STEPHEN THOMPSON: Beauty helps us remember our roots



When logic says, “Beautiful things aren’t really valuable unless they’re useful,” it’s only speaking a half-truth. Logic is important – it helps us “do things,” making it a valuable mental tool. But beauty touches us deeper – it helps us to “be more alive,” appealing to every part of us, not just our rational side. Beauty ups the game by speaking to a greater truth than logic alone. When beauty is present, it transforms and makes us better by its very presence.

Honoring your home with beauty makes it so much more than a simple shelter protecting you from the elements. It becomes a sanctuary, a place of refuge, a retreat from the chaos of modern life, a charmed place to return to each day to rest, to renew, to recharge and then once refreshed, to go out again.

Through the years many of you have invited me to see your homes. I think Daily Journal readers are a lot more sophisticated than most designers give them credit. On the whole, your grasp of how to use pattern, color and texture is solid and firm. Plus, you take imaginative leaps, make intuitive jumps, and raise the roof (sometimes quite literally) to decorate your homes with an amazing amount of beauty and sophistication.

Maybe our instinctive ability to decorate is a Southern thing. Much like Southern hospitality, the art of decorating is deeply ingrained in our culture. If you’re like me, you probably learned early how to make your surroundings beautiful by taking what you had, found, or bought and artfully reusing, rearranging or repurposing it.

We Southerners value our past. We seem to enjoy going back and rediscovering it. We dig around in former glories to find items that are unrecognizable, forgotten or have sat unused or ignored. When we find something that interests us, we dust it off and clean it up – refinish, chalk paint or reupholster it – so it can live again, shining with a renewed beauty that’s just right for our décor.

Useful things are valuable. Beautiful things are, too. Even when they are not completely “useful” their beauty asks us to see deeper and think higher, and ultimately encourages us to embrace life more fully. Beauty is subtle, emotional, thoughtful, and freeing, which is why it affects us so deeply on all levels – mind, body, and spirit. If beauty isn’t around us, we don’t grow.

Live in beauty!

Stephen Thompson has been creating tasteful interiors since 1975. For questions, comments, or consultations text (662) 231-5519 or write Designer Connection, P.O. Box 361, Tupelo, MS 38802 or

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