There can be no place more capable of nurturing and caring than your home. Even (and, in fact, especially) in these uncertain and worrisome times, it has the ability to become a deeply comforting space just for you and your family. And while it can do all that just fine as it is, there are a few things you can do to help it along.
Let scent set the tone Smell is the sense that’s perhaps better than any other at evoking happy feelings. That’s thanks to all the thousands of receptors in your nose that link to the limbic system – the part of your brain that processes emotional memory. So, whether it’s bonfire woodsmoke or a cake baking in the oven, consider how you can capture those scents to suffuse your home with your own personal security blanket of fragrance. Wellness author and founder of artisan candle company JOGB Living, Jo Glanville-Blackburn, wrote all about how you can use essential oils to do just that in our most recent issue of Stories, and we’ve published her article again over on our journal so you can still gather her tips if you don’t have a copy.
Create more cosiness We’re just emerging from winter, so the chances are that you’ve already been doing things to make your home a cosier place over the past few months. But cosiness (and, in turn, comfort) is about so much more than just a few extra throws. Back in autumn, we wrote all about how you can make comfort the statement of your room – something that’s sensed from the moment you walk in and in all your interactions with the space – by paring things back elsewhere so the emphasis is on the cosiest part of your room, like the sofa or your bed. You can read that here. Your home’s lighting will also have a big effect on its cosiness levels – this piece from 2017 might be a few years old, but our advice about layering light is just the same today. And, for a little extra reading on the subject of cosiness, we’d also suggest ordering yourself a copy of Deborah Needleman’s ‘The Perfectly Imperfect Home’ – she’s devoted an entire chapter to “cozifications”. Elsewhere, architect Ben Pentreath has written this guide to creating a cosy living room, filled with sensible but often overlooked advice (like how comfort, unlike luxury, is usually found in simplicity) that we whole-heartedly agree with. (P.S. Look out for our blog in a few days dedicated to the art of hunkering down.)
But also, throw open the doors The way your home consoles you is as much about energising as it is hunkering down. Especially at this time of year, when daffodils are popping up on roadsides the country over and there’s no denying that spring is, thankfully, now upon us. And while it might not be warm enough every day to have windows and patio doors open wide, you’ll create a more uplifting space by thinking about the way your home relates to the outdoors and the new season in its decoration. Bringing plants and cut flowers inside is an obvious (though still worthy) idea, but think beyond that to natural materials – timber, linen, clay – and how they can help you create a space in tune with nature – more on that in this journal post, and we’d also suggest taking a look at stylist Hans Blomquist’s book ‘The Natural Home’.
Surround yourself with the things you love Whatever you collect and whatever brings you joy, give it pride of place in your home. It might be moving a bookcase into your bedroom so the first thing you see in the morning are your favourite tomes (you can also read all about how to organise your bookshelves here. And don’t forget that bookcases aren’t just for books). Or it could be devoting a whole sideboard to your record player, taking a little time to sort through, dust off and organise your collection so it’s easier to use every day. Or perhaps it’s a simple rearranging of your dresser’s display that’s called for – if so, interior designer Emma Sims-Hilditch has shared her dresser styling tips in this blog. For ultimate collecting inspiration, look to Kettle’s Yard in Cambridge: once the home of curator Jim Eade and now a museum, it’s full of ideas on how to fill your home with the things you love, and you can read all about just how expertly Jim did that in this post from Remodelista.