Joyful | Ingrid Fetell Lee

Summary of: Joyful: The Surprising Power of Ordinary Things to Create Extraordinary Happiness (UK edition)
By: Ingrid Fetell Lee


In ‘Joyful: The Surprising Power of Ordinary Things to Create Extraordinary Happiness’, Ingrid Fetell Lee explores how everyday objects, colors, and environments can foster joy and happiness. The book takes you on a journey through the transformative power of colors in urban landscapes, the impact of minimalism and maximalism on our emotions, the importance of incorporating playfulness into design, and the psychological effect of harmony in spaces. By unlocking the secrets to creating more joyful spaces, Lee demonstrates how we can improve our lives and overall well-being.

The Healing Power of Color

Bright, vibrant colors have the power to alter the mood of an entire space. Ingrid Fetell Lee’s book explains how the use of color in interior design can boost happiness by creating a more joyful environment. It features real-life examples of color transformations and provides simple tips to bring joy to any living space.

The Problem with Minimalism

Minimalism might seem like the perfect design trend. However, its focus on purity and simplicity can become too restrictive and drain the joy out of our homes. Minimalism also has a troubling history rooted in racism. Instead, the maximalist design approach can trigger joy and energy by embracing abundance. This design principle is not only more fun but also reflects health and vitality. Dorothy Draper’s iconic Greenbrier resort redesign serves as proof of this principle.

Freedom in Garden Design

The summary focuses on how garden design can evoke a sense of freedom and suggests that Piet Oudolf’s garden in Hummelo can be used as an example to emulate. The author mentions that Oudolf’s garden is a wild garden, with tall blue salvia and hollyhocks placed amid grass thickets which gives it a dynamic and lively feel. Grasses are used instead of shrubs to allow the flowers to grow freely, and wind can blow the grasses in different directions, which gives the garden a natural feel. The author suggests that designing a garden with a loose structure and giving each plant their freedom is the trick to getting a garden to have this effect on visitors.

The Practical Approach to Feng Shui

Feng Shui is a Chinese philosophy that focuses on arranging rooms to create a harmonious space. By considering the flow of energy called “chi” in a room, Feng Shui can help increase joy and happiness. The key is to avoid interrupting the flow of energy by removing clutter, arranging furniture in a more harmonious way, and paying special attention to the placement of the bed in the bedroom. Anyone can practice Feng Shui, as there is no magic to it, and it can help individuals achieve sounder sleep and improve their domestic life.

The Power of Playful Design

Designer Gaetano Pesce’s playful creations elicit joy and innovation, proving the importance of incorporating playfulness into design. From a sea lion encounter in the Galapagos Islands to his famous Up 5 chair, Pesce’s designs aim to produce joy and laughter while breaking away from static, geometric forms. Organic and surprising shapes lead to increased innovation, as seen in the chair’s revolutionary structure made entirely of polyurethane foam. Playful design is crucial for increasing joy and sparking creativity.

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