A Calm Home: Interior Design for More Well-being | Ana Marcu | Skillshare

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A Calm Home: Interior Design for More Well-being

teacher avatar Ana Marcu, Home Wellbeing, Licensed architect

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Taught by industry leaders & working professionals
Topics include illustration, design, photography, and more

Watch this class and thousands more

Get unlimited access to every class
Taught by industry leaders & working professionals
Topics include illustration, design, photography, and more

Lessons in This Class

10 Lessons (37m)
    • 1. Introduction

    • 2. Order

    • 3. Nature

    • 4. Round Shapes

    • 5. Soft and Heated

    • 6. A habit of calm

    • 7. Better with Time

    • 8. Fix, Tighten and Repair

    • 9. Class Project

    • 10. Final Thoughts

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About This Class

In this class, you will learn how the design of the space around you can influence how you feel and how to design a home that is more conducive to calm. Each lesson explains one specific aspect of design that impacts how calm you feel and offers a few action steps of how you might implement the idea at home.


The lessons:

01. Order
In this lesson, you will learn how the order of your environment can impact how overwhelmed you feel and learn a few ideas about how to design your furniture to create more order.

02. Nature
Nature has been our home for millions of years and has become highly interdependent of its presence. In this lesson, I explain how nature impacts our overall wellbeing and a few ways you can invite nature into your home.

03. Round Shapes
Here I explain why we feel attracted to round / organic shapes and how they make us feel. You will also learn a few tips to make the space around you look more organic.

04. Soft and Heated
Here I explain how soft and warm surfaces comfort us when we are distressed and how to design your home with them.

05. A habit of calm
Calm can sometimes be trained by linking it with a habit and a space. In this lesson, you will learn how to design a space to support a specific habit.

06. Better with time
You will learn how the items in your home, their perceived value, their fragility, or the quality of materials can set you on edge make you feel inhibited.

07. Fix, tighten and repair
Don’t let the items around you break down. Make sure you take care of them. Our home is our foundation. When the things around you are shaky and wobbly, they can perpetuate the feeling of instability in your life.

This class is for anyone who wants to understand how the design of the space around us can impact how we feel. You don’t have to make fundamental changes or break the bank to have a home that makes you feel calm and relaxed.

Follow up on the photos used in the class.  


If you liked this class, you will love my class "A Hygge Home."


Who am I?

I’m a licensed architect with over a decade of experience in Vienna, Austria. I have a double degree in Architecture and "Building Science and Technology" and I am deeply passionate about design psychology and optimising interior design in order to create great emotional experiences for people. My goal is to design spaces that make people FEEL loved, happier, healthier, and more creative.

In my classes, you will find tips and strategies that will help you design a great home. You will learn how certain design decisions can influence your emotions and behaviour and what you can do to create a home that will make you feel happier and supported in your goals.

You can also check out my class How to Think Like an Architect

Books and Media I love.  

Download the CLASS WORKBOOK and class resources (book titles, links, photography) here! 


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Every month I share home design ideas that will help you live a happier, healthier and more productive life.



Links to related classes

A Hygge Home: Danish Interior Design Principles for Cosiness and Comfort. 

Bedroom Design for Better Sleep 

Minimalist vs. Maximalist Interior Design: Find the Perfect Blend for You


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Meet Your Teacher

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Ana Marcu

Home Wellbeing, Licensed architect

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About me: 

I'm a licensed architect and have over a decade of experience in the design and architecture industry. I have worked as an in-house architect on various projects with a strong focus on furniture, interior design and experience design. I have a double degree in Architecture and "Building Science and Technology", and I am deeply passionate about design that generates great emotional experiences for people. I've recently started my little design studio, and I'm excited to teach you everything I've learned to help you create a great home for yourself. 


Transform your surroundings, transform your life!

Your home environment profoundly impacts your mood, thoughts, behaviour, performance, and overall well-being.

