We intentionally attempt to create a pleasant environment in our homes. That environment is made up of colors, textures and three-dimensional shapes. Consciously, we may not be aware of the feng shui created in our environment, but subconsciously, it’s always there.

Color can affect our mood, both positively or negatively. An orderly arrangement of our surroundings can bring calm and peaceful resolution. A chaotic arrangement and a cluttered environment can increase our stress. You may say you’ve gotten used to the clutter, but trust me, it affects you.

Furniture needs to be functional, decorative or both. A non-functional chair is pretty useless. On the other hand, if a functional piece of furniture is ugly, it detracts from its surroundings and can carry a negative vibe.

I watch a number of woodworking shows on TV. Most of the pieces produced are both functional and decorative, however there’s one show where the resulting pieces of furniture are simply ugly. This husband and wife team have been producing this show for many years and I ask the question, “Why have they been successful?” There are two reasons, I think. First, the furniture is functional. Second, I believe most of the viewing public either aren’t able to recognize a pleasing item, or they just don’t care.

But we should care. I wrote computer software for over 30 years. During that time, I learned to recognize the affect on a person when using software that appeared cluttered, disorganized and non-intuitive. There have been many cognitive studies showing the negative affect on a person when viewing a two-dimensional computer screen that was not done well.

People may not consciously recognize when a screen doesn’t flow, or objects on the screen don’t line up, but it registers with their subconscious. Whenever there is extra clutter on the screen, it adds to the visual noise and negatively impacts the experience.

I believe the same is true with the furniture we put in our surroundings. One of the appeals of wooden furniture is the beauty of the wood. The color is usually warm, the grain patterns are pleasing and the look is inviting. If the shape and texture of the piece is pleasing, it just adds to the experience.

On the other hand, if a piece of furniture is ugly, it becomes less inviting, and detracts from the overall feeling of its surroundings. The next time you enter a space, look around. Take it all in and get an impression. Then, look at the individual pieces that make up the environment. Do they add or subtract from the feeling of the space? Are any of the pieces individually ugly or unpleasing? It all adds into the aesthetic.

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