Stressless Style

Make a Statement. Design from the Heart.

Anyone can build a house, but it takes more than a physical structure to make a home. Creating a home requires an emotional attachment to your abode. The thought of it should evoke a sense of joy, calmness and serenity. Your home should remind you of quality time with those you love, allow you to relax in harmony and represent your personal interests and style.

When designing a room, remember to stay true to the feelings you want to evoke. Play with colors and textures to create a mood or theme for your space. Keeping this mood in mind throughout the design process will help turn an everyday space into a topic of conversation.

Lisa Mullikin, interior design professor, has worked in the industry for 25 years with clients around the world from London to New York. When working on a project, Mullikin turns to what she calls a “cultural memory” to guide the design process.

“I try to talk about childhood memories, which allows me to get at something that goes beyond them just wanting an office space or a bedroom,” says Mullikin. “I like to see where the client comes from emotionally.”

Find out what it is that makes YOU happy. Maybe you have fond adolescent memories of family trips to the coast and spa blues with silk textures help you almost feel the salt in the air. Or perhaps you loved the days spent at your grandmother’s home and an art deco wall clock preserves a piece of your history. Bringing a personal connection to life through a theme or statement piece injects joy and wonder to your daily living.

“A successful project is one that fulfills the clients needs, but at the same time surprises them,” said Mullikin.

To enhance the conversation-evoking qualities of a room, take Mullikin’s advise and factor in the unexpected. Select a focal point, such as metallic throw pillows or a chandelier made from recycled bottles to catch one’s eye as they walk in. Think outside the box with colors. Play with bright hues such as lime green for a cheerful space or mix in blacks for a more dramatic feel.

Once you’ve found your inspiration do a lighting test to make sure your ideas work in the actual space. Pay particularly close attention to the natural lighting as it is one of the most important design elements. If the lighting washes out a statement color or a metallic accent creates a blinding glare, it’s best to go a different route. The natural sunshine coming in should cause a sense of serenity.

“I work with a lot of materials and color and see how they will respond to natural light,” said Mullikin. “We have such a powerful connection with natural systems. Having a connection to the natural light coming into the space is important.”

As you go through the design process remember to listen to your heart to select the themes and elements that speak to you and your family. Not only will your home provide a sense of balance, but will make an authentic statement about who you are and will bring you bliss every time you open the front door.