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1. Introduction: When we are feeling stressed and overwhelmed, it's hard to believe that our environment can have something to do with it. But if we really think about it, the type of space that we are in and the quality of its design often influences how we feel and how we behave. Think about how you feel in a Gothic church versus how you feel in the supermarket, or how careful and on guard you walk in a dimly lit empty alley versus a well-lit shopping street. And so it comes as no surprise that our homes too can have an influence on our overall feelings and behavior. We can design them to help us feel calm and relaxed, or we can inadvertently design our homes to add more stress and overwhelm to our daily lives. Hi. My name is Ana Marcu, and I'm a licensed architect. In this class, I want to teach you a couple of ideas that can help you understand how your environment can impact your well-being and give you a few design tips that will help you create a calming and relaxing environment. Each of the lessons in this class is divided in roughly two parts. In one part, I talk about a piece of research that demonstrates how humans react to a specific aspect of our environment. In the second part, I talk about various home design tips that can help you implement the idea in your home. Now, why do I choose to talk about science and not about the latest design trends? Because trends fade and the purpose of this class is for you to learn some evergreen concepts that you can apply today, a decade from now, or 50 years from now. No matter what trends will be in style, you'll always be able to select with confidence the right items that will make you feel calm. That way, you will not base your home design on external inputs like marketing campaigns and glossy magazines, but on internal inputs like how you want to feel at home. If you like this class and want to expand your knowledge on the topic, there are two more classes that I think you would love. One is called:" A Hygge Home", where I speak about the Danish design principles for coziness and comfort. The other is "Home Interior Design for Better Habits", where I explain more ways in which you can design your environment to support good habits. I hope you are really excited to take this class. Are you ready? Let's start the class. 2. Order: In this lesson, I would like to talk about how the order of your environment can have an impact on how overwhelmed you feel and your ability to relax. I also want to give you a few tips about how to achieve that with your home design. I'm going to start with a personal story. I don't know about you, but I'm one of those people who when dealing with a difficult problem, I will start rearranging or cleaning the room I'm in. This happens of course when I'm at home and not in other people's houses, that would be weird. But if I'm at home and I have a difficult problem, I will often start with cleaning or rearranging my environment in an orderly fashion. I've always wondered why this happened and why I felt that doing this somehow helps me even though the two problems, the one I'm dealing with and the level of orderliness of my room are kind of unrelated. Or are they related? It turns out that there are a number of research articles on the topic, but particularly one from Princeton University, demonstrates that clutter can make it difficult to focus on any particular task. That when you are looking at a multitude of objects who are not related to each other or to any particular task, it becomes harder to focus and complete projects efficiently. What I was not realizing, was that by ordering my environment, I was reducing the overwhelm, giving myself a better chance to focus on the problem at hand. How can you create more order in your environment to give yourself the best chance to feel calm and relaxed at home. There are many ways to do that, and I've spoken about some of them in my class, minimalist versus maximalist interior design. Like decluttering, how to work with color, density, variety, with shape, and so many other things. But there I refer mostly to decor elements, which to me is like the frosting of the cake. Today I want to go a layer deeper in this cake and speak about "Spatial fragmentation". What do I mean by that? I mean that the more items you bring into a space and the more misaligned they are with each other, the more likely it is that the space will start looking cluttered faster. Our homes and our surfaces are still going to get filled with everyday items, but picking and arranging the furniture a certain way can make it easier or harder for a space to become cluttered and overwhelming. Let me give you some examples and show you what I mean. Let's look at these two photos. In the photo on the left, you have two open shelf units of different sizes. One is taller and one is shorter. They do not cover the entire surface of the wall, and so it's easy to identify them as two items separated from the wall and from each other. The two shelf units also provide a lot of surface which is filled with many items. All the different objects make this space feel very noisy. How do we reduce this noisiness? If we look at the photo on the right, the wardrobes are from wall to wall and floor to ceiling, which tricks our mind into thinking that these are not two objects, a wall and a wardrobe, but one object. Also the objects in the wardrobe are behind closed doors not on display, which makes the space look cleaner, simpler, easier to tidy up. Now, if you bring in new everyday items in these spaces, the space on the left is going to look cluttered quicker, but the one on the right will still look orderly, because the number of items in this space is low to begin with. You'll have to bring in the entire content of your garage before the space will start looking cluttered. But what if we don't have doors? Can we still make the