What is the personality of your home? What do the little-seen spaces in your house or apartment say about you?
Because houses are inanimate, we think them unworthy of psychological analysis. “But homes are primarily about people and relationships,” says P.J. Wade, a specialist in helping individuals and organizations manage change. Just as the people in our lives influence our personal development, living spaces shape our living.
As a society, we consume and adopt designers’ ideas about who we are and how we should live. Yet the reality of our interior spaces say a lot about who we really are.
If we look back some 300 years, we see that our contemporary sense of self began to emerge with the creation of private homes. Medieval life “was a public affair,” and a room of one’s own was unthinkable until craftsmen began to construct family space within their shops, observes architecture critic Witold Rybczynski.
The ability to physically separate one’s self from the broad fabric of society allowed a similar psychological independence. Thus, the house itself became “a setting for an emerging interior life,” where a person could construct an inner self.
As a result, the home becomes identified with the self. The high-profile, public rooms in our homes demonstrate “how we think we should appear to others,” says Wade. Because kitchens, family rooms and entertaining areas often reflect a designer’s interpretation of our lifestyle, they don’t tell much about us.
“The bedroom, the basement, the garage — that’s your real life,” according to Wade. Those oft-slighted spaces, free of conscious decoration, offer a psychological self-portrait.
Is your bedside table a treasury of family photos and sentimental keepsakes, or a functional space for the radio alarm? Is your garage a workshop for weekend projects, an afterthought where broken things go, or an actual parking space for cars?
Take a look, and see your self reflected.
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