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8 Simple Ideas For Bringing Self-Care Home

The impact of space and environment on our wellbeing has become undeniable, so how do we weave elements of self-care into the fabric of our homes? From creating room for self-expression to making small changes for big rewards, we asked four design experts to share their recommendations and personal self-care spins for uplifting interiors. By KATIE BERRINGTON

Lifestyle

First, establish what makes you feel relaxed

“In order to create a home that caters to your wellbeing, it’s important to consider how you like to relax,” says Sophie Ashby, founder of Studio Ashby. “Is it by cooking, taking a long bath, reading on the sofa or entertaining friends? Once you’ve established that, design your space around it.” For Ashby, a key element within her home is “to be surrounded by lots of beautiful books so I can deep-dive into another world to help disconnect and engage my imagination in a way other than with work.”

It’s unlikely that the entirety of your home can be taken over by your most relaxing pursuits, so try to dedicate a particular spot to calming activities. “Carve out a relaxation spot,” suggests Courtney McLeod of New York design studio Right Meets Left. “For me, it’s a comfy chair where I like to curl up with a book and a glass of wine. I never work or do anything stressful in that spot… It can be anywhere in your home – perhaps baking relaxes you, so it’s a spot in the kitchen with all your supplies and recipe books; or it’s the place where you love to knit and listen to music.”

Sophie Ashby recommends upgrading small details to improve your space – for example, by always keeping fresh flowers around

Recognize the restorative power of homemaking

Michelle Ogundehin, author of Happy Inside: How to Harness the Power of Home for Health and Happiness, identifies just how essential our homes are to wellbeing. “[Your surroundings] impact every fiber of your being: your ability to focus and concentrate, your ability to relax and reboot, even your ability to sleep. And these are the bedrocks of wellbeing,” she says.

“At the end of the day, it’s a lot harder to make healthy food in a hectic kitchen, meditate in a space that’s dark, drab or messy or work in an office that’s overcrowded or noisy. Happy Inside is my call to arms, my declaration that environment matters in pursuit of wellbeing. And that homemaking isn’t fickle – it’s fundamental to good health and happiness.”

I’ve found that certain things – little changes to upgrade the ordinary – are important to me: treating myself to fresh, seasonal flowers on the kitchen table, enjoying but also taking care of lots of plants…
Sophie Ashby, founder of Studio Ashby

Start with the small touches

It’s easy to assume that a total overhaul is necessary to elevate the level of tranquillity in your home, but there are plenty of quick ways to make a difference, shares Ashby. “I’ve found that certain things – little changes to upgrade the ordinary – are important to me: treating myself to fresh, seasonal flowers on the kitchen table, enjoying but also taking care of lots of plants, sleeping in crisp linens and making sure my daily rituals, like the morning cup of coffee, are done right.”

She suggests that a really simple solution is to replace bedsheets with white, high-thread-count ones for an “instantly rejuvenating” update.For those with the time, resources and inclination, “making all lighting dimmable changes the mood of a space and can create a more relaxing and inviting home”.

Stay true to your style

The only trend you should consider when designing your home? Customizing the interiors to your taste. “Avoid trying to fit into a lifestyle or aesthetic that isn’t authentic to you,” says McLeod. Instead, put as much of your personality into the space as possible. For McLeod, this takes the form of a vibrantly hued apartment, with shades of orange, pink, green and red woven throughout. “It is riotous and fun, chic and personal – it makes me happy every time I enter it.”

Ogundehin encourages “cultivating the desire to have home as a place where you can be free to express yourself; to [literally] be ‘at home’ with yourself. To surround yourself with colors, fabrics, mementos and artworks that have personal meaning to you (rather than pieces dictated by external influences); to really take ownership of this, your personal corner of the world. This [will help to] create a space that supports and sustains you.”

Courtney McLeod’s colorful interiors aim to inspire joy
Hilton Carter describes his leafy approach to interior styling as embodying “full-on jungle tranquillity”

Bring the outside in

Plants always make a positive addition to your space, “Not just because the vibrant greenery and inherent ‘aliveness’ make you in turn feel alive, but because they give you that all-important connection to nature,” Ashby believes. “At any given moment, I can tell you how many leaves there are on my rubber plant. I’ve had it for years and it’s a simple pleasure to water it, dust it, take care of it and watch it grow.”

Hilton Carter – plant and interior stylist, and author of Wild at Home – is a talented “creator of green interiors”. “My aesthetic is full-on jungle tranquillity,” he says. “I have green life wherever there is light, and wherever there is green life is where you can find me.” However, it is important to ensure that this doesn’t end up feeling like an extra chore. “The only thing to avoid in my case is bringing in too many plants and [therefore] making it hard for yourself to care for them.”

By taking control of our homes, we take control of ourselves. And ultimately that ripples out to affect absolutely everything else we do
Michelle Ogundehin, editor and consultant

Prioritize your sleeping space

It may not be the room you spend most of your waking hours in, but the place you lay your head is the space that could hold the most restorative potential. Carter has created a space in his bedroom that is covered in plants, “to make me feel as if I’m out in the wild, camping. Being at one with nature while you’re sleeping is complete peace.”

Minimize mess and elevate your storage

“The main thing I avoid, because I find it stressful, is mess and clutter,” says Ashby. “I am a big advocate of not wasting space by housing superfluous things I don’t really need. I am not a minimalist, but I do only keep things that have significant meaning for me. Clever storage solutions are also vital in keeping the house and myself feeling harmonious.”

Consider ‘considered living’

“Do a clutter clear,” advises Ogundehin. “It’s about what I call ‘considered living’: limiting the distractions around you while increasing [the things that] support you, so that you can focus fully on living a purposeful life.

“This is categorically not about being minimalist – I love stuff! Your things are the talismans of your life, they tell your story… this is about making sure that everything that surrounds you adds a positive contribution to that story. By taking control of our homes, we take control of ourselves. And ultimately that ripples out to affect absolutely everything else we do.”

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‘Considered living’ is not about taking a minimalist approach, explains Michelle Ogundehin. Rather, it is about evaluating which of your possessions truly enrich your surroundings and removing anything that doesn’t fall into that category

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