When you browse through the pictures in NYC-based interior designer Joshua Smith’s portfolio, you’ll notice something unusual happening: Of course, you’ll admire the beauty of the rooms themselves, but you’ll also feel lighter, calmer and more open. That’s a tribute to the spiritual aspect that infuses his interior design work and his latest venture which aims to connect both home and spirit, Conscious Home. Joshua believes that to thrive in business and in life, you need inspiring, nurturing home design. And in this Design Your Life column, he shares tips on how to achieve it.
About a year after launching my design firm, I was running ragged. Not only was I busy designing homes and engaging with clients, I was learning about accounting, brand development, prospecting, marketing and management. Time slipped away from me most days, and I found myself skipping the gym, meditating only sporadically, eating carelessly and not spending enough time with loved ones. My new home was quickly becoming a reflection of my disorganized, erratic lifestyle — chores piled up and tasks went uncompleted.
Our environments, our spaces, our homes affect every aspect of our lives, including our business and our ability to produce our best work.
My mind, body and home were completely out of balance, and it was affecting my attitude, my concentration and my patience. My assistant said things like, “Maybe you should take a walk,” or “Why don’t you go take a yoga class?” I got the hint. I owned a business, but I did not own my life. I had to get back to center — not only for myself, but also for my business, my team and the people I loved.
As I let my fitness, meditation, loved ones and home fall to the wayside, I learned how vital each component was to a successful business and a happy life. These values were the life force that fueled my work.
Our environments, our spaces, our homes affect every aspect of our lives, including our business and our ability to produce our best work. Our homes can add stress— or, when designed consciously, they can improve our well-being and deepen our connection to the world around us.
To live more consciously and maintain balance in our lives, we must create a Conscious Home: a home that aligns to our character and reflects who we are and the way we live. Our home should be a place where we can nourish our spirits, inspire our minds and connect to our higher selves and the Divine.
Here are ways to create a home that will contribute to your success:
You must know who you are and how you want to live before you can create a space that supports you. If you’re struggling with these questions, try making a list of words or phrases that describe your bliss. Write freely and include anything that brings you joy. If you need inspiration, explore Pinterest and create boards with rooms and furnishings that you love. Look for common threads between the spaces you enjoy and weave those elements into the design of your own home.
Make It Beautiful
Decoration not only adds beauty to your living space, it improves your quality of life. When you surround yourself with elements you find alluring, your living space will lift your spirits and brighten your day. Discover your own definition of beauty and bring that charming energy into your home.
How Does it Feel?
A space is not just something that you see — it’s something that you experience. It should engage the senses and nourish the soul. Think about the five senses and how you can incorporate each one into your design. Also, consider how you want your space to feel: Relaxing or inspiring? Cozy or invigorating? If “cozy” is your goal, find subtle ways to make the room more comfortable, such as adding throw pillows and soft blankets.
Stress harms the mind and the body. By minimizing stress in your home, you can improve your overall wellness. So, commit to tackling some of those projects you’ve been putting off. These tasks are often simple, but they lack urgency — like that pile of papers you pass everyday and sigh because you know it needs to be organized. By taking action on these pesky tasks, you’ll eliminate that lingering stressful energy and create more space for harmony in your life.
As you continue to discover themes that reflect your character and interests, personalizing your living space becomes easy. Buy art that moves you, that stirs you when you see it. Collect things from your travels and incorporate them into your design. Choose items that tell stories about who you are and what you cherish. For instance, I have a client who loves airplanes, so we hung a beautiful photograph of a propeller in his bedroom. Now, every morning when he wakes up, he’s greeted by an inspiring visualization that motivates him to rise to new heights.
For those with a spiritual side, you can create a space that enhances your daily practices of meditation, prayer and other rituals. By incorporating spiritual components, your home becomes a sanctuary and allows you to connect with the Divine. Integrating these sacred elements will naturally elevate your spirits and raise your vibrational energy. This deepens your connection and enhances your spiritual growth — allowing the path to the heart to become clearer and supporting you in becoming the person you are meant to be.
An article in the Wall Street Journal listed ways entrepreneurs get their best ideas. On the list were “be present in life” and “let your subconscious do the work.” By creating a space that you love, you make room for inspiration to enter your life. You have a place to recharge and restore —thus, building an unshakable foundation on which to build your empire.