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How Lifestyle And Interior Design Are Inextricably Linked

an image of Lifestyle And Interior Design

Image by inno kurnia from Pixabay

When I started this site, my intention was just to focus on design, thinking the lifestyle aspect was too trendy and too much to add. But honestly, I can’t talk about one without the other. Let me show you how lifestyle and interior design are inextricably linked.

You Have To Live The Life You Want To Design

I have designed a lot of residential homes. No matter the client, I am always up against the same challenging factor in the end. Clients have a wonderful idea of how they want their home to look, but they don’t know how to live in it. That sounds so simple and yet it’s not.

To me, it is a bit like a New Year’s resolution. Someone wakes up on January 1st and thinks that suddenly they will have new eating habits. The merging of lifestyle and interior design is pretty similar.

A client will have a vision of their life in their new home. They are surrounded by beautiful furnishings and pristine kitchen, but they still want to lounge around in their sweatpants with their dirty shoes in a pile by the front door.

That is fine, except the portion of the program that includes the catered dinner party isn’t on the agenda.

a photo of a girl lying on a bed and reading a book

Photo by Inspa Makers on Unsplash

Defining Your Own Lifestyle and Interior Design Goals

I always start a project with inspiration photos. If it is a residential project, I will ask my clients to provide those to me. I ask them to find photos of what they like and to clarify for me what elements caught their attention.

The discussion will move on to learning about their lifestyle and interior design goals.

I have had many clients who were very sloppy. Laundry was always on the floor, beds were never made, and dishes were always in the sink. No judgement. They were quite happy living like that. 

However, the photos they show me and the excitement they have with a beautiful, new interior did not come with 24-hour housekeeping service. So within weeks, guess what the interior looked like? I can tell that they are a little saddened that they had spent a lot of money and they still lived in a messy house.

Understanding Your Own Lifestyle

Because of this, when I collaborate with residential clients, I ask them how they currently live. It seems like a simple question, but I get a lot of blank stares in response.

Understanding how you live can include a few things. Here are some points to consider about your lifestyle before you design your space.

  • Do you wake early or late?
  • Do you need to be out of the house at a specific time?
  • Are you able to come home throughout the day?
  • Do you often get home late at night?
  • Do you make your bed? 
  • Are you active in sports and activities (maybe you are a soccer mom)?
  • Do you like to be surrounded by a lot of things or do you like your visual to be clear of clutter? 
  • Do you like to be surrounded by dark colors or light colors? 
  • Are you someone who is typically running late? 

Designing a space for someone who gets home late at night or for someone who typically running late means that there needs to be an essential drop zone with clear organization. If you answered “Yes” to activity and sports, well that means that you need to have a space for these items and perhaps a lot of cabinets and bins for extra storage. 

If you are someone who works from home, maybe a drop zone isn’t as imperative for your lifestyle. Do you see where this is going? 

Photo by Eric Nopanen-via unsplash

Taking A Hard Look In The Mirror

No price tag on any design project can change a client’s habits.

I watch the excitement in their eyes as they describe their new home and the way they expect to live in it. Like a script, it always includes parties and festive events. That’s great! Then I ask if that is typical of their life right now. If the answer is no… Houston we have a problem.

The end result of the installation will be a disappointed client. My design will not create a lifestyle. A lifestyle creates the design.

Yes, you can suddenly have a space for activity “X,” but the WAY you live is not going to change just by adding new wallpaper.

If you are the type of person who is perpetually late and always loses things, there is no way that a new interior – no matter how well designed – will change that.

Changing your habitual lifestyle patterns will stop you from losing things and from there comes the organization you desire.

I have to make this very clear or clients will be disappointed in the end and direct that sadness to the price of the project.

Photo by Jason Briscoe on Unsplash

So, Where Do We Go From Here?

It is said that it can take 21 days to change a habit. I believe that, but some say its just a myth. I also believe in removing old, bad habits before you can start to work on new habits. 

Learning how to live in a space is not something that is ever taught.

I see it now with my own kids. They are out on their own and learning the ins-and-outs of having their own place. It takes time to learn the motor skills and habits of key placement, dish washing, putting shoes away, etc. These are all aspects of lifestyle in your space. 

A designer can create spaces to assist with organization, but unless the client actually uses that space effectively, a mess will resurface in a matter of time.

Here's Some Help If You Need To Get Started

  1. Download some of my FREE Reboot Guide PDF
  2. Complete the questions and workbook
  3. Subscribe to my Lifestyle Newsletter
  4. Put new habits into place 

I Am Fortunate To Have Learned From The Pros

The information that I share on my PDF comes from multiple sources, classes, workshops, and my own trials and errors. I don’t profess to be perfectly organized and in control of every aspect of my life, but I really do have a lot of knowledge to share.

This workbook is free and there’s no obligation to do anything else, but I recommend it as a starting point for anyone who is looking to do any redesign and remodel to their home.

Try it and you will see wonderful changes falling in to place.

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Ellen Phillips

Living a Beautiful Life

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