Subscribe for 33¢ / day
Tarot cards

Tarot cards? You are either intrigued or rolling your eyes. But stay with me. This will be fun and interesting. Not scary and foolhardy. We’ve just entered 2016. The sum of these numerals is nine, the number represented by the “Hermit” tarot card.

Don’t worry, you’re not going to be a lonely hermit this year. In fact, the “Hermit year” is a momentous time. It’s a milestone where one has reached the end of one trail and prepares to step forward onto another. The Hermit suggests that before taking this next step, one might reflect on what he or she has experienced and learned on the path just traveled.

What do these reflections have to do with design? Well, I interpret the Hermit year as the perfect time to assess your surroundings and the way you live. Does your home function with ease and organization? Is it comfortable? Are the aesthetics pleasing? Do they include personal touches that represent you, your interests, your treasures and your history?

Let’s say your bedroom has never been the welcoming and relaxing haven you know it’s supposed to be. Or let’s say your office is drab, depressing and in constant disarray. Or maybe your bathroom’s broken tile, grimy grout and cluttered countertop irks you each and every day. If so, are you ready to take a new and improved path forward this year?

Maybe it’s been your plan all along, but you’re stuck and don’t know how to start. The Tower tarot card might be of inspiration. Some find the images of this card disconcerting — a lightning bolt hits a tower that causes all of its contents to fly out the windows. Some think of this as destruction. I think of it as freedom. If something in your home is not working or not positively contributing to your lifestyle, toss it. The Tower is about purging those things that weigh you down, slow you down, or get you down.

Once rid of these burdensome possessions, you’ll need tools and resources to create the environment you long for. What better tarot card to do this than the Magician? Not coincidentally, the number associated with this card is 1 — very fitting as this is the beginning of a new year and a new lifestyle. The Magician looks somewhat like a mason standing at his workbench with a ruler, compass and sundial. Perhaps he represents the architect, contractor or designer, with tools of their trade, ready to help create your new space.

Get home and garden tips sent to your email inbox

There are many cards I could choose to conclude this tarot reading. It really depends on your goals for 2016. If it’s a peaceful, dreamy bedroom, I might draw the Star card, which encourages renewal and serenity. If you want to energize and organize your office, I might pick the Chariot that represents control, victory and determination or the Emperor who establishes authority and balance. For a new bathroom, Strength promises a productive and passionate day and the High Priestess encourages meditation and intuition while soaking in a warm bubble bath at night.

Do I use tarot cards to design spaces? Not at all, but design is, indeed, about assessing, preparing, goal-setting, timing, follow-through, and tapping into sources of inspiration.

Patti L. Cowger is a Napa-based interior designer and owner of PLC Interiors. For information about her design services, visit her website at, call 707-322-6522 or email Demystifying Design appears every other Saturday.