Last November, I had the honour of being a keynote speaker at BizBrigade by Womanition, where I shared my story of injecting joy into every area of my personal and professional life. 

My overall message was simple: True joy can be designed, not just stumbled upon. 

Joy by design. 

This means taking time to discover what truly makes us happy, finding a way to weave that joy into our livelihoods, and deliberately crafting our spaces—our homes and our businesses—to serve as sanctuaries of happiness, creativity, and healing.

Or as I like to call them, homes that hug

Unshelf Home Office

The Power of Environment on Well-being

My journey towards joy by design began at one of the lowest points in my life—the loss of my mother, who also happened to be my best friend, biggest cheerleader, and greatest inspiration. It was in the midst of tremendous grief and despair that I realized the huge impact that our surroundings have on our emotional and mental well-being. The realization that our environments can either dampen or amplify our happiness became a tangible truth as I sought to reclaim joy in my life. 

Our surroundings deeply influence our mental health and how effectively we work or unwind. Imagine the comfort a well-placed armchair in a sunny nook can offer, or how a thoughtfully arranged office can spark creativity and ambition. Every detail in our environment adds up to shape our day-to-day experiences and, by extension, our overall happiness.

sarah working at home

Redefining Success Through Space

The quest for success often leads us down traditional paths—chasing career milestones, accumulating wealth, or seeking recognition. Yet, true fulfilment sometimes lies in the less-than-obvious routes, like how we design our living and working spaces. 

Productivity and drive soar when your spaces resonate with you and feel genuinely uplifting. This new definition of success—one that places well-being and personal joy at its core—suggests that the spaces we inhabit can be powerful tools in shaping our paths to success. They can be sources of motivation, reflection, and, most importantly, happiness.

Check out these must-have tips for maximizing your home office expenses!

The 3Ps: Positivity, Productivity, Prosperity

When it comes to creating spaces that truly serve us, my pillars are the 3Ps: Positivity, Productivity, and Prosperity. 

yellow home office

Positivity

Positivity is about setting up our spaces to consistently boost our mood. Think about what changes when you enter a room that just feels right—maybe it’s filled with natural light, your favourite colours, or photos that bring back good memories. It’s designing with the intention to lift your spirits every day.

Productivity

Productivity means making our spaces work smarter for us. Instead of cramming a desk in wherever it will fit and calling it an office, think about where you work best. Where will you be able to keep distractions at bay? What setup makes everything you need accessible? It’s about creating an environment where work feels encouraging and less like a chore.

Prosperity

Prosperity wraps it all up by focusing on growth. Prosperous spaces are adaptable and ready to change as our lives and careers do. They reflect our successes, inspire future achievements, and evolve with our ambitions.

The 3Ps help us work better, encourage growth, and make our spaces an active part of our success story–not just a backdrop to it.

sarah speaking on stage

Personal & Professional Transformation Through Space

Here’s the thing: when you start to align your spaces with your true self, you might find that what you want from life shifts. Maybe you’ll discover a passion you didn’t realize you had or see a new path that feels more ‘you.’ 

For me, it meant transitioning from a successful marketing career to embracing the world of interior decorating—a field I hadn’t previously considered but that aligned perfectly with my newfound understanding of joy by design.

If you’re feeling stuck, consider that maybe it’s not just your job or career path that needs re-evaluating. Maybe it’s your environment—the very space where you hatch your plans and dream your dreams. Could it be that redesigning your space could lead to redesigning your life?

For me, the answer is a gigantic heck yes. 

So much so that I now speak about this very topic in front of hundreds of people in hopes to spread the joy… by design.


Do you need help transforming your space into a joyful oasis? Contact Unshelf Design today