During the Covid 19 pandemic, our living spaces were thrown into the spotlight – quite literally so for many – as hours of Zoom meetings were set against the backdrop of our own personal environments. We all became acutely aware of how our homes affect us and make us feel, so as we shift back into a normal way of life, we look at what we can learn from this time and how we can move forward to create a home that centres around simplicity, and essentially make our lives easier and more comfortable. Blogger and author of Enough Jessica Rose Williams shares a few ideas on how to simplify your home….
Home no longer means what it used to. I think we can all agree living through a pandemic taught us a lot about what home represents to each of us and what a sacred space it is. Whether we were on the front line, furloughed or working as usual we were all forced to slow down and alongside that came inevitable – and often uncomfortable reflection. With our social lives limited to going out for no longer than 30 minutes a day our home lives were put under a microscope and many of us found ourselves not only reassessing the importance of home but requiring something different from it – a more functional space that offers both safety and comfort for all aspects of our lives.
Personally my life didn’t change that much when covid hit and I still can’t decide if that was a sad thing or not. I already worked from home which has always been my dream but it definitely made me realise I need to get out more. Witnessing the lives of non hermit writer’s change so drastically, and those with families in particular was gripping. All of a sudden there was no school run, the dining room table became the classroom, the sofa and coffee table the office. The purpose of our homes changed overnight and we came face to face with how suitable or unsuitable they were for this new way of life.
The aftermath of reflection is always positive change and one of the most common desires following the pandemic is a simpler slower life. Simplicity in our homes can help improve our overall wellbeing. With a little bit more intention, editing and awareness we can easily make our homes work best for our lives. As this is no longer a pipe dream but more like a necessity with more of us working from home than ever here are a few tips on how to make your home more functional fast, from someone who’s been practicing simple home interiors for years.
Design around the purpose of each space
All good interior design is centred around purpose. If a space isn’t functional it can still be beautiful but it’s also useless, especially for real life. Knowing how each space is currently used or how you’d like it to be used should determine what goes in it, how the furniture is arranged and even what colours you choose. For example a bedroom’s main purpose is to sleep in. This means calming colours are a good idea as they will create a relaxing feeling when we’re in there, technology has no place as it will only hinder our rest and too much clutter will create a feeling of chaos – the opposite of what we’re aiming for.
Think about your daily routines
If purpose is our foundation then our daily routines is where we begin to build our bricks. Think about your life specifically, how many hours you work, where you enjoy family meals and at what time, how many people you have over for dinner and when. Consider everyone who lives in the home and how they use each space. Designing around our real life is so important because this is how we maximise the pleasure we get from our homes.
Pay attention to what you use the most
This goes for furniture, items, areas – everything. The things you use the most are likely the things that make you feel most comfortable and support your day to day life. Once you’ve earmarked these items you can ask yourself why the excess things or spaces aren’t being used? Perhaps they’re just for show, uncomfortable or you just don’t need them? We can never have too much awareness of our patterns and behaviours because this is where we gather our information to make improvements.
Let go of the excess
It’s estimated we wear 20% of our wardrobes 80% of the time and I have a theory this behaviour filters out into how we use our homes too. It’s important to ask ourselves how this 80% is serving us because we’re paying for it in terms of decision fatigue, maintenance and storage. Letting go of the things we don’t use or love is the easiest way to create a more spacious and harmonious space. This way of thinking isn’t new. Coco Chanel’s famous style advice was ‘before you leave the house, look in the mirror and take one thing off’. Our homes are no exception.
Embrace a ratio of needs vs wants
Of course there’s a balance to be found when it comes to simplicity and unless you’re an extreme minimalist we all enjoy being surrounded by things purely for their beauty. The point of simplicity isn’t to deprive ourselves of this joy but to be intentional so we can maximise our appreciation for the things we do allow into our lives. An 80/20 ratio would be a solid place to start but your number is up to you and those you live with. The main thing is to be aware of the things that surround you and edit accordingly. The more you embrace simplicity the more you’ll develop an intuitive sense of when a space is supporting your wellbeing vs having a negative effect on it.
How has the pandemic affected your relationship with home interiors? Have you found yourself craving simplicity and intention too?
If you like the idea of simplifying your home and life, then why not check out our latest edition – Volume 13 – where the issue theme is Simplify. View Volume 13.