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So what is Mindfulness? I’m seeing it more and more these days and have been thinking a lot about it and how this approach can contribute to how we design our living spaces. Mindfulness can be described as
“1. the quality or state of being conscious or aware of something.“their mindfulness of the wider cinematic tradition”
2.a mental state achieved by focusing one’s awareness on the present moment, while calmly acknowledging and accepting one’s feelings, thoughts, and bodily sensations, used as a therapeutic technique.”
When I think about designing I consider how the space will be used and who will call this ‘home’. Our homes are a reflection of who we are and how we live. It’s our place of solitude, somewhere we feel most comfortable having a huge effect on our wellbeing and ultimately our Happiness. I truly believe that having our homes, whether that is rented, owned or anywhere we can call home, designed in such a way that it enhances our lives contributing to what makes us happy.
There is this concept of ‘Tidy House Tidy Mind’ which I genuinely believe in. How often do we get stressed because that kitchen cupboard is just too full, because the shoes don’t have a home or because this room is always dark and suppressive? ‘Tidy Mind’ is the key here. Take a moment, tidy up your thoughts, dreams and focus on the here and now. Mindfulness encourages this very act, of being able to shut out the negativity and clutter within our heads. Stop for a minute. Sit, listen and feel your surroundings. Take stock of what is really important to you and focus on these to guide you through those important decisions on the designing process.
Good design is mindful of not only what looks pleasing to the eye but how the room flows, how it makes you feel. An important role of any designer is making those decisions which are often what people struggle with to give them a room which they can feel at their most comfortable. Design is an investment. An investment not only financially but emotionally. It is also a commitment. Your client is making a commitment to trust you as a designer to help edit down the vast choices available to them and to achieve what ultimately will be their ‘home’. I believe the future of Interior Design will be guided more and more by Mindfulness and the benefits it can have on our wellbeing. Design should always be considerate and well thought out yes, but being more mindful to the people who need us Designers will result in the ultimate spaces. We live in a consumable world where lifestyles are sold to us in many formats on a daily basis. By hiring the services of a mindful designer they can help you filter these out, ask questions, simplify the choices that need to be made. The decision making process comes usually in two forms, those that are prescribed to us and those that are voluntary. Prescribed are those that are more dictated to us by Law ie Building Regulations and those that we are free to make decisions on ourselves, those that are voluntary. It is the right combination of these two that help create a more orderly design process.
It is through this approach I have decided to carry out my ‘Getting to know you’ sessions when I first meet with clients. The questions I start with are ‘Why am I here?’ What makes you happy about this room?’ What makes you unhappy about this room? How does it make you feel right now? And so and so on. The more aesthetic questions come further down the line, colours, pattern etc. Not to misunderstand that what colours we use will also have an effect on our wellbeing and steer design, these are just as important but determining how a space makes us feel first then can help determine the answers to these questions later in the consultation and design journey. This I feel will give me the foundations of a more mindful and successful design journey with my clients.