Our homes have become our place for everything from relaxing, eating and sleeping to working and home schooling. For our own well-being and productivity, it’s important to create defined areas for each of these activities and to make your home a happy and healthy place to be.
Here, our Head of Creative Claire Hornby talks to us about effective ways to update your interior, define each area of your home and make it work for every need. Even by rethinking or repurposing what you already have, you can make a big difference and feel refreshed!
Claire Hornby, Head of Creative at Barker and Stonehouse
If you’re at home and in need of a little inspiration, discover Claire’s simple ideas to try in each area of your home.
As working and learning from home has become the new normal for many of us, our living space has now become our workspace too. It’s more important than ever to create a dedicated work area to avoid distractions and increase concentration and productivity.
A home office is the ideal place to work from, but don’t worry if you don’t have one in your home. Try re-purposing what you do have instead! A dining table, console table or dressing table work just as well.
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Find a space that works
Try to create an office space where you feel relaxed and inspired. Find a quiet spot for your workspace and, if possible, placing your desk or table near a window to enjoy some natural light. Having a working space with a view is a great source of inspiration!
It’s also important to create a space that can be closed off or packed away when you want to switch off from work tasks. If your workspace is in your living room or dining room, a great solution is to divide the two spaces with a decorative room divider. A shelving unit also works well to create different zones whilst providing storage.
Clear away clutter
Speaking of storage, make time in your day to clear away clutter and organise your work area; this will help to enhance your focus and clarity. Use a sideboard, chest of drawers or a bookshelf to store away items and create a streamlined space.
Illuminate your office
It’s important to have a well-lit workspace to help concentration and avoid eye strain. A desk lamp can also add a touch of ambiance and make a space feel cosy and relaxing. You don’t have to use a desk lamp though; using one of your favourites from around the house is a great way to give your office space a homely feel.
Bring the outdoors in
Another great way to enhance your workspace is to bring the outdoors in. House plants are known to boost your mood, productivity, concentration and creativity so make a great addition to your desk.
Your living room should be your place to relax. Somewhere to unwind and escape your daily routine. It’s important to make your living space somewhere you love to spend your downtime, whether that’s with a few home décor updates or just by clearing away clutter.
Rearrange your layout
One of the easiest and most cost-effective ways to reinvent your living space is by having a move around. Simply swapping a few pieces of furniture around can make a room feel like new again. Why not rearrange your sofa for a new view, or change the layout of your coffee table to create more space?
Transition your room from day to night
If your living room currently doubles as a workspace or playroom during the day, it’s easy to transform it by night with a few simple changes. Start by packing up laptops, work items or toys and hide them away out of sight. Then turn your living space into a sanctuary with home comforts and cosy touches. Pile up your sofa or armchair with soft cushions and throws and create a cosy corner where you can read a book or watch TV.
Add some ambient lighting
Light is important for your well-being, especially when you’re stuck indoors, so make sure your living space is well lit. Soft ambient lighting is much more soothing than an overhead light, so try dotting lamps around the room instead. Candles are a lovely way to add extra light and will create a relaxing atmosphere, especially ones with soothing scents.
Refresh your décor
Now’s a great time to give your sofa a little refresh with some new cushions and throws. Try adding a pop of colour or pattern to elevate a plain sofa, or layer up contrasting textures to add interest and depth. Chunky knits, tactile weaves and luxurious velvets are all perfect for playing with a new look.
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Another great way to shake up your décor is by creating a stylish coffee table display. You can even use what you already have around the house for this; simply gather your favourite memorable pieces, trinkets and books and play around with different heights, textures and colour. Trays are an ideal way to display your pieces as they can easily be moved when extra space is needed. Using fresh flowers on a coffee table will add a lovely finishing touch, making your living room feel more welcoming and adding a fresh scent.
Use a rug to define areas
If your home is open plan, rugs are a great way to divide the space and create a warm, cosy area to relax. They’re also a perfect way to add an extra touch of pattern and colour, helping to enhance the décor of your room and introduce new colour trends.
The dining room is the heart of the family home, and right now it’s more important than ever. Mealtimes are the perfect reason to gather the whole house together to cook, eat and relax.
If you can, try to keep your dining space separate from your work and rest space and make dinner time a moment to connect.
Make your dining space multi-functional
It’s great to have a dedicated dining space if possible, but this doesn’t mean you can’t use the space for other activities. When you’re juggling various tasks from home, make your dining space a multi-functional area to really maximise the space you have. Dining tables are versatile spaces that can be used for working, learning and playing during the day, then reverted into a dining area come evening.
The key is to keep clutter at bay so that the area can quickly be transformed. To keep your dining table clear from clutter, add a chest of drawers, sideboard or shelving unit to your dining area. This will free up space and make multi-functional living a breeze.
Dress up your dining table
When you can’t go out to your favourite restaurant, use it as a great excuse to up your dining game at home instead. Make mealtimes an event with finishing touches that will elevate your dining space and turn dinner into something a little more special.
Take time to dress the table with your prettiest crockery, placemats, candles and flowers if you have them. Unpack those plates and wine glasses saved for special occasions.
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Create a stylish centrepiece
A centrepiece doesn’t have to be for a special occasion either, it can look beautiful all year round. To create a stylish centrepiece, start with a base, such as a table runner, a wooden board or a large tray to group decorative items on.
Use items from your garden for a fresh, seasonal and cost effective display; daffodils in the spring, fresh leaves in the summer, holly branches in the winter. They can be displayed in glass bottles or vases you may already have had hidden away.
Shake up your seating
Looking an easy way to update your dining space? Rather than changing everything, try a change of dining chairs instead. You can update any dining table with new colours and textures, from quilted leather to plush velvet chairs. Or why not mix it up? Gone are the days where all chairs around a table must match.
An alternative to chairs, try a bench to create a more flexible, communal approach to dining.
Your bedroom should be a calm tranquil space where you can relax and forget about everyday worries. It’s important to create a bedroom where you can switch off and get a good night’s rest, so make sure your sleep space is completely separated from your daily activities and is as peaceful as possible.
Create a peaceful ambience
Creating the right ambience will bring a sense of clarity and harmony to your bedroom. Try using candles to create soft light and a tranquil atmosphere. Salt lamps are also a beautiful light source with their soothing pink glow which can stimulate relaxation.
Using scents in a bedroom such as a scented candle, reed or mist diffuser is a wonderful way to evoke happy memories, such as a walk along the beach or a stroll through the forest.
Use a calming colour scheme
Creating a zen-like, restful room is easily achievable with the right colours. All you need for a mindful makeover is a lick of paint or some soft furnishings in an inspiring new shade. Not sure what colour to choose? You need look no further than mother nature for inspiration. Think calming blues found in the sky and the sea, natural tones from sandy beaches or soft forest-inspired greens.
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Add cosy touches
There’s something about getting into a nicely dressed bed that feels oh-so comforting. A few extra cosy touches will bring comfort to your bedroom and help you drift off into a peaceful slumber.
Cushions and throws are a great addition to any bed, adding texture, pattern and colour while increasing the comfort factor. They don’t all have to match; square, round and bolster cushions look lovely when clustered together.
Keep your sleep-space streamlined
For a room that as peaceful as possible, it’s important to create an organised and tidy space. Set aside some time to declutter drawers and wardrobes so that everything has a place. If you need to, add in some extra storage, such as a space saving tall boy or a chest. This will help to clear your mind come bedtime.
Whether you’re working from home or just spending more time at indoors, our homes are more important to us than every right now. With just a few small changes and some inspiration, you can create a home that works for every need. For more interior inspiration, view our full range of furniture and accessories.