space look orderly? The answer is yes. A trick architects and designers use is to cover the entire wall from floor to ceiling and side-to-side with the shelves of a library. That way the library looks almost like a wallpaper. It makes the wall look like one item. Yes, the shelves can be filled with items, but because they are in between these dominant framework of the shelves, it still creates the impression of a single element and that is very soothing. What we also see in the photo on the right is the merger of two pieces of furniture, a library and a bed. Now, they could have stayed separate and continue to fragment the room in many surfaces, but by unifying them, a lot more empty surface is left in the room. When one or more pieces of furniture merge with the walls, the space in the middle is a lot less fragmented. Having a lot of empty surface is crucial for making a space feel uncluttered, which is why the more pieces of furniture you can join together, the simpler and cleaner it will start looking. For example, on the left side you see the kitchen island is connected to the kitchen bench, creating a compact element in the middle of the kitchen. On the right side you see a table, a couch, a small library, all merged together into a window element that is as long as the window. When pieces of furniture are merged together in a compact element, it creates a strong order in the room, and it frees the rest of the space up. Even if there were a lot of personal items left everywhere, it will still be very hard to call the place untidy, because of this dominant element parallel with the window. Finally, a bedroom example where the headboard is merged with side tables. In the case of the right example, it is also merged with the floor. The flower pot and the lighting elements are also merged into the side tables. A headboard, a bed, and two side tables fragment the space in five, but if you unify them, there is a simplification of the space. There's order. Now, imagine leaving around personal items like a bathrobe, slippers maybe a dress, it still looks very uncluttered because of the simplicity and the orderliness of the space to begin with. What you also see these bedrooms is the use of symmetry and a strong horizontality, which are also two elements that generally make a space feel calm. Because most of the animals are symmetrical, humans have evolved to be very attuned to symmetry and to find it soothing when it's found in space. Symmetrical spaces give a sense of balance, which is very important when you are trying to feel calm. Creating wardrobes and libraries over the entire wall surface, merging multiple pieces of furniture together, as well as symmetry are some ways in which you can fundamentally shape spaces to make them look simpler and give you an overall sense of calm. 3. Nature: You've probably heard me say this a million times by now. But inviting nature in our homes has a massive impact on our overall well-being with countless pieces of research demonstrating this coming from all corners of the world. One interesting piece of research is that from David Strayer, professor of Cognitive Neuroscience in the Department of Psychology at the University of Utah, showing how time spent in nature allows the brain to rest and restore. particularly three days in nature, spent without digital devices, acts like the cleaning of the mental windshield, as he calls it. It helps improve cognitive function and mental performance. I'm going to leave some links in the description for you if you want to know more on the topic. If however, you can't go out in parks as often as you would like, inviting nature in your home is the next best thing you can do for yourself. I'd like to offer you two tips on how to invite nature in your home, but make sure to check my other classes like "Decorating with Plants" and "A Hygge Home" for more tips. First, I want to talk about natural light. Natural light helps us regulate our internal clock and our mood, not to mention, it helps us generate vitamin D. Having an abundance of natural light in your home is highly important for your well-being. What might you do to maximize natural light? One example for you are the Nordic countries like Norway, Sweden, and Denmark. These countries have 2-3 hours of daylight per day during the winter months and in the far northern parts of Norway, there are periods of time where the Sun doesn't rise at all. What tricks do they apply to capture natural light? What you will see in Danish and Norwegian homes is that the predominant color is white, white walls, many pieces of white furniture, and even white floors. That's not to say that everything is colored in white, but the elements in the home that have the biggest surface should be light-colored to allow for the light to bounce around. More reflective than the color white are mirrors, which when placed strategically, can spread more light in the room. Natural light is also more able to spread in the room if there aren't that many items in the room, to begin with. Different items may have different colors which absorbed natural light, making the spaces that are further away from the window look darker. This is why minimalism is so attractive, especially to Nordic countries, because it gives natural light the opportunity to spread in the room, even on days with just a few hours of light. Another way to bring nature in is, of course, to have houseplants. Houseplants look like they might be doing nothing but really they're very, very busy cleaning the air and removing air pollutants. While potted plants aren't a substitute for getting outside, studies have shown that adding even just to one plant can help reduce physical markers of stress. They also give our homes an overall cozy vibe, which makes them absolutely wonderful to have around. Plants can also replace art by covering entire surfaces of a wall or the area of a frame with moss becoming a very popular decor element. Terrariums and aquariums are also particularly beautiful and relaxing home decor elements. To recap, maximize the natural light, and bring in natural plants for an overall sense of well-being. I hope this lesson was useful. Let me know in the comments what your favorite tip was and see you in the next lesson. 