Monday, 30 November -0001

Make a Happy Home

Feel recharged and rejuvenated by organising your living space to suit you, says Amanda Talbot

Written by Amanda Talbot

After researching major living trends around the world I realised that, although there were different tribes of people taking various paths, they all had one goal: they wanted to be happy. For many years I have investigated how good and bad design can affect our emotions, so it suddenly became obvious that if all we really want in life is happiness, then surely design can play a vital role.

House-Jul10-03-590Left: We have to be able to laugh at ourselves. The only consequence you face with humour is that it will make your design approachable and fun. It's the little gestures that make a home enjoyable and memorable. Right: When it comes to colour, remember...Non-primary colours are more calming than primary. Blue is the most calming of the primaries, followed closely by light red. Too much of a good thing, including loud colours like yellow, orange and red, can cause too much negative visual stimulation. But being understimulated is just as harmful as being overstimulated, so always add another hue to neutrals. One can't provoke a mood: you need at least two to stimulate the senses.

House-Jul10-01-590Feeling overwhelmed? Getting rid of your clutter gives you control over your environment. All of your objects should have a regular use, function or a happy memory attatched. If they don't, throw them out. The rule is: bring one thing into your home; one thing must go.

Over the years I have seen how buildings that are poorly designed can agitate and frustrate people and even prolong illness. So, surely creating spaces that are calming and soothing, which provoke confidence, security and creativity, could help us on the path to happiness. In my book I want to show you the possibilities for your life: at home, in the community and in our built environment. I am a firm believer that once you get your home right, it should make you feel recharged and rejuvenated. It should make you feel happy, you just have to learn how. Stick with it, because I know it could change your life.

House-Jul10-02-590Left: We should swap the word 'dining' for something warmer, such as 'feasting'. If you said 'feasting table' you would instantly think of generosity, comfort and conversation. The feasting table should be one of the largest pieces of furniture. Right: Life is about surrounding ourselves with the things that fascinate us, drive us and make us feel alive. Your home should represent everything about you. The trick is not to store all these positive memoiries in cupboards, albums or drawers. Bring them out to tell a visual story.

Happy: Creating Joyous Living Spaces Through Design, by Amanda Talbot, with photography by Josef S Rosemann, is published by Murdoch Books, priced £25.

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