How to decorate with your happiness & wellbeing in mind

I've recognized the impact interiors have on my emotional wellbeing for a long time, but the uncertainty of an international pandemic, paired with spending so much time at home, has encouraged me to explore it on a deeper level. 
While certain restrictions are inevitable due to budget, renting, or even the lack of builders, there are some small touches that I've found to have a huge impact! So, while I'm really no expert, I wanted to share what I do to make my home feel like a little haven and keep my anxiety at bay. 

Crystals 

Whether you believe in them or not, crystals have been used for centuries as a healing tool. Not only do I love them for their energetic benefits, but they look so beautiful around the house. 

a dish containing crystals in various colors and sizes

Scents

Aromas play a pivotal role in creating that calming, familiar feeling at home. This is because of our olfactory bulb that links directly to the brain and incites emotional responses related to our memories and mood.
Candles, oil diffusers, and incense are the most effective in my opinion, but there are so many variations, it's fun to play around and find something that you love -just make sure they're pure essential products, not fragranced oils.
We have an ongoing candle exchange in the FL team - if any of us buy one we don't love, we swap it! I tend to like a natural woody candle, whereas Heather much prefers a bright, citrus scent. 

relaxing in a roll top bath while looking up at a Victorian window with light streaming through

Lighting

This is such an important feature and one that's often overlooked. Like smells, the lighting in a room immediately sets the mood and helps to calm or invigorate us, but it doesn't stop there... 
Natural light is proven to have major health and wellness benefits; improving our productivity, alertness, mood, and overall psychological health. The first part of my daily routine is opening my shutters and letting the natural light stream in - this stimulates my natural circadian rhythm (aka body clock) and starts my day on a positive note. 
You should also try to be mindful of blue light - a specific wavelength that emits from electronic devices such as phones, tablets, and TVs. Blue light boosts vitality and energy, so it’s useful during the day, but can actually be pretty harmful at night, as it suppresses melatonin production and can disrupt your sleep. Try and leave any blue light sources out of the bedroom and you should notice an improvement!
Light streams through a Victorian window into a bedroom

Greenery

It's no secret that we love plants! From a design perspective, we recommend investing in a few large plants as they have an amazing sculptural presence and are a great way to create separate spaces within one room. They also improve air quality, by releasing oxygen, regulating humidity, and emitting their own natural fragrance. Small plants are also great but try and keep them to a minimum to avoid creating clutter or clashing smells! I love hanging eucalyptus in the bathroom, and I always put an orchid or aloe vera plant in my bedroom as they emit oxygen throughout the night.

A jar of Eucalyptus next to a sinkLissi Waite

Comfort 

This sounds obvious, but we've all been known to overlook comfort in the past! Although aesthetics are really important, comfort should always take precedence, especially when it comes to furniture, mattresses, and bedding. 
Natural Linen is great as it's really breathable and helps regulate temperature. It also has a lower environmental impact than most fabrics and it's really pretty! Watch this space, as we have a very exciting linen-related announcement on the horizon...
an unmade bed with natural linen bedding

Texture 

Believe it or not, the different finishes, feels, and textures in our homes are yet another thing that influences our feelings. I highly recommend the Netflix documentary Abstract: The art of design, in which Ilse Crawford explores this further. The main thing to consider is how materials make you feel, and how in sync they are with the pieces around it. For instance, a soft cashmere throw, on a robust leather club chair, is a great combo, as is an antique rug layered over a thick jute.

a living room with a leather club chair and an antique rug

Color

There's been a ton of research into color psychology over the years, and while there's lots of truth to it (calming neutrals and dramatic black, etc), it ultimately comes down to personal preference. I like a mainly neutral palette but have also done my fair share of experimenting! When I moved into my apartment I painted one room my favorite shade of dark green, which is said to be relaxing. While it looked beautiful, it didn't sit well with me so I reverted back to a soft grey. 

a bedroom with an unmade bed and dark green walls

Tidiness

This is huge for me and while I understand family life can make it hard to maintain, I think tidiness is something I'll always prioritize. Feel free to say I told you so in a few years' time... Until then I'll keep decluttering! 

a sink with neatly organised towels and jewellery beside itLissi Waite

Personal touches

This is basically a round-up of everything I've mentioned, as finding the right colors, fabrics, and lighting for you is what makes your home yours! Some other great personal touches are fruit bowls, fresh flowers, and family photos - ultimately, anything that makes you feel happy and calm.

some fresh pink flowers next to a wooden bowl of lemonsLissi Waite

If you're after some further reading on this topic, do check out the following:
Alain de Boton, The Architecture of Happiness | Lily Bernheimer, The Shaping of Us | Elina Grigoriou, This is what changed my approach to interior design | Virginia Clark, Interiors and Wellbeing

 

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