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„Too much of a good thing can be wonderful” – Mae West

“Joy evolved for the express purpose of helping to steer us toward conditions that would encourage us to flourish. It is our inner guide to the things that animate, stimulate, and sustain us. Put more simply, joy is what makes life worth living.”

With this quote, the book got me hooked.

I was curious to see how the mix of color, light, patterns, shapes and all things that I simply classify as interior design can actually make a difference. And I have to admit I was impressed by the level of examples and research behind each idea. Most important, I was made a believer.

In the last weeks, I have reconsidered some areas of the house in an attempt to apply what was preached. No results until now, but there is still a long way to go.

Ingrid Fetell Lee identifies 10 layers that each of us can influence and retrieve the balance of joy in our lives:

  1. Energy: Our environment should give us a boost of energy and warmth so we can achieve our goals
  2. Abundance: We should surround ourselves with plenty of patterns, shades, colors and textures so we can keep our brain heathy and in a constant phase of growth. Sensorial stimulation is the key to staying creative, innovative and young.
  3. Freedom: All cultures associate freedom with being in the nature.
  4. Harmony: “Like goes with like” in a common symmetrical thread to get the flow in balance.
  5. Play: Install a swing in your home. If that doesn’t work, at least keep a ball around.
  6. Surprise: Keep small things in your pockets to remind you of different moments in your life that will be a pleasant surprise once you find them. (That parking ticket maybe not…)
  7. Transcendence: Built time for daydreaming. Preferably in a treehouse.
  8. Magic: Mirrors and mysterious lights should do the magic.
  9. Celebration: Sparkle, twinkle, glitter!
  10. Renewal: There is a rhythm in everything. Nature knows and it will do it’s magic every time to remind us that we are here to enjoy life.

As there were plenty of suggestions on how to achieve each layer, I have put together a visual map. It attempts to apply a couple of the strategies such as it has symmetry, round shapes, it is colorful and with a bit of texture. And on top the colors of the rainbow.


You can also download a pdf version of the Visual Map of Joyful by Ingrid Fetell Lee if you want to print it and use it to brighten up your environment.

If you want to have a better feel of the book, here are some quotes that got my attention:
  • “Color is energy made visible.”
  • “No matter how domesticated we have become, we all have a wild soul that beats and breathes under layers of clothing and responsibility.”
  • “Technology is most magical when it reminds us of the boundaries of our existence, even as it shatters them.”
  • “Wonder” is a marvelous word to describe our response to magic because it is both a noun and a verb. When we feel wonder (noun), it prompts us to wonder (verb) and then to go in search of an answer. It pulls us forward into learning and exploration.”
  • “Harmony offers visible evidence that someone cares enough about a place to invest energy in it. Disorder has the opposite effect.”
  • “Order isn’t dull and staid. It is a tangible manifestation of a vibrant harmony, of disparate parts working in concert to sustain the graceful balance of life.”
  • “At the root of our love of rainbows, comets, and fireflies is a small reservoir of belief that the world is bigger and more amazing than we ever dreamed it could be.”


My take away – a bit of color never hurts and it might bring with it laughter, good talks, friends and wonderful feelings.

These are the ingredients for joyful life!


5 Responses

  1. Marlene

    Greetings from Florida! I’m bored to tears at work
    so I decided to browse your blog on my iphone during lunch break.

    I enjoy the knowledge you present here and can’t wait to take a look when I get home.
    Anyhow, excellent blog!

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