Expression is an art form we all share, no matter our artistic ability. People express themselves through their choice of clothing, music, and even questionable hairstyles. Painters use paint and musicians use instruments. While some may not realize, style and personality are also expressed through home décor. What is hung on a person’s walls or placed underneath their coffee table can give insight into their character and outlook. Décor has affected my life less than a year ago during a transition to a new home and city.

Moving can be a stressful, new, and emotional experience. Psychologists suggest that a major relocation is comparable to the emotional stress of a divorce or the death of a loved one. While that may seem like a stretch, it certainly affects the mind in a similarly dramatic way. I lived in Bakersfield, California for eight years before relocating to Santa Maria, California. The promise of a beautiful new city with perfect weather and an incredible job opportunity for my husband made the move more optimistic, the anxiety and pressure of the move changed our lives quite a bit.

Finding a new home in the city was looking hopeless, as my husband had already excepted the job offer and set a start date. We had such difficulty finding a place that we had considered accepting the four-hour daily commute for his position. We were able to find a home at the very last moment, three days before his start date and we still had to get all our belongings from point A to point B. After the last article of furniture was moved into the home, depression began to creep into my life.

I found myself battling a deep depression that I was too ashamed to talk about. I would sit in the new home by myself for hours feeling terrible about our new situation. My husband would come home from work to boxes still stacked in the living room and a wife who was overcome by an unexplainable grief. After weeks of sulking and keeping to myself, I finally reached out to my husband with confidence. He reminded me of how blessed we were to be in the new place, and how excited I was in the beginning. I started to have a better outlook, but things weren’t really changing.

Only a few days after my husband and I confronted my sadness, I came home from a trip to the grocery store only to find that he had unpacked some of my paintings and placed them on the floors along the living room, walls. I was shocked and slightly confused until he reminded me of my love for color and my passion for art. He insisted I hang my paintings and make our house a home. While I was hesitant at first, unpacking boxes and finding new places to put my knick-knacks, paintings, and family photos sparked a long-lost excitement in my heart. I took a step further out of my painful depression with each item of décor that I placed in the home.

The sunflower yellow, burgundy, and Moroccan teal flowing through my home quickly drowned out the white walls of confinement I had been trapped in. Expressing myself through my home décor lifted me up out of a very difficult time in my life. Décor allowed me to gain peace in a strange place during a new chapter of my life. With color on the walls, rugs on the floors, and through pillows on the couches, I was finally looking forward to having new friends into my home. I enjoyed waking up in a new place and my husband was relieved to come home from work each day to an actual warm and loving home.

Expression of our feelings and personality helps us to grow and accept newfound adventures in our lives. A home should keep your heart gladdened and a visitor’s eyes busy with excitement. The next time I hear of a friend, family member or associate is preparing for a move I will surely encourage them to unpack swiftly. I will encourage them to find the fun in decorating a new home and to surround themselves with décor that brings them harmony, enthusiasm, and comfort because décor will transform their house into a home. It certainly did for me!