4. Round Shapes: In this lesson, I would like to talk about why humans are attracted to round shapes and give you a few tips about how to implement them in your home to make it look like a welcoming and calm environment. Here I would like to start with a question. Have you ever wondered why balls are so magnetic, especially to children and often become toys no matter what their original intended purpose might have been? It turns out that round shapes show up as play things for 1,000s of years in our history. The Mesoamerican cultures used to play a game with a rubber ball called Ulama, 1,600 years before Christ making it one of the oldest sports in the world. Egyptian children were playing Hula Hoop game with circles made from vines 1,000 years before Christ. Balls aren't just interesting to human children but other animals understand balls as play. You show a ball to a dog, a cat, a chimpanzee, a dolphin, a sea lion, and they will naturally start playing with it. Why don't they react like that to a cube or a pyramid shaped toy? The answer may lie in a study made in 2007 which revealed that when subjects were looking at an angular object, like a sharp corner chair for example, the amygdala, the side of the brain that processes fear, lit up. But when they looked at the curved version of the same chair, it stayed quiet. This made the scientists speculate that because sharp objects in our environment represented potential sources of danger to our ancestors, like thorns, teeth, branches, and rocks, we have evolved to answer to sharp contours with a heightened level of caution. But balls have no edges because of that, round circles and spheres are some of the most approachable objects. How might you introduce more round shapes into your home? Some low cost interventions could be wallpaper displaying soft organic and round shapes. One could also choose to paint different geometric and organic shapes like circles and semi-circles on the walls. You can also replace your home decor with home decor that is more organic shaped. A square vase may be replaced by a round one, a rectangular mirror might be replaced by a round mirror. You might introduce art in round frames or a couple of flower pots in the room. You might add a few playful ottomans instead of armchairs. Particularly pieces of furniture that are located in the middle of the room, like coffee tables and armchairs, are particularly prone to hurting us if they have sharp edges because we pass by them a lot. Picking furniture that is designed with softer, rounder edges has the power to make us feel more relaxed and at ease at home. some pieces of furniture might just need replacing. Look around your apartment: Is there a piece of furniture you bump your toes into a lot? Or if the idea of bumping your toe or your shin into a piece of furniture feels like it's going to hurt a lot, maybe that is one piece of furniture that you should replace. Of course, homes like those of Pierre Cardin are the absolute extreme of softening edges. Not just the internal walls of the home, but the exterior walls too and windows appear to have organic shapes. These types of projects are all around the world, many of which are highly sustainable, made from local materials like wood, rammed earth, straw bale, and clay, positioned halfway or entirely underground, displaying organic shaped rooms with round windows and arches, organic shaped living rooms and staircases. These homes have almost no sharp edges in sight. No doubt such homes offer a womb like atmosphere of calm and protection. And while, such spaces might not be available for all of us, bringing more organic shaped decor elements can contribute to an overall softer look, helping you to turn your home into a truly relaxing environment. Before we finish, let's recap three ideas from this class. Soften the sharp edges of furniture with pillows and textiles, bring organic shaped home decor like round mirrors or ottomans, replace pieces of furniture that have sharp edges, especially those placed centrally with furniture with round corners. We have made it to the end of the lesson, let me know in the comments what your favorite idea from this lesson was. See you in the next lesson. 5. Soft and Heated: In this lesson I would like to talk about how soft and heated surfaces contribute to our overall sense of calm and how you might implement them in your home. I'm going to start off by talking about this super interesting piece of research published in the Journal of Consumer Research suggesting that when we feel sad, anxious or generally find ourselves in a negative frame of mind, our brains naturally prioritize tactile stimuli over visual ones. What does this mean? It means that just like small children look for mommy and her soft and warm embrace when they hurt themselves, adults continue to look for a soft and warm tactile stimulation when they are in a negative frame of mind. Interestingly enough the experiment participants who were in a positive state of mind were not interested in the tactile stimulation, but in the visual type of stimulation. It's fair to say that happy feelings broaden our mindset which allow us to expand our relationships and competencies while negative emotions narrow our focus and help us deal with immediate threats. Now that we know this piece of research about the human mind under distress, how might we make our homes nicer to touch? Pay attention to the textures of your home. Which ones feel particularly nice to touch and which ones don't? This may not require an entire room makeover, but a few items here and there can really