Home interior design: Why playing it safe is not the best option

home design

I lived in London for many years and whilst we share so much culturally there are vast differences in our approach to home interior design.

Londoners, in particular, are definitely braver and more willing to try new things than we are here in Ireland and I heard an interesting interview on the radio recently which might give some insight into why.

Sensation – The New Science of Physical Intelligence

The interview was about a book titled ‘Sensation – The New Science of Physical Intelligence’ by Professor Thalma Lobel. The book looks at how physical experiences unconsciously affect our everyday decisions and choices – with profound implications for your everyday life.

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How sensations affect our behavior

The book uses case studies to explore how sensations make us react to different situations for example how clean smells promote moral behaviour, but people are more likely to cheat on a test right after having taken a shower.  Or how holding a nice, warm cup of tea or coffee can make you feel warm, which in turn makes you feel warmer towards others and more open to new ideas.

Case Study

There was one study, however, which I found fascinating and it was where people were put in a room and each of them asked to position them-selves so that they had plenty of space around them. After a time more people were brought into the room and asked to stand very close to someone else. The people were then asked a series of questions – those who had had their space invaded were far more likely to make choices that made them differentiate themselves form others than those who came into the room later.

Home Design - London Street

Dublin V London

Consider this idea in terms of city living and home interior design. Take 2 cities like Dublin and London one which is extremely densely populated and one which is by London standards sparsely populated this is really interesting. Here people are far more conservative and feel much more comfortable blending in and this comes through in the choices they make for the homes.

People are far more likely to choose something they have seen somewhere else like in a family members or neighbours house. In London, however there are so many people living in such close proximity the need to standout and be different is really strong. Individuality in interior design is everywhere from window boxes to colour choices for front doors no 2 homes are identical.

Home Design - Be yourself everyone else is already taken

Dare to be different

There is a lovely piece of text written by Oscar Wilde called “The House Beautiful” and, although it dates from the 1800’s, much of it is still very relevant to home interior design today. One line which is particularly poignant is that ‘the decoration of a house should express the feeling of those who live in it’. If your house is to feel like a home this is an absolute must.

The people who are most unhappy in their houses are those who ‘played it safe and choose things not based on whether or not they loved them but because the thought they were a safe option. With home design it’s so important to let your personality come through in your choices for your home. Take a leaf out of the Londoners book and dare to be different.

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Denise O'Connor

Author Denise O'Connor

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