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4 Tips for Conscious Living Through Interior Design

by Jill Gleeson
EDGE Media Network Contributor
Saturday May 28, 2016

Living consciously is more than a trend right now - it's an entire movement. Loosely defined as making thoughtful decisions without undue influence from society while staying aware of your environmental impact, the conscious living concept is starting to get big play in interior design.

According to Deeia Topp, founder of Deeia M. Top Interiors in Sarasota, Florida, it's all about taking a more "balanced and harmonious stance in decorating" with the goal of creating healthier, more beautiful spaces. Want to invigorate and rejuvenate your home so it can do the same for you? Topp has a few ideas for you.

Choose Consciously
Not a fan of blindly following fashion, Topp believes whether you're selecting a piece of furniture, area rug or lamp, it's crucial to choose from the heart.

"If you're thinking, 'Oh my God, I love that, it makes me feel so good when I look at it,' then that's healthy and healing itself," Topp explains. "And in the larger scheme, you're generally going to love that thing forever, so it's not going to be relegated to the dumpster a year later."

Among Topp's favorite projects was the kitchen of a client who, she notes, "surrounded herself with what she loved in an impactful way by being mindful of re-purposing and retro-fitting."

The baker's island was painted with Benjamin Moore's "Hot Lips" - a fuchsia color the client adored that also energized the space. The refrigerator handles were crafted from repurposed plumbing parts, while the soapstone sink was carved with the client's favorite dictum: "Keep a song in your heart."

Meet in the Middle
As in life, the design world tends to swing between extremes. One moment mega-mansions are the rage for the elite, the next tiny houses are the trend. Where once individual, purpose-specific rooms were popular, now, says Topp, "Everybody wants these big, open plans. But you've got to find that balance somewhere in the middle that's comfortable for everyone. You still need some storage, you still need some open space to gather in and you need some private space."

Whether you live in a wide-open loft or a cramped apartment, there are ways to create multi-purpose areas that have a feeling of seclusion. Use design elements such as screens, rugs and paint colors to delineate different sections of the room. Desks can even go in a family room or bedroom; turn them away from the interior, toward a window if possible, to separate the workspace from the rest of the chamber.

In Living Color
It's been proven colors can actually influence mood, so be aware of what feeling you want to create in what room. Brighter, bolder hues - such as the fuchsia in Topp's client's kitchen - are better used in living areas. "Bedrooms can be filled with soft tints," Topp advises. "Lighter, airier tones have a wonderful quality that eases a battered brain after a long day."

Topp also likes to use what she calls "warm, fleshy tones" on bathroom walls. "It makes your skin look good," she explains. You know how everybody just looks beautiful, like they're glowing, when they're next to a fire or a candle? That's the idea of painting a master bathroom in these colors, so that when you look in the mirror you feel good, because your skin looks good."

Light it Up
Speaking of fire, it soothes and relaxes, appealing to our primal selves and taking us back to the time it meant not just light or heat but the difference between life and death.

Even in Florida, Topp's clients request fireplaces, often in modern, sleek styles, made of glass or rock. For those of us lacking such a spot, Topp suggests adding candles to our homes or using outdoor fire pits, where flame can join other elements like earth or water in an enthralling tableau.

"Letting in natural light is also important because our connection to the sun is important," Topp adds. "When we use a lot of glass we get the beauty of natural light, as well as feeling a connection with nature."

But in climates like Florida, using cool wall colors can help offset glare while sun-filtering blinds - which can be tucked out of the way under molding - will reduce air conditioning costs.

Jill Gleeson is a travel and adventure journalist based in the Appalachians of Central Pennsylvania. Find her on Facebook and Twitter at @gopinkboots.


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