Sentrell Design Studio

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Why Interior Design is Important to Me

Interior, LifestyleSentrellComment

I pursued a career in Interior Design because of my parents divorce. Let me tell you a story...

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My parents divorced while I was in middle school. It was devastating. My world fell apart, but being the oldest child, I felt I had a responsibility to be "strong". I didn't really express how the divorce made me feel at home, but I do remember lashing out at school and being very angry. I even slapped a male classmate, he called me a bitch, but that wasn't normal behavior for me. I remember dreading going home because it felt lifeless. My dad had moved out, my mom was sad and it felt like all of the joy had been sucked out of our home.

Eventually, my parents decided to sell our home. My mom announced that we would be moving into a 2 bedroom townhouse. I remember being nervous the day we moved in. My sister and I went from having our own rooms, large closets and a tv room to ourselves to sharing a bedroom.  I didn't know what to expect or how our new place would look. We walked into the townhouse and to our surprise the entire place was decorated. My mom showed us the living room, the half bath, and the kitchen downstairs. Then she took us upstairs and showed us the master bedroom and the bathroom we would all share. Next, she opened the door to my sister and I's new bedroom. It was decorated too. I remember all of a sudden feeling comfortable. I felt like everything was going to be ok and that was a feeling I hadn't felt in awhile. It was a new start in a new home.

Fast forward to my college years, I would sit in my college apartment and watch show after show on HGTV. I really enjoyed the shows where they would makeover a home for a single mom or a family in need. I absolutely loved the reveals. Seeing the joy on their faces was always the best part. Those scenes always made me extra sensitive. Those scenes also reminded me of moving into that townhouse with my sister and mom. That feeling I felt when I saw all the effort my mom put into making that townhouse feel like home is what really made me rethink my career. I realized I wanted to make others feel that feeling.

I ignored it, though. I was in my junior year of college and there was no way I was going to change my major. I graduated with a Bachelor of Science in Public Relations. I even considered applying for law school. A couple months later, I found myself working as a marketing assistant for a small online jewelry retailer. I was miserable, y'all. It showed too. But then something really cool happened! 

We hired a new customer service representative and she just so happened to be an architecture graduate student at a local university. We got to chatting one day and she told me about the interior architecture graduate program there. I went home and looked up the program, started my application and developed an exit strategy. It felt right and I knew there was no better time than the present. I quit my job before I was accepted (Faith). I got a new job at a textile showroom with no experience by leveraging my marketing experience. 

Let. Me. Tell. You. Everyone, thought I was crazy. Quitting my job. Going from Salary to Hourly Pay. Changing my career. It didn't make sense to a lot of people, but it felt right for me. I was 24 and I knew it was now or never. A month or so later after taking the textile showroom job, I received my acceptance letter! 

Now back to that "feeling" I mentioned earlier...

In my first semester of grad school, I took a theory class where we explored environmental psychology. Environmental Psychology is a field of study that explores the interrelationships of people and their surroundings. Interior Designers use environmental psychology to solve design problems and predict human behavior within an environment. I could go on and on about environmental psychology but just know, this class blew my mind. It connected all the pieces for me. I could finally understand that feeling I felt and why I felt that feeling. I had felt a sense of place and it triggered a positive association thus changing my perspective and behavior.

We often don't realize how a sense of place and the relationship we have with a space impacts us. I love how interior design and psychology intermingle. Design allows me to not only make things look good but solve design problems (through fields like environmental psychology) to make spaces functional and relatable.

It is so crazy to know that all of this led me to this place to share this with you. I hope this inspires you to not only respect the field of interior design, but to realize why our everyday environments are so vital to our well-being.