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Healing Home with Outside Perspective

Learn how designers use an "outside" pair of eyes to magnetize dwellings, creating a therapeutic anticipation of Home.

"How Home Heals" discusses the experience of Home through sight, touch, taste, hearing, and smell; through reasoning or thought, memory or imagination. We show how Home is also about fluid and free movement through negative space, decorated with background emotion. (1) Here's some fresh perspective.


Because you are so immersed in your Home, it can take an outside perspective to highlight what has been overlooked in your Homification.


Home Magnetism

Our psychological habitat is "shaped by what you might call the magnetic property of home, the way it aligns everything around us." (2)

Recall coming home from holiday and seeing your own home, as if through someone else’s eyes for that first moment. “But then the illusion faded and your house became home again. That, I think, is one of the most basic meanings of home—a place we can never see with a stranger’s eyes for more than a moment.” (2)

Outside Impressions

Taking photographs of a home is a trick designers use to view with the home with an unaccustomed eye. This clarifies perspective, so that it becomes easier to make more effective adjustments.

Research team leader Lindsay Graham, in collaboration with Sam Gosling, professor of psychology (, created a study looking at the expression of people's personalities in their homes.

"We take 360-degree photos (to get a feel for the room as a whole), and we take close-range shots of everything so we can see all of the interesting details."(3)

Then surveys were filled "describing their overall impressions of the space in terms of ambiance... and the emotions they feel the space conveys (e.g., romance, relaxation). They document all the physical features that are readily visible (without opening closets).

To assess the "characteristics and behaviors of the homeowners...occupants complete a set of surveys about themselves and their partners. The surveys include questions about the type of impression they wish their space portrays to others and the emotions they want to express in it." (3)


"Home is home, and everything else is not-home.

That’s the way the world is constructed...

home is a place so profoundly familiar you don’t even have to notice it.

It’s everywhere else that takes noticing." (4)


Regenerating Home

Unfortunately because of the over-familiar under-noticing of Home, our psychologically restorative habitat may have become just a large House, instead. Magnetic properties that connect us to Home - that anticipatory sense of coming Home - may be diluted. So, how do we recreate our habitat in the relatively standardized houses that we own?

Creating Anticipation with ‘Burb Appeal

Take pictures of approaches to your home from different distances and angles. As you review various approaches to your home, with unaccustomed eyes, how do you feel? Are you excited about drawing in?

Do flowing sight-lines, or pleasing groupings of features lead you with anticipation to the entrance?

Is the exterior lighting and a pleasant walkway hinting at the habitat within?

Even if similar to surrounding houses, is there a physical feature that magnetically draws you home? Is there a peaceful sense of refuge?

Glow Magnets

Your home probably does not look at this photo. But, you can create this feeling of glow for emotional warmth, with softer exterior lighting, or radiant sightlines.

Harmonize Sightlines

Arrange outdoor features in ways draw the eye in a smooth upsweep towards the most welcoming entrance of your home. Or, converge lines of sight to other inviting aspects of your home.

Keep sightlines from alternating between different heights or depths. Distract from ugly features with diagonal or curving sightlines, or lines of view that lead away.


The more you are magnetized to the approach of your habitat,

the more you will anticipate feeling grounded once inside.

This is a powerful "fake it 'til you make it" strategy:

Home should be a grounding, restorative place.


Evidence of Emotional Connection

Do outsiders have this anticipatory sense towards your home? By assessing your home as an outsider, you can make changes that stoke the excitement of those who visit your habitat.

The reality of social media is that true friends are still more rare than apparant ones. Real time connections are precious investments. Treat them to your home.

Even our most loyal friends have become overlooked. Does your magnetic habitat show others that pets are fully integrated into the home, not just accessories? Evidence of them, in the form of thoughtfully integrated pet decor, are reminders that they are essential to our habitat. Animals anticipate our true selves.


Outside Perspective Can Heal your Home by assisting you to notice acutely what is off, so that you can correct and create anticipation around returning Home.

Using a fresh eye (and a shwack of photos), the approach to your physical house can be fine-tuned. A psychologically healthy habitat can then include more pleasing external features plus evidence of emotional connections inside the Home.

Once aligned, these features magnetically integrate yourself, your friends, and your animals into your sense of Home.


©️Låna Brown 2017 , first published feb 8/17


(1) Environmental Interiors, authors Mary Jo Weale, James W. Croake, and W. Bruce Weale cited at





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