In the Bleak Midwinter
February can be gloomy. The time of year when hibernation is beginning to lose its appeal and our need for sunshine starts to make us twitch. I make the most of being stuck indoors by ensuring my environment is a pleasant place to be, bringing vibrancy inside when we can not find it out, is a healthy way to get through the last stretch of winter. A good project to immerse yourself in over the dark months is to freshen up a neglected space in your home, Introduce some positivity into a room that will bring you joy until spring comes to call.
I dare you to choose something in your home add colour and personality to it. If this idea sounds daunting, try starting small. It may be that you don't have time to decorate an entire room, but a cluttered corner or an out of date, battered-but-useful piece of furniture can be given a simple makeover that you will enjoy and be proud of. Look around your home with fresh eyes and ask “what can I transform?” What is the first thing you see when you walk into a room that you can make a feature of? This could be anything from painting a piece of furniture to reupholstering a well loved chair. Does a cosy corner need a little extra something? Bridport has an amazing selection of outlets selling fabric, paint, wallpapers and unusual pieces that will add spirit to your home. I love finding treasures on market day, and can often be found rummaging through goodies in St. Michael’s Art and Vintage quarter, or the independent interior shops in town. If I can find it locally, all the better, and I love breathing new life into old, forgotten pieces with a new coat of paint or a clean up, wax and polish.
Consider the lighting; essential for setting a scene. Don't settle for one overhead light - illuminate an area with an accent light such as an anglepoise or fairy lights. Chosen well, this is a very affordable way to add character and depth to a room.
Colour; where do I start? Colour is magic, and a great way to create huge impact. There are so many different qualities and finishes. Don't be afraid to experiment, whether it be paint or using colorful accessories for enhancement, play around. I suggest using sample pots before you cover a large area, paint a board and check the changing light throughout the day before making your final choice.
Pattern and Texture: It is important to have both when it comes to finishing touches. Use with wallpaper, fabric, lamp shades, cushions and rugs to make your space invitingly tactile and intriguing.
House Plants and flowers are a great way to bring the outside in and create an ambient atmosphere. They are also believed to provide many health benefits such as air purification, and with such a large variety to choose from there is something to suit every taste. However, if you are the sort of person who can kill a plant just by looking at it, there is a huge selection of “faux botanicals” available these days that are very realistic and the only maintenance required is an occasional dust.
For further inspiration, try looking at the endless colour combinations to be found in the natural world, my own personal favourite reference library. Also ideas from interiors magazines or pinterest, although remember to stop and consider if an idea you find will work for you, as it is easy to get carried away. Pick out the elements you like and tweak them. Finally, ensure there is a balance to your design, and if it feels too much, consider what is overpowering. You may want to limit your colours if you are finding your design to be too “noisy” and are struggling to see how you can live with it.
All things considered, try not to let the fear take hold. Too much doubt can drive you crazy. Trust your instincts, real homes are places that take risks, grow and evolve. Starting small but continuing to add layers is just the beginning to creating a unique space where people will long to be, so have fun, and be bold.
Published in the February 2018 edition of Bridport Times magazine: bridporttimes.co.uk