Happy Home

Give your house the makeover it deserve

Seven easy ways to revitalise your space and boost your mood. 

With many of us spending a lot more time at home, you may find your house taking on the roles of office, classroom, gym and community center — and it’s easy to feel uninspired by your surroundings after occupying the same space day in, day out. But all hope is not lost: There are simple and inexpensive ways to transform your home into a fresh and stimulating environment.

Give your home some TLC with these seven tips from interior decorators, feng shui experts and design enthusiasts.

Break it up

If you’re working at home, it’s easy to feel overwhelmed by conflicting responsibilities. To help stay on track, designate different areas for specific activities. “It’s important to ‘compartmentalise’ your living space,” say most interior designers.

Experiment with colour

Painting the walls is one of the cheapest and easiest ways to immediately invigorate any home. For a classic look that will hold up against almost any decor, opt for cool neutrals; if you prefer something more dramatic, consider adding a pop of colour to a feature wall. Feng shui experts and interior designers recommend greens and blues: “They are most associated with health, calm and well being.” If you’re not ready to commit to paint, we suggest using accessories like throw and scatter pillows, an area rug, curtains or artwork to bring colour into your space.

Streamline and declutter

With millions of us now living and working alongside family members, significant others and roommates, our homes may suddenly seem more cramped than ever before. There’s no better way to create spatial harmony than decluttering: It works a powerful magic in that it gets your entire space up to seed with you. We recommend starting small with a contained space like a bathroom, which will give you a quick feeling of accomplishment and encourage you to do the next space. The benefits of a tidy space extend beyond aesthetics — research has found that clearing clutter can lower stress levels.

Do a digital detox

The digital detox movement is not new, but it’s worth revisiting in this climate of constant COVID-19 news and social media chatter. Though it’s important to stay informed about the health crisis, it’s easy to slip from a healthy level of engagement to compulsive checking. To reduce screen dependence, set up manageable boundaries based on time or place. For example, designate dinnertime as phone-free, or remove mobile tech devices from your bedroom for a daily reset.

Invigorate with scents

Scent is a powerful vehicle for uplifting your mood. According to most fragrance labs “Every room should have a different scent track to score your moment.” Yang uses woody scents like cedar, palo santo, oud, copal and frankincense to feel grounded; rosemary for invigoration; and incense to focus and meditate. There are many ways to suffuse a room with scent — candles, oil diffusers, air mists and fresh flowers, to name a few. For a more subtle effect, crack open a window to balance out your chosen fragrance with fresh air.

Greenify and purify

While you’re staying put, there’s no better time to bring the outside world in. If there’s one thing that makes a space feel livable, it’s some elements of green. Not only do plants bring light and colour, they also add oxygen to your home — something that many of us could use more of as we hunker down indoors. Consider the level of care you want to give: “Some folks may find something less fussy to be easier to deal with, whereas others may want a more ‘high-maintenance’ plant that requires attention every day. Whichever plant you choose, the ritual of maintaining it can be deeply healing.

Lighten up

Natural light is the top office perk, according to a study of workplace benefits published in the Harvard Business Review. If your home is now your office, you have more control than ever over the light conditions of your workday. To maximise your exposure to natural light, position your desk near a window and keep drapes and shades open during the daytime. If you don’t have much natural light coming in, we recommend affixing aluminum mini-blinds to your windows: “You can direct or cut out light (and inquisitive neighbours across the street) as needed, and when the sun hits them just right, you can use them to throw light into the room without getting blinded.” We also recommends adding reflective surfaces — like a mirror, lacquered table, or chrome lamp — to enhance the light in dark rooms.

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