How to design your life (& why)

everyone is a designer naomi cleaver quote danielle raine creativity blog

{ Book extract from Tonics For Your Creative Spirit }

“Everyone is a designer.”

This quote is one of my favourite insights from a beautiful and inspiring book called The Joy of Home, by one of my interior design heroes, Naomi Cleaver.

I love this idea and wholeheartedly agree with Naomi; we are all designers.

We all design, craft and shape aspects of our life all the time, whether our focus is a family, a business, a career, a lifestyle, a home, or a lifelong dream.

We’re all working with the materials at hand to create something new and, if we’re doing it right, something wonderful.

But what happens if we consciously view our entire life as a design challenge?

What if we give some thought and attention to creating a design brief for our life – one that will help us craft the most expressive, productive and fulfilling life available to us?

I’ve been a designer all of my working life, so I’m used to following the design process, i.e., beginning with an objective or idea, then exploring ways to bring it into reality.

In recent years, though, I’ve begun turning these skills to new arenas, beyond the studio.

I’ve been applying the principles of design-thinking in all areas of my life.

And not only is it extremely satisfying and great fun, it’s also been eye-opening just how much it’s possible to tweak and alter my life to fit more joyfully with my preferences and dreams.

I’ve learned that once we adopt a designer’s mind – looking for solutions, getting creative, experimenting, etc. – we discover alternative ways of living, new answers to old problems, and surprising new options where we’d once seen only obstacles and limitation.

Reviewing our life with a designer’s eye is liberating and empowering – and leads to some exciting outcomes.

It’s a highly creative way to live and an enjoyable way to bring our visions to life.

So, I invite you to join in the empowering and confidence-boosting fun of Life By Design.

You can begin right now, at any level of commitment that feels good.

And you can begin with whichever area of your life you’d most love to implement an inspiring new design.

Whilst a complete life overhaul is absolutely possible, it can be a complex and challenging brief!

So, if this is a new concept for you, begin honing your designer skills in small, manageable or easy ways.

All you really need to do to kick-start the creative process is simply give some thought to this approach.

Designing your life begins with opening to the idea that you are in charge.

How to design your life danielle raine creativity blog

You are the designer of your life

Of course, you may not be able to control every aspect of your life, and there may be conditions, obligations or commitments that you can’t or don’t want to change.

But once you begin to look, once you get curious about what you are able to redesign, you’ll find that there are plenty of areas where you can do things differently.

You can make new decisions and set clear intentions that will gradually reshape your life into something that looks and feels more like the life you imagine or dream of.

Designing or redesigning your whole life is a major and ongoing project, but to help you just begin playing with the idea, here are four easy ways to start exploring the fun of Life By Design:

How to begin designing your life

 1. Notice

Review. Assess. Just notice what’s going well in your life.

What would you love more of?

What would you love to build on?

What would you prefer to phase out, release or replace?

Note: No action required at this stage!

You don’t need to change anything, yet.

Awareness alone is a catalyst – just by noticing, you’ll begin to think and maybe even act a little differently, i.e., more in line with the life you’d love to be living.

Just begin to get a sense of the existing blueprint of your life; where you are, what you’re doing, and how you feel about the many different elements that make up your life as it is today.

Do this without judgement or criticism, be kind to yourself.

This assessment may highlight some areas you wish were different but in the interest of creating a happier future, keep your focus on what you do want to create, rather than what’s currently lacking or missing.

Take comfort from these wise words from one of my favourite spiritual writers:

“This moment is as it should be 
because the whole universe
is as it should be.”

~ Deepak Chopra

• • • 

 2. Imagine

What would you love to create?

What would you love to do?

Where would you love to go?

Where would you love to live?

Who do you want to be?

What joys, experiences, and pleasures do you want to have in your life?

What do you want your life to be about?

What do you want your legacy to be?

You don’t need to know the answers to these questions, and you certainly don’t need to make them happen or know how they could.

All you need to do at this stage in the design process is to flesh out your vision and intentions, to begin playing with the process of creating the brief.

So, just ponder, muse, imagine.

This is your life and you are the chief designer, so you get to choose anything that excites or entices you.

Challenge yourself to imagine even more wonderful ways to live than you’ve ever thought possible before.


wellness designer chair terrace

 3. Be curious

Begin asking: What if…?

What if that problem was solved?

What if you actually could follow that dream?

What if things changed – even though you can’t see any way how they could?

What might be different in a year’s time?

What would be better?

This is an exercise in flexing your creative muscles – something that will serve you well in every aspect of your life.

So, set the intention to open your mind to new ideas and solutions.

Start to explore new ways, better ways, to carry out the day-to-day routines and actions of your life.

wellness designer chair terrace

 4. Invite inspiration

Just by exploring these ideas, you’re priming your creative mind to wake up and begin showing you new possibilities and suggestions.

All you need to do is stay open and stay curious.

Declare your willingness to be inspired with new solutions and insights.

And remember – you are a highly creative being.

Just look at what you’ve created so far: your whole life!

However you feel about your life as it is today, now is the perfect time to begin a new phase of intentional living – your life, by design.

“Follow your bliss, 
and the Universe will open doors for you 
where there were only walls.”

~ Joseph Campbell

designing your life burnett evans book copy
Are you ready to begin exploring this practice of living by design rather than default?

All it takes to begin is awareness, imagination, curiosity, and openness.

• Review your life (with compassion).

• Imagine how you’d truly love your life to look and feel, how you would love to live.

• Get playfully curious about where you do have the power to make changes.

• Stay open to new ideas and be willing to see things differently.

Find areas where you have the freedom to make the choices that delight you.

Begin to view your life as an exciting design challenge, where you are the VIP client who deserves nothing less than the best that’s possible.

(If it’s possible, why settle for less?!)

Then get ready for the magic that happens when you embrace the empowering idea that you are the designer of your life.

Your Life By Design is the ultimate creative challenge.

And you are the perfect person for the job.

danielle raine creativity coach
PS If you’d like some support and expert guidance with your Life Design project, I’m currently working on a coaching programme and online course to walk you through the process. 

You can find more details here: Your Creative Life By Design Online Course. 

Hi! I'm Danielle.

creative coach danielle raine

creative coach danielle raine l



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