help us soothe when we feel a little distressed. Bring soft textures in those spaces where you are more likely to be when you look for a bit of calm. Soft textiles like throws and pillows make the acoustics of a space warm and gentle by absorbing vibrations and they increase the overall coziness of a space. Instead of a rug with small hairs you might pick a shaggy one for your feet to touch first thing in the morning. You might place a sheepskin for extra softness on a chair. You might increase the thread count of certain sheets to have an occasional luxurious experience. Besides the soft touch the other aspect of the maternal touch we crave when we are distressed is heat. Covers and pillows make us feel warm but warm objects give us the same tactile pleasure too. This is why fireplaces aren't going out of style despite the fact that we have mastered central heating for a while now. Saunas and hot baths are well known to help people decompress. The intense tactile stimulation all over our bodies remind us of a mother's womb, we feel safe and protected. Turning the bath into a beautiful place and a pleasant ritual always helps us to relax. Additionally, heated furniture has also become more and more sought after. From heated floors and walls to heated car seat, heated office chairs, living room massage chairs, heated benches for the outdoors, heated love sheets to heated blankets and pillows. More and more products incorporating the element of heat are appearing on the market because hot surfaces soothe us and they help us relax and feel calm. To recap incorporate soft textures and heated objects in your home in order to help you achieve a feeling of calm. I hope you enjoy these tips. See you in the next lesson. 6. A habit of calm: In this lesson, I would like to talk about how the power of habits can connect the room from our home to a specific emotion and how to apply this idea in the context of creating a space that feels calm for you. I'd like to start this lesson with a story. During the energy crisis of the 1970s, Dutch researchers started paying close attention to the energy usage of the country. They found that some houses would use up to 30 percent less energy than other nearly identical houses in the area. That seemed highly unusual, and when they looked into what ultimately differentiated the homes, they discovered that the reason behind it was the location of the electrical meter. The houses that use 30 percent less electricity had electrical meters on the ground floor in the main hallway of their home and in plain sight while the other houses had electrical meters in the basement. When their energy use was easy to see and track, behavior changed. The idea that I wish to impart with you in this story is that we often rely on visual cues to signalise a certain behavior. You probably haven't thought about it very much, but really think how different your behavior is on a dark alley versus a well-lit street full of people. How you behave in church versus the supermarket. As humans, we have evolved to be tightly interdependent with our environment and rely on it for all sorts of cues like impending danger or food sources. These cues are behavior triggering in us and the more obvious the cue is, the more likely it is to trigger the behaviour, which is why we are more likely to do something if the cue is easy to see. If you want to play guitar more often place the guitar stand in an easy-to-spot place in your room. If you wanted to eat more apples, place an apple bowl on the kitchen table. James Clear writes in his book, Atomic Habits, "You establish a particular relationship with the objects on your desk, the items in your kitchen counter, the things in your bedroom. Our behavior is not defined by the objects in the environment, but by our relationship to them. Stop thinking about your environment as filled with objects and start thinking about it as filled with relationships." It seems, however, that over time we don't connect the habit just with one cue, one guitar stand, one bowl of fruits, but with the location which the behavior takes place. We associate work with the office, sports with the gym, eating with the kitchen, watching TV with the living room. Locations are behavioral triggering. If we want for any behavior to become a habit, we need a second agent besides location and that is emotion. We can repeat the behavior all we want, but if our experience is not generating a positive emotion, it is very unlikely that it will stick. Many of us have bought some training piece of equipment which failed to give positive emotions and became the most wonderful coat rack in the middle of the living room. Emotion is very important. Conversely, any behavior that has a strong positive emotion linked to it, will stick with almost no repetition. If you take these ideas, the power of a place to trigger a behavior, and the ability of a behavior to trigger an emotion, you start to understand that we can design spaces that will trigger a specific behavior and will generate a specific feeling. Also, I will strongly advise you to link one area to one behavior. When we overlap behaviors with one location, emotions can be confusing and the design of the room can be distracting. It's hard to study in the living room if all your video game gadges are also there. it's hard to stop working from home if the couch is the same place where you relax and send emails. Ideally, we design an area of our home for that specific habits so that our behavior and emotions would be triggered with no confusion. Start figuring out what behavior helps you calm down when you are at home and which room or area of your home could be designed for this specific purpose. If taking a bath particularly calms you down and helps you relax, how might you turn your bathroom into a bath-taking haven? Might you heat the towels or add music or make homemade facial scrubs for yourself? If you enjoy