Anxiety Help, Interviews

Creating Space to Breathe- An Interview with Interior Designer, Marisa Wilson

As the COVID 19 quarantine is growing longer, have you been looking for new ways to refresh your space at home? Sometimes just a few tweaks to your environment can make all the difference to your mental health. I met Marisa at a Jazzercise class a year ago and we hit it off right away. She just exudes good energy, and that’s the kind of energy that I want in my living and working space. Immediately, I thought of her when I wanted to get some tips about how to create a supportive environment for my mind, body, and spirit.


Hi Marisa, could you tell a little about what sparked your desire for interior design? As I understand it, this is your second career. When did you begin this journey and what was the deciding factor that made you pursue interior design?

I’ve always had a personal interest in design and home décor. It wasn’t until I lost my job in 2011 that I had the opportunity to rethink the career path I was on. I dipped my toe in by enrolling in an interior design class, “The History of Furniture.” (My #1 strength on the StrengthFinders test is Learner, so that was the route I took). After that I was hooked! Everything about the interior design industry felt like home.

Could you tell more about your philosophy of design?  What do you love about being a designer? 

I think design is changing. It’s more accessible than ever and there are so many great resources now. You don’t have to have a ton of money to create a beautiful home. I love being able to use my gift for design to help people love where they live. It can be truly life changing when you love your environment.


When you enter a space, what is the first thing that you notice?  What do you think are the key components that make someone feel comfortable in a new space? 

Scale (being the right size in relation to each other) and balance (an aesthetically pleasing integration of elements) are the things that make a room feel “right” but are sometimes harder to detect when they’re not.

I’ve boiled it down to 5 signature principles that help make a comfortable, cohesive home for my bachelor clients:

o   Lighting (down with overhead lighting!) – Lighting creates dramatic differences in a room, depending on what you choose. When considering lighting choices, think through how you want to feel when you spend time there. Lighting is definitely something people get wrong – a dimmer is an easy, affordable upgrade that makes a world of difference.

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o   Comfort – Create a welcoming atmosphere with the fabrics you choose throughout your home such as quality linens and comfortable pillows and blankets.
o   The Bar – Whether or not you drink, your home should be ready to entertain. Keep the basics on hand as well as your friends’ favorites if you want to make your bar the hot spot to hang out.
o   Make it Personal – Don’t feel embarrassed to let your personality shine through! Whatever your passions are, sprinkle pieces or items throughout each room of your home.
o   The Cool Factor – Every home needs a cool, show-stopping masterpiece. Maybe it’s a pool table, a vintage game set, jukebox, or memorabilia. Regardless, it will spark conversation and make you proud to display in your home.

With COVID-19, people have been spending more time at home than before.  Could you give some tips on easy ways people could refresh their space? 
How could they make a space more multi-functional since gyms are still closed and many people are still working from home?

My own (tiny) condo is the perfect example of this. Since COVID-19, I’ve painted my living room, started working out to the TV (sometimes moving chairs around) and upgraded my work station, which is also in the living room. Whether it’s temporary or permanent, it’s ok to rearrange things to fit your current needs. If you need a work space more than a dining room, change it up.

Paint
Hang art
Upgrade window treatments

People are looking for easy projects they can do at home now too – painting is a great one, or upgrade your window treatments. Now is the perfect time to finally hang up the artwork you’ve been hiding in your closet. Organization makes a huge difference in home satisfaction. I’ve been using some of the downtime to evaluate my abundance of things.

I’ve talked about Feng Shui on my posts before.  Do you use any components of this?  Are there certain natural elements that can help people feel different ways like more focused, energized, or peaceful?

o Keep colors neutral to avoid over stimulation.
o   Keep clutter at a minimum because it can subconsciously wear you down.
o   Improve sleep quality by removing electronics and work related items from your bedroom.
o   Scents like lavender, rose and sandalwood are grounding and relaxing.
o   Display personal items that serve as happy energy elements in your space.
o   Increasing air circulation and natural light can increase productivity.

o   Research shows people are soothed even by images of nature and by natural materials. 

o Indoor plants have tons of benefits including producing oxygen and purifying the air. They are proven to reduce stress, create a relaxing environment, and improve mental health. I love incorporating fruit trees for the anticipation factor, even if they don’t ever end up producing actual fruit.



Thank you for all your helpful tips.  If people want to learn more, what’s the best way for people to contact you for a consultation?

Thanks, Julie! On my website marisawilsoninteriors.com, people can learn more about me, sign up for my monthly newsletter, or schedule a free 15 minute discovery call.

We would love to hear some of your ideas of how you are making your living space more comfortable in the comments below!

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