Meet Daton & Dr. Alfonso Ferguson-Haywood, the Interior Stylists & Co-Founders of Newark-based Handsome Hōm—a holistic interior and inclusive design consultancy that pushes the boundaries of what home styling can do for the body, mind and soul. These two expert uplifters share about how transforming your space can also transform your life.
“Chances are, you’ve had to spend a little (or a lot) of extra time in your home this year. Because our homes are everything now. The place we call home now doubles as a workspace, gym, classroom, retreat and a place where memories are created—from life’s major milestones to the small, unexpected moments we’ll cherish for a lifetime. So now is the time to make your space work harder, feel more efficient and reflect the feeling that you want to feel yourself.”
As Black, gay life-partners and business owners, both Alfonso and Daton have broken molds and pushed through boundaries to create a flourishing business that enables them to live their passions, help others, and advocate for inclusivity within the design industry.
Alfonso has a rich background in advocating for social justice and equity, intersectionality research, and providing psychotherapy services to multiply marginalized communities.
Moreover, Alfonso has extensive research in mental health counseling and has developed an
understanding of how our living environments contributes to our overall emotional and mental wellbeing.
Daton has wide-range of experiences in leadership coaching, and business management. In his Career, Daton has worked with fortune 100 companies and startups. He strives to help professional break through boundaries to achieve their business goals, no matter their background, education or place in life.
Within their practice of transforming spaces, the pair understands the psychology behind how we experience the spaces we reside in, and how those experiences can alter the way we feel,
“Chances are, you’ve heard the old saying,“Dress for the job you want.” Well, the same applies for home furnishings and aesthetic,” says Daton.
We say, “Style for the life you want.” But how do you design a home around the life you want? Around the goals you wish to achieve? It’s a tough journey to peace, motivation, relaxation and true happiness if you’re surrounded by unwanted things, or if your home is flooded with a style that doesn’t speak to who you are. And what if you’re on a budget, have limitations due to renting, or don’t have a lot of space to work with?
Below are Daton and Alfonso’s top universal tips (with strategic solutions) to refreshing your space in a way that will also boost your mental health and help you focus on the good—and not the 5,000 stacks of papers laying around that never quite make it into the filing cabinet.
Let’s go for it:
Tip 1.Decorate with pieces that tell your story.
You may have an heirloom or beloved trinket, furniture item, art piece or statement maker that’s usage goes far beyond décor. Finding a way to make these special somethings the center of attention and mix in other objects will fill you with memories and happy feelings every time you catch a glimpse of it. Don’t hide your favorite throwback pieces away. Display them proudly so you can truly appreciate the sentimental value they hold.
Tip 2.Use lighting to your advantage.
Pay attention to where the sun’s vibrant rays illuminate in the morning and during golden hour. Is there a particular wall that is highlighted during different times of the day? How does natural lighting play up the rooms in your home? Use nature’s glow to your advantage and place your favorite pieces of furniture or art where you know the sun will spotlight it. It’s warming and calming to see the pieces we love accentuated in such a simple yet beautiful way.
Tip 3.Pick out some plants.
We know, being a plant parent can be intimidating. So many watering schedules to keep track of, right? Not necessarily. There are lots of big, beautiful houseplants out there that require little maintenance such as succulents or snake plants. And the benefits for your well-being are endless. Plants release oxygen into your space, literally breathing new life into your home.
Arranging your leafy lookers in groups of 3-7, depending on your space, adds serious visual
Tip 4.Appeal to all the senses.
Much of the joy we experience in any space is purely sensory. The way it smells. The sounds you associate with it. The way certain textures feel when you sit, lay down or snuggle up. When you’re giving your home a makeover, think about your favorite places (coffee shops, stores, places you visited a kid, travel destinations, hotels, etc.) Think of why you love those places. Is it the way a steaming latte smells when the barista shouts “Order up!” Is it the way a chic boutique mixes heavy jacquard pillows with elegant velvet ones? Is it the way your favorite restaurant always has that subtle classical music playing in the background? Don’t save all of the things you enjoy for special occasions. Creating an oasis at home will make you appreciate and enjoy where you live so much more.
Tip 5.Know what color can do for you.
Everyone gravitates toward different colors. Some are calming, some are energizing and others are downright vibrant. But the cool thing about colors is that none of them are off limits for your home. Here’s a quick color guide to help you select the right shades for your space. Oh, and keep this in mind. You can wash your walls with one color story and add different emotions and visual intrigue by introducing additional colors in your décor.
Blue: Peaceful Red: Energetic Purple: Luxurious Green: Earthy Yellow: Joyous Orange: Warm Pink: Enthusiastic Metallics: Fearless
Tip 6.Tidy time, all the time.
Let’s face it. There’s nothing more stressful than a stack of dishes waiting to be done,
food-covered counters, old cups on the table, an unmade bed and grime that you just forgot about. Your home is your canvas for all the things you want to do in life. So think of every cleanup as allowing stress and clutter to pass and for your personal happiness and creativity to thrive. If you can, try to have two 15-minute cleanups per day and an hour-long cleanup session on a day you know you’ll have extra time. Dedicate smaller cleanup sessions to easy tasks like dishes, wiping down surfaces, dusting appliances, putting things in place and sweeping.
Heavy-duty days call for deep cleaning in any room that needs some TLC.Display more photos.
It’s becoming a rarity to get images printed and framed, but using your memories as décor and statement pieces will bring you a big dose of joy along with style. Seeing the faces of those we love, the vacations that felt perfect and the milestone moments we’ll never forget, bring in the real emotion to your home. That special touch that makes the space unique to you. Embrace it and feel how more photos can transform the way you feel.
Tip 8.Your bedroom is a bedroom. Nothing else.
While this year has probably had most of us tempted to work from bed at least a few times, maintaining a healthy sleep schedule demands the bedroom serve as a calming, chill sanctuary filled with relaxing scents, little sound and the level of darkness and coolness you need to sleep. Invest in quality light-blocking shades. Turn on an oil diffuser to disperse your favorite relaxing scent throughout the room. Cover your bed with soft, cooling sheets and hotel-worthy linens.
Center the entire room around rest and relaxation and try to minimize any kind of stressful activity that will complicate your sleep schedule.
Bonus Tip! Don’t wait for spring to get that refresh started. Having a home you can relax in and feel inspired by is seasonless. It’s something we can strive to have and achieve any time. It’s freeing to invest time into your happiness and life at home.
But maybe you aren’t sure where to start. That’s where Daton and Alfonso of Handsome Hōm come in! They are excited to style and advise on home refreshes for all styles and budgets.
For more of their easy-to-do tips, check out Handsome Hōm on Instagram for a big boost of inspo that won’t upset your wallet. Until next time, keep that home handsome.