reading, you might place a big soft armchair next to your library as your place to read. In my class 'A Hygge Home", I spoke about a space that is a must in many Danish homes called" the nook". It might be a small niche in a wall or a wide window sill. It might be just an extra-large armchair where you can cozy up with a big blanket, hot cocoa, and a good book in the colder months. A nook is an area designated to the simple feeling of being cozy and calm. You might use a big pillow or an Ottoman chair and a few scented candles to mark the area where you meditate. Or you might set up a corner for your yoga practice. Or it might be a corner where you play music or exercise a hobby. It's important to decorate that space to suit that specific habit. If it's a music room, you might hand you a few records or the guitar on the wall. If it's a craft room, you might put a pegboard for your tools on the wall. Whatever habit you pick as being the most relaxing for you, make sure you create an area in your home where many cues are on display to trigger that specific habit that is most likely to help you relax. 7. Better with Time: In this lesson, I want to talk about the idea that the items in our home, their perceived value, their fragility or quality of materials can set us on edge and make us feel inhibited. I would like to start with a personal story. I grew up in the 90s in Romania. Back then Romania was coming out of a very restrictive communist regime. Homes were decorated simply with handmade doilies and embroidery art and a lot, and I mean a lot of porcelain figurines. These porcelain figurines were like the collectibles of the 80s and 90s. Housewives were in some sort of silent competition with each other on who can get the most of them in their living room. While on family visits with my parents, I would often get bored by adult conversations. I would start to look around for things to play with and I would inevitably feel drawn to these figurines. They were the closest thing to dolls in the room. I'd reach for them if they were located on higher shelves, and I'd want to touch them, maybe play with them. This was often met with a lot of anxiousness and distress by our host, because they were after all made of porcelain, which is very fragile and were somewhat hard to find at the time. I was often told that those were not play things. I was not allowed to touch them, and in fact, moving in the room was also not allowed. I remember even back then in my kid mind thinking, what a terrible room this is. A room in which you cannot play, is a pretty sad room. You can't touch anything and even moving is forbidden. Why would anymore want to even be in such a room? The idea that I want to illustrate with the story, is that the objects we surround ourselves with can make us feel more anxious or more relaxed. Our host could certainly not relax seeing me interested in her precious home decor. When you are surrounded by fragile, easy to damage things or things you consider to be of value, they have to be on guard and neither you nor your guests can truly relax. In the desire to make our spaces more beautiful, we might sacrifice our ability to feel calm by choosing highly fragile objects which would limit our bursts of joy, or opportunity to do a happy dance around the table. It will also make us more anxious around guests and their kids. Instead of child proofing our home, why not strategically buy items that are hard to break and look better, not worse with time. For example, a scratch in the wooden table makes it look like it has more character. A scratch on the glass table and you can throw the whole thing. Brass and weathered copper also look better over time, but chrome not so much. Linens and cottons are easy to clean and can take any accidents. Silks and satins require a lot more attention and care. Velvet develops a soft worn-in look over time, which makes it a lot more welcoming. A great example for choosing materials that look better with time, are Viennese Cafes. The coffee houses in Vienna are some of the most longstanding in Europe. There are at least nine coffee houses who pride themselves to be over 100 years old. Now, when you stand in a place for that long, it means you have a lot of customers. You need to think strategically about the materials you are going to use. Because renovating often is costly and you want to have an interior that continues to look good in 10,20,40 years. What can you do then? You choose very robust materials. Materials that can take a lot of friction and smoke and dirt. You pick materials that look better with time and make the place look cosier rather than dingy. The prime materials you will find in these cafes are velvet in the imperial color red or brown covering seating areas. Dark wood for tables and chairs which used to absorb the cigarette smoke back in the day when you could smoke, but can also take a scratch or two. Brass or copper for lamps and bar accessories. Everything is easy to maintain and looking better with time. Now, in 100 years, I believe they have renovated a few times, but the choice in materials has not changed because they are so durable. In conclusion, what I want to say is that having to be on guard around your furniture, is a recipe for stress, not calm. If your furniture feels fragile and precious, you will feel much more anxious around it and will hold yourself and the other is back from expressing yourself in anyway that might risk damaging those items. It makes you tense and thinking back of my visiting experiences as a child, it makes you guests tense. But if you start looking for inspiration in Viennese cafes and pick materials that look better, not worse with time, you'll feel more relaxed, more inclined to bring friends over and indulge in activities that will bring you more joy without the worry of keeping your furniture intact. Let me know in the comments, what was your favorite takeaway and see you in the next lesson. 