Up until now making a house a home has always been something that feels like a long term project, endlessly pinning Pinterest images for your bathroom, bedroom or kitchen.  But with the efforts being made to help save humanity from COVID-19, I bet  you never thought you would be creating a stay at home office/kindergarten!

By week five of working from home, it hits you, this is your reality now (long sigh).  Yep, it’s time to make a better space for you and your wellbeing.  By rethinking what you have already created and cross referenced with your current needs it’s time to make the necessary adjustments for the new normal.

Sometimes we need to be brave in order to stimulate our productivity, pushing us right out of our comfort zones in order to get us to our happy place.  Light can play such an important part in this.  Perhaps ask yourself this question, is there a corner in your home that has never really felt right, or a room you walk into that just feels a bit sad when you go in there?  Chances are it’s the lighting that’s creating this mood.  Simple steps can make the world of difference and also get those creative juices flowing again.

A trend that seems to be working its way out of our homes is industrial lighting (sorry, but thank goodness).  Although these funky metal lights looked great on Pinterest, the reality is it feels like your sat in an interrogation room.  The harsh one directional lights created a focused illumination, which in my opinion doesn’t reflect the sense of home one maybe looking for.

A simple and affordable way of changing this is by switching it for a paper lamp shade.  The room will soften, become less intense and provide a real warmth to the space.  If this feels a bit to radical (and a bit of a wrench after investing in the ever so expensive industrial movement), try warming the room with accent lighting.  A great way of doing this is by finding softer light givers; glass, paper, ceramic or even plastic lamps.  Find the lights that you like and then find a way of making them work.

The majority of the time the better lighting designs are pendant lamps.  This can be frustrating when you’re simply looking to accent a corner or a darker space.  A trick I have used time and time again is rewiring the pendant lamp with a socket and treating it like a desk or floor light.  By simply resting the pendant on the floor, placing it on a table or styling in something like a glass vase you automatically get a sophisticated, unexpected new element to your room.

Wall mounted brackets are a great way to hang  a pendant light off a wall.  Make sure you find a bracket long enough distance from the wall to accommodate for the pendants width.  You can normally find some very simple one’s at your local DIY shop. Just mount the bracket at the height you want it on the wall and use a cable tie to create a loop in the cable so you can loop it over the end of a bracket.  Alternatively, if you feel confident enough look to see what some of the smaller independents on Etsy are offering.  Laura Goodwin created this beautiful scenario with a Sarah Colson pendant lamp, to create a cosy corner in her bold green living room.

If the wall mounted bracket isn’t creating the right look for your space, try a ceiling hook.  In spaces where ceilings are high it’s a great way to draw lines through the space, especially if you use bright coloured flex.  Most lighting shops will swap the existing cables over for you and add in an inline switch.  Make sure you make the cable long enough to go from the socket to the ceiling and then drop the pendant light to the height you want it at.  Or if you want to get really creative, add in a couple of meters and swoop the cable around the space for added punches of colour, as seen in a complete rush of colour by PET Lamp Chandelier by Alvaro Catalán de Ocón.

In my opinion lighting is the most sculptural and playful element in the home.  It’s the centerpiece in a room and also the source of happiness.  If a room isn’t working for you, don’t be afraid to swap things around, move the furniture or change the lighting.  These slight adjustments could be the move to a better well being in your home.  Be brave, be prepared to make mistakes and learn to love being in your home, as it looks like were all going to be spending more time there from now on.

OTHER IDEAS TO CHANGE YOUR HOME

Retreat space – a comfy chair, a pretty plant, natural light or for the darker hours a pretty lamp that makes you feel comforted.

Use of colour:

Be reckless in your decisions.  If you’re stimulated by colour, block out a section of wall and paint it that acid yellow you’ve always been attracted to.  Dress the space to your taste and if you don’t like it, try something different.  Don’t be afraid to try things out, chances are through these mistakes wonderful new ideas come along.

Use of texture:

Play with textures, gloss paint on matt creates subtle contrasts.  A good paint supplier will mix the same colour paints for you in both matt and gloss.  Use them to create your own borders, boundary lines or even better stencil your own patterns; white on white has never looked so good!

Use of plants:

Or fill the corner with plants, stack them on levels, pin them to the wall with shelves or hang them from hooks from the ceiling.  All the different levels will create a wellbeing jungle for you to nestle into with your favorite chair and a book.

Use the space to your advantage:

Create rituals in your home.  As you’re not getting into your car and driving to work, find ways to reinvent your space.  Perhaps you mount your table on coasters so you can wheel it to another space in the room.  This may help create the mental differentiation between working and retreating in your home.

About The Author

Sarah Colson

Sarah Colson is an award winning designer, most recently recognised for her ingenious lighting designs. She has had particular success with contemporary pendant lighting and chandeliers, her designs having been picked up by the Conran Shop and West Elm, to name a couple of notable admirers.

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