Frank Lloyd Wright’s 2-Second Trick for Seeing Your Home in a New Light

published Dec 9, 2019
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Credit: Sylvie Li

Remember sticky notes? The little papers we used to write down things we couldn’t forget, pressed to the edges of our computer monitors, and then never noticed again until they lost their stickiness and fluttered to the floor?

This phenomenon of “not seeing” happens to us all the time and it has to do with our brain, unconsciously, selecting what we notice and don’t notice so that we focus on what our brain thinks is important.

It’s why the always-present paper pile eventually becomes invisible. But it’s also why we sometimes stop noticing the beautiful things around us until something breaks the monotony of our surroundings, like a new guest gushing over the whimsical rainbow pom-poms you kind of forgot you had.

Credit: Viv Yapp

Your assignment: Re-discover your art by switching two pieces around.

A reader comment clued us in to this idea: “I’ve always loved this tidbit I learned about Frank Lloyd Wright on a tour of his home: He would move the artwork around in his home every few months because he believed he stopped seeing it when it stayed in the same place.”

Wright was right, but he didn’t let his subconscious stop him from enjoying his art, and neither will we.

For this assignment, choose two pieces of art in your home to switch (including photographs, sculptures, or other decor). It may be easier if they’re roughly the same size, but it’s not a requirement. Notice the effect that seeing — really seeing — a couple of your favorite pieces has on you. Does the stormy seascape once again evoke the sense of safety you feel at home? Does the print your bought on your honeymoon start your day off any differently when you see it in the kitchen instead of the hallway?

What pieces will you choose to see again?

This post originally ran on Apartment Therapy. See it there: Try Frank Lloyd Wright’s 2-Second Trick for Seeing Your Home in a New Light