New Year resolutions often have to do with how we look (is weight loss on your list too?) and how much we want to (not) spend or places we want to visit (my bucket list is a mile long). Most of them are easier said than done and more often than not our resolves have been given up as early as the first two weeks of January.
Goal setting is not for everyone, but if your targets are realistic it is likely you will attain them for much longer. Here are my top three tried and tested resolutions to help you beat the January blues and give you and your family some interiors zen throughout 2019.
1. I will keep a tidy home
A tidy home is good for your mental health. According to this study, women with untidy houses have high levels of cortisol (the hormone indicating stress) while those who participated in the experiment and had stressful home scores also had increased depressed mood. Yikes.
It's no wonder. A heap of clothes on the ottoman opposite our bed was a regular feature throughout last year in my home. I will spare you the photographic evidence, but the reality is that this mountain kept getting taller throughout the week, and on occasion it would not get cleared over the weekend. The husband got upset, while I kept postponing cleaning up (he will not clean up after my mess, and why should he!). Just looking at the mess would give me a headache. Moving the mess from one room to another was not a resolution. I ended up having the first 'mess' sprawled on the guest bed while a second re-appeared on the ottoman.
I made the commitment that no clothes would be left overnight on the ottoman. To this effect, I added a tray with a vase of fresh flowers on it as well as a couple candles. Now, I had nowhere to leave the clothes on, so I got into the habit of folding and putting them away, before changing into my pjs. It worked and I have not looked back since. Oh, and it was an excuse to keep the fresh flowers in the bedroom, which made everything look and feel fresher. Success.
The Seasons kitchen: I always tidy up before I leave on holidays. It is great to come back and only have to quickly wipe down the worktop and nothing else.
In the Seasons bathroom: I keep the basin top clutter free. Inside the vanity, Muji storage containers help me keep everything in place.
I also follow the no-clutter rule in my home office (and I made a big deal out of keeping shared spaces clean when I joined my new team at work in October). A clean desk space can definitely increase your productivity and the lack of visual distraction can keep your creativity going. Besides, if your office space is clean, you can take photos of it so much easier (and faster) so this is definitely a win-win for me and for those of you with active Instagram accounts!
And if this resolution sounds 'too big' to follow, start small. Commit to at least making your bed in the morning and cleaning for 15 minutes daily. You do not need to turn into a Stepford wife to reap the benefits of a clean home.
2. I will keep my interiors colour scheme to 3 colours max
While some of you may initially disagree, restricting your colour palette to a max of 3 colours can again minimise visual distraction, enhance the flow between rooms, make your decor look and feel less busy and eventually help you process information faster (which again increases productivity).
Think about it. Even the most maximalist of homes follow this rule. Some of my favourite include: Nicola Broughton's Victorian house (green, black, yellow), Erica Davies' home in the Essex/Suffolk border (green, blue, yellow) and Medina Grillo's black, white and beige rented apartment in London.
Above: Photos from the home of Nicola Broughton, also known as Girl With the Green Sofa show how this maximalist home comes together through the use of three main colours: green, black and yellow/lime. All photos: Nicola Broughton.
Below: Photos from the home of Medina Grillo, also known as Grillo Designs. Medina is an award winning blogger with love for DIY (and IKEA). Her home is an inspiration for renters (and not) all over the world for its clever DIY solutions but mostly for its beautiful colour palette of black, white and beige. I find this colour palette really sophisticated. It looks great in photos and feels easy to live with. All photos: Medina Grillo.
When working on your 3 colour palette, you should consider the 10-30-60 rule which means choosing a dominant shade (usually your walls), a secondary or complimentary shade (think big furniture) and an accent colour (which can be contrasting).
3. I will invest in original, artisanal pieces
I know - KNOW - the pull that IKEA, H&M, DESENIO and similar have on us. Their products are beautiful but the downside is that EVERYONE has them because they are cheap to buy. That print you love? Yes, have a look on Instagram and you will see half of the people you know having the exact same piece. Is that what you really want? Fast interiors? The kind that goes out of fashion before you can say cappuccino?
Make it your resolution to invest in one-off pieces buying direct from the makers/ artists. Not only will you support talented creatives directly, you will also have pieces that are unique or limited edition, thus making instead of copying trends! Buying artisanal is a big trend for 2019 and with the interiors boom on social media, makers now have a bigger audience to directly tap into.
If you are looking for art, try Gosia Poraj. Instead of H&M cushions, go for geometric ones from Rowenna Mason, colour popping with an island vibe from Penelope Hope or jewel toned ones from Susi Bellamy. Buy your ceramics from Linda Bloomfield instead of M&S. There are so many places you can buy originals from - they may on occasion cost more but they will be a long term investment: you will love them more and treat them better, increasing their longevity.
Instagram and Etsy are really good sources of inspiration when trying to find the next big thing!