Mellow tones create a sense of calm while colourful accessories such as cushions can provide a lift in mood
With sunnier days and lighter evenings already here to boost the collective mood, it’s starting to feel as if spring is taking hold. With it, comes that annual urge to clear the cobwebs. But if a deep clean doesn’t feel quite enough, there are plenty more ways to welcome in the new season at home without resorting to full renovation.
After a difficult 12 months, it’s unsurprising that many of us are eager to create a calmer, happier and more peaceful atmosphere. Luckily, with some expert knowledge and Marks & Spencer’s budget-friendly new homeware arrivals, that’s now easier than ever. Here are five ideas to get you started.
1 Use colour
The first place to start? A fresh lick of paint will have an immediate effect on how you feel at home. “Stick to mellow colours rather than vibrant ones to create a feeling of calm in your space,” says Glen Hyman of Great House Design. “This doesn’t necessarily have to mean blues and greens. Blush pink and sage grey are very on-trend right now and complement each other well. The pink adds colour and warmth to your room while the cool grey balances this, which is very soothing.”
Paint not for you? Accessories and textiles can be an equally effective way to inject mood-boosting accents into your space. Colourful cushions and throws in tactile textures will uplift living rooms, while fluffy towels in cheery shades are an easy win in the bathroom. If you’re keen to add some personality, look to printed pieces in soothing greens and soft grey, or try deep navy for dramatic impact.
2 Streamline accessories
When it comes to home accessories, Karen Thomas, head of design for home and beauty at Marks & Spencer, suggests adding a functional element to your choices to help cut down on unnecessary clutter, particularly in high traffic areas such as the kitchen. “When it comes to the kitchen, stylish glass jars and clip jars look great for a more casual look, and they also offer ease of access to your everyday cooking and baking staples,” she says. Keen to keep things on trend? Look to utilitarian nods, says Thomas, such as tins, wirework, glass and wood.
In the kitchen, utilitarian jars and tins are practical and stylish
3 Embrace fragrance
For other areas in your home, fragranced accessories such as scented candles and diffusers can play a huge role in setting the tone for a more relaxing atmosphere. Scent, after all, is powerful and can immediately flick a switch in the brain. But where to start if you’re new to creating an olfactory ambience? Thomas recommends citrus scents, such as Library of Scent’s lime, bergamot and mandarin, for invigoration, ideal in a home office or if you have a workout space, while calming essential oils such as lavender and camomile are perfect to help you unwind.
“Fragrances based around spring and summer flowers, herbs and woods can all help to bring the outside in,” she adds. “If you’re missing your annual summer holiday meanwhile, or simply need some escapism, look for aquatic fragrances reminiscent of oceans, exotic fruits and florals from the tropics, or sun-baked citrus fruits from the Mediterranean. I’d particularly recommend Library of Scent’s Seashells blend, or Marks & Spencer’s neroli, lime and basil diffuser.”
4 Think about light
While we all know lighting can be crucial to setting a mood, it’s an often-overlooked element of home decor. Getting the balance for a perfectly lit space can be tricky, but according to both Hyman and Thomas, the key lies in utilising the different options on offer.
To keep things feeling bright and open, think about upgrading your main ceiling light. “The ceiling light plays a big part in illuminating the room and so needs to be both functional (eg a high light output) as well as stylish. Dimmable lights are ideal here so you can flex your lighting mood,” says Thomas.
For a softer atmosphere, however, Hyman advises making better use of lamps. “We recommend placing at least two lamps in any space – one standing and one smaller,” he says. “Placing lamps in corners works best for creating a relaxed feel, as the light bounces off the walls and into the space, making it less harsh.”
Mix and match plant styles to green up your space
5 Plant up
The final flourish in any serene space is, of course, some well-placed greenery. “Greening up your home with faux or real plants is a growing trend,” says Thomas. “We’ve all been spending a lot more time indoors, so it makes sense that we want to connect to nature now more than ever.”
If you’re unsure where to start, Thomas says that mixing real and faux plants can look really great. “It’s often impossible to spot the difference,” she says. “Faux plants with trailing foliage look particularly convincing when mixed and styled on shelves and mantles, along with your favourite accessories.”
For a striking style statement, try mixing a variety of plants and foliage in different sizes, using footed planters to add some height. Those awkward corners that are hard to fill, meanwhile, are easily freshened up with a large floor-standing plant that can be nestled behind armchairs or into cosy nooks.
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