In an age dominated by the pandemic, Home Therapy was the ubiquitous design trend. With it, the 2020 trend-setters were people that found themselves with a lot of time on their hands and a long home improvements chore list that’s been waiting forever to get done.
Home Therapy used to be a distinct way of looking at lifestyle in line with luxury living, millennial living, minimalism, traditional style and the sorts. Then came 2020 and things changed. Home Therapy stopped being a “style” and instead, it became the number one approach, independent of style. It surpassed all others and, no matter what look you’re into, you have to acknowledge the absolute must of its mandate.
While all styles care about how the home feels, an indisputable focus has been placed on how your home can and should nourish your mental and physical health at all times.
As you’ve probably guessed, since this is the focus of this Blog site I cannot be but thrilled at the recognition that yes, this matters and not only that, but it matters above all else. A belief that I’ve been so enthused at sharing through both my work and personal lifestyle has taken centre stage this year and it’s here to stay.
Here is the “look”, how to get it, and how it came about:
PJ’s on, laptop on the lap, [I don’t know how we did not figure this one out before, it is obvious this is how we were supposed to be working all along], cell phone plugged on the couch next to you.
And then let’s not forget the hairdo or lack of, the breakfast, lunch and dinner in bed, the quick jog outdoors only to get back to your spot but not too long of a jog otherwise you may risk losing your said spot if in competition with anyone else in the household.
However, while all that is happening on and around the couch, the house is spotless, your dinner menu includes your home-grown vegetables and herbs, and candle-light dinners at home may have become more the norm than ever before.
Maybe not all but some – does it sound familiar? Yes, it is obvious and simple and yet, it tells a lot about the lifestyle we’ve all come to have, a true trend taking over well.. everyone pretty much…
Here is how it came about:
HOW IT CAME ABOUT
If I ask what is the number one thing that you will remember about 2020, the answer will be without a doubt, COVID. The power of this year’s singular, far-reaching and traumatic event in modifying every single aspect of existence is unlike any other. Everything this year is being measured and weighed against it, scrutinized and analyzed, given a place on a new scale of importance that before we were not even aware it existed.
The otherwise lovely, subdued and often ignored Normal grew up into the New Normal. It is a grown-up like all grown-ups, scarred by the unpleasant experiences yet coming out of them stronger. Rising to peaks untouched, never has Normality reached so high up and took such an important seat in our hearts. We crave it and want it like a jewel that we may never have.
Some of us were not even aware of a “normal” prior to facing its opposite. Lockdowns, restrictions, fear, restraint are only a few of the negatives we all relate to. What was done with it, varies greatly and yet, remember the spring: as the weather warmed up and flowers started to bloom, we stopped work, went home and stayed there with too much time on our hands.
And then something wonderful happened and it’s called adaptation. Adaptation to what I thought at the time to be a wonderful side-effect amidst the misery of it all: gained time. Time that came out of nowhere. Time that I can do with what I want. Actual time to do what I want.
Well… at least in theory. It did not quite go down like this but nonetheless, there was time and we were forced to think what to do with it. I’m sure you’ve, at one point or another in your life, lamented over the lack of time and oh yeah’! all the things you would do when you would find the time. Well, now you did find it. Did you use it as you thought? Did it matter that it surfaced in the nefarious circumstances that it did? I hope not. Because it is your choice if you take that time when you have it and not worry so much about why you have it. After all, you wanted it so badly for so many reasons – get up and use it!
Many did. So much so that the found time generated one of the biggest home improvement trends in a long time.
Gardens have flourished, broken things got fixed, houses got cleaner and organized while fancy outfits went to live in the cedar closet.
With redefining normality on such short notice came a new interest in making your home better. The newfound time was used to get done the things that could never get done before.
If you are late in jumping on the home therapy wagon this is your time to get on because it is here to stay. We had just turned our eyes to our homes and learn to love them. There is a growing interest in being pleasantly comfortable inside, being self-care conscious, and learning about how your home can make your life better. Here are the four ways to get this going:
HOW TO GET IT
Comfort above all else
People feel comfortable in their own homes because it is familiar. That is a given. So much so that they do not necessarily notice visual details that may not be pleasant to many yet, they are perfectly fine to them. Because as the saying goes, home is where your heart is. From having your belongings close by to slipping into your favourite slippers every morning, your home universe is safe and comforting in its entirety.
