One of the emerging trends of last year, the “reading nook”, was all about creating a cosy space to retreat to (one that also works for creative writing, listening to music – anything that’s the yin to your daily yang). It was really an extension of the wellness craze, something that’s set to continue into 2019. But you don’t have to build a yoga studio in your back garden to get on board; here are some small changes anyone can make to feel at peace at home.
Visiting friends over Christmas, I noticed just how keenly Londoners have been flexing their green fingers. Caring for indoor plants is a design trend that’s gone wide and deep. The health benefits of surrounding ourselves with nature are well documented, and scattering these lush living plants wherever you can gives a room instant ambience. The key thing is natural light (which is as good for us as it is for our plants), so take a look around and see if you are making the most of your windowsills. Could you do away with a piece of furniture and install an architectural oasis of green in differing heights and textures? Or could a low cupboard be a nursery for pots filled with exotic-coloured foliage? Sitting a strikingly tall plant by a window fills one corner at a stroke (see patch.garden for a beauty pageant of urban pots and plants to buy).
The bestselling and serene guru of de-cluttering, Marie Kondo, now has her own show on Netflix (or you can gen up on her easy-step method with a 15-minute summary of her book The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up on Audible). A clean and tidy home that’s filled only with things that give you joy also gives you space to relax and decompress, especially in the bedroom – there’s a huge focus on sleep for wellness at the moment. Getting the best-quality sleep, nutrition and exercise is the optimum foundation for everything we do. We need air to circulate in the bedroom, so see if there’s a storage deadzone under the bed (not to mention clumps of grey, dead skin – the horror!) Vacuum it up this very evening and vow never to keep stuff that you don’t use in your sleep sanctuary ever again.
Form and texture
Don’t just buy materials you like, buy something that will suit the shape and space of the room. I brought a glass table that comfortably seats six around it from my old place to my new one. While glass definitely has a place – beautiful sculptural ornaments and elegant fanlights – you can only really get away with a glass table in a big room otherwise it feels hard and aggressive. I replaced it with a handcrafted, recycled-wood dining table in the shape of a plectrum, which acts as a kind of genial roundabout. It still dominates the room, but its soft curves and warm texture are much more pleasing in a cosier space.
So if you want to extend wellness into the home in 2019, our mantra is less is more. Throw some things out, get a plant and invest in natural materials that soften it round the edges.