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Guest Blog Post: Designing a Stress-free Environment

This week, we’re honored to share tips from Deborah Weisenhaus from Art of Imagination, whose beautiful, custom designs will be on display at the 2015 Chicago Flower & Garden Show, taking place March 14-22, 2015. Read on for her tips on creating a harmonious and peaceful environment for events large and small.

A nature-inspired design in a residential or venue setting can reflect balance and harmony while also stimulating the senses in a calming way.

When one walks into a space I’ve designed, I try to generate excitement and wonder by making them take a closer look at the details. These basic design details I use include color, unique textures, patterns and light—with sound and smell as an undercurrent layer.

When I assess the perimeters of what to design, I like to know how everything will flow through the space with its functionality—if I’m designing for an event, how is it being used with the physical setup? What will the guest movement look like? If it’s an interior room, what’s the prime usage? Once those answers are determined then placement of the furniture, décor and equipment is laid out with a conscious flow of movement to keep it minimal without clutter.

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Choosing the color palette is such a meaningful part of creating a peaceful, inviting environment. Each hue makes a statement and can reflect various cultures and subliminal meanings.

Overhead swag with LED lights
For example, green symbolizes nature and has a calming, refreshing effect. I can combine green from live plants with décor elements such as accent pillows. This will also be used in conjunction with other colors to create an entire composition—from walls to furniture to linens. Don’t forget, white and black are important accents to incorporate strength and influence emotions.

Textures within the fabrics and décor can add layers of softness with contrasting roughness as inspired by nature.

Lighting is the strongest design element, and can include overall illumination from natural sunlight, pinspotting lights on a focal point, or decorative lighting to accentuate certain features. Placing dimmers and timers on the light source will add transitions.

Patterns can be very versatile and help set the mood of your design. I use gobo patterns of nature (branches, leaves) on a light source, which makes it appear that the shadows are being cast from a window.

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Sound and smell are the final layers that pull everything together and enhance the total guest experience. Essential oils, beeswax and soy candles will create a fresh aroma and invigorate the sense. Soft soundscapes like raindrops, waterfall or even singing birds can filter within the space to relax the spirit or create an inviting space for guests.

It’s never too late to use your senses to harmonize design elements with your own Zen-inspired design. We love creating magical forests, spa-like environments and nature-inspired themes, especially when we can add “green” elements to the event. We’re happy to offer any Chicago Flower & Garden Show readers a complimentary hour with Deborah to discuss ways to make your space more Zen. Let’s get started!

Don’t miss Deborah and her beautiful Art of Imagination designs at the 2015 Chicago Flower & Garden Show, taking place March 14-22, 2015 at Navy Pier. For the most up-to-date inspiration, follow Art of Imagination on Facebook, Twitter & Instagram!

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