I moved into my two bed flat around 15 years ago and, having used up every single penny that I had (and them some) on the deposit/fees/solicitor etc. decorating it didn’t happen all at once, instead it happened slowly, as and when I could afford it.
There was never really a grand plan, an overall look I was trying to achieve. I just bought what I liked as and when I could afford it and hoped that it would all work together and, for the most part, it does. However Sage Living: Decorate for the Life You Want a new book by Anne Sage (a blogger and cofounder of online lifestyle publication Rue Magazine) advocates a more thoughtful approach.
Her thing is, instead of decorating for the life you already have, as the title suggests, why not decorate for the life you want? So, say you want to turn your creative hobby into a full time gig, you might transform an underused spare bedroom (or more realistically given the squeeze on space in many of our homes, a corner of another room) into a home office or studio as a first step along your path to a more creative life. When you think about how different your home feels when you make a major change and in turn how differently you feel within it, it all starts to make a lot of sense.
The book is divided into seven chapters, each focussing on a different room (Connect is all about living rooms, Entertain the dining room, Nourish the kitchen, Create the home office, Disconnect the bedroom and Grow the kid’s room), apart from the final chapter, which is about small space living. In each chapter there are four different homes owned by a mixture of singles, couples and families who have gone through a considered and thoughtful process in the decoration of their homes, telling you their stories, sharing a glimpse into their ideas-packed homes and offering tips to apply to your own home.
So in Grow the chapter all about children’s rooms, there are four different homes featuring families whose intentions are variously to help their children grow Tenderly, Thoughtfully, Thankfully and Together, with plenty of visual inspiration and more practical advice. It was especially interesting to read how a décor stylist is helping her 13 and 11 year old children develop their identities though designing their spaces, taking the children’s ideas seriously (an indoor hammock for example) and working out if they were feasible or not.
As I slowly pare back my belongings in my own flat, the increased physical space is giving me the mental space to think about how I’d like my flat to work going forwards and how that can help my life go in the direction I would like it to. My flat has good bones as they say, but as you’ll have gathered from previous posts I can be a little bit disorganised at times. I’m keen to create a calm, ordered space that has enough personality to help me to get creative, whether that’s in the kitchen, with words, or visually somehow.
I’ve picked out five of my favourite tips and ideas from the book, that I’ll be keeping in mind and/or totally doing as I give my flat a v2 makeover (see right, or below, depending on what device you’re using RN). What do you think of the premise of designing your home to create the life you want? Is it something that maybe we do unconsciously anyway? (I bought myself a floor cushion last summer that would make the perfect spot for the mediation practice I keep meaning to get around to but that wasn’t really my intention when I bought it, I just liked the colours and pattern). Have you made any changes to your decor recently to bring something new into your life? I’d love to know!
Connect with Calm
Identify what makes you feel at ease and maximise it, e.g. if sunlight streaming through the windows brings you peace, don’t cover them.
Entertain with Abundance
Don’t let an unconventional interior stop you from hosting, guests won’t miss a dining table as long as you provide plenty of snacks, sips and spirited conversation.
Nourish with Hope
Get a streamlined look in the kitchen by using food jars for storing dry goods. Create uniformity by keeping only those with similar features such as gold lids or similar silhouettes.
Create with Credibility
Have an emergency plan for when your creativity stagnates, and design your space to reinvigorate it, whether that’s a shelf of old magazines for visual inspiration or a portion of wall left bare for impromptu yoga handstand sessions.
Disconnect with Peace
Space devoted to your favourite reflective activities means one less obstacle to actually doing them. A comfy chair with good lighting promotes pre-bed reading, while a corner floor cushion supports the morning meditation practice you’ve been meaning to start.