It’s safe to say that 2020 didn’t quite go to plan — and for many, the January blues have probably hit harder this year than most.
But with all of us spending more time indoors, now is the perfect time to refresh our interiors and create a welcoming, mindful space that brings a touch of warmth into our homes.
1. Nordic minimalism
Sometimes, less is more. And the first step to beating the January blues is decluttering your home to create a clean space, where everything has its rightful place. Take inspiration from Scandinavian interior design principles which boast a sense of functionality and minimalism.
Even if space is tight, a minimalistic approach which prioritises simple, soft shapes and functional storage solutions can help to create an open, bright and comfortable feel. Angled corners and curved shapes in the form of circular bedside tables, oval mirrors and plump rounded sofas with tapered legs help to break up harsh, structured edges — creating clean yet gentle lines that promote a relaxing lifestyle.
The Scandis also know how to turn their homes into a cosy retreat even in the depths of winter — think crackling candles, toasty open fires or warming log burners. Light is key here, too. Large windows throughout make the most of the fleeting winter sunshine while glass-roof showers bring some of the natural elements into our home. Is there anything more ‘hyggeligt’ than being safely inside while the rain pummels the roof outside? When natural light is scarce, turn to warm lighting in unsuspecting nooks like shower recesses and under kitchen cabinets to add an amber glow.
2. Neutral tones
Another big feature of the Nordic style is a neutral colour palette. Research shows that neutral colours increase serotonin levels in the brain — perfect for boosting positive thoughts and productivity when we’re stuck indoors.
These clean, nude tones freshen up a space and are less clinical than pure white, helping to build a tranquil sanctuary that’ll shelter you from the cold outside. And we’re not the only ones who think so. ‘Brave Ground’ — a warm, natural neutral that brings a bolstering, balancing feel to any room — was voted Dulux’s Colour of the Year for 2021.
But you don’t have to limit your colour palette to the walls. Neutral tones also can be found in all sorts of natural materials like wicker, rattan, hemp or jute. Try mixing up your furniture and decorative accessories such as lamps or baskets for a calming and woody look.
3. Multi-functional spaces
With more people now working from home, we’ve all had to rethink our living spaces. No longer reserved for bedrooms, lounges, kitchens and bathrooms — our homes are now doubling up as offices, gyms and even pop-up bars. Meaning ‘multi-functional’ will be the word to watch.
Look for versatile furniture pieces and flexible storage units that work across the home — such as a storage ottoman to hide away gym equipment or a tall, slim shoe cabinet for storing towels in a narrow space — to create seamless, clever combinations for a range of needs.
If you’re craving a more permanent office set up but lack space, don’t fret. A fold-down or ladder-style desk will allow smaller areas to be transformed into home offices with minimal disruption. L-shaped desks or standing workstations are also a great way to optimise space, whilst room dividers can segregate areas and prevent the feeling of working, living and relaxing all in the same space.
These functional, beautiful and personal solutions will help create a sense of calm and clarity, which is particularly important when you’re trying to get out of that January funk.
4. Winter balconies
If 2020 taught us anything, it’s the importance of outside space for both our mental and physical health. Before last year, a balcony or garden was seen as a ‘nice to have’ — now, it’s essential.
Yet, despite what you may think, the outdoors is not just for summer. With more people confined to their homes and making the most of the space they’ve got, the concept of a ‘winter balcony’ has grown significantly in popularity. Stunning aluminium bi-fold doors that lead onto frameless glass balconies mean your outside space can become an extension of your home’s interior, evolving into a cosy winter hideaway above the trees.
Think comforting textures like blankets, cushions or even a soft sheepskin rug if your balcony is covered. Heated lamps and warm festoon lighting also help create the perfect setting for snuggling up and enjoying a hot chocolate and a book or a glass of wine on a Friday night.
Looking to transform your home with a loft conversion in Surrey, Hampshire, Berkshire, Middlesex or South West London? Take a look at our gallery to see how you can bring these design ideas to life.