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Express yourself.

A home is a personal space where we can do as we wish. Any public space --- office, bar, restaurant, railway station --- has to play to the crowd, make a style, make a style statement in order to stand out. Your home is the arena in which your intimate life is played out at its own pace and in its own way. It does not have to speak to anyone else but you.

A public space is usually designed to meet pressing practical needs, and indeed a personal space can be equally utilitarian. Alternatively, we can print our personality on it and infuse it with our own spirit. A house is like a garden. If left barren, it will give little back; if nurtured and cherished, it will provide comfort, sustenance and inspiration. You will feel the benefit, and everyone else visiting you will feel it, too.

If a home has character, it will immediately be obvious. It adds up to more than the sum of its parts. Unlike an interior professionally designed for a glossy magazine or a television makeover, a characterful home is not designed to sell you something. Interior magazines often pore over homes that are the compelling creation of a particularly vivid personality. Then they isolate elements that can be replicated easily in your own home: a paint finish, or a certain style of the table. Curiously, however, as a sort of shorthand for style, these individual items often work far less well out of context. That elusive quality, personal style, fails to translate. It is the one thing that you cannot buy; but you can develop. Once you develop it, once you learn to trust your own taste, you can blend those individual items gleaned from all over the place into a home that is truly yours.

Over our lifetimes, numerous factors influence how we would like our homes to be. Conversely, if you model your personal space on someone else's, you are betraying your own history. Try to liberate yourself from the tyranny of fashion, which now influences interiors more than ever before. The turnover of desirable styles and approaches has sped up to match the level of seasonal changes in clothing. While there are far more things to buy for the home now, and at lower prices, the range of styles and colors available at any one time is increasingly determined and limited by commercial trends.

These interior trends are the antithesis of personal style. We all know people who, a couple of years ago, enthusiastically decorated in the most up-to-the-minute style they could concoct based from what was on offer in shops and magazines. Now, of course, thanks to the influence of those same magazines and stores, their homes look dated, and they are tiring of it already. It is fashion's old trap: everyone thinks they are leading when they are just simply following.

Before fashion, of course, the issue of respectability and 'good taste' was the major external influence on how you decorate your home. At present, since we are all individuals, we want our homes to reflect that fact. If we let ourselves want only what everyone else wants, then our homes will reflect back to us every commercial clichAaAaAeA@ goin not our own taste at all.

Your home environment supports your identity, as well as your activities. Whether these elements are in tune depends on how truthful you are with yourself. If you find yourself lavishing extraordinary amounts of care and attention on your home, or creating a home environment that is very different from that which you inhabit in the outside world, examine your lifestyle carefully. Filling your home with the trappings of a stylish house will not, in the long run, do anything to sustain a lonely or unfulfilled heart. You can always create a home that will bring out the best in you; a home that will help you to function as you ought. Your personal space will mirror your loves and dreams just as much as it will reflect your life.


PERSONAL SPACE. It is in our nature to invest much in material objects that transcend the purely practical. The most mundane object can function as a talisman, touchstone, souvenir or emblem. The more we personalize our possessions, the more we are able to see ourselves in the things we own, it is difficult to be rid of them.
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Title Annotation:Home & Garden
Publication:Manila Bulletin
Date:Sep 17, 2014
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