Visual Therapy

I love feasting my eyes on lovely things and stretching myself to appreciate beauty in new and unexpected ways. While window shopping can depress some people, including myself sometimes, it can invigorate you if you have a different mindset. Instead of deciding not to look at things because you cannot afford it, it isn’t your style or you don’t need it, you can admire beautiful things with no intention of buying. Instead, they will become a part of your experience. Notice the design. The colors. The craftsmanship. When you look at a room that is different from your own decorating style, appreciate the mix of colors in patterns, textures, shapes and style. When you are out in nature, look at the complexity of colors and textures and how they are woven together.

At some unexpected moment, you will remember that image of beauty and either create something of your own inspired by it, or you may find a treasure buried in a pile at a garage sale that will speak to you in the same way. You will start rearranging things you already own with new inspiration. Your appreciation for beauty was enriched because you allowed yourself to take in new beauty.

Oftentimes our style or life becomes stale and predictable because we feed ourselves a constant diet of sameness. I think we can all learn to find joy in experiences and styles that can stretch us in new ways and breathe new life into our existence. While I enjoy many different styles of decorating, like most people I find comfort in the familiar. But I find when I peek outside the box and see new things, I am suddenly invigorated by new creativity that I can incorporate into my style.

An observant eye can look beyond taste, style, price or function to pure artistic appreciation. This process of feasting on beauty will refine your taste over time and contribute to your individual sense of style.

I firmly believe you do not need to spend a fortune on decorating your home. Some people are crafty and can reinvent inexpensive things by their artistic ability — that is fantastic. But even that is not necessary to have a beautiful home. Once your eye is attuned to beauty you will find it all around you, everywhere you look, and all it will require is proper placement in your home.

Some people learn their visual appreciation by what is trendy in stores or designer showrooms — if they have seen it in a catalog, they like it. If they haven’t, they aren’t so sure. For those more aware of history and art, their appreciation for beauty extends beyond trends. They train themselves, sometimes inadvertently, to appreciate a wider variety of things simply by admiring gardens, art or traveling. Suddenly a bouquet of flowers inspires your color scheme. A window shopping excursion inspires a purchase at a garage sale. A trip to Italy inspires your kitchen. A painting in an art gallery inspires your choice of artwork.

When you allow yourself to look at beauty through art, history, decor, or nature it becomes a form of therapy. Visual therapy. Instead of a materialistic endeavor, it is a ritual that enriches the pleasure and quality of your everyday life. It makes decorating your home an authentic process, because it is creatively interpreting your own visual experiences, rather than mimicking someone else’s style. Best of all, it is something we call can acquire by taking the time to be observant.

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