Updated: Nov 1, 2022
We spend a LOT of time at home. Sleeping, cooking, eating, cleaning, regular routines aside, add to that many more of us are working from home, grocery shopping from home, working out at home, taking staycations...so if home is anything less than a smooth operator, and a restful haven, you're feeling this more acutely than ever before.
Not all of us are in the place to entertain a massive redesign, whether that's because we don't have the budget for it at the moment, or we are renting, or are planning a move in the near future, maybe you've entered into a new life phase and don't have the bandwidth, or perhaps the house has physical limitations that are rather set in stone. Whatever the case may be, thankfully improving the environment around us is not all or nothing. Read on for a handful of tips that will make a marked difference in how you feel throughout your day at home.
GET YOUR PURGE ON. You've heard it once, you've heard it a thousand times, but for good reason. This is by far the MOST important aspect of good vibes at home. Your couch could be coming apart at the seams, your coffee table might by your cats scratch tower, your paint colour might be throwing you farther back than grandma's #tbt. But if you have stuff/junk/crap/items without homes/even nice stuff that's just too much stuff...it's clutter. And if it clutters your space, it clutters your mind. It will detract from a calm, cool and collected feel that we all want our homes to help promote in us, despite our differences in style. The obvious things to pitch are the multiples you may have of one item, or the things you haven't used in 6 months, the broken stuff, the stained clothing, the heaps of old newspapers, paperwork, kids schoolwork...if it's a keeper (like needed for income tax, or the best drawing of 20 from your kid - file it.) The rest...donate or recycle or junk it if it's broken. Be ruthless in this area. You will not miss these things I promise. You will receive so much more in their absence. But, the less obvious considerations are some of the bigger ticket items we've grown rather used to seeing, even though we internally cringe when it catches our eye. I just had this experience with my neighbour. She had a hand-me-down sidetable, that she HATED, but felt she needed to keep it until she replaced it. I took it out of the room. Just that one act lifted the space. Having LESS stuff that you LIKE / LOVE will make a HUGE difference in the feel of a room.
ORGANIZE. I know these first two aren't earthshattering. You've heard them, you probably do a big organizational overall maybe alongside your spring clean. But if you're on this page reading this post right now, I can guarantee there is some level of organizational issue in your house. This point goes hand in hand with point 1. But you must complete in order. First purge, then organize because otherwise it'll be a nightmare I wouldn't wish on my worst enemy. This could require a trip to the dollarstore or Homesense to pick up some matching containers or canisters. Or it could just be taking an objective perspective the next time you peek into your pantry...are like items grouped together? When half the baking stuff is here and the other is stored elsewhere with the hoisin and rice vinegar, it's adding mental energy to these simple tasks that frankly, no adult in 2020 or 2021 can afford to squander. A checklist to spark the creative juices: KITCHEN - put all spices in the same size containers - organize pantry/dish cupboards/pot & pan drawers by type or activity. - can any small appliances that aren't used every day be stored off the counter? - Imma gonna say it...2 words.........junk drawer...see point 1. Then take a nap. Then do it. Then take another nap. LIVING/BEDROOM/DINING - find homes for EVERYTHING (remotes, toys, books) that isn't a decor accessory - see next point. - keep your accessories - throws, pillows and table top decor - looking intentional rather than adding to the clutter by simply fluffing, folding, tweaking as often as needed. - get rid of the proverbial sidetable. We all got something that just needs the boot. - If you're lacking storage, buy some beautiful baskets - when one thing adds both functional and texture to the space...just dreamy...or check out your local thrift shops/apps to find a score on some closed storage pieces like this one below.
3. ADD TEXTURE. I commonly run into this in initial visits with new clients...they describe their space as uninviting, bland, "It's just not cozy!" Without fail, they're lacking texture. The couch is naked with nary a pillow or throw in sight, there's little to no natural elements like woven textures, wood, greenery...no art aside from some framed photos, sometimes no rug or drapes. And it's not a knock, this is the thing about becoming so familiar with our homes, we just don't always see these things! But the good news is it's an easy fix! And 100% the funnest (I know that's not a word), the bestest 😉 part of design. This point may not be free (although, you may be able to switch out some pillows/art/plants from different rooms in your home to focus on improving a main area), but even with a modest budget, you can make the world of a difference by adding some texture.
Just imagine this scene sans pillows, rug, baskets, plants, art. You can transform a room from bland and uninviting to warm and cozy and I'm not leaving this room ever (unless it's to run to the store to texturize my bedroom next) 😁
4. ADD COLOUR. Colour and texture are BFFs. They're like the fun couple in high school that gets voted "most likely to get married" but then they actually do, and they have the most enviable relationship, and their house is perfect too, obvs 🙄
Colour is LIFE. I know in the world of white on white on white pinterest photos, people are scared of using colour these days, and it's tragic. It's literally THE thing that so many rooms are lacking. One of the most powerful aspects of colour is it can be used to ilicit feelings more than any other elements of design - blues and greens tend to have a calming effect, whereas yellows, oranges, reds, pinks tend to have an energizing effect. But I'm not advocating for using colour haphazardly, equally tragic. How I work is from an inspiration piece. In most cases, this is artwork or a rug...and we draw a colour scheme from there to ensure cohesion and plan quantities so as to maintain balance and harmony.
Adding colour doesn't mean primary colours or ROYGBIV, but any derivatives of the rainbow...terracotta, blush, aqua are all included. What I don't include as a colour would be neutrals - beige, grey, white, cream. These make wonderful foundations in which to add pops of colour to illicit a mood, meaning and visual interest. Generally I suggest drawing 2 to 3 colours from the inspiration piece and placing items in this scheme throughout the room so that your eye bounces from one iteration of the colour to the next to take in the whole room. You may have colourful candles, vases, books and other accessories kicking around in closets. Or perhaps get double the bang for your buck (annnnd a gold star from me!) by purchasing a new blanket or pillow that is both colourful and textural. Or, perhaps use this point to consider what your inspiration piece is for a room so that you can create not only a focal point, but draw from it a cohesive expression of colour.
5. LIFE! GIVE MY CREATION LIFE! A bowl of oranges. A potted plant. A vase with some garden clippings in it. Heck, even a cat curled up on a sunspot on the ground...bringing something living into a room will...well, bring it to life. I'm embarrassed to admit, I don't have the greenest thumb when it comes to houseplants. Love me my ZZ Plant, because that old girl is impossible to kill...did you know ZZ Plants are one of the most ancient varietals that still exist today? AKA hardy as heck. I recommend. But otherwise, for me bringing in greenery, a great option is a clipping from my yard thrown into a pretty vase...in the winter I do cedar or spruce boughs, in the growing season I have more options, including this beautiful berry bush. Fill the vase 1/3 with water and they'll last forever, and the water reflects sunlight light beautifully.
$4 Ikea glass bowl with some Granny Smiths. Done.
Friends, I hope this helps breathe life into your homes during these long, cold, dark months of winter. Our homes are our oasis', and despite your budget, you deserve to have your home be a place that draws you in like the embrace of an old friend. I plan to have part 2 release on this topic next week, so keep posted for more tips to create spaces that inspire the best of life.
And if you need a bit more catered direction, we offer eDesign packages which make professional interior design accessible for any budget.
Until next time friends, be well!
Juxta Interior Design
#homeiswheretheheartis #safehaven #hometips #homedecor #homestyling #affordableinteriordesign #interiordesigner #hygge #cozyhome #budgethousetips #howwedwell #interiordesign4all #juxtainteriordesign #wellnessathome #mentalhealthathome #homeinspiration #decortips