Life’s missing white space

‘Space is the breath of art’ – Frank Lloyd Wright

This taken from a post by Leo Babauta of Zen Habits.

…I’m not a designer, but I’ve always been in love with the design concept of white space.

It’s the space in a design that isn’t filled with things.

But white space can be used in the design of our lives as well, not just the design of magazines and websites and ads.  By using white space in our lives, we create space, balance, emphasis on what’s important, and a feeling of peace that we cannot achieve with a more cramped life.

The principles of white space

Some of the things white space accomplishes in design:

  • greater legibility
  • feeling of luxury
  • breathing room & balance
  • more emphasis

These same concepts can translate to our lives:

Clarity.  Instead of legibility, white space can give clarity to the things in our lives – whether they’re possessions, projects, tasks, or just things that occupy our time and attention.  A nice piece of furniture is more beautiful when it’s not surrounded by clutter.  A well-prepared piece of food is more tasty when it’s not smothered in sauces and piled with fries and cheese.  A presentation is more effective when we don’t use Powerpoint and have only a few points to make.

Peace.  When our lives are cramped, and our homes and work spaces are cluttered, we feel stressed.  When we have fewer things on our schedule and fewer things around us, we feel peaceful.

Breathing room & balance.  Many people talk about finding ‘work-life-balance’, but this is very hard to do if you have no white space.  Leave space between things to find the breathing room you need, and more easily achieve balance.

Emphasis on the important. When our days are non-stop busy, everything is important and nothing is important.  But put white space between things, and those things acquire more weight, and we place more importance on each individual thing.

Moth on storm door – natural light.