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Along with needs and wants, emotions play a role in home design

July 18, 2013

Hardwood FloorsPaint chips, fabric swatches and emotional responses - what's wrong with this picture? Absolutely nothing. Emotions should play a role in how people decorate their homes, much as they do when they see beautiful features like the classic maple hardwood flooring in Anderson's Dellamano collection.

For designer Meghan Carter, addressing both the functional and emotional needs of those she advises on home design issues starts with those goals in mind as well as who is most likely to use a particular space.

"For many people, deciding on a 'look' feels overwhelming," Carter told Shape Magazine. "Narrowing your options by activity helps you zero in on what you really need."

Her book, The Meghan Method: The Step-by-Step Guide to Decorating Your Home in Your Style, does just that. From whole-room decor to specific design elements, Carter addresses the ideal home design based on what works and doesn't work on many levels.

For instance, when determining whether a piece of furniture is out of proportion with other furnishings, she describes a person's response to the look as "cute, whimsical, grand or quaint" – all descriptions that conjure a feeling about a room design, rather than whether a piece is simply too big or too small for a space.

Favorite colors are close by
A quick look in their closets or around their immediate environment may be the fastest way for homeowners to discover the colors that influence them most.

The associations that people make should be their guides to the hues that make them feel most comfortable. They need to look only as far as their choices for clothing. If those are the colors they like to wear each day, chances are they'll be pleased with them as choices for their wall colors and home accessories. 

According to, homeowners should build on their emotional reaction to colors. They can develop a habit of observing and thinking about a particular color scheme that appeals to them first by noting the main color, then all the complementary hues and tones.

Inspiration may come from green and brown found in the forest or the blue and sand colors of the seaside. If ocean hues are used as the base colors for a home scheme, then natural complements can be chosen for accent hues from others colors found in those environments - sunny yellow, coral, tan or brown - or different shades within the base color families.