We’ve all heard of right brain thinking – the creative side that likes to think outside of the box, comes up with new ideas, gets excited about the possibilities and acts impulsively. We all recognise these moments. But it happens alongside our rational left brain. That’s the one that says, “Hang on, you can’t do that yet until you’ve checked your bank balance” Or reminds you to check the dimensions BEFORE you buy a new sofa that may be too big.
I came across this illustration recently which made me laugh with relief. I’ve always been a creator; I left home at the age of 4 and headed off to nursery on my own because it was painting day. But I also loved science and at one point wanted to become a surgeon. And design to me is the place where these two meet; things need a reason for existing, they need to serve a purpose. When you train as a designer, in whatever field, you learn how to align these supposedly opposite approaches.
Learning to think this way is a skill, but I believe it’s something that everyone can do, if they are shown how.
Have you ever been faced with making a decision and found yourself stuck to the spot and unable to decide? Often this is because the two parts of your brain are battling it out and unable to come to a solution that satisfies both. The resulting inaction is very frustrating because you never get anywhere!
Or you make an impulsive decision when planning a room, and order the table you just fell in love with…. but once you get it home you realise it doesn’t fit the space well; you can’t move around it easily or it just looks the wrong style alongside the rest of your furniture. Very frustrating, not to mention expensive.
Do you recognise any of this? Do you look around and realise your living space has just, sort of, grown?
There’s nothing wrong with that. Change is inevitable especially within family life and your space will be constantly adapting to fit your new needs. But if it all feels somewhat higgeldy-piggeldy then it may be time to take stock and see how you naturally approach things. You can use this to your advantage.
If you are naturally right brained instinctive, then spend some time taking notes of dimensions, drawing a room plan, making a note of furniture you would like to replace or changes you’d like to make and when you see something that fits your ideas you have the information to go for it.
If you are naturally more left brained logical and you never make a decision until everything is just right, pull your organising skills together. Keep your ideas and notes in one place. Keep your left brain satisfied that you have checked the colour charts to eternity, that you have checked as many different bunk bed alternatives as you need to. And then tell it that sometime you have to go with your instinct. Once that colour is on the wall, no one else will appreciate that you checked 18 tester pots first. It’s hard but the options are endless so sometimes you just have to jump!
You can scroll through the other diagrams here: