As I write this I am sitting in a sunlit courtyard with early spring flowers in bloom, listening to the birds singing. Besides these natural sources of beauty, the surrounding building walls create a separation from the world outside, encouraging reflection. There are three benches available, to make it a comfortable place to sit. There is a tree in the center of the courtyard, surrounded by a ring of stones, and a stone path gently curving around the ring. These elements create a sense of intention for the space, despite the numerous weeds that are also enjoying the warmer weather. Without them, the space would look cluttered and unkempt, rather than beautiful.
The architecture of this space creates delight. In fact, the ancient Greeks said all buildings should provide three things: strength, usefulness, and delight. It’s not an accident that I am enjoying sitting here so much. The designers of this space took the time to think about what the space would be like and what they could add (or leave out) to make it better. The good news is that you can add to your delight in your own home too. All it takes is some planning, a little creativity, and perhaps some professional advice. Do you have a beautiful view that you could see better with a well-placed window? Do you have a collection stuffed in a corner that you could celebrate with a place of its own? A back patio that would feel more comfortable with a trellis or low wall to make it feel sheltered, rather than just some pavement in the grass? Often, you can use elements that you need for “functional” purposes to provide delight too. The garden shed you need for the lawn mower can provide part of the enclosure for the back patio. The window you need for an emergency exit in the bedroom can be placed so you are walking towards the light when you enter the room. So when you make changes to your home, remember that every functional improvement is also an opportunity to add Delight.