How to make your home into a sanctuary
We’ll be spending a lot of time in our homes in the current crisis, so make it as welcoming as you can… Becky Hirt has some tips…
Bring the outside in
As human beings, we have a basic need to be connected to the natural world. Submerging ourselves in nature is associated with positive outcomes and enables us to thrive. By bringing natural elements into your home you can still experience some of these benefits without going outside.
Having more plants and greenery in your home, either by buying or cultivating house plants, or by cutting greenery from the garden and displaying it in vases and glass bottles.
Displaying pictures of your favourite natural scenes to remind you of the beauty of the natural world.
Opening the windows every day to let stale air out, fresh air in, and to reconnect you to the sounds and smells of the natural world.
Turning seating so that it faces natural views from your windows and doors.
Create a multi-sensory space
We are multi-sensory creatures and we’ll feel better at home if we stimulate not just our vision, but also our hearing and our sense of smell and touch. All of our senses are involved in processing emotions, so we can leverage that power to influence our mood at home.
Burning or diffusing essential oils such as rose, geranium and lavender to create a calming scent.
Curating a playlist of soothing tunes that make you feel relaxed.
Introducing different textures into your home through natural materials such as wood, linen, jute and wool.
Layering up soft textiles and cushions that you can wrap yourself up in on the sofa or in bed.
Use light to lift your mood
Both natural and artificial light can play a very important role in regulating our mood, even when we’re confined to the indoors. Maximising daylight when it’s available and keeping light low when it’s not will help to support the natural bio-rhythms of our bodies rather than working against them.
Minimising the coverings that you have on or around your windows, to allow as much daylight as possible to come in.
Placing mirrors and reflective surfaces in darker areas to bounce light around and create a sense of more brightness and space.
Investing in lots of side lights and floor lamps with warm white bulbs that create a soft glow – set them up on timers so that they come on with ease.
Installing a dimmer switch on your overhead lights; as the sun goes down you can dim the lights and prepare your body and mind for sleep.
Hanging up strings of light to create a playful and cosy atmosphere.
Light a fire
There’s a reason why we are drawn to crackling hearth fires and flickering candles. As humans we evolved around fire, which provided warmth, safety, and community. Looking at flames can send comforting signals to your brain and provide instant reassurance.
Having a fire lit whenever you can, if you already have a working stove.
Lighting lots of candles as the sun goes down; tealights look good displayed in glass jars.
Installing a bio-ethanol stove for an eco-friendly source of light and heat.
Be bold with colour
Colour can help to create a comforting feeling at home. How and where you use paint can also have a big influence on the overall effect that you achieve in a room, and on the way it makes you feel.
Choosing colours from the natural world for a calming and restorative effect. Gentle blues and greens are particularly soothing.
Painting a dark colour on the walls and the ceiling to make an enveloping and cosy space; bedrooms respond particularly well to this treatment, as we use them after the sun has gone down, when maximising natural light isn’t an issue.
Layering up different shades of the same colour in soft furnishings and accessories to create a relaxed and informal look.
Becky Hirt is an interior designer and stylist based in Kingston
Pictured top: www.dunelm.com
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