Botanicals Blog

Importance of Space to Family by Darren Edwards

Importance of Space to Family

Botanicals Design Blog Importance of Space to Family


interior kitchen decorated with pottery and plants

A friend of mine keeps a small wooden statue of the Buddha on a shelf inside their home. They are not Buddhist or the type of person to keep random religious symbols around their house. In fact, this friend is decidedly not religious; still, this small wooden Buddha sits smiling in my friend’s living room. The statue it turns out, was originally their grandfather’s. As far back as they remember, the Buddha sat on the desk in their grandfather’s study. They remember, as a child, jokingly going back and forth between rubbing the Buddha’s bald head and their grandfather’s equally bald head. My friend had developed an attachment to a detail of space he associated with family. Now, though that space and the person he shared the space with are gone, he is able to carry a piece of those memories with him.

The spaces where we bond with family become sacred to us. How many people have bemoaned the selling of their childhood home because losing the home somehow feels like losing the memories associated with it? This is a common plot line in movies and television. Often, the climax is when the family decides not to sell the home because the memories are worth more than the money.


It is the details, the objects in a space, that often make the space memorable. When remembering your childhood home, it is the decor that first come to mind. What were the wall hangings? What knickknacks sat on the coffee table? What was that plant in the corner that your mom could never seem to keep alive?

In writing we talk about turning objects into symbols by attaching meaning to them. As William Carlos Williams wrote (and has been quoted in every creative writing class since) “There are no ideas but in things.” As we live our lives we attach ideas, moments, memories, and even pieces of our loved ones to places and the things in those places. A living room becomes more than four walls. A kitchen table is imbued with the laughter of Saturday morning breakfasts. A chandelier becomes the embodiment of a beloved grandmother.


interior living room decorated with pottery and plants

Just as these objects become infused with the loving moments and memories that take place around them, they also create an atmosphere that can help cultivate and enhance those very moments. Whether it’s something as complex as thinking about the Feng-shui of the furniture or as simple as picking the right colors and warmth of decor items, the things we surround ourselves with can have an impact on our mood. Restaurants and retail stores use design theory to put shoppers in a buying mood. Similarly, we can design a space that encourages feelings of peace and happiness. Being in a space that promotes these feelings leads us to want to spend time in those places together, and that creates opportunities to build family memories. Creating an inviting family space, a warm sitting area or dining area, a fireplace or coffee table, to gather with those we love can be an essential part of bringing a family together.