The term ‘homebody’ has recently taken on a new meaning in 2020, with many experiencing restrictions meaning they cannot leave the house unless it’s for a walk or to buy groceries at the supermarket. Many are loving the comfort of their homes right now, some are completely frustrated by them, and others are rethinking entire living situations as their financial situations resemble a rollercoaster ride.
As an interior designer, I’ve always been passionate about creating homes that not only look beautiful but create a sense of safety, meaning and belonging for those who live there.
Right now that sense of safety, meaning and belonging are paramount. It’s easy to seek the perfectly curated version of home that we see scrolling our feeds; to tell ourselves our home should look better, that we need to upgrade, renovate or buy that new sofa.
But what happens when life gets turned upside down and can’t have the home we want?
The good news is we can have an impact on our happiness at home simply by adjusting the little habits and routines that constitute our daily lives no matter where we live. Here are seven things I’ve been channelling my energy into this year:
Focusing on family time. Sitting around the table each night with a hearty dinner sharing the best parts of our day, competitive games nights, impromptu spotlight sessions (inside or out), movie nights complete with the cat, buttery popcorn and our favourite blankets.
Enjoying our community. During our lockdown a kind neighbour dropped off a bag of paints and colouring books at the door, another helped us in the garden, and our entire suburb filled their windows with teddy bears to amuse the kids as they walked around. The kindness and compassion I’ve witnessed as our country bands together are remarkable, and a reminder that no matter what your home looks like it connects you to a community (even if that’s online at times).
Being thankful for friend-time. During lockdown, there were constant check-ins from girlfriends on WhatsApp, sharing daily household gossip, funny memes, or tears, wine and advice when another friend’s income is upended. And Formal Fridays on Zoom (lipstick mandatory) where we laughed, reminisced and planned for our first post-lockdown catch-up. Now that the restrictions are lifted, we’ve aware how special it is to see, hug and talk to each other in person.
Relishing me-time. Doing yoga in the living room, taking baths, having impromptu pamper sessions in the bathroom with a hair mask (okay, and wine) are all habits I’ve continued after lockdown. In the weekends I love to watch the light change during the day, chase the sun around the house with a book and feel grateful for shelter when the rain is slamming into the windows. No matter what’s happening in the news, I find joy filling the house with music that I’ve grown up with and making it through the entire album.
Time spent in nature. Our family explored our neighbourhood in so much more detail than ever before during lockdown and we’re still enjoying the new bush trails, hole-in-the-wall cafes and seaside spots we discovered close to home. I made a habit of stopping to take ten deep breaths of fresh air with my face to the heavens every time I saw a viewpoint I loved, and watching out for the birds – my favourite are the tuis that sound like little fighter pilots as they target their next tree.
The baking. Oh, the baking! I’ve never spent so much money on butter. Supporting our wonderful local brands at the supermarket by buying special seasonal ingredients is one of the small contributions I’ve enjoyed making this year. Trying new and delicious local meal delivery services, experimenting with new recipes and using my favourite casserole dishes to make comfort food is a pastime the entire family have enjoyed at home.
While cleaning is usually a chore I’ve tried to find a new joy in housework in 2020 by using a new dishwashing detergent with delicate bubbles and a beautiful scent, turning up the music and singing my way through it. I’ve made my home healthier by discovering every attachment on the vacuum cleaner (I now know what the crevice attachment is for!) and using each to purge the most stubborn dust. Writing lists of every storage problem that annoys me and fixing it by simply getting rid of things or implementing a system has been incredibly satisfying.
After fostering these little home habits I feel a greater sense of calm, lightness and gratitude. My home is exactly as it should be — because my home is where love lives.