Interiors as a Part of Holistic Approach to Life
As the world we live in becomes less safe and future less certain, there is a great need to create our own sanctuary that is comforting and makes us feel good. The question is how to achieve the space we feel nurtured by.
While we all have different tastes and aspirations, there are certain things that we all react to positively.
I’ll try to give you a few tips here how to achieve that feel good quality in your home:
1) Natural light is important to all of us.
Think how you can bring it in where you need it most or how to shield the room from too much sun, (which is not a problem we often have in England). I am a big fan of shutters when suitable as you can easily control how much light you want. This is an example of a reception room in the Arts and Crafts house in West London.
Design: JWDesign; Photo: Simon Maxwell
The other way of bringing light in when there are no windows is this clever product from Italian company called CoeLux.
They have developed a new light source that recreates the look of sunlight through a skylight so well that it can trick both human brains and cameras. It is available from Ideaworks in London, The Design Centre in Manchester and The Caulfiled Company in Leeds.
2) A comfortable chair is the most important piece of furniture.
Think where you spend most of the time when at home. Do you work from home? If you do, you need ergonomically designed office chair.
John Lewis has a good range and Ikea Marcus office chair is affordable and well designed. The high-end option would be Herman Miller Aeron.
Standing desk can be another option to make your working hours pain free.If you don’t sleep well and get up in the middle of the night, get yourself a comfortable recliner chair where you can retreat with a cup of tea and a book.
3) Bring greens in
We hear this very often but the plants are our biggest friends. They reduce stress and fill us with calm. There are some great non-demanding plants that are easy to look after such as succulents or orchids although the latter have been used so much in interiors that you probably do not want to see another one ever again.Every kitchen will benefit from a few pots of herbs on the window sill that can also encourage you to be more adventurous with your cooking as well.
Roasted vegetables such as aubergines, courgettes, sweet potatoes, peppers and tomatoes, with a sprinkle of basil, rosemary and thyme can be eaten hot or cold and hardly takes any time to prepare.
If you have a garden, even a small one, I would recommend planting herbs such as chives, rosemary, sage, mint, lemon balm and thyme. They are all great either in cooking or as a tea. I make tea from a mixture of mint, thyme, lemon balm and sage. It is very calming and a great relief when you suffer from a cough or cold. Rosemary is also an evergreen and will provide you with colour and beautiful smell throughout the year.
If I don’t have cut flowers in the house, I cut some rosemary brunches and mix it with anything I find in the garden at the time: honeysuckle sprig, lavender, jasmine, hydrangea flower. They don’t have to be very long. This is yet another example where I had some tomato plant leaves broken so I cut a hydrangea flower and put it together. It was a happy union that brought colour to our dining table and didn’t cost a penny.
4) Art is a great tool
Art is a great tool to bring character to any space. If you invest in any type of art, buy the things you like, that revoke good memories or maybe remind you of places you visited. It will make you smile every time you look at them, adding extra value that way. Buying art doesn’t have to be at a huge cost either. On my recent visit to Cuba, I bought an old poster from the 70-ties that I liked. You can search through car boot sales, markets, e-Bay or charity shops for the old film posters or any other advertising art from a particular era or period close to your heart. A group of two or three of these framed would look great in the dining area or the office, for example.
5) The smell of home
We all know that smell of freshly baked bread is associated with homely, warm and comforting place. But you do not have to bake your own bread to create a pleasant smell in your home. There are many types and makes of scented candles available. Buy the ones which smell reminds you of the location or place where you feel relaxed and happy. For me this is always citrusy smells and smell of the Mediterranean Sea or smell of forest after the rain. The True Grace company has a great choice of fragrances.
There is also a simple trick I have that brings double the benefit: I wash my floorboards with water that has a few lavender oil drops added. Apart from aroma-therapeutic properties such as instilling a sense of calm, it also deters many pests. It smells divine and it is good for wood. You can also add some lemon essential oil. On atop of all of that, cleaning your floors with essential oils is non-toxic, frugal and easy. In winter, I burn small branches that are cut off the bottom of the Christmas tree, which fills the house with the wonderful, festive smell.
6) Create a neutral canvas to play on
I’m sure you’ve heard this many times before: have neutral coloured walls and floors and play with accessories in more vibrant colours that you can easily change according to the season or your mood. This way the décor is not static. It plays in harmony with your mood and this will in turn make you feel more relaxed. When we say neutral palette it does not mean just white or cream. Warm greys are very versatile and suit any period or contemporary style. Fired Earth and Little Green Company have some lovely greys in their paint collection.
Neutral kitchen with the red accent. Design: JWDesign; Photo: Simon Maxwell
7) Bathrooms are to enjoy
Make sure your bathroom, however small, is a sanctuary where you can rest and recharge. You can introduce colour or pattern with tiles to make it less cold and clinical or use wallpapers for part of the walls. Colour coordinate your towels to pull the entire scheme together. Have a plant, real or artificial, somewhere on the shelf or floor. There are plants that particularly like humidity of the bathroom and do not need much looking after such as aloe vera. This is an incredibly useful plant to have in the house for its many health benefits.
And finally, try to use natural materials in your home such as wool, cotton and linen as they are much more pleasant to touch, breathable, kinder to your skin and the environment. Or go for a combination adding practicality to benefits of natural fibres.
Design: JWDesign; Photo: Simon Maxwell
Above all, whatever you choose to surround yourself with, it should be your safe heaven where you feel uplifted and inspired.
Blog by: Jesenka Woodward
Interior Designer, KLC Senior Course Tutor