Photo by Ryan Christodoulou on Unsplash

By Tiffany Edison

There is nothing I love more than a fresh start! Think about it — you are brimming with possibilities, a blank canvas hangs before you; who do you want to be? Of course I understand that some individuals prefer routine and predictability, feeling grounded in sameness. However, there is another crew out there, I’m here to tell you — those that relish the “new,” those that feel invigorated by reinventing themselves. This set relishes in getting a mulligan, a.k.a. a “do-over” (for all the non-golfers out there).

There has been ample research supporting the fact that we are a nation of “halves;” right- or left-wing, the glass is half full or half empty, and then those who are outlined above. One half are those who see a pool and are immediately excited about jumping in with their clothes on, the other half are those rummaging anxiously through the bottom of their pool bag in search of nose plugs.

I am firmly in this camp: “Wet clothes? Who cares! Screw the dry cleaning bill!” Life is for the living. Or, at least, for those willing to take a chance now and again.  

I sound like a broken record when I constantly repeat my beliefs to clients regarding how they could feel in their home environments, as it is so important. Emotional wellness or satisfaction is a characteristic that nearly all crave. Just as it is undeniably important to feel comfortable in your own skin, it is equally important to feel content in your own home. Period.

As the harsh winter glare slowly recedes, spring seems so promising and nudges us forward, allowing for a renewal in our spirits and in our home environments as well. One way I like to welcome this seasonal change is by inviting the outdoors in. Open up those windows and doors and allow fresh air to flow into each room. This simple act can be surprisingly revitalizing. Next up, why not try a fresh coat of paint? You will be shocked by how this simple and incredibly affordable step can completely transform a room or even your entire home and, in turn, your overall well-being.

Just recently I was staring blankly at the bookshelves in my home, and honestly, I felt bored! Ho-hum. My off-white bookshelves were glaring back at me. How is this possible? I thought to myself while shaking my head. It’s true, even designers are not immune to missed opportunities in their own surroundings. I immediately retrieved my paint deck and got to work. I began planning a weekend paint project to revamp my bookshelves and my spirit. Scanning beloved items in my bedroom for color inspiration, I zeroed in on a few paint options, deciding to paint only the backs of the book shelves for a much needed “pop” of color.  I debated between two, a medium-tone rose and an elegant eggplant, deciding ultimately that despite my love of Prince and his amazing musical talents, I myself was not a purple person. By the time the weekend rolled around, I was full steam ahead, stripping the shelves of books and haphazard items that somehow landed in the same vicinity. I was thinking only of my award-winning “after” look, and failed to consider how this act would force me to evaluate what was worth keeping and what had outlasted its expiration date. How was it possible that I moved my graduate school academic books to my new home in Ann Arbor? The answer was staring me squarely in the face. I resolved that it was high time to move on. As I packed up these volumes, I reminisced. A healthy walk down memory lane in a different time and place. I was ready to add other items to this pile. I enthusiastically began sorting books into bins, those I would keep and those I would relocate to a good home. I felt a sense of satisfaction come over me in this simple act. It empowered me to then tackle old photos in need of re-framing. My treasured wood collection cried out for a design-worthy display in front of the rose-tone shelves. When all was said and done, this project cost approximately sixty dollars in paint and supplies and six hours of my time. It was one of the best investments I have made in a long time. I am thrilled with the end result.

Moral of the story: take a chance! Allow for some experimentation with color via a fresh coat of paint. The psychology of color is an incredibly fascinating field that has experts citing the importance of color and the impact it has on our mood and behavior.  

Big color risks can offer even bigger design rewards; it takes confidence. I would say confidence may be the single most evident trait my design clients are lacking, and that is okay. It is my job then to help them uncover what is their heart’s desire, and instill the confidence needed to make sound decisions unabashedly. Typically, deciding the color palette of a home is one of the first tasks underpinning nearly every design project. I find this to be a very thrilling part of the design process, as it usually gives great insight into the homeowner’s personality. It’s not uncommon for me to take notice of my client’s wardrobe selections upon meeting them for the first time. Rather unconsciously, the way we dress very often is a reflection of colors and textures that bring us comfort. I myself tend to wear a lot of cream and black, with pops of color sprinkled in — that very much describes my home as well.  

Paint is not just a finishing touch, but rather a key component of every room in our home environment. When selecting colors, it is important to consider many factors, such as the scale of the space, what features you ultimately want to accentuate or recede, as well as the quality of light within a given room. However, I find it best to simply start by asking which colors you prefer and which are disharmonious to your internal rhythm. In the ground-breaking book “Feng Shui and Health: The Anatomy of a Home, ” Nancy SantoPietro talks at length about her unique skill-set of using chakra energy work and feng shui as the primary color systems to bring about balance and better health in the home environment. I highly recommend that those interested in a more in-depth understanding of this phenomenon check out this acclaimed book. But for our purposes here, it is safe to say that choosing the right color can be a task that delights a few and leaves other running out of the room!

Color is a powerful way to communicate or convey a mood or emotion. Let’s take the color blue, for example. Blue is technically considered a “cool” color denoting the color of the sky and ocean. It is, perhaps, my favorite color for decorating, and it’s for some personal reasons. It denotes first place ribbons, being a true-blue friend, and the Tiffany & Company blue for which I was named. That said, I loathe baby blue in most spaces and find that teal makes me itchy and restless. Experts have found that while color can have an influence on our mood and actions, these effects are highly subjective based on the personal, cultural, and situational associations we carry.  

So what is the bottom line? Choose colors that bring personal joy. Experiment with color and be willing to take a chance. Use one of your “mulligans” if you don’t get it right the first time. Jump in that pool with your clothes on — after all, it’s only paint.

BIO: 

Tiffany Edison has been an interior designer since 2002 and specializes in both
residential and commercial projects.  She holds a Master of Social Work degree
(ACSW) and utilizes interpersonal relationship skills on a daily basis with her client
base, largely comprised of Ann Arbor, and Metro Detroit residents.  She has a
wonderfully large blended family residing in the city and enjoys the comforts of home.
When she’s not fully immersed in client projects, you can find her active on the golf
course, a favorite pastime.

www.birchdesignassociates.com