Zen your den

Trans­form your home into a well­ness haven with these ex­pert de­sign tips

Women's Health Australia - - DECEMBER - By Penny Car­roll

Cre­ate a har­mo­nious home space and de­clut­ter your mind with our easy tips

You know that pile of clothes on your bed­room floor? (Just a hunch…) Well, it’s stress­ing out your brain. Sci­en­tists call it the “clut­ter ef­fect” be­cause it lim­its your abil­ity to fo­cus and process in­for­ma­tion. It’s also a real downer to come home to af­ter a long week at work. In the in­ter­ests of nail­ing your life and in­te­rior goals, we asked Hay­ley Bon­ham, co-founder of Syd­ney’s très chic of­fice, events and well­ness stu­dio La Porte Space, for her tips to help you cre­ate the ul­ti­mate calm­ing zone. Trust us, you’ll be coo­ing, “How’s the seren­ity?” be­fore you know it.


At first glance, a min­i­mal, monochrome pal­ette like that of La Porte’s be­lies com­plex­ity. Bon­ham cre­ates in­ter­est with tex­tu­ral lