Next Up

This California Designer's Happiness-Infused Home Delivers Design Therapy

Home Therapy author and licensed therapist Anita Yokota believes you can use interior design to create a peaceful, wellness-centric home. Tour her own SoCal home and see how she does it.

Price and stock could change after publish date, and we may make money off these affiliate links. Learn more.
1 / 12
Photo: Anita Yokota

Anita Yokota’s Home Therapy

It’s a well-worn adage of design that the spaces we live in can affect how we live in them. And it’s true. The colors we choose, the patterns we include, even the presence, type and number of plants we keep can all have an impact on how we feel in a space. But when it comes to navigating exactly how your rooms can serve to brighten your mood or lower your temperature, Anita Yokota might be a better resource than most. The author of the new book, Home Therapy, the Irvine, California-based designer and mom of three is also a licensed therapist who knows all about designing for peace of mind, because she’s already done it in her own home.

More photos after this Ad

2 / 12
Photo: Anita Yokota

A DIY Kitchen Banquette

For quite some time, fans of Anita’s blogs have recognized the designer’s dining room as “the most difficult room,” in her home. “My combo living/dining room space can get the best of my design patience,” she confesses. But out of her frustrations, a series of creative and beautiful solutions have evolved. Her most recent efforts saw her and her husband building an L-shaped, window-adjacent banquette from scratch. After an extensive project that saw the couple both adjusting on the fly and demonstrating remarkable foresight — “one of the smartest decisions we made was to paint all the pieces before assembling,” she remembers — the room had a whole new feel. “After ten years of struggling with this room, I’m loving retreating to the table with a snack when the kitchen feels too full, or I want a little one-on-one time with my youngest.”

More photos after this Ad

3 / 12
Photo: Anita Yokota

Designing a Room That’s Family-Friendly

The child of an architect and a real estate broker, Anita grew up understanding the value of a well-crafted space. And her family room displays the full benefit of that sensitivity. Wanting to evoke feelings of family togetherness, Anita’s first focus was finding a sofa that would be stylish and functional. “Some designers suggest a range of 20-24 inches,” she says, “but I find 20 inches [feels] more like an office waiting area type of sofa. For homes, I like to go between 24-27 inches deep.” Adding patterns for the right balance between energizing and distracting was another major step. She picked patterned throw pillows to counter the solid gray tone of the sofa, tiles in a pattern inspired by California missions and the combination of a light-colored, patterned rug over a natural jute companion piece to create an environment that keeps the eye moving without becoming overwhelmed. “The key lesson here is playing with the scale of patterns,” she explains.

More photos after this Ad

4 / 12
Photo: Anita Yokota

A Transformative Fireplace Update

Designing is often re-designing, and for many designers, changing one piece of a room can spark an entire transformation. That was the case for the most recent makeover of Anita’s family room, which was triggered by the decision to update the fireplace. “We needed to reinvent this fireplace to become a bright and inviting hearth, the true heart of our family home,” the designer says of the massive DIY tiling project. Though it took a good amount of effort — from tiling to styling — in the end it was worth it, bringing, Anita says, a "much needed symmetry that I had unsuccessfully tried to achieve over the years with chairs, mirrors and more.”

More photos after this Ad