The interior design duo from My Friend’s House share top tips for creating the perfect relaxing space within your home.
Everyone deserves a bit of me time, and even in a busy house we believe in creating a spot that’s just for you. Somewhere to take some time out, relax, unwind and daydream a little. You might pick a corner of your home that has a lovely view, or one where there is space for a record player or a bookshelf so you always have entertainment to hand. Or it might be as simple as finding a patch where the sun streams through the window every afternoon. Once you’ve found your perfect spot, here are our ideas for how to make it your own.
Add a Splash of colour
Colour makes you feel good, and has been proven to have a strong effect on our mood, so make the most of this when creating a spot of your own. If you’re a dab hand with a paint brush then a makeover might be in order. It doesn’t have to be a whole room – just painting an alcove or even an item of furniture like this yellow wardrobe, can be enough to create the perfect backdrop for your own little spot. The colour you choose is up to you of course – we recommend a warm pink for a soothing, relaxing space, or a sunny yellow for an uplifting vibe. A single roll of wallpaper in a print you absolutely love is quite enough to paper a little corner and mark it out as your space. If you don’t want to DIY then you can get the same effect with co-ordinating comfy cushions and even curtains. Prints don’t even have to match – you’re going for a relaxed feel after all – but try to keep to similar colours (for example cool blues or hot reds) to stop things looking chaotic.
Get back to nature
Even in the depths of winter sitting next to flora and foliage affects your mood. In the summer it’s easy to gather an armful of flowers from the garden or the florist, but in winter you may need to be a bit more enterprising. Hydrangeas are a favourite of ours because they dry easily and maintain their shape, creating a display that just lasts forever. Or even consider fake – sorry ‘faux’ – flowers. A couple of years ago these were the biggest floral faux pas going, but stylists like Abigail Ahern have started embracing them. Go for big blooms of deep, wintery colour in dramatic shapes and no-one will notice the difference. Add a floral scented candle too and you can escape to the bottom of the garden all year round.
Add natural textures
There is something about sitting in a chair made of lovely smooth wood or walking across a deep wool rug that makes you relax. Objects created from natural materials feel so tactile and hardwearing, and they’re definitely something you’d want to include in a relaxing space just for you. We both love bamboo chairs for curling up and reading a book. The bamboo always looks warm and a bit quirky, and they make a comforting creak every time you shift about. Layer up textures to create an area with lots of interest – wool and wood or stone for the floor, velvets for cushions or curtains – then add a pop of colour or an unusual shape, like this little side table, to give it all a contemporary spin.
Reading, writing or pondering – all are all aided by a bit of soft lighting. If you want some escape time, then the best way is to turn off the overhead light and go for gentle mood lighting instead. You don’t need dimmers or a fancy scheme – this can be created just with a standing lamp or glowing pebble light on a side table. And for the daytime think about adding a mirror to your private spot. A well-placed mirror can increase light levels and even bring a distant glimpse of the garden indoors, making the space feel more expansive.
Pack it full of things you love
Never underestimate the powerful emotions and memories that can be held within certain objects. Both of us have a fair few bits of furniture in our houses, passed down from mums and grandparents, and there’s no denying they have a special feel about them. That ancient old armchair, a framed painting that lifts your spirits, the throw you bought in a holiday market – pile up your space with objects full of life, colour and memories and you’ll find spending time there irresistible.
All images by My Friend’s House/Megan Taylor