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Happiness By Design, Linking Joy to Decor Choices

Published:Monday | December 4, 2017 | 12:00 AMKeisha Hill
Dr. Leahcim Semaj, transformative psychologist explains the correlation between happiness and good health, encouraging guests to be intentional about their life, in essence, fostering happiness by design.
The DeZign Diva remodelled coach, one of the years-old train to create a rustic-chic space, outfitted with vintage trunks, modern chairs and potted plants setting the pace for Booker’s special guests to enjoy a short ride on the tracks presentations on designing for happiness.

Karen Booker, The Dezign Diva, brought style, health and happiness together at her recent Happiness by Design event. A select group of invited guests came out to be educated and inspired by Booker and Dr. Leahcim Semaj, transformative psychologist, who discussed the correlation between a person's physical space and their emotional well-being.

The event took place at the Jamaica Railway Station, downtown Kingston incorporating history, beauty, interior design and psychology, under one roof.

"Happy living environments give us a natural sense of ease and harmony. If we are going to go out there every day and be bombarded by all of these negative influences, we really need to do ourselves a favour and improve the way we live by improving our space," Booker said.

Linking joy to home decor and design choice, Booker started her discussion with a spirited presentation that left guests wanting more. Explaining the impact of four main mood enhancers decluttering and organising, colours, lighting, and storage Booker emphasised how design can affect happiness. Her audience oohed and aahed as they took mental notes of the practical tips she gave.

"A made bed, for example, makes you feel like you are walking into the best hotel. Give yourself that gift of making your bed and it will set your day," Booker added.

"You want to put cooler colours in your bedroom, where you sleep or your bathroom, where you want to relax, or even in a baby's room," she said, after differentiating between neutral, cool and warm colours. She also helped her audience to understand how each colour impacts a space and ultimately your mood.

She advised that cool colours, those having blue as their base, lend themselves to creating a peaceful, relaxed and serene space, while warm colours, those having a yellow base, like red tend to be more exciting, causing the heart to race and opening one's appetite.

"Red is great in a dining room, or den area that you may use for entertaining, playing games or having parties," Booker said, while neutral tones serve more of a backdrop for pops of either warm or cool colours. Along with enhancing mood, Booker said that personality had a lot to do with a person's choice of colour.

"Studies show that if you are a very calm or serene person you will more than likely go for the blues," she said. "But if you are excitable, like me, you will go for the reds and other warm colours." Booker then showed the association between bright light and bright emotions.

"Light is one of the most transformative fixes in your space and it will affect your mood.When a space is well lit a person is in a better mood than if the space was dim," she said.

"If your space is not well lit, you will find yourself getting a little depressed," Booker said, explaining that strained eyes will leave persons feeling edgy and discontent. She also said that spaces such as the kitchen and dining room should be well lit, with prep lights on the cabinetry if possible and task lighting above counter tops in addition to the general light fixture.

The Dezign Diva stressed the need for life to be put into a space, whether from plants, suitable colour choices, appropriate lighting or the right decor pieces, which will enhance happiness. She not only talked the talk, she walked the walk too, transforming the more than a century-old railway station into a spectacular display of high-fashion design and vintage charm with a modern twist.

Guest presenter Dr. Semaj was equally engaging as he spoke to the link between happiness and good health. The two experts helped the audience understand that when a person's space makes them feel relaxed, rejuvenated and inspired, then they 'will have happiness, peace and prosperity.'