When Charles and I tell someone that we cohabit on 18m2 they tend to look doubtingly at us. It may be small but true. Unfortunately we don’t have our own toilet in the studio (it’s in the corridor), but other than that we have everything we need to live comfortably. We even get natural exercise by walking 6 floors of stairs every time we leave and come home… Yes, we don’t have an elevator and our legs love it!
The power of your home on your well-being
Emily Anthes wrote an interesting article targeting how the places we inhibit can affect our thoughts, feelings and behaviour. In other words, the size is only a small part of the puzzle. We may not have many square meters, but we have two windows with great light and relatively high roof considering that we live on the attic. Furthermore the creme white walls enhance the fresh and light feeling.
I learnt from an early age that colours can really have a great affect on us. According to the “Colour-Wheel-Pro“, white is also associated with goodness, purity, safety and cleanliness. Additionally and perhaps the most interesting signification is white as a representation for successful beginnings. What better could we ask for in our first joint housing? Regardless of where we end up after my schooling here in Paris is over, we will always be able to look back at this apartment as not only our first but also as our successful beginning.
Make it yours
If you imagine our studio as only neat, clean and white after the first description you are still a little bit off. Naturally we have our belongings stuffed away as good as we can, but the limited space forces us to be flexible. You may be surprised, but it’s the flexibility that actually brings the charm and feeling of “home”.
As soon as you come in you can see that this studio is ours. We have drawings on the walls and ongoing embroidery works on the desk. There are colourful dresses hanging on the reck and various shoes next to the door. It’s home.
To make the space you live in fully yours, it’s essential to include personality. Even though we both strive to live as minimalistic as possible, we don’t want to transfer the idea of minimalism to our personalities and beings. To create a personal living space, contributes to your comfort and safety. I think this is particularly important if you life in a big and impersonal city.
When you walk the streets of Paris you are completely anonymous. But as soon as you come home you are someone – you are you. You become the strong and courageous individual that dares to push your creativity outside of the box, because your home serves as protection to the judgement of the outside world.
Creativity doesn’t have to be exhibited
To be creative doesn’t mean that you have to show it to everyone. If you use your creativity to make colourful notes at work or in class, or if you organise your bookshelves at home in a specific order, you are still expressing creativity. One of the reasons why we started this blog, is because we want to share the “behind the scenes” of what it means to be creative. We want to encourage and inspire everyone to create, regardless of what it may be.
Today, as I also mention in a previous article on “Design your life”, success is often measured by your level of “busyness”. If you are not “out there” and visibly busy to others, how can you justify your success? Furthermore, there is a hysteria around the term of success… To be a creator it’s as if you need to become the next world master in your field. This is not true.
I strongly believe that if the societal norms were different so that staying at home during the evenings and weekend to create for your own enjoyment would be the norm, people would be happier and more productive even at work. In this way, to be creative in your own space would boost your success in everyday life. A superficial title is not necessarily success. The number on your pay-check does not equal success either. Success is how you feel inside.
You are in charge
Before you can create brilliance, start off by building yourself the most beneficial environment for your own creativity and well-being. As recognised in my last article “Your social environment matters”, you don’t have the control to change everything. But to choose who you spend your free time with and how you decorate your home are two key things that are within your reach of “things you have the power to change”. You may not feel that you can change anything at the moment. If that is the case, I strongly recommend you to also read Charles’ great article “Do what you can’t“. Just as society can block us, but we often block ourselves in our minds before we have even tried…