Our home has truly become our sanctuary and in these unsettled times, we must look to our homes as our safe place and retreat. Whether you live in a one bedroom apartment, a granny flat, a mansion or a suburban bungalow, it is important to have a place of peace and tranquillity. Just remember we are living closely with each other and we must give space to all members of our family.

At this time, we are unable to travel overseas and interstate travel has been restricted. Our holidays have been put on hold and maybe we need to now look at adapting our homes into a holiday resort and retreat.
So how do we achieve this while we bunker down with our families?

As Interior Designers, both Susan Koedam of Koedam Design & Chris Cole-Clark of Chris Cole-Clark Interior Designer have come together to share with you some thoughts and ideas. With decades of experience in both commercial and residential Interior Design, we would love to share a few of our trade secrets.

01 Choose your theme

Design a space that reflects what you need and love in your life. Think about and discuss with your family what they love, what really speaks to all of you and what makes you feel the most comfortable. Maybe it’s a colour, a fabric, a place you have visited, a piece of your clothing or an artwork you love. Always draw on these elements you love and infuse your home with the items that truly capture your heart.

02 Connect with Nature

It is important to connect with nature and try to bring it inside. It may be a borrowed landscape seen through a window such as a neighbour’s beautiful tree or hedge. Maybe it’s as simple as an indoor pot or even a bunch of purchased flowers or some picked flowers or greenery from your garden. It could be a simple collection of seashells in a dish or a collection of pine cones in a basket that add that sense of familiarity and comfort. What about using a natural fibre rug on the floor, like sisal, hemp, cotton, jute or wool, to create a relaxed and natural environment.

You can also create this through colour and pattern. Why not use greens as your palette and add some cushions with patterns of leaves, to emphasise the natural theme. Yellows and warm tones will give a room the feeling of warmth and sunshine, good to use especially if your home is in a shaded area and rooms become darker because of this. Maybe your happy place is the beach and then you can choose colours shades of blues, greys and whites that are calming and will help relax you. Add a touch of metallic like silver or gold. Any of these colours can translate into the artwork you use on your walls as well.

03 It’s all about the comfort of Soft Furnishings

We love to design with soft-furnishing in our interiors, in particular fabrics that are natural materials such as wool, cashmere, cottons or linens. Layering of fabrics and textures adds interest and mood to a space. Using natural fabrics in our interiors add comfort and warmth to a room. Snuggling up on a sofa with a wool or cashmere throw and a good book is the perfect retreat space.

Maybe find a space to convert to a reading nook. This could be a window seat or even just a quiet corner. Make this your special space. It could also be used as a meditation space too.

At these times, be a bit more restrained with patterns and loud colours. If you mix patterns, keep them in the same colour family, and if you like lots of colours, keep patterns to a minimum, but don’t be afraid to add that pop of colour, especially if it sparks happiness. We believe we all have a happy colour that speaks to us.

04 Light up a space!

We feel natural lighting is an important factor in our interior design schemes. By observing the effect of natural light. Using lighter wall colours means that light can be reflected off the walls to enlarge a space.

Another way to bring light into a space is by hanging a mirror on, against a wall or sitting on a piece of furniture. Place it opposite a view you would like to bring inside, like a garden or that reflects light from outside in. It is worth moving your mirror around the room to see what it reflects and how light interplays during the day, before you decide on a fixed position, especially if it is to be installed on a wall. Just remember, if the mirror is sitting against a wall or on a piece of furniture, it must be securely fixed.

Mood lighting, by means of table and floor lamps, is another way we love to bring light into a room and make a space interesting. You can create quite a different feel to a space by means of lighting and styles. Maybe your vision is to create a space that you have visited and loved.

If you are thinking about that holiday you are going to miss, why not create a resort at home. Small details can add to the theme. Why not consider a change of theme and style for your home or even just a room!

Koedam design created a Moroccan themed pool cabana in Sydney, by using authentic classic Moroccan metal lighting, interesting metal furniture, Moroccan glassware and candles, to create an exotic theme. Fabric for the window seating was chosen for sun and water resistance and therefore allowed the family, who were using the adjacent pool, to sit with damp swimmers. The bifold windows opened onto luscious tropical planting to give a resort atmosphere.

Chris Cole-Clark Interior Designer, designed a Hunter Valley Conservatory as a home extension recently. This was to bring the outside in and create a comfortable and relaxed space for the family to enjoy and ‘get away from it all’. Making sure her design included high ceilings to allow as much light and the garden view into the room was priority. Large floor to ceiling windows, limestone floors with a stone fireplace and large rustic chandeliers, were softened by sheer linen drapes puddled on the stone. The feather filled neutral linen sofas and velvet arm chairs in citrus tones gave a sense of peace.

Truly a space to escape to!

05 Consider the Floors

Walking bare footed while relaxing at home, calls for a beautiful soft rug in natural materials. Look for wool, bamboo, silk and viscose combinations. Rugs can be plain with wonderful textures or patterns. Colour can come from the floor up. If using a plain patterned rug, you can then add pattern in your furnishings and fabrics. A rug sitting on a natural flooring like timber or bamboo is inviting and welcoming

06 Alfresco Spaces

Have you thought about creating an alfresco space to relax in or sit and read in?

You could create a holiday destination in your own backyard. Maybe you only have a balcony, you can still create your little piece of relaxation with some pot plants and a chair or stool. If privacy is an issue why not consider a screen. This could be something as simple as bamboo or a decorative metal screen laser cut with a simple or an exotic pattern cut into aluminium or steel. Consider adding a splash of colour to the screen or otherwise keep a natural look to it.

What about adding some exterior cushions and furnishings? Consider sun resistant fabrics for longevity. Piles of colourful cushions in an array of patterns would add an exotic retreat feel to any space. Interesting plants combined with different styles of planters and materials to give an eclectic feel.

 Think of allocating a creative space, where you can paint, sketch, read or do a jigsaw puzzle. The space doesn’t have to be big, just allocate it as the ‘CREATIVE’ space, where items like a jigsaw can be left until completed.

Surround yourself with the people and the items you love and you have a connection with.
Always remember what is important in your life, really important, our family, our partner, our friends and neighbours, our pets and our beautiful nature and wildlife. Don’t forget any of them at this stressful time. Don’t forget yourself either, take this time to enjoy your home….your Sanctuary.

Create your Sanctuary…your happy place

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