We seem to be leading increasingly busy lives, full of stress and not enough time in the day. Urgh, that certainly isn’t a feel-good sentence. Maybe it’s because I’m a cancerian (a natural homemaker), an introvert or simply because I am me… my home has to be a place of tranquility and relaxation. I’ve moved a lot in my life, 38 times to be precise, and wherever I have been, it’s always the same. As the moving boxes are cleared, zen is restored!
I did an intensive introduction to Feng Shui quite a few years ago and have travelled extensively through South East Asia. Both contribute to a more refined understanding of balance and harmony. There are no rule books or strict frameworks to stick to but my Feng Shui teacher said something to me which I’ve carried through my life as a core principal ever since; ‘If it doesn’t feel good. It’s not Feng Shui’
Zen is often associated with minimalism, simplicity and purity of lines. For me, it is about creating an atmosphere that offsets the stress of the daily routine. Here are a 7 harmonious styling suggestions to bring a bit of zen into your space this spring.
1. Nature is the best colour palette
Natural, earthy colours, in soft tones – (whites, greys, creams, beige, pastels & pinks) have the power to induce a sense of calmness. It is important to create visual harmony between the walls, floors and furniture. Natural tones and interesting textures allow you to weave harmony between the various elements in the space. The goal is to strike a balance between being “of nature” yet distinct from it
2. Wood Floors & Rugs
Wood and Parquet floors are always a great choice. Natural wood floors are my favourite but given that I’m currently in London, not Bangkok, this needs to be complimented with some serious rug action! I personally opt for natural materials like jute, seagrass or sisal but if you opt for wool of other materials, pay attention that the colour – sticking to khaki, earthy colours or greys.
3. Natural and light fabrics
Fabrics should stick to the same rule of natural, light and comfortable. One of the key elements of harmonious decor are the curtains which provide a sensation of intimacy, while reducing noise and blocking air draughts – again, go for natural textiles, such as linen or wool and coordinate them with the rest of the room. For more elegant and elaborate ambiance, pair them with contrasting blinds.
Because of the style of mt apartment, I prefer things to be kept minimal so I only have dark wood blinds but it’s so important to pay special attention to the details. I have contracting black ticker tape and rods on mine… I always find it such a pity when beautiful blinds and curtains have ugly, uncoordinated fixtures and fittings.
4. Eliminate what doesn’t matter to make more room for what does
Simplicity is where it’s at! Keep trinkets, collections and accessories to a minimum. Clear your space of as many items as possible and keep only the essentials, but feel free to add things that bring you extra comfort or that are especially dear to you. Remember, if it doesn’t make you feel good… it’s not feng shui!
5. Play to all the senses
A homemade linen spray, incense sticks, soy candles and essential oils are all natural ways to enhance your room with fresh scents. I opt for calming lavender when it’s time to sleep and invigorating grapefruit or lemongrass when I need a lift.
6. Bring the outside in
Plants have a calming effect both in colour and by providing oxygen. Bonsai trees or hanging terrariums, for example, make a good choice and are often included in ‘zen décor’.
7. Break the pattern
Contrast and things which break up the ‘naturalness’ of it all are extremely important. When a well-worn pattern is broken, creativity and resourcefulness emerge. I use black to break things up in my home, the black wall that disguises the television (zen and electronics aren’t the best of friends), the striking black wood work or an oversized black lacquer mirror. It keeps the senses alert and brings the other elements in the room to your attention. There were there all along but it was the break that caused them to catch your eye. An interruptive “break” is an important part of any breakthrough design.