One of the things that the lockdown truly highlighted is the importance of our living spaces to our overall well-being.
Our homes are not just a crash pad, somewhere we simply eat and sleep, while we actually go elsewhere to conduct our living, working, recreation and entertainment needs.
Living spaces, how well they function and what they say about us are in fact crucial to our mental, physical and emotional health.
Here are 6 simple and effective changes you can make to improve your living space and maximise your well-being.
1. Creating a Private Haven in a Busy Home
If you are continuing to work from home and have school age children, never has personal space been at such a premium. All ages require quiet spaces that are conducive to working productively, without interruption as well as areas that provide time out to relax, clear head space and simply unwind.
Whilst open plan living has some great advantages, especially for families with young children, family needs change and open plan living should be balanced by providing some private, cosier areas. These spaces develop feelings of being nurtured and promote a sense of calm and peace away from the hustle and bustle of the busy family life.
With some imagination, finding space for your private haven need not be difficult nor even require a whole room. Quiet areas in a hallway or landing, nooks and crannies such as under the stairs, even an armchair in a bedroom will work well to provide a sense of retreat and tranquility.
2. Repurpose Space
As families spend more time together than previously, with more people all using the same space for longer periods of time, available space is pushed to the limit. It is now time to reassess the changing needs and functions that your family home has to perform.
When your house is at capacity look for rarely used areas. For example, a dining room might only be used on a few occasions each year and lie empty and unused for the majority of the time. Rather than waste this space, consider how it can be repurposed to provide a more practical, useful function. These areas frequently make a stylish home office, an elegant library or a private retreat.
With clever furnishing it is possible for a room to serve more than one purpose, easily switching from one use to another. Many rooms lend themselves to dual or multi-functions areas, giving extra value to that space.
3. Declutter to Organise
Disorganised, untidy and tired surroundings can create turmoil and can impact on both yours and the mood of those around you. When we can’t find things quickly and easily we soon become stressed, frustrated and are liable to get distracted from our purpose.
Take some time to declutter, clearing out redundant, out of date or broken items. The whole process itself can be highly therapeutic, clearing the mind and regaining feelings of being in control. Meanwhile, have fun finding suitable storage systems to tidy away and organise your necessary and precious items. For examples of lovely stationery and storage options please visit Zoe Glencross.
Once a space is tidy and organised, the function and purpose of the area will be clear. In addition, it becomes quicker and easier for everyone using the space to tidy away in the future, ensuring that dual and multi-use spaces remain practical and enjoyable.
4. Neutralise Noise with Soft Furnishings
Noise bounces off hard surfaces. When the volume of sound increases, this can frequently lead to headaches, tension and anxiety.
How your rooms are decorated and furnished can greatly impact on the sound levels in any room. Identify the noisy areas in your home, where there are multiple hard surfaces, use fabric and upholstery to counteract the acoustics.
Considered use of soft furnishings, such as full length curtains, rugs, cushions and other fabric items such as woven wallpaper will help to offset the volume of noise by absorbing some of the sound waves.
5. Think Colour
The colours we use in a room can have a dramatic effect on our mood and enjoyment of the space. It’s time to reassess the colours used in your home, do they help the room to feel inspiring or calming, do you find them unsettling or helpful?
Using harmonious colours will promote feelings of calm and well-being, useful for bedrooms and work spaces. Brighter colours will be more stimulating, ideal for extrovert characters or when you need to feel inspired or energised.
Simply changing a room colour can make a huge difference to how contented we are to use the space for the purpose we have assigned to it.
Lighting is crucial to establishing the look and feel of a space as well as ensuring that it is practical for its purpose. Good light is essential in work spaces and will take care of your eyesight, however, more subdued lighting is likely to suit areas of relaxation better.
Whilst most people crave natural light as it gives a feeling of light and space and can promote a sense of the outdoors indoors, not every room makes this possible, so skilful use of electric light is important.
Fitting dimmable lights make it possible to move easily between brighter lighting for daytime and task oriented activities whilst also providing a softer, warmer light for the evenings and relaxation. Meanwhile, using layers of lighting such as ambient, accent and task, will provide a wide range of options that will suit most atmospheric requirements and activities.
Inertia, whether through fear of the unknown or simple apathy, should not be an option. Continuing with the status quo will only prolong any current dissatisfaction, tension or conflict.
With the recent changes to our ways of living and working, take action sooner rather than later to optimise your living spaces.
Intelligent use of space to provide both work and relaxation areas is key. Establish the needs of the household before identifying the areas to use.
- Less well used rooms can be repurposed
- Clearly define the function of a space with colour, lighting and soft-furnishings
- Small nooks and crannies can be turned into an oasis of calm and relaxation
Simple decluttering is highly effective and together with good storage facilities will help organise multi-function spaces for ease of maintenance.
Achieving a greater sense of well-being by providing a variety of health and productivity benefits for the family makes the transformation process worthwhile.