Nowadays, all of us are spending most, if not all, of our time in our homes as we wait for the COVID-19 pandemic to truly pass. We understand this need to stay at home, of course. Besides getting vaccinated, social distancing is, after all, the best way to stay safe from the coronavirus. But staying at home for far too long has been affecting our mood in staggering heights. This is why many of us suddenly had the urge to redecorate our homes. We’ve suddenly become more desperate to experience a change in our environment to feel a sense of newness.
Now, we need our homes to feel new, warm, and homey. This is so that we don’t feel too stir-crazy. Some would tell us that we just need to have our furnace repaired so that our houses could feel warm and homey again. And yes, that’s true. But we can do so much more than that.
Fortunately, countless interior designers throughout history can inspire us to redesign our homes to fit our current interests and needs. These are three women whom we can look up to.
Elsie de Wolfe
If there’s one woman who truly pioneered the world of interior design, it’s Elsie de Wolfe. During her time, people were deeply surprised by her sudden interest in working as an interior designer. This is because she was an actress and an all-around socialite, attending events with high-profile personalities and fundraising for charities. She was even presented at Queen Victoria’s court in 1883 then formally introduced to London society. She was also well-educated, having studied both in New York City, U.S.A., and Edinburgh, Scotland.
Clearly, she’s known for many things. But in the world of interior design, she’s known for one thing. And that is subverting the cluttered and gloomy aesthetic of the Victorian era. She favored light colors and open spaces. She wanted fresh air and natural light dominating a space.
Amid a pandemic, having a more open and calming space is perfect for our homes. Thus, we can look at how de Wolfe did it towards the end of the 1800s.
Elsie de Wolfe transformed interior design by showing how we can do without the doom and gloom feel of the Victorian era. But, decades later, India Mahdavi showed us that we could push farther than just having neutral colors and open spaces. Through her designs, she showed us how we could use colors to bring in an exciting and comfortable feel into our homes.
Mahdavi, born in 1962 in Iran, isn’t new to the life of a socialite. Her maternal grandmother was a socialite in Cairo. Mahdavi described her grandmother as someone who often dressed in haute couture and isn’t afraid to take charge in situations. When we walk into a room designed by Mahdavi, this is what we would feel: elegant and bold.
We can channel our inner Mahdavi by introducing more colors into our home and picking pieces that emit elegance and boldness. These are the qualities that we need to feel right now as we wait for things to go back to normal in the post-pandemic world.
Among Mahdavi’s contemporaries, Ilse Crawford is all about what people feel when they walk into a room. She takes the aesthetic qualities of the space and makes sure that they emit certain feelings upon the people in it. In a way, she’s the perfect combination of both de Wolfe and Mahdavi. She’s much more partial to open spaces with lots of fresh air and sunlight. But she’s also not afraid to play around with colors to keep things interesting.
A London-native, Crawford works in projects that would, in a way, reflect what life is like in her home. She wants her designs to thrive in warmth and functionality. Ultimately, she wants interior spaces to enhance people’s lives.
We take a page out of Crawford’s book and focus on how our homes make us feel. This is crucial right now. And it’s because we’re spending most of our time at home. So if we want to improve our mood, we need to examine how our home makes us feel and focus on that.
The first step to improving our home is finding the willfulness to do so. And, by finding inspiration from these three women, we can do so. We can examine their work and see how it will fit our own interests and needs. We don’t need to hire them to have touches of their design into our home. They can just influence us.