“It Should be Beautiful”

“If you touch it every day, it should be beautiful.”
Nate Berkus, O magazine, May 2010.

This quote stopped me in my tracks because it so perfectly encapsulates my theory of simplicity and interior design. We are affected by the things in our environment, often at a level below our conscious awareness. For instance, a lovely vase of flowers can lift our spirits every time we glance at it, while an unsightly stack of out-of-date newspapers can pull our energy down without us being aware of the reason.

I would even extend this sentiment one step further:

“If you see it every day, it should be beautiful.”

I am referring, of course, to those things which are within your ability to change. The unsightly billboard on your way to work, for example, is probably not under your control. But the growing pile of junk mail by the front door may be something that is in your sphere of influence and can be changed.

To give a personal example: there was a large woodpile in our back yard. Probably ten feet tall and 6’x6′ at the base, it was partially covered by a ratty blue plastic tarp and was a major eyesore. Every time I looked out of our dining room window into our back yard, my vision was distracted by this ugly structure. It’s not that I have anything against woodpiles, per se.  In fact, I am grateful to have such a nice supply of wood stored up for use next winter.  It’s just that it was unsightly and did not have to be located where it was…

So, last weekend, I asked my husband if he would mind moving the woodpile. And he kindly honored my request. (Fortunately, it was a sunny day and it took him less than twenty minutes).

This is what I see now. The red arrow points to where the offending woodpile once stood:

backyard from dining room

Now, looking through the window into our yard and into the the tree-filled forest beyond, I feel much better.

And it was a simple change (well, that’s easy for me to say. My husband may beg to differ…) But the point remains, sometimes dealing with those little nagging pieces of visual clutter can reap the greatest rewards in terms of renewed energy and a sense of peace.

Your turn: Is there one nagging “something” bringing you down every time you look at it? Is it something you can easily change? Is there anything stopping you?

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One Response to “It Should be Beautiful”

  1. Some things in my driveway are annoying me– a bucket, a few empty boxes waiting to be recycled. Very easily fixed. My dd who is a young housewife often says, If it's not cute I won't use it! I don't much like where we need to store the printer, so I throw an afghan over it!