Interiors: Make your home your happy space
Put those New Year’s resolutions to one side – everything you need to feel calmer and healthier in 2022 can be found in your home, says interiors expert Joanna Thornhill
Complement calming colours with lots of daylight. In this living room, Walls are painted in River Valley and Denim Drift, £31.09 for 2.5l, dulux.co.uk. For a similar sofa, try sofa.com. for a similar pendant light, try habitat.co.uk
Want to boost your wellbeing in 2022? Then forget all those notoriously hard-to-stick-to resolutions and instead look to positive changes you can make to your home. As the festive decorations come down, now is the perfect time to reconsider how you could use your home to improve the way you live and feel this year. And, unlike some of those resolutions, we guarantee these interiors changes will be things you actually want to do…
In the hallway, open storage will encourage tidiness. clothes rail, £59, shoe rack, £35, and Metal wall art, £14, all dunelm.com
Do a colour check
The shades we surround ourselves with can have a huge impact on our mood, so it is important to make sure that the colours in our home help rather than hinder us. Generally speaking, blues and greens are considered calming, though if you want a certain room to make you feel invigorated, vibrant yellow or an orange tone would work better, for example.
Overhaul your hallway
If leaving the house makes you feel flustered, you need to do a hallway audit. Start by removing any unnecessary clutter and set up designated spots for everyday requisites.
Each time you come home, visualise how grateful your future self will be if you put everything back in its right place straight away to help mentally reinforce the habit.
Caring for others – including plants – can take our mind off our own worries and even ease anxiety and depression. Plants and pots, dobbies.com. for a similar desk, try ikea.com and for a similar chair go to vinterior.c
Bring the outdoors in
Take this as a permission slip to fill your home with (more) lush plants. Not only do they look great and tap into the trend for biophilia (essentially, bringing the natural world inside) but caring for houseplants has been proven to boost mood, reduce stress levels and even help make you more productive.
Keep business and pleasure separate
Are you still hot-desking at home? Help create a boundary between your working day and your downtime by storing all your ‘office’ gear (both practical pieces plus decorative extras, such as a scented candle) in a storage box, then make packing and unpacking it each day into a ritual. By focusing the mind on this change of activity, it’ll help transition your brain into (and out of) work mode.
Match your space to your personality Considering your personal traits and adapting your home to accommodate these can be a very wise way to decorate. For example, if you’re an introvert, why not prioritise creating a quiet nook for decompressing after a busy day? If you’re more of an extrovert, make sure your home is conducive to entertaining and being together with your family.
Rethink your room’s layout
A cluttered or awkward room layout is not only impractical to move around, but it can even leave us feeling subconsciously unsafe, with nowhere to hide – a basic survival need for our caveman-brain. Balance this by placing key furniture such as beds or sofas diagonally opposite entrances, with a supportive wall behind them (known in feng shui as the ‘commanding position’).
Be more touchy-feely
Comforting textures don’t just feel good – they’ll do you good too, even helping curb anxiety. Apparently, when we’re worried or in a negative emotional state, we are increasingly appreciative of items such as a warm knitted blanket or tactile surfaces such as exposed brickwork.
Make it handmade
Not only is buying handmade items often a more ethical and altruistic choice, but by choosing these pieces we can enhance our feelings of connection to community and, in turn, our sense of wellbeing. Try visiting local craft fairs to dial up this feeling even more.
Balance hard surfaces with textural touches. Reclaimed terracotta tiles, from £2.73 each, bertandmay.com. jug, £350, conranshop.co.uk. for similar artwork, try kingandmcgaw.com and for a similar bath, try victorianplumbing.co.uk
Get on the scents
Our brains are wired to link smell with emotions and memories, and certain scents are said to elicit specific moods and feelings. Tailor this to your advantage, such as by adding a few drops of sandalwood to a diffuser when you want to concentrate, or switch to a lavender-scented candle to help you wind down in the evening.
Follow the curves
There’s no such thing as a right angle in nature, and as such, our brains are naturally programmed to find organic shapes, curves and circles more visually pleasing. If your home is full of sharp edges, try balancing this out with circular cushions, stools or wall art.
This is an edited extract from The New Mindful Home by Joanna Thornhill, which is published by Laurence King, price £14.99 to order a copy for £12.74 until 16 January, go to mailshop.co.uk/books or call 020 3176 2937. Free UK delivery on orders over £20
Shop the mood
From soothing scents to touch-me textiles, these will give your home that feel-good vibe
Sofa, £1,399, made.com