Spring Interiors: Home As Sanctuary
A place of refuge
Being confined to our homes for much of the past year, we have sort refuge in them. The importance of our home as our sanctuary will continue past lockdown and into the new normal.
We know from our customers’ buying patterns that many people are investing in softening their interiors using throws, rugs and cushions, which all help create that feeling of comfort, cosiness and being safe at home. Neutrals are always popular choices in interiors as they are easy to work with, but we are moving towards warmer neutrals like beiges and browns rather than previously popular colder greys. Again, we put this down to the warmth in these tones being more welcoming and easier for spaces we spend lots of time in.
As well as neutrals and soft textures, mood altering products like candles and home fragrance sales have been on the rise. Candlelight, particularly on a winter’s evening, creates ambience and the impression of calm - helping us to relax, wind down and forget the troubles of the world outside. All being well and we can host summer gatherings again, candlelight will continue to feature but as part of dinner party set ups and summer evening table settings. Coloured and artfully shaped candles are really popular at the moment.
Scented candles and other home fragrance items like diffusers help create that relaxing atmosphere. Taking the time to sit down in comfort and light a favourite scented candle with a book or box set is pretty much our only entertainment at the moment. I hope the luxury of time to relax in this way continues after lockdown ends.
Bringing the natural environment into the home
Plants have been a huge trend for the past few years and the lockdowns definitely saw people bringing the natural environment into their spaces more and more. Plants which help to purify the air are ever popular - particularly for decorating home working spaces. Plants are also an easy way to freshen up your living space without spending too much money.
Dried flowers are returning to popularity. We are now selling as many vases as plant pots and most of these are for filling with bouquets of dried flowers, which easier to get hold of while florists shops are closed, and also last for longer.
As we have more time to think about the world we come back to, and have time to think about the impact of our fast-paced living on the world, dried flowers are preferred for being environmentally friendly - they are basically waste products of unsold fresh flowers and don’t need to be thrown away after a week. Flowers and grasses can also be collected from nature and dried at home to create your own unique displays - another way of filling those long hours of lockdown. Beautiful, ceramic or glass statement vases filled with dried flowers can be used to add a personal touch to the home.
A warm neutral colour palette, similar to the tones of outside, the beiges, browns and greens of nature helps to evoke the idea of nature in the home. This also fits with the move towards warmer neutral tones.
Being able to separate activities
We're all feeling the impact that lockdown has had on our daily routines so keeping some sort of structure throughout the week is so important. If you're working from home and/or home schooling it may be that you are able to create a calm set up that feels separate from your living space but is still enjoyable to be in. A lot of our customers have been using their plants and scented candles for their desks, just to make it a more appealing and focused environment.
As well as creating a welcoming work area, if you have a very open plan home, using temporary screens or room dividers can help hide the desk area. If working form home is to become a permanent feature in your life you can also use crittall style panels or consider installing a sliding door or internal bi-fold if you know that you are going to need partition more permanently.
It’s not always possible to have separate spaces - especially if they won’t be required long term. I know that many parents have felt frazzled by having the dining or kitchen table constantly piled up with paperwork and homeschool print outs. It’s important to have somewhere to organise and store these things at the “end of the day” to ensure that the evening and day are split, but also for your own sanity and so that important papers don’t get lost. Our recycled plastic crates are great for this, particularly for kids’ home school stuff, all those “creative projects” that they’ve been doing that you haven’t managed to smuggle in to the recycling bin and just their general stuff.
Putting work and school things away in the evening at weekends is so important, otherwise there’s no downtime. Mealtimes and having more opportunity to cook has been a pleasant distraction so lots of kitchen and tableware accessories have proved to be popular over the last year with beautiful glassware and uniquely glazed ceramics being purchased. Hopefully all of this will come into good use when we can entertain again!
To be stress-free, clean and uncluttered
I know at the start of the fist lockdown I got a bit obsessive about germs and wanted to ensure that my home was organised and easy to clean. I read lots of parents on instagram feeling the mess created by the whole family at home was getting on top of them and I certainly felt the same. I’ve been really trying to get on top of the clutter at home, to make living and cleaning the home easier and just to more space for us.
I had a huge cupboard built by local carpenter company Penroe King which incorporates beautiful rattan doors and hides all of that dining table clutter at the end of the day. It wasn’t cheap but it is a work of craftsmanship and we didn’t go on holiday so why not!
We think that the home as a sanctuary or refuge will continue as we pass from Covid into the new normal, despite having more freedom to go out. Colour is key to this notion - either being used to create calm spaces or to express the personality of the occupants and give them a feeling of belonging and being themselves at home.
It is no surprise that Dulux colour of the year 2021 is a soft beige and Valspar has gone for a brown earthy tone. These are great backdrops for calm spaces and also work as great backdrops for a bolder palette too.
For our recent re-fit at the new North Street store, we opted for a Bauwerk paint for the walls in the shade of stone, adding some delicate texture to the wall giving just enough detail as a back drop for our products but without overwhelming the space.