Now that summer’s officially over and the days are shorter and colder, we tend to want to get cosy more. The start to this new season is a great time to take a long look at your space and see how well it’s reflecting your current sense of self and your lifestyle. I’d like to share a few principals that I consistently use, both to evaluate my status quo but also when I’m thinking of changes or bringing in something new.
I was also been pleasantly surprised to realise that many of our Home Tour protagonists share similar philosophies. Unfailingly, they come back to certain basics and so without further discussion, here are our five principals for more a joyful, comfortable home.
1 · Does it spark joy?
When considering an interior, my focus is always on (the) space, rather than the objects in it. Space—empty vacuum—is something I consider the highest luxury. This is what that rent money is for. Too often, space is treated as something to be eliminated, filled up and blotted out. For me, it’s what gives everything within it meaning. I like to continually assess what I’m surrounded by and whether these objects are still relevant to my life.
Every so often, I like to take a good look around and really see my home properly. I recommend entering each room in your home as though you were a guest. Pay careful attention to every object and the overall setting. Open drawers and cupboards. How you feel whilst in this space: Happy and joyful? Stressed? Irritated? Ask yourself the question “Does this spark joy?” when you regard your space and each object in it. Try to answer as truthfully as you can!
Pick up a few cardboard boxes and start putting away the things you feel ambivalent about. Move these boxes to a storage space or the cellar and wait a couple of weeks. If you don’t miss them too much, you can do without what you’ve removed. Photograph things you feel particularly sentimental about and then start finding new homes for them (think Oxfam, eBay or friends).
2 · Less equals more freedom (and less work!)
Having less really does have a tangible advantage: it means less work in terms of organising and tidying (less searching for things, because there’s less to hide behind or under!) This is valuable time that you now have to indulge in activities you love (see N° 5).
Also, free visual space—surfaces and volumes that uncluttered and uncrowded—are very calm-inducing. I’m not advocating a monastic existence; rather, one that has literal space for considered beauty and that sustains you in a joyful and healthy manner.
3 · Take your time.
So you’ve managed to make some space and clear out those things you weren’t so joyful about. Congratulations! Treat this precious space you’ve won with care and respect. Above all, try not to rush to fill it again. I personally recommend living with fewer things for a while. What this does is help give you a feel for what it is you need rather than what you think you need.
Ingo Butsch waited a long time before finding the sideboard in his living room (pictured above). It looks customised because it fits the wall so perfectly but, in fact, he was so clear about what he wanted (and what it was likely to cost!) that once he saw it, he grabbed it.
This is a philosophy that many of our home tour owners echo. Not rushing in leads to those amazing finds that you will treasure all your life. Search through vintage shops and flea markets, eBay listings and those piles on the pavement.
4 · Create a frame for your life.
Your home is precisely that: Your space. And also of all those you share it with. Your home gives context to you, your life and your possessions. So consider what kind of frame you want to have: lots of white space and light? Warmth and many layers? Cosy and cluttered?
Philipp and Chris, owners of the beautiful space above, did this by keeping their home open (it has no doors on the inside!), painting all the walls white and having lots of wooden and stone elements to add warmth. They also made sure all their storage is hidden (below the floor or in an underground level). This way their few possessions have the space to really shine.
5 · Make sure you can do more of what you love.
Your home is your nest and your retreat from the rest of the world. So—what are the things you love doing most in this sacred space? Is it hosting big dinners, sharing gin tonics, digitally detoxing or spending time alone with your favourite music in the background?
Does your home support these activities?
If you love hosting large dinners, you just need to have ample seating. Get creative: lots of cushions for floor seating or, as Clara Zelinka (home above) recommends, make sure all the tables in your home are the same height so you can push them together come dinner party time. Once the event's over, they just go back to their individual functions as desks and kitchen tables.
These steps may seem simple, but their power lies in acknowledging yourself and the things you love. Giving them conscious thought is therefore an important way of investing in yourself. Creating an environment in which it’s easier to engage in these activities is a beautiful and empowering way of embracing yourself.
Take time each day to tune into yourself. Make sure your living space is a haven that nurtures you and allows you to nurture others. In conclusion, as Philipp and Chris put it: let your home be Light + Open + Versatile + Elegant = L.O.V.E!
If you have any questions or would like to discuss transforming your home, please get in touch. Let's set up a (free!) call or meeting to talk about your needs and how we can work together!
PS: See all our home tours in detail here.