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Lush textures and the neutral color pallet create an oh-so-soothing space! Peter Ogilvie Photography

Infusing natural elements, lush textures, and unexpected details into a neutral color palette gives peaceful, calming serenity to space, which is essential for joyful living.

We all strive to live a joyful life: one that is full of simple pleasures, holding plenty of space for the moments, things, and people that make our lives feel full. The pursuit of a joyful life is even more present in our modern, fast paced lives. Day-to-day stresses are only accentuated by high-tech gadgets and our fascination with quick fixes. In a vicious cycle, the external influences on our daily routines and practices can easily lead us to feel overwhelmed.

Some of those external influences will always be out of our control — but at the same time, we can make an active, intentional choice to change our environment to positively affect our health and well being.

Both at home and at work (or anywhere else where you may spend a significant amount of time), the design decisions in our environment have a direct impact on our lives, on our emotions, our moods, our health, and so on. Everyone needs a sanctuary, a place to rejuvenate and reconnect, and the careful design of a space ultimately comes down to feeling rather than mere aesthetic.

Everyone’s idea of a sanctuary will look different. However, to create an environment that holds space for joyful, full living, there are certain general best practices to follow:

Reduce clutter as much as possible, keeping only items that you actually use, possibly donating items to the many charities in your community. Remember to thank each item for its service, as Marie Kondo suggests.

Get organized, opting for creative storage solutions and designing for maximum functionality.

Create thoughtful curations of collections for a calmer optical and to reduce visual stress.

Maximize natural light by using lighter fabrics on window treatments, or introducing mirrors and other reflective surfaces.

Create a neutral backdrop by using a neutral or semi-neutral color palette.

Appoint natural elements like greenery, branches, and geometric shapes to infuse the space with restorative energy that feeds the spirit.

Introduce textures to allow for a bit of contrast amongst your neutral color choices.

Use contrast for maximum impact, maybe darker floor or dark-stained beams or cabinetry to play against light walls.

Natural fragrance and a thoughtfully appointed entry can be soothing to come home to each day.

Create a special “quiet place” where you read or meditate, and keep it specially designated for that purpose.

Creating spaces that enhance our environmental and spiritual needs is key to recharging, making the most of our rest time, and living joyfully. You too can achieve “shades of perfection” in your home, and even the subtlest of changes can have a significant impact on your quality of life — a large renovation budget is not always necessary. Hiring a professional licensed design professional can help make the most of your budget and overall design choices.

Lisa Samuel is a Santa Fe native and principal of Samuel Design Group, located in the heart of downtown Santa Fe. She is an award-winning interior designer known for creating unique interiors imbued with warmth and elegance. Lisa (info@samueldesigngroup.com) is passionate about good design that supports well-being.

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