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As an Interior Designer/Artist, I know for a fact that people do respond to their environment.

As an example, one of my past interior design clients had a large living room with 20 foot high vaulted ceilings. The room had two sofas facing each other by the fireplace. One sofa faced a bright rust colored accent wall with a beautiful and colorful large landscape painting over a white marble topped side board/table, making an exciting and striking statement. The other sofa faced an off white wall with an over sized photograph of a polar bear on an ice cap. Everyone coming into the home for the first time was so taken with this massive photograph of the polar bear, in part because it was such a surprise to see. But every time any of the guests sat on the sofa facing the beautiful polar bear, it wouldn’t be long before they became tired, fidgety, and started yawning often cutting the evening short. Every time their guests sat on the sofa facing the bold colored wall and lively painting, they were energized and chatty, so much so that they had trouble getting their guests to want to leave at night so they could go to bed.  People do react to colors, and also to subjects and contrast.

If you work in an office that deals with often stressed out clients, consider seating them in  a reception room first for a few minutes that will help them calm down a bit before any interaction begins.  This type of stage is easier to set than one might think.  Choose softer blues and greens in various tones and tints to soothe them, and add the right type of art.  For instance, a landscape painting of someone in a boat fishing on calm waters.  Or a painting of a quaint cabin in the woods with smoke gently streaming out the chimney.  You get the idea, think of situations that most people would love to do on their time off for relaxation, or on a weekend get away for a fresh perspective.  Maybe rows of grapes in a vineyard, or something to remind them of family like a picnic outing or a potato sack race.  A little bit of whimsy or tasteful humor can go a long way to smoothing down someone’s demeanor.  Sometimes photographs of your favorite sports or pets can get someone to refocus in a different direction long enough that it reduces some anxieties, making them more amiable. I recall in one office we hung pictures of different bridges on the walls.  People were always trying to guess which bridge it was, again a slight distraction from what was irking them was enough to prevent an emotional escalation (hence, the name it was given, the “bridge room”).  You can further un-rile them with some soft gentle background music (dentist offices and elevators often do this), and even some cinnamon sticks to place a nice comforting aroma in the room (some realtors do this).  Music soothes the savage beast, and so do comforting smells, and visual cues of things that give us the warm fuzzies, such as great art that is relatable.  Absolutely avoid any art that could be interpreted as loud, angry, biased, or opinionated – and avoid red and black except in very small quantities. I also think its best to avoid very dark rooms, instead, create a light and easy room to be in.  One office had a bulletin board with just positive sayings on it.  Five minutes of reading that pumped up and rejuvinated many of the people who read the quips.

As an artist, I’m mindful of these facts I’ve witnessed when I create paintings. Staging isn’t just for model homes. What stage do you want to set for living for yourself and your family in your home? If your kids are couch potatoes, try some bold colors to shake them up off that sofa. You might try some artwork that will stimulate them to dream more, and ultimately achieve more. Industrial accidents have dropped after painting the walls a light blue or a light green color. If anyone sees a type of art everyday, it can effect them in more ways than you know.  So let your surroundings including your artwork resonate with living your best life.

Food for thought… A success oriented environment often is a compliment and precursor to a successful life, and vise versa.

I’ll add to this subject in other upcoming posts. I was an interior designer for about twenty years, most of that time was with my own business. I’ve witnessed how many room transformations affected people in homes and businesses, to be better and do better. 

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