The impact of your home on your relationships and life.
Are you feeling disconnected from your family? Do each of you go into their room and rarely see each other? The impact that your home can have on your relationships and life is something to consider before buying, upgrading or decorating your home.
I see many times how people jump into buying their home looking at the essential things they think they need and letting themselves be sold by modern new kitchens and pretty finishes. Of course, I love to make the most out of each property and I love design, but I think you might be missing the step of assessing how you currently live and how you would like to live among other things.
Let’s have a look at the key things with a big impact in your home (and therefore in your relationships and life) that you might not be considering.
The impact of your home's Layout
After having lived in many different rentals throughout my life, I can see how the layout of a flat or house has a big impact on my life and my relationship with the people around me. I will give you three examples for comparison.
- My parent’s house in Spain: This is quite a big house and each of us has a room with our books, art supplies etc. We also have a spacious dining room that we only use at Christmas, a similarly big living room and a decent size kitchen. The reality is that we used to spend the majority of our time in our separate rooms doing our own thing and meeting up for long discussions around the table after lunch and dinner in the kitchen.
- A one-bedroom flat in London: That flat had a 2.5sqm enclosed kitchen and a lounge with a dining room table. My husband and I used the dining table to work and used to have lunch and dinner sitting on the sofa and watching tv.
- An HMO in Latvia: I used to live in a 4 bed HMO during an Internship in Latvia. The bathroom was opening into the kitchen and the lounge was barely 6sqm with a broken sofa and no tv. In consequence, I used to select the times of the day where I could take a shower and I never spent a minute with the other tenants in the lounge.
- Out second one-bedroom flat in London: In our current flat, the kitchen is bigger (maybe around 7sqm) and it has a table with chairs. The lounge is small and doesn’t have a dining table. Now we have our meals in the kitchen discussing how our days are going instead of watching tv.
You can see how our behaviour changes depending on how the space and layout work and I even haven’t told you about the quality of each space and its light. It might sound crazy to you, but I believe your house has a huge impact on your stress levels and your relationship with your family.
Light around your home
Do you check the aspect of a property before you buy it? Sunlight is absolutely essential to avoid the winter blues or feeling depressed. Your motivation and energy levels are significantly affected by the amount of light coming through your window. We live in a country where the amount of sunlight we get through the year is limited and that is why GPs recommend taking Vitamin D supplements, especially during the winter months. If you also consider how much time you spend under a roof and how covered is your skin with your clothes, you will understand how massive is the need for light to feel better in your home.
It might not be your case, but let me give you a brief guideline to assess the aspect of property in case you don’t feel confident about it. Any elevation of a property facing North will permanently be in shadow, an East elevation will get sunlight during the morning, a West elevation will get the sunlight during the afternoons and a South elevation will get sunlight from the morning till the afternoon. The sun is lower during winter and higher during summer so the angle of the shadows along the year will vary. Have a look at the following sketch showing where this house will have the majority of sunlight.
If you like the design as much as I do, the interior design would be a must for you. However, even if you don’t care too much about it and you think is something secondary, I would insist on having a second thought about it. You can create a beautiful interior whatever your budget is. The point here is to take into consideration how a harmonic composition and specific palette of colours make you feel. Surrounding yourself with beautiful things that you love would make you feel better and more inspired.
The impact of your home over your relationships and life when everything is disorganised and chaotic is massive too. Do you think that is just a coincidence when people with problems in their families or their health, reveal to be living in absolute chaos? Your home tells a lot about you and it behaves almost like a mirror. If you want to feel better and more relaxed, start by organising your home. Throw away first all that is unnecessary and continue by investing in the design of its interiors. I promise you will feel proud of your home and it will revert the good positive energy onto you.
You can see below a great example. In the first empty picture you can imagine It’s easier just to add a couple of sofas from a sale and a table, but imagine yourself sitting in that sad room. Would you feel better? I don’t think so. Look now at the picture below that one. You might not like the style, but you can imagine a person who likes the style would feel radiant, lifted and full of energy whilst sitting there. They would be proud to show this room to their guests and they would enjoy coming to this room.
I absolutely love this category. I can’t understand how 3 bedrooms houses are being built without a good storage closet. Nowadays is difficult to find new properties with big rooms. Generally, they are just ok. If there isn’t any extra storage room, you need to get creative and make it by yourself.
It’s also easy to get distracted by adding more windows and openings without thinking that you might be losing the wall area where storage units could be installed. Furthermore, people are scared of the cost of built-in units so they start populating a room with a wardrobe, a chest of drawers etc making it feel crowded when using one full-height built-in would save them floor area and would make the space feel lighter and organised.
An organised home with plenty of storage can almost guarantee a stress-free home. You would be able to quickly put away toys, work files and those items that you have been saving for years.
The flow of your home
The flow of your home is important too. Would you like to have interconnected spaces to be able to reach different areas from different points of the house? or would you prefer to have perfectly separated rooms with more privacy? Again, how you live and the type of person you are should be reflected in your home and the flow of the house is another key element to consider.
If you hate the glass, polished and vast extensions and you love cosy rooms, maybe you could think about small pockets of space connected but slightly separated. That could be done by splitting the areas with different levels or adding partitions here and there.
On the other hand, maybe you and your family love to spend time together and don’t even blink if the kids are shouting, you are working on a side and the cousins come for a visit. In that case, is all about opening the layout to its maximum potential creating a good flow of circulation simply with the furniture.
This one is quite connected to the flow concept, but I’ve separated them because you also need to think about the flow of a property even if you don’t have an open layout. An open layout is currently what you would find everywhere you go. It’s hard to understand those old houses with multiple pockets of space with very specific functions. Nowadays we don’t want to face constringent walls around us. What happens then when your family lifestyle consists of not interrupting each other? Maybe your kids have to practice their musical instrument and you need to keep working from home until late, but your rooms are too small. You all end up annoying each other sharing that cool open layout that you wanted so hard. The stress levels of your family would go up and through the roof and it’s all just coming from a design decision.
Every topic mentioned above has a direct impact on your relationships and life as you can see. Sometimes we unconsciously assess homes based on what we have seen somewhere else or what everybody is talking about. The truth is that you should disconnect from all of that and connect with yourself and your family. How to do that? Well, if you are planning to buy a property or upgrade your home, I suggest you review each of the points raised above comparing what you like with how you and your family are and would like to live.
Doing this exercise before you view properties or consider an expensive extension or alteration would definitely help you to achieve the best results whatever changes you make.
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