When I work professionally with my clients, I have a very specific process that I go through with them. One part of that process is that I do not let them see the house for the last two weeks of the project. I want them to walk into a finished design, and have that one chance to see the house the way all future guests will see it.

It can be a very special moment.

I will never forget one particular couple—the male half of it was quite a famous film actor. And on the day that I was to “reveal” their new home, he pulled me aside to tell me, “We are not really emotional people, so if you don’t get a big reaction from us, don’t be concerned. We know we will love the house, we just may not show it.”

I just smiled. Because not more than ten minutes later, they were standing in their new foyer with tears streaming down their faces. He pulled me aside again to tell me, “We used to visit houses like this, and say to each other, ‘We will know that we have really made it when we have a house like this.’ Mark, that is what you have given us.”

Moments like these don’t come along all that often, but what I learned that day was that design is not about a pretty sofa, or proving how wealthy you are, or pretending to be someone you’re not. Design is about creating an environment for your family that can truly transform your life. The exciting part of this is that it doesn’t matter whether you have a hundred dollars or a hundred thousand dollars to spend on your home. When done correctly, a good design can alter the life of your family, regardless of budget.

So what are some examples of how good design can encourage you to live a better life? Well, studies have shown that families that eat dinner together are generally happier. And it’s possible to design a room that really motivates your family to sit down together and talk. Maybe its as simple as more comfortable dining chairs, or perhaps a more casual dining room that is inviting to the whole family. A simple change like this can have a ripple effect throughout the lives of everyone in your household.

Another great way to change up your space to change your life is by using something as simple as paint. Color can be such a great mood driver, for instance. Orange is a very welcoming color, so it’s an excellent choice for an entry hall, whereas soft blues and greens are very calming and quiet colors, which make them perfect for a family room, where there is already a lot of activity and action going on.

Lastly, design is not always about what you put into a space. What you choose to take out of it can often have just as much of an impact. So if you want to make a big change to a room that feels neglected, try decluttering and organizing the space. If you have a lot of collectibles or knickknacks, rather than spreading them around the room, group them, as it will give them a more deliberate feel.

One of the key goals of nousDECOR is to build a community of design enthusiasts. This is not just because we have a bunch of stuff to sell, or think that we are are doyennes of great taste, but because we know that design really matters, and that it is so much more than just colors and fabrics. It’s a way to transform lives and communities. Together we are building a community of people who care about the world around them, who are working towards transforming it for the better, one great design decision at a time.