How to create a happy home

Here at Futon Company we’ve always been avid readers of Elle Decoration, and are constantly following stories and posts from our favourite journalists and editors (past and present). For those of you who share our commitment to such matters, you’ll be well aware that the magazine’s former Editor-in-Chief, Michelle Ogundehin, launched her fabulous new book earlier this year focusing on how to create a wellness sanctuary at home. Writing in Sunday Times Style, Michelle says:
It might (still) be an unpredictable world out there, but most likely your salvation is closer than your think. Your home can be your secret superpower and now, more than ever, we need to be able to find solace, not stress, in the house. Too often I see homes that sabotage rather than support this: places that are decorated for likes on Instagram or designed for lives the owners do not lead…

So if wellbeing is the goal, the most important question to ask yourself is not how do I want my home to look but how do I want to feel inside it? – and that is about a lot more than just the decor. What is key is recognising the power of being surrounded only by things that have meaning for you – lean into what you have, not what you lack. Take the time to break toxic old habits and embrace healthy new ones.

Here are seven ways to get started:

• Appreciate the sound of silence: For some silence is deafening, despite research showing that it improves brain function and cultivates productivity. Have you ever paused long enough to notice the natural soundtrack of your home? While there may be little you can do about external noise, the responsibility for what happens inside is always yours.
• Prioritise the dining table: Sharing a home is an agreement to be connected to others, to share stories, food, ample quantities of wine. That is why the dining table for everyone to gather around is your most important piece of furniture. It also prioritises the ritual of eating. Whether you are dining en famille or solo, be super mindful of how you decorate your table. Your tableware should be the things you love most – you’ll use them every day, after all. Don’t keep special sets only for guests, Make every meal an occasion
• Believe that cleaning can be calming: Could cleaning be considered a meditative means of self-nurture? No mantras are required. Simply elevate it from routine to ritual by doing it little and often and recognising that your home is your temple and that your belongings tell the story of your life. If you can’t be bothered to maintain them you cannot expect to enjoy them
• Say no to pointy side tables: They are a nightmare for your shins and the eyes of small children, plus their angularity cuts off, rather than encourages, an easy flow of air and people. Curvier, rounded designs are the literal expression of comfort. PS sink deeply into a squishy sofa so it cossets and consoles you. PPS, you can never have too many cushions
• Practice active rest through play: We do not stop playing because we grow old; we grow old because we stop playing…. Active rest is engaged, not distracted, mindful not mindless. In short, it is anything that offers some of the same psychological rewards as your job, but without its frustrations. Certainly, any form of sport is great, but within the home think board games, playing a musical instrument, painting or DIY. Fancy kit is not necessary, nor is much room required, just the desire to make time for it and the belief that it matters
• Accept that multitasking is a myth: It is not possible to do more than one thing at a time and hope to do any of them well… Give it up and give yourself a break. You can work or play wherever you want – it’s about enabling focused concentration
• The soothing salve of colour: The use of colour in a home sets the tone, but it doesn’t have to be full-fat vivacious to be effective. The key is to find shades that truly sing to you, then to use them across walls, fabrics and furnishings. Choose no more than six, one of which must be white. Why? Because five colours and their tonal variants is exactly the right amount to create different but cohesive looks across your home without succumbing to blandness or chaos. White heightens those choices.

And finally – five quick fixes to inspire wellness at home:
• Clean your windows – they are the eyes of the home
• Light a beeswax candle at dinnertime – even if you are eating cheese on toast alone
• Position your bed so that it faces something of beauty: a picture, a display or a window
• Hang up positive imagery – pictures of well-loved places and people
• Get rid of anything that embarrasses or annoys you

Futon Company says: What more is there to say other than WOW!

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