“How you spend your days is how you live your Life.”  Annie Dillard

I read a passage the other day, that describes the many things (translate that to ‘stuff’) we use to decorate our homes.

It went on to explain how these things, when properly combined, are exactly what create the feelings of home we all yearn for – comfort, love and security.

Some of us are sophisticated in our approach, others more laid back or minimalist.

Yet one thing is certain – designing our homes gives us permission to tap into our creativity – and our personal design style.

Maybe you’re wondering “What does that even mean?”

When it comes to furnishing your home, your ‘Design Style’ refers to your overall tastes in design.

In fact, your ‘design style’ is probably not all that different from your ‘fashion sense’, or how your tastes run, in general.

It’s really that straight-forward.

Try this for yourself. Simply explore your own closet and see what jumps out at you. Most likely you will gravitate toward your favorite color accents and the things you most like to wear.

Translate this to your furnishings and see what you get. Are you traditional or modern? Perhaps you prefer shabby chic?

Do you typically dress in layers?

Those same ‘layers’ often apply to our homes, as we play with throw pillows and accessories, switching things out as our moods or the seasons, suggest.

Compare this to the accessories you wear, and switch out on a daily basis – a belt, or scarf, or even jewelry – it’s essentially the same thing.

With greater awareness of your surroundings, and your personal preferences, you will see that there is a strong connection between your house, and what your life is like.

Understanding your tastes, and your design style, adds meaning to the many things we use to furnish our homes.

The things that, when properly combined, are exactly what create the feelings of home we all yearn for.


“Your home should rise up to meet you”. Peter Walsh      

I recently heard about something called the 2% Rule.

Generally speaking, this refers to a percentage of wasted time in a given day, or week, that could be re-purposed into doing those things you “just don’t have time for”.

Like re-organizing the home office you’ve been meaning to get to for months on end, or just finding some extra time for yourself to unwind, read a favorite book  or go for a walk.

In my household, my husband has a 5% Rule, which goes something like this: if you’re munching on a cookie and a piece of it falls on the floor it is still edible if picked up within 5 seconds. This may or may not work for you. Personally, I prefer to know that the floor is really clean.

Then there’s the 80/20 Rule, also known as the Pareto principle. This rule basically says that in any given situation only a few, or 20%, are doing 80% of the work.

In reality, there are any number of situations this can be applied to. In some circles, it is suggested that you discipline yourself to stop eating when you are 80% full.

I like to stretch this rule a bit further and apply it to interior design, and lifestyles in general. To test this out for yourself, try taking a look at your closet. Can you see that you wear only 20% of your wardrobe 80% of the time?

Or try analyzing an entire day in your life. You may see that in the grand scheme of things only 20% of your achievements really matter. Better still, do you live fully in 80% of your home, or do you spend most of your time in just 20% of it? I’m guessing it’s the latter.

Which means it can really make sense to re-design your home and make it work for you 80% of the time. Maybe this is easier said than done but with the right planning I believe it’s achievable.

To help you out, I’ve listed some of my favorite suggestions for making your home really work for you:

First, it’s important that you Nurture yourself by creating warm and inviting spaces for your favorite hobbies and pastimes. As an example, let’s look at the kitchen. If cooking is your passion, you’ll want to pare down to the bare essentials and make your kitchen really work for you with proper storage, appliances and utensils.

Incorporate colors and furnishings that are soothing to the spirit.

Pay particular attention to how your home functions, and how it accommodates your lifestyle. Be like a Scientist and observe every way that it comes up short. Record your findings for future reference.

Next, Reduce Clutter. I’ve said it before, and I will say it again:  crowded rooms are confining & less welcoming. By reducing clutter you can actually increase the amount of livable space in your home, which means you will use more of it.

Not sure where to start?

Consider hiring an organizational expert, or pick up a self-help book that can guide you through the process.

Choose Your Furnishings Carefully. In all areas of your home, and life , if you pare down to the basics you will likely get plenty of use out of everything.

Consider furnishings that serve more than one purpose thereby doing double-duty. For optimal organization, be sure to include plenty of extra storage, and definitely consider customized options if your budget allows.

Ultimately, it comes down to this  –  if it doesn’t honor who you are, think twice before bringing it home.

To subscribe to my eZine, and receive a FREE copy of my ebook Living Green:  12 Simple Steps for Creating an Eco-Friendly Home, please visit my website at harmonydesignsudio.com .

Clarity, Order and Simplicity

“People, like sandwiches, come in layers.” A. Pujari

Let’s face it. It’s those very layers that make life interesting, and that make us, as individuals, so fascinating and complex. It is those same, complex layers that sometimes lead to confusion and a desire for more clarity in our lives.

Clarity. What is it?

We can equate it to the proverbial light bulb that goes on, when you suddenly ‘see the light’. In essence, it means knowing who you are, understanding your tastes, what you want, your likes and dislikes. You need to know these things about yourself before you can even begin to choose paint colors, and new furniture, let alone navigate the rest of your life. Otherwise, you will constantly be bumping up against imaginary ‘walls’.

If you don’t know your tastes and preferences, even the most basic design decisions will be very difficult. You will be constantly second guessing, and hemming and hawing, instead of knowing instantly, in your gut, that you are making the right choice.

Clarity also means reducing clutter, especially at the outset of a project, as it allows you to determine how your living space can best meet your needs, and what must be done to achieve that. Keeping things simple definitely helps. If you’ve heard the saying ‘Less is More’, you’ll know what I mean.

As part of my design philosophy I believe in a uncluttered environment and paring back whenever possible. I like to see the elegant lines of a piece of furniture, or a beautiful work of art, having room to shine.

It may not be easy peeling back the layers and find order among the chaos. However, the end result will definitely be worth it.