What’s the first thing you feel when you step into your home? Relaxation? Exhaustion? In today’s hectic lives, our homes should be oases of calm and rejuvenation. In fact, our home environment may actually be contributing to our stress levels. Look around you. Do you see a sanctuary? Or is it yet another thing to add to the to-do list?
It’s always been known that our physical surroundings have the power to emotionally affect us. Philosophies such as Feng Shui have been around for thousands of years. Interest in this area has exploded in the past couple of decades, however, with recent studies finding overwhelming evidence that our home surroundings have a major impact on our sense of wellbeing.
Here are some tips from our experts to get you on the way to creating your perfect living space - and a happier, more contented you.
- Consider colour
There is a whole psychology of colour to be explored, most of it backed up with solid scientific evidence. While many of us like to play it safe with magnolia walls and muted furnishings, consider embracing a true colour scheme, even if it’s only splashes here and there.
Blue invites serenity and is particularly soothing on bedroom walls and furnishings. Greens and tans are relaxing and evoke nature. A bold red wall in a living room can be energising, while accents of bright yellow in a kitchen feel cheerful and welcoming. Shades of purple can aid creative thinking, whereas vibrant orange is perfect in a large family room or playroom. Experiment with different fabric samples to discover the colours that work best for you.
- Bring the outside in
We each have an innate, vibrant connection with the outdoors. There is nothing like a peaceful woodland walk for helping us feel calm, centred and revitalised. Incorporate some natural elements into your home decor for a rejuvenating effect on your wellbeing.
Bring plenty of living greenery into your home. Not only do plants look beautiful, they help detoxify your indoor air and can even boost concentration and memory.
Natural light flooding into our homes is a wonderful tonic. So make the most of your windows by ditching the heavy curtains and replacing with lighter shutters or vertical drapes. Ditto for natural vs. man-made fibres. Accessorize your home with woven baskets and rugs. Floors made from wood feel warm and inviting underfoot. You can even use elements from nature in your decor accents, such as bowls of seashells, or carved wooden ornaments. The only limit is your imagination!
- Declutter, declutter, declutter
Yes, we all know how beneficial it is to tidy up and to get organised, but easier said than done! However, humans are naturally averse to cramped, crowded spaces. To truly relax and be able to think clearly, we need an environment that is clutter-free as possible. Remember - everything has its home. It’s just a matter of finding it!
Spend a weekend getting tough with yourself. Get a huge bag and ditch everything you no longer need or use. Pick up 5 objects that are lying around and find a forever home for them. Do this one room at a time. Here’s a step-by-step decluttering guide to get you started.
- Experiment with interior arrangement
How you arrange your space can have a profound effect on how harmonious your environment feels. Your aim should be to create a real sense of “flow” through every room, with one particular “focal point” in each room. A focal point can be anything - a fireplace, an imposing table or dramatic work of art. It should draw the eyes of a visitor as soon as they step into a room. Focal points create a natural centrepiece and sense of balance that helps open up even the most cramped of spaces.
A particular Feng Shui method might be helpful - close your eyes and imagine a surge of water pouring through the front door into your home. Ideally, you want the water flowing gently around each room, without stopping or stagnating. This can be achieved by arranging your furniture in curved configurations, rather than rigidly lining it all up.
- Be creative with decor
Above all, your home should reflect you - your preferences, what makes you happy, what makes you relaxed, what inspires you.
If you love water and the sea, try a marine-inspired decor. If your tastes are modern and urban, invest in some stunning metal wall art. Keep your eyes peeled at antique shows or flea markets for unique and interesting pieces that may have a story to tell. Think of your home as a living, breathing sanctuary that you have crafted yourself, and you’ll feel a wave of contentment from the second you walk in the door.