While we have been in lockdown, all of us are making the most of the space we have. Bedrooms have become offices, kitchen counters are now classrooms. Trying to make spaces be too multi-functional can lead to confusion, anxiety and feelings of overwhelm as you try and find your business papers underneath the kids’ schoolwork. Today We have a guest post from an holistic interior designer that steps you through some of the simple things that you can do to find separate spaces for everyone, reduce confusion and restore peace to your home.
Hello everyone, my name is Jessy and I’m the founder and managing director of L’atelier Kauldhar Ltd, a multi-disciplinary luxury interior design studio where I adopt the principles of holistic therapies to help my clients transform their lives, through the transformation of their home interiors.
There is a very close correlation between the interior design of our homes, and our psychological and mental wellbeing, which is often overlooked as our minds are trained, first and foremost, to admire the aesthetics of an interior design transformation. When we look beyond this, we can easily see the crucial relationship interior design has with our mental health, and overall wellbeing.
When our homes are chaotic, disorganised and unstructured, we feel dreadful. We wake up and see that chaos and it drags us down. We know we need to put the effort into getting it just right, but there’s not enough hours in the day to do this. Work gets in the way, kids get in the way, husbands..…let’s not go there!!! 🤦🏻♀️ All of a sudden it all becomes too much, so you bury your head in the sand and plod along as you are. This is compounded further where people work from home. They continue to work from their coffee tables, dining tables and worse, their laps!!! They lose focus, not to mention documents cos they left them ‘here, there or lord knows where!!’. Whilst this is sustainable for the short term, in the long term, if they want to make a success of their lives and their businesses, they need their homes to work with them. They need their homes to serve their core fundamental needs and desires, in order for them to get the best out of their days, and their lives.
With my holistic approach to interior design, I help my clients by evaluating the spaces within their homes, and zone them into areas for work, home and play. I create beautiful luxurious spaces which not only look glamorous but which provide everything my clients need to function optimally and feel good about themselves.
Why me? I have over 2 decades worth of experience in the construction industry, focusing specifically on the cost and commercial management of 5* hotel and residential interior design projects for VIP clients. So what, there are a million others like me, what makes me stand out from the crowd? Well, alongside this experience, I have a holistic background spanning over a decade, where my own personal journey of self discovery led me to become a Usui Reiki master, breathwork practitioner, and creative expressions art facilitator. It is this eclectic mix of academia with holistics which makes me stand out from the crowd, and enables me to work with my clients on a much deeper level of understanding, not just the aesthetics. It is from this place of deep understanding that I create life enhancing home interiors that my clients will not only be wowed by, but be able to breathe a big sigh of relief in!
Making the Most of the Space You Have to Create a Multi-functioning Home
When we think about our homes and having multi-functioning spaces, we often panic and feel that perhaps our homes are not big enough to accommodate everything that we need. Accompanied with these thoughts is the disheartening feeling of ‘if only I had more space’. Sometimes, however, it’s not about having more space, but about creating structure, organisation, and maximising the potential of what we already have. Yes, it would be ideal for the kids to all have their own bedrooms, or for you to have a separate home office, or a workshop that you and the kids could use for creative projects, but sometimes it’s just not feasible, so we have to make the best of what we have.
If you have ever seen Phil Spencer and Kirstie Allsopp’s programme “Love It, or List It”, you will have seen Kirstie help people make the best of their existing homes, and she will try to do it as best she can, without jumping on the demolition derby bandwagon. So, let’s take Kirstie’s approach with our own homes.
Start with creating a list of what you absolutely need to function optimally. Do your kids need a study area? do you need some office space? Or both, plus a proper family space? Whatever it is that you feel you cannot do without, write it down in the list and prioritise the requirements, so you know exactly which one to work on first. By doing so, you will not only be setting the intention to create these spaces, and have a plan to work towards, you will also know exactly where to start. When we leave it in our heads, we either put it off, or tackle everything at once without a plan, and burn ourselves out. Whichever direction we take, the outcome is the same, we feel overwhelmed, exhausted and lose control. Once written down however, that’s it, that’s your bible to work through, step by step.
Having created your list, let’s say you need the following 3 key areas created within your homes:
- Kid’s Study Area
- Home Office
- Dining Room/Area
Below, is a practical guide about how you can set-up and organise these areas within your homes without becoming overwhelmed:
KIDS’ STUDY AREA
Whilst you may think that your home cannot accommodate a study area, believe me, it can. My uncle managed to dedicate a space within his tiny little terraced house for his 6 children, plus myself and my brother! It just requires a little imagination to find the right space. Most houses have spare rooms, conservatories, garages and even open nooks and dead spaces under the stairs, or at the stairs landings. Any one of these spaces can be used for the kids’ study area.
The greatest influencing factor when deciding upon which space to use, will be whether or not your children are old enough to be left unattended, or require supervision. Once you know this, you’re bound to find something!
