It’s never been easier to curate sustainable interiors that reflect the real you, according to Sara Bird and Dan Duchars in their inspirational book home for the soul
Our homes. They invite and welcome, are a space for us to share and enjoy, for making memories. They offer us a backdrop to personalise and are places we call our own. But in today’s fast-paced world, where haste and waste often dominate, we seem to be at a tipping point when it comes to how we design, decorate and inhabit our own spaces. Thankfully, a shift in awareness means we are more mindful about our ecological footprints and how we use the planet’s resources. There’s a general move towards reducing waste and consumption. Many of us are adopting a slower, more gradual approach to everyday living. And we are realising that constantly acquiring new stuff and chasing trends doesn’t necessarily make for a nurturing, health-giving, happy home. No matter how new or old your home, whether it’s owned or rented, shared or you live alone, it should speak of your sense of style, your story, your passions and interests. If it does this and manages not to tread too heavily on our planet, then you have truly created a home for your soul.
A sense of wellbeing
Creating a truly nurturing home for the soul is key to finding happiness and health. Seek wellbeing by connecting with your home, inspiring all your senses and making eco-friendly lifestyle choices. Alongside all the practicalities of homemaking, how we feel about being inside our home is just as important. The awareness and sensation of being at home should be comforting and reassuring. Home provides us with a familiar backdrop, allowing us to step back from our busy lives. It’s also a place where we can engage with mindful approaches to boost our sense of wellbeing. We can design our homes to improve our quality of life and sense of wellbeing.
There’s a whole spectrum of possibilities and choices. Some are easy to implement, like visual pick-me-ups such as mood-boosting colours and living with plants to make us feel better. Other improvements require bigger changes, such as using eco-friendly paints with lower VOCs (volatile organic compounds), investing in plug-in air purifiers and installing water filters. Then there are simple lifestyle changes that enhance wellbeing, such as opening the windows, getting plenty of sleep and choosing items that appeal to our senses of touch, taste and smell.
Putting a creative spin on things presents us with another source of contentment. Reinventing items that we find or inherit and making the most of what we have makes us feel good, as does choosing ethically produced goods, supporting artisan makers and seeking ways to cut down on waste and curb our own environmental footprint.
Keep it clean
For wellbeing, increase access to good scents with fresh herbs. The sound and sight of nature and a connection with the natural world will enhance our sense of wellbeing.
Create your own
The creative process of crafting instils a sense of wellbeing, not only because of the end result, but also because of the journey undertaken to learn or perfect a skill. The physical process of making can be calming too, bringing with it almost a meditative quality. Crafts such as paper folding, painting, beadwork, calligraphy or something simple yet repetitive like crocheting or knitting can be a soothing and cathartic pastime. And, of course, handcrafted pieces are something we can pass down and treasure forever — a lasting reminder of the place and the person who made them.
There is something wonderfully therapeutic about tinkering with odds and ends. Changing and rearranging, creating interesting vignettes. Take a “no rules” approach and mix up new and old mementoes, plants and foraged finds. Burning tied bundles of dried sage is said to purify a space and invite positive energy into a home.
Even a touch of greenery brings a little joy and these sweet tin planters make a lovely and unusual gift.
Slow living simplicity
Take time out to enjoy and process all those small everyday moments. Just being in our home and slowing down gives us the chance to unwind and reconnect with our spiritual side. Stop and watch the world go by or listen to the humming sounds of home life. Factor in small rituals or make time to dream and dawdle. Light incense or a candle and watch the smoke swirl, burn sage to purify the air or hold a crystal in your hand and become aware of its texture and how it reflects and refracts light. Stroke your pets and give them love and attention. Examine and appreciate the pattern that can be found in every grain and groove of natural decorating materials such as wood. Germinate seeds and watch plants as they slowly grow towards the sun, and sit still for long enough to follow shadows as they move across the ground.
Home for the Soul by Sara Bird and Dan Duchars, published by Ryland Peters & Small, £19.99.
Photography by Dan Duchars
© Ryland Peters & Small