The Power of Design Can Change How You Feel About Your Home by Laura Pursley

Every space in your home evokes a feeling. It can either evoke a good feeling, or a bad feeling. Consider this; if you walk into a room, and it is filled with clutter, your eyes don’t know where to land, you are overwhelmed with all of the images that your brain is trying to process, and eventually you are going to have a feeling of anxiety. On the other hand, if you walk into a well-organized space, that has function and is aesthetically pleasing, you may get a feeling of calm or a sense of happy. I feel both of these feelings when I walk into my kids playroom, depending on the state of chaos in the room at the time. Either a feeling of anxiety if there are toys all over the floor, or a feeling of calm if it’s clean and organized. Using design to change up the function or look of a space can also help to evoke the feeling that you want for a space.

The difference between just existing in your space, without considering your surroundings, and thoughtfully creating a sanctuary, a space you love, is astounding. Even making small changes in a space can have a big impact.

Here is a space in my home at the bottom of the stairs in the basement. The “before” is basically a blank wall.

A blank space does nothing to inspire, or evoke a happy feeling.

With some fairly easy changes and some décor, it now looks like this:

The nook, after. With a little focus, some texture on the wall, and some accessories, it’ now a focal point when walking down the stairs! Talk about a mood changer!

Now, the feeling that I get when I walk down the stairs is a pleasing, happy feeling. I am sure everyone has spaces like this in their home, and you probably aren’t even aware of how a space like the “before” affects how you feel.  We get so used to our surroundings and don’t think that we have the power to cultivate a more beautiful space, but really even small changes can have a big impact!

Your home should be your safe haven, your happy place. You spend a lot of time in your home, you deserve to love it. Using design or decorating your home can have an impact on how you live, your mood, your attitude, and your lifestyle. It doesn’t have to take a lot of money or time to create a space that you love. And, you don’t have to be a designer to have a great space.

What this looks like will be different for everyone, and you have the power to cultivate the space that’s right for you. In other words, you do what’s right for you, and don’t feel intimidated or feel that you have to do anything to please others. If all you do is buy things to follow the trends, you are decorating for other people, not yourself, and ultimately you may end up not liking the changes.

I talk to a lot of people that want to have a warm, welcoming, pleasing home, but just don’t know where to start or what to do. They also may think that it takes a lot of money, but I have seen people transform their spaces with small changes, adding old vintage finds, repurposing items, or tweaking a space with small changes. Adding texture (with wood or wallpaper), or color (paint or accessories) is another easy way to transform your space and make it feel more welcoming. You would be amazed what one small change can make.

Here’s an example.

Here is what my shelves previously looked like. I liked what I had on the shelves and was happy with how they looked, but felt I wanted to jazz them up a bit.

Here are the shelves after a quick makeover of adding wallpaper to the back of the shelf

All I did was add some temporary wallpaper and now they have a whole new feeling. It only cost $30 and a couple hours of work. And, in case you were wondering, I am definitely not a DIY person. If I can do it, anyone can.

It’s not about having more “things”. Randomly buying things to fill your home is not going to give you a feeling of peace, or satisfaction. It’s better if you buy things that have meaning for you, or speak to you in some way, or give you that feeling that you want your home to have, whatever that is. And even better is doing this over time, so it’s a true reflection of you.

Sometimes you may make a wrong choice. It’s ok. It’s going to happen. One example of making a wrong choice, was when we were building our new home. We used a builder that had a certain number of floor plans to choose from, and you have to make all of your design choices in two meetings. Talk about daunting! There are good things about doing it this way and not so good things. What’s hard about this is that you are making choices without seeing how they will look together. It’s much better if you can build your home’s story over time and let your space evolve, but we didn’t have this luxury during this process.

One of the choices that we had to make was to choose all of the lighting fixtures. Choosing those were also at the end of the process, so by that time, I was burned out from making choices, so I just picked from the catalog simple fixtures that I “kind of liked”, but in hindsight, didn’t really love.

Here’s an example of two lights that we originally picked for our Dining Room, and Entry Way:




After living with both lights for about a year, I decided that they just weren’t me, or what I wanted for my space, so I switched them out for these:

In hindsight, I know that I shouldn’t have settled for something when I knew it wasn’t exactly what I wanted. (Later, I realized that I should have told the builder to give us a credit and I would choose my own lighting elsewhere… one of the many lessons we learned from building our first house… I will save the rest of those stores for another day). The moral here is, don’t pressure yourself to make choices if you are not ready.

I talk to a lot of people that say they really just don’t know where to begin in decorating their home. So, what usually ends up happening is that they do nothing, and never truly experience the feeling of joy that can come from creating the space that is right for you.

Here is some advice that I give to people that want to love their home but don’t know where to begin:

  1. Make a list of the top 3 spaces that you want to change, update, or decorate
  2. Think about what feeling you want the space to have (calming, fun, functional, etc) – see it’s not even about a design style at this point
  3. Think about what things that you currently have that give you these feelings – move things around in your home and they will take on a whole new look/feel
  4. Slowly over time, come up with a plan to change one space, one element at a time, then another

In the end, it comes down to what makes you happy, and layer those items in your home, to work with you, and your lifestyle. Just start small, and over time, you will cultivate a space that you love.

About the Author: Laura Pursley

Laura is a home decor blogger, marketing professional, mother of 2, living in Michigan. Laura has a passion for design that she uses to transform her home into a comfortable, livable, beautiful space for her family. Her design motto is that you don’t have to be a designer to have good design in your home. She believes that everyone deserves to be in a space that they love, whatever that means to you.

Laura likes to mix a little bit of modern with a little bit of farmhouse, and she likes textures, patterns, and in some instances, is not afraid of color. It is her hope with her design blog to inspire others to transform their own spaces into something they love.

Visit her blog at to get inspired, or follow her on Instagram, Facebook, Pinterest