Interior Designer - Genevieve Manley
Genevieve Manley on location at The Provincial Hotel

We all know that prioritising our wellbeing is the key to getting through this period of uncertainty and coming out as a better, calmer, more focused, more grounded and centred humanity. We’re spending a whole lot of time in our homes in preparation to emerge as sparkling butterflies post-iso.

Here are 5 tips on how to make your home more “haven”, and less claustro-cocoon. So settle in and chuck on your Uggs, friends. We’re home!

1) No one’s house is perfect. Currently, you’re in your house for, let’s say, 23 hours a day, seven days a week. You may or may not have housemates also known as kids and partners, and also animals, and also a job, and also things to do like paint the living room that subtly different shade of white, which you’ve been meaning to do since 2007, but absolutely must do now. Your house is a shambles? So what! Let it go. You have better things to do, like breathe. Take this time to get to know your home again, in all its grubby glory. Giving your brain the space to enjoy, rather than clutter it with stress and anxiety, will allow you to think of limitless possibilities within your home. Use this time to plan and plan well, rather than do, and possibly rush in to dicey decisions. Free your mind, and the rest will follow… or so they say… 

2) Go small. Fun fact – During the GFC in 2009, homewares and lipstick sales sky rocketed. Economic stability was temporarily on hiatus so we purchased small things that would make us feel happy, without the major investment. Whether you realise it or not, you take in far more inspiration from the world outside than any late night Instagram or Pinterest trawl can offer. Our ability to organically access inspiration from real people and places is limited right now, so avoid the urge to change your home from Hamptons style to a 1980s Memphis inspired house of fun. Go small with soft furnishings and build on your home’s already established style. Cosy cushions, a soft throw (hey! Grampians Goods Co.), art (some of my favourite suppliers are Forman Picture FramingModern Times and Greenhouse Interiors) and styling objects like vessels and sculptures will make a huge difference to your home without any post-iso regret. 

3) Follow the light. I don’t want to sound grim, but we’re all coming out as butterflies with Vitamin D deficiencies. Find a window in your home that lets in streams of light during the day and focus on making it a hub to sit and just, be. An armchair, a small table, cushions and a throw are all you need to ensure you soak up as many filtered rays as humanly possible. Your wellbeing will thank you for it.

4) Stay warm. Risk takers looking to go large and repaint rooms… or the whole house… should stick with soft colours to enhance your home’s tranquility. Soft beiges with ochre bases and warmer tones are increasingly becoming the colours of choice for leading interior designers. Haymes and Resene both have beautiful warm, neutral tones in their colour charts. We subconsciously crave comfort during times of stress, we want to envelope ourselves in warmth through colour and texture (and also eat kilos of slow cooked pork) to ease our discomfort. Hot tip: Warmth and comfort will remain on our interior radars long after we break free of lock down, so think of warm colours and soft, feminine, rounded edges as less of a short term trend and more of a social movement.

5) Don’t forget your other senses. The very best interiors aren’t about they way they look, it’s the way they make us feel. But, after a long day of everybody being in the one space with minimal fresh air flow because, winter. is. coming. Things can smell a bit stale. And this doesn’t help you to feel like you’re in a beautiful homely space, it makes you feel like you’re in iso with stinky kids and an oversized dog (or maybe that’s just me). Investing in The Grampians Goods Co. Aromatherapy Candles, diffusers, room sprays and individual essential oil blends (two of my favourites are Black Blaze and Anjali oils), anything to freshen the scent of your home, will simultaneously freshen your spirit, every time. 

Guest post by Interior Stylist Genevieve Manley.