So now go the extra mile and ensure you’re shaping up a great, comfortable spot within it for you. Make a new one or, trade-up your existing one. It can be the couch with as little improvement as a shaggy blanket or, you may want to get a new fancy leather recliner. Whatever your budget and preference, as long as it’s comfy-looking and comfy-feeling you got this down.
Lounging had a meteoric rise, especially among teenagers. Hand in hand with waking up late, little cocoons of comfort developed in every household where at least one teenager lived. Like the little Christmas Elfs after Christmas, when there is nothing to do but rest until the next Christmas comes.
Neutral and soothing colours
Think spa, scents, a walk on a beach, warm sun and the beach filter on Instagram. No not the last one 🙂
But really, this should definitely be your mood palette as you “soothe” your room. Maybe paint it a creamy white or putty, or even stronger colour as long as it is neutral – see below my preferred neutrals for inspiration. Accenting the room is next. Opt for linens and straw-coloured cushions or even go all out and get beach paraphernalia – since you cannot go to the beach, might as well set up as if you did and brought back souvenirs. Or maybe you have some already from when you travelled – there is no better time to pull them out and decorate a shelf or coffee table.
Cool, soothing neutral colours can make you feel calm and relaxed. Colour theory tells us that especially blues and greens, pastel colours do that. Yet I find that is not always the case – tones of taupe – that colour in-between brown and grey – has an extremely soothing effect. Maybe it is because of it’s closeness to nature. We find it in stones, earth, sand, all at the mercy of light and moisture-mix in the air. The ambiguous colour tone that through its own indecisiveness, feels closer to the human spirit.
Green, green and more green
The vegetable garden was definitely a major trend. Not only a healthy home but a much healthier diet took over our summer stomachs. By April, according to Global News, the home-growers started to become quite visible. Getting your hands dirty in the garden and garden design was on the rise.
Gardening is considered therapeutic on many levels. Just being in nature and fresh air is great to the mood. Add to that the effort of dining out the earth, planting, moving tools back and forth oh! I never realized how much of a workout it actually is until I started it doing it this year.
As a former brown-thumb, I’m very proud of my personal take on this beautiful trend: I recommend combining vegetables with flowers for an English garden look. Messy yet beautiful in its naturalness. In my own garden, pictured below, I used an assortment of snapdragons, my favourite flower as a child, green peppers, thyme, oregano and one huge squash plant that was a bit short-lived for reasons that I can only presume to be related to some sort of bug, because the whole plant dried up suddenly over 24 hours after it flourished for six weeks with no problems.
Tip: In the process, I’ve also earned that thyme and peppers like each other and it’s a good idea to group them. Speaking from experience, it was an alarming success. If it were not for Fall setting in, I would’ve been invaded by peppers!
Carving out a focus – inducing work area
With work at home being the number one habit changer this year, getting well organized and setting up a focus-prone area in the house is an absolute must.
According to psychologists, your work area should be quiet, comfortable and have appropriate lighting. So the key items are a comfortable chair, sufficient desk space, assuming your work is desk-related of course, and a good quality lamp. What I would add to that and, what you should not forget, is the view. Even if your work area is in the basement, having a good backdrop to lift your eyes toward when you break from the screen is important. Thus, if possible, orient your desk such that you face the room, as opposed to turning your back to it. Or, of course, facing a wonderful view outside through a window is an equally perfect option. Read more of my thoughts on the home-office topic here.
With so much chaos around, many turned toward decluttering. Oh, the pleasure of a breezy closet, or the storage room where you can actually walk in without the fear of having something fall onto your head, the drawer that you can actually open and see what’s in it.
It may be a dream-land for those of us more OCD than others yet, I counted bags and bags of garbage lining the streets on collection days, filled with stuff that you have to wonder how did it even come about, stuff that you can’t even remember why you have.
Decluttering is known to reduce stress and promote better sleeping. Granted, we all have our own levels of what decluttering means, start by making sure you know yours and then try to achieve it. Nobody’s perfect! And this is one of those things where you can surely see that.
All and all, with so little stability to hold you grounded, the trend of turning toward home for increased emotional comfort is not surprising. And the beauty of it is that it can be achieved on almost any budget. Stay tuned for Trends part 2, when I will discuss the top-down upcoming trends in design. We will look at what colours, shapes and patterns are best to use to stay current and fresh with the times!