? What is the first step listeners can take in creating a visual mantra for themselves?
Mandy: The first step for your visual mantra is just to start being aware of what’s around you, don’t change anything yet. Just notice, when I go here, I feel like this. When I’m in my home and I look at the chair in the corner, I feel this way. When I walk into my home, usually that’s the back and the garage, what am I presenting my eyes with? What sort of impression of my life am I coming home to every day? And that’s a very physical literal thing, but it’s also a psychological representational thing that I walk into my house, if it’s a mess, or if it feels heavy; what is it about it that feels heavy?
The first step is really just being aware and starting to notice these things feel good to me and these things don’t.
Our spaces are having an effect on us whether we take it into our conscious mind or not. So, when we are in public places, especially commercial places, they’re using that to their advantage. Fast food restaurants are designed in a way that gets you in and out quickly, makes you not want to hang around, it shouldn’t be very comfortable. Higher-end restaurants are dictating to you that you’re going to stay there a while because they want you to stay and buy more drinks. When you go into retail stores, they have ways that they are changing the interior of their store to affect you to do what they want you to do.
So, if we’re being affected that way by our spaces on a regular basis, why wouldn’t we do that in our own homes?
Learn more about HOW shift the interior of your home, and create an awesome Visual Mantra for yourself, EVERYDAY!