Comfort Zones and Style

Comfort Zones and Style

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Have you ever wondered what’s your style or what kind of power your image/style exudes on others? Who or what defines one’s style. Lately, questions like these have haunted me. Questions like that and many more have sparked my desire to share my thoughts in this blog. Initially, I began to try to verbalize my thoughts in an effort to answer some of them. Then, I began to wonder some more only to find myself trying to redefine terms well known to me. So, here I go (bear with me for a while, I will get to a concluding point).

A woman dressed in white holding up a sign that reads this is my happy place. In the background pendant lights, rattan decor and large vases can be seen.

Everyone’s personal style is subconsciously dictated and sometimes, if I may say so, strictly defined by “comfort zone boundaries.” I know I have my own. These are boundaries in which one feels comfortable, serene and secure with an overwhelming sense of familiarity – even affection. Therefore, it is a zone that one knows to manage. These zones are shaped by our upbringing, our family background, our heritage, our ethnic culture.

A corridor lit by different color light sources, creating a surreal sense.

Image by Efe Kurnaz on Unsplash

For most people these zones are not really very broad. However, as people age these comfort zones tend to broaden. Any design solution that “stretches” or even redefines those comfort zone boundaries has a great risk of falling onto deaf ears. It goes without say, that these comfort zones can be broadened if one keeps their eyes wide open in conjunction with an open mind. Exposure to more objects of art, cultivation of one’s own culture, awareness of other cultures and a tendency to experiment and taste new things surely guarantees stretched comfort zones.

When one is exposed to a trend over and over again will surely feel comfortable enough at some point to follow that trend. This is simply because this sort of exposure makes an imprint on the familiarity chord I mentioned afore. But is that trend really a style-setter? A few definitely are. However, most are not and soon after a number of people have “copied” the trend, it simply wears off. The trend loses its appeal and before one knows it, it is simply “out-of-style”!

A little vignette with a vintage mirror top side table, a table lamp and a bookcase by a bay window in a home.

What happens though to a new, radical idea? How many people are prepared to take a leap and accustom to something new and out-of-the-ordinary? I believe not as many as I could wish for. Styling someone’s business for instance, is crucial for its survival chances. Competition is fierce and anyone’s and everyone’s business ought to stand out in a unique way. Designing something radical for a business though may involve a great risk. It may not perform as expected. Therefore, should a design solution be radical only for the sake of it? At what cost? What if it sacrifices functionality? I believe not! Any design solution is the outcome of a problem solving procedure and as such, it must not induce any new problems.

A well designed solution/object develops over time. Initially, it is just an idea. Then, one maps it on a piece of paper and it begins to take shape. It evolves. Eventually, it is a drawing of something tangible that must be pleasing to the eye, captivating one’s imagination within one’s comfort zones. The tricky part is to strike a balance between aesthetics and functionality. This is especially true when designing an interior.

There is no real point for the “common” people like myself to setup a home interior only for the perfect 30’ photo shoot. What about the interior’s remaining life-expectancy? Will it serve its purpose well by just be pleasing to the eye? For those of us who are fortunate enough to live a more “ordinary” life I prefer my home/business interior to be pleasing, harmonious, well balanced, quiet but always functional. I do not wish to compromise functionality over aesthetics on matters that will make my life fussier and more complicated. Life is too short to add more fussiness.

The point I’m trying to make is: don’t bother to recreate someone’s bedroom setup as shown in home décor magazines. It won’t ever “work” properly for you, unless it was designed for you. Think where you have been and plan where you want to go. Trust your instinct and listen a little more closely to your inner voice rather than just “follow” trends. Better yet, make your very own trends your signature style instead. Although style is based on instinct it can still be cultivated and it can flourish when you nurture it, because your comfort zones will broaden one way or another. (Style vs trends is another interesting discussion I elaborate on this matter).

Different style decorative pillows with a throw.

Style is primarily a matter of instinct.

– Bill Blass (late American fashion designer)


Take a long walk around your neighborhood. When you return home from work follow a different route – just to explore the possibilities. Take a good look at the buildings, the gardens and the people going by. Go to the nearest museum and then go to the furthest museum. It does not matter what sort of museum it is, as long as you go and absorb new images. Go the nearest park or zoo or beach. Change your routine. Take lots of photos and then think of your next new project. Fill your soul with images. Images inspire people. Beauty inspires people. And inspiring imagery is the driving force behind a more creative life and the very foundation of any style.

This is the main reason why I founded this blog in this little web space of mine. To share inspiring imagery that will create windows to possibilities, for possibilities are the igniting spark of ideas.