Georgina Burnett's 10 ways to make your home a happier place
Interiors, upcycling and DIY presenter for ITV’s This Morning Georgina Burnett shares 10 ways your home can help look after your mental health
More than ever we’ve come to realise our home needs to be our haven, and my job as a home coach is to help people create homes that work for their life goals, health and wellbeing.
The most common problems I see often stem from following fashionable colour schemes that don’t actually work for the homeowner, or playing it too safe through lack of confidence – there’s always a place for neutrals, but too much ‘greige’ is not good for the soul!
Here are 10 simple steps to help you create a home that makes you happy...
Audit your home
The first thing I do with clients is a ‘home audit’. We list every tiny issue with each room that might irritate them or bring them down. Things to look out for are broken items, furniture that’s not serving a purpose, anything that is outmoded, cluttered or not practical.
We then identify how they need to feel in that room, as every room has a different part to play in terms of evoking emotions. A plan is then drawn up, which might include decluttering, fixing, removing and moving furniture. These solutions must be practical and long lasting, as quick fixes will simply end up causing more frustration.
Find your colour palette
Colour psychology is a huge part of my work. Every day our mood and energy are affected by the colour palettes around us. We may only have control of this in our homes – and yet, so often we still go for grey! I get it though, as colour can be scary.
Firstly, identify which colours evoke which feelings for you personally, as you have likely been conditioned to feel a certain way around them due to life experiences. For a couple of pounds, get yourself a colour wheel which can guide you on how to mix colours with confidence. Just remember, if a colour doesn’t make you feel the way you need to feel, it’s not right, no matter the fashion.
Energise with accessories
Don’t worry if you’ve already gone for grey. In fact, I often suggest neutral colours for the big, hard-to- change décor like walls and floors. Instead, accessorise the room to maximise your chosen colour scheme. It’s easy to energise a predominantly grey room with pick-me-up colours such as yellows, oranges or pinks.
Just remember to represent that colour at all levels, not just in cushions, throws and ornaments. This can be done with artwork, feature walls and decorated open shelves. And don’t forget that a houseplant is also a must-have accessory in any room, to aid mental health.
Banish bland bathrooms
If you rely on your shower to wake you up in the morning, then you need more than just a zesty soap.
An easy and quick fix for sterile bathroom tiles is a colourful grout, while a set of matching towels will help put a spring in your step and get you moving.
Update your bedroom
People often think the bedroom must be decorated in sleepy tones, but it’s also the place we need the most help to wake up in the morning.
Sure, go for a mainly neutral, sleep-inducing scheme, but make sure you energise it with lively scatter cushions you can throw on the floor at night, and artwork behind the bed that can only be seen when you jump out of bed in the morning.
So you’re nervous of committing to full-on wallpaper, but you need a bit more interest in your life?
Try papering behind shelves or using picture frames to display the pattern on the walls on a smaller scale – this last one is a great tip if you want to make a rented house feel like home.
Revamp and repurpose
Often we cling onto something we’ve always had and try to crowbar it into a room. But it’s so easy to upcycle these days, enabling our furniture to move through life with us.
Upcycling second-hand items is a really affordable way to inject just the right colour, and provide extra storage for a clutter-free room.
Make eco swaps where you can
The state of the climate is something that causes many of us anxiety. Well, a sustainable home is within your circle of control. Making it as eco-friendly as possible by simply using less energy, reducing waste and buying mindfully will help your state of mind as well as the planet.
If this is also reflected in your choice of furnishings, with naturally sourced materials, you get the added warmth of these colours and textures reflecting nature.
Let the light in
Getting light right can be the difference between day and night! We no longer get up and go to bed with the sun, but need to trick our bodies if we are to achieve optimum sleep and energy – both vital ingredients for strong mental health. A way to do this is to have day and night lights. Your daytime bulbs in the ceiling are brighter and whiter, whilst your evening mood is set by lower, warmer lamps, strategically placed lower down to imitate the setting sun.
Also, position furniture according to the natural light available. Rather than the TV being the focal point, try putting the window centre-stage to create a room that not only encourages you to switch off, but provides you with energy from natural daylight.
Make regular changes
Don’t be afraid to ring the changes. There’s much to be said for the old adage, ‘A change is as good as a rest’.
The more mobile you can make your furniture, the easier it is to move a room around every so often, and you’ll be amazed how this can help to dust off the cobwebs of the mind.
Feature Georgina Burnett. Photos Veronica Rodriguez.