It’s in our nature to be affected by our environment.  We can’t help but be influenced by the world that surrounds us, and that includes the interior of your home.

As an interior designer, I consider the most important part of my job to be learning about how my clients live.  I cannot design a quality home without knowing who my client is as a person first.  High end interior design is only high end when it has been tailored to suit the individuals who will be living there.

A family with small children and dogs can want a white fabric sofa, but will I tell them that it isn’t right for them?  Definitely.

Sure, I have seen bad design where everything just doesn’t “flow” right. Worse, however, is when I see a home that is gorgeous but has nothing to do with the personalities of the owners.  Your home should reflect you and be filled with things that make you feel comfortable and content.

If you don’t feel this way in the place where you are supposed to be most at ease, your home could actually be harming you.  Here are four easy ways to tell if your interior design has the potential to hurt your mental health, along with a few tips on how to get back on course.

Your home should be connected to the things that make you who you are.

For example, one of the things that I treasure most is my grandmother’s quilt.  Each patch came from one of her childhood dresses, and the quilt was sewn with love by her mother, my great-grandmother.  While most of my home is modern, this one item draped over my sofa keeps me feeling close to my loved ones and reminds me of the bigger picture of life.

This example is very literal, but you can achieve attachment to your history through your interior design in a variety of ways. Maybe you incorporate a piece of memorabilia from your hometown or some material from your country of origin. Perhaps you simply display personal photos or feature a new piece of art that you connect with feelings from your youth.

Again, quality interior design means expressing who you are and who you have been.  Neglect this and your internal state will end up suffering.

While I occasionally enjoy going to a fancy restaurant with china and crystal, I could never live in a place that resembled one.  For me, luxury means having a place where my friends and I can put up our feet up and drink a glass of red wine without worrying we are going to ruin anything.

My personal definition of luxury at this time in my life is about comfort, so my home reflects that.  For others, fine china at home makes them feel the way they want to feel.

The point is just to make sure that you are focusing on your personal definition of luxury instead of the idea of what everyone else thinks is luxurious.  Let that be a guide for the design of your home instead of making your home perfect for everyone but you. If you look outward first, your internal state will feel the brunt of it.

Some designers are extremely creative and talented but still can’t help but make all of their projects scream their style instead of their clients’.

Take one of the best, Frank Lloyd Wright.  Amazing man and designer, but he was so enthralled with his own work that he even “designed” the clothing of the homeowners for parties so that they would coordinate with “his” space.  Thanks Frank, but I would prefer to dress myself.

Let’s not let that happen to you.  Looks are not the only part of what drives the entire mood of a space; things have to feel right.  Your designer has to be sensitive to these feelings and make sure to incorporate the elements that make you happy or you will never enjoy your home.  It may seem obvious, but not when you don’t actually enjoy spending time in your own home, it makes it a lot harder to enjoy your life.

Interior design in Miami is known for being all about white on white on white… all the time.  Living here, we encounter the trend every day.  While we are fond of this clean look when appropriate, we also love color.

There are all sorts of scientific tests that show the different ways that color affects our moods and attitudes. So make sure to incorporate your favorite color or colors (even for those of you working with Miami interior decorators).  This does not mean that your home needs to look like a Skittles commercial, but even whites have shades of color.

All of these need to be customized for you personally.  While lots of people like blue, there are millions of blues. Which shade is going to make you happy as well as look good with your environment and your thousands of other design choices?  Color is a great way to show who you are and to make you smile, even if it’s just small accents.

Quality interior design starts and ends with the person who will be living in the environment. There are so many beautiful spaces in the world that I love looking at yet have very little connection with personally. Keep an eye out for these 4 signals to help you achieve a home that expresses who you are. Because you never can be too (mentally) healthy.