The sheer act of dedicating a space for for the children to study in will instill discipline and organisation into their day. Very quickly their minds will begin to associate that space with their studies and this will help them to settle down and do their work.
It is also important to remember that once the children have finished with their studies, this space is sectioned, or closed off. If it’s a separate room, allow them to close the door once they’ve completed their studies, and encourage them go and play, or relax in another part of the house. If it’s a small space within a room that also serves as the living room say, then make sure the kids have put their work away so that when you are all relaxing in that room, there are no reminders hampering them from fully relaxing. If it’s the space beneath the staircase, I would suggest hanging curtain beads to close off the area once they’ve finished. The reason why it is so important to have the space closed or sectioned off like this, is so that the children can fully disconnect their minds from their studies. When we don’t do this, their subconscious minds will not fully relax as there will always be a part of it that is reminded of their work, thus preventing them from disconnecting.
If you find yourself working from home, then it is imperative that you have an area within your home dedicated to this activity. As with the kids’ study area, it needs to be a space in which you can settle in and work, without distraction. It must also be a space which can be closed or sectioned off once you have finished your work for the day. The importance of disconnecting and being able to fully relax is just as important for you, as it is for your children.
The most ideal space would be a separate room, such as conservatories, garages and spare rooms. One space I would not recommend using, is a loft room. Whilst it is a remote space in which you will be able to settle down and get on with your work, it is far too disconnected from the key areas within your home, such as the kitchen and the front door. Whilst it may not seem like too big an issue now, you will get annoyed at having to descend and climb the stairs every time you want to take a break, have a snack and then get back to your work. You will also quickly become frustrated every time you have to go to answer your front door.
If a separate room is really not available to you, I would suggest rearranging your living room so that part of it is sectioned off and dedicated to a home office. There are many options available these days where in limited spaces, special desks are available which can be placed behind the sofa. These can work well provided that the sectioning off and disconnecting rules that I mentioned earlier are applied to the space. By this I mean putting away your work at the end of your working day so that no traces of it are visible when you have finished, and relaxing in the evening with your family.
Ensure the space you dedicate has everything you need to function optimally during your working day. If you need a space big enough for a printer and a laptop, make sure the desk you buy is sufficient enough to house both comfortably so that you are not cramped whilst working. Likewise, make sure there is enough space around your desk, especially behind it, for you to move around so that you are not crashing into things every time you get up.
If part of your work involves holding meetings and conference calls, it is absolutely imperative to ensure your space looks and feels as professional as possible. Keep your space organised and tidy. Ensure that the space is closed off to others when you are working to avoid being distracted and disturbed whilst working. Doing so will help you to set boundaries both for yourself, and your family about when this space is being used as your office.
Wherever possible, it is always good to have a separate room in which to dine. In a world where we are on the go all the time, it is crucial for our overall health and wellbeing to nourish ourselves well. Overlooking this space and instead opting for the convenience of sitting in front of the tv whilst eating dinner will not, in the long run, do our overall health and wellbeing any favours. Nourishing ourselves and our families is a form of meditation and should therefore should be treated with the utmost respect. When you work from home, it is even more imperative that you can retreat to a space in which you can completely switch off from your work and regroup.
If you have a separate room to dedicate as a dining room, make sure it is as close as possible to the kitchen. Having a room at the opposite end of the house to the kitchen will only result in two things, accidents happening as you carry your food to the other side of the house, and this in turn will result in the room not being used.
If you are limited on space, and the only other options available to you are the kitchen and living room, then I would recommend using the kitchen wherever possible, and living room only if the kitchen is not big enough to house a dining space.
Once you have decided upon an area, set it up to look and feel inviting. Keep it clean and uncluttered, and do not be tempted to use the dining table for dumping stuff on. Also, refrain from having a TV in this area. The temptation of having the tv switched on whilst eating will be too high, and will defeat the object of mealtimes being a form of meditation.
When you begin to discipline yourself and your family to use the dining area on a regular basis, and by this I mean, breakfast, lunch and dinner, you train your mind to switch off from all the stresses in your life, and concentrate on nourishment.
Once you have decided upon and dedicated spaces within your home for your core fundamental areas, the next step is to make them look and feel welcoming. If these spaces have been neglected, or were previously used as dumping grounds or just dead space, have a good clear out. Dispose of, or give away anything that you don’t need, and decorate the spaces to make it look and feel inviting. Not only will it breathe fresh air into these spaces, it will also give you a boost. Even just a lick of paint, fresh wallpaper, shelving and some new furniture pieces will boost your subconscious mind. You will no longer feel like you are just making do. Instead, you will feel proud of the spaces you have created, and also about making the conscious effort to honour yourself and your family with these special areas.
If you would like to learn more about my holistic approach to interior design, and specifically how I can help you achieve such transformations for you and your home, then please visit my website: www.latelierkauldhar.com, or contact me directly on +447803098060 to discuss your needs.