8. Fix, Tighten and Repair: In this lesson, I would like to talk about the power of unfinished business in our homes, its ability to weigh us down and rob us from our calm, and give you a few tips on how to change that. This lesson is a bit of a spin-off from the lessons "Order" and "A Room for Calm". In the lesson "A Room for Calm", I mentioned how external cues can stimulate us to exercise a behavior. Leaving a bowl of apples on the kitchen table is going to make us more likely to eat apples in general. However, if the action is not followed by a positive feeling or we perceive doing something as being tedious and taxing on our energy, we might just end up with a room full of cues and no action on our part. If you left on display an unfinished project like a piece of art or perhaps different items in your home need fixing but have remained unfinished, they can make you feel anxious and rob you of your inner calm. A study published in the Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin found that women who described their living spaces as cluttered or full of unfinished projects were more likely to be fatigued and depressed than women who described their homes as restful and restorative. We often leave things out in the open to remind us to take care of them. But when we don't get around to take care of them for a long time, all these things become a silent to-do list weighing down on us. So look around and start taking care of all those little or big things that need fixing in your home. You will feel so much better. If the chair is squeaky and wobbly or the content of your pantry spills out whenever you open it, this is likely to make you anxious and feel internally agitated. You may realize that your agitation comes from the items around you. But you might also misattribute the agitation that you feel in your body to other problems in your life which might then spiral into a cycle of rumination. So pick up a set of tools, look around your house and start fixing the broken and wobbly things. Look for loose doorknobs and uneven cabinet doors, squeaky chairs, and rickety cabinet posts. Our home is our foundation, the place where we go to recover and decompress from a chaotic day. It's the place where we take care of our wounds and recover from rejections and setbacks. If this foundation is squeaky and wobbly, it can really create a feeling of uncertainty and instability in our life. So fixing things up is about taking control and making yourself feel more secure. Besides the shaky and wobbly things, look for the broken, unattended things as well. Look for unused corners of the room or corners left in disarray. Unattended corners of the garden, the broken lights, and worn out cabinets who need a new layer of paint, or two. Look for the unfinished DIY project you left out and never got around to finish. The act of fixing your home with your hands can become an act of creativity. A broken item can be upcycled and receive a new life. A broken teapot can become a beautiful flower pot or a lamp. If we look at the Japanese art of Kintsugi it can become an even more beautiful teapot. To conclude, a ho,e filled with broken unfinished projects can turn into a long to-do list weighing us down. Turning those to-dos into fun creative projects could help you feel more supported by the items around you and give you an overall feeling of calm. 9. Class Project: For the class project, I like you to use the attached workbook and make an exercise of reflection on what makes you feel calm and how might you bring those elements in your home? What might you do or practice in order to feel calm and what corner of your home might you be able to dedicate to it? As mentioned in the lesson, The Roof or Calm, you need to train your mind to connect a certain location of your home with a certain behavior in a certain feeling. If the couch is the place where you watch TV, where you eat, where you send e-mails to your colleagues at work, then there are too many behaviors and different feelings overlapping in one area and this is not a good spot for calm. You have to find an exclusive spot for your routine for calm. Ideally, it's a room, but it can also be a corner of a room. If you live in a very small place, it can be a pillow and a few candles for your meditation practice. It can be a big armchair next to the library. It doesn't have to be big and elaborate, but it should serve the sole purpose of helping you get to a calm place. Think of how you might decorate that area, what cues might you place around to encourage you to turn your calm practice into a habit. Then practice as often as you can to train your mind to feel calm. Share your photos and your process in the class project. Let me know what you learned about yourself and about your home in the process. 10. Final Thoughts: Congratulations. You have made it to the end of the class. I hope you learned some new things and already feel inspired to apply them. I enjoy teaching this class a lot, and I can't wait to see what you have taken away from it. I invite you to go to the Projects and Resources section and share your class project with me and other students of the class. I will make sure to give you feedback and help you on your way. Do comment and encourage other students on their class project. We will help you make some new connections on the platform. Please use the discussion section to let me know your thoughts and questions about the class. I'd love to help you clarify any concepts you do not understand. It also helps me improve my classes so you can learn better. If you enjoyed this class, I would appreciate a review. It tells Skillshare that you liked my class and it encourages other people to discover my work. Hit the follow button if you want to see more classes like this one, or follow me on social media for weekly nuggets of architecture and design wisdom or just funny thoughts.