Dig Baton Rouge

East of the River

By Katie East

Where you live says a lot about who you are – not just the city but the actual space you call home as well. As we get older the place we lay our head down at night can define how far we’ve come. A 40-year-old who still lives in his mom’s basement is wrong for a lot of reasons. An adult who’s cramped in a tiny one-bedroom apartment with beaded curtains can be just as bad too.

Whether we want to admit it or not, the space around us has a lot of bearing on our mental wellbeing. This is why Google and other super rad companies spend millions painting their offices bright colors and filling their break rooms with pinball machines and other cool toys: It increases productivity.

Fluorescent lighting and white walls do nothing to aide in workflow. Not every company is willing to spend the money, but the science supports it. McDonald’s signature red and yellow restaurants were designed to encourage diners to eat and leave quickly. Bright colors excite, while cooler colors soothe.

Living in a house with white walls and no personal touches is just as detrimental to your mental health as working in a plain cubicle is. I’m not saying everyone over 25 should spend half of their income at Pier 1. I do, though, think there’s something behind the natural urge to nest and judge those who do nothing to decorate their space.

Even little touches make a difference. I’m not naturally one to make the bed every day, but luckily my boyfriend is. As much as I hate to say he’s right, a pristine bed really does start the day off right. There’s just something about seeing all your decorative throw pillows on the ground that makes you want to get back in bed and do nothing with your life.

The smaller the space around you, the more important it is to actually do something with it. When I lived in New York City décor became very important to me. I was cramped at home, at work and on the subway. I wanted to at least enjoy what was on my walls, especially since they were so close to me at any given time.

When I started doing yoga, many friends back home suggested I practice at home when I couldn’t make it to the gym. It was hard to explain to those Louisianans that there literally was not enough space in my entire three “bedroom” apartment to lay down a yoga mat. If you can’t faint anywhere in your own apartment without hitting your head on furniture, you probably went wrong somewhere in life.

I know some people say they don’t care about space, but I think it affects everyone. I think you could literally go insane from having to live in a small or plain enough place.

Solitary confinement is a terrible punishment for the worst prison offenders, and it’s not just the lack of human interaction that can drive people crazy. Being confined to one box and never changing scenery can have detrimental affects on the psyche.

Those crazy homeless people roaming the streets of NYC used to be normal people living in tiny apartments; they just never took the time to decorate.

It’s natural as a person gets older that his or her house get bigger and better. It’s more responsibility but they mental payoff is worth it. People don’t buy nice spacious houses just to show off to their friends. They genuinely feel better when they’re in them. Having a nice place to call your own really can define your happiness. Stuff is just stuff, but a house really should be a home.

People are like goldfish. We expand to the environment around us. We can survive in a tight space if we have to, but we’re never going to thrive there. No matter how temporary your living situation is, it’s still important to make it your own. Home isn’t just where the heart is; it’s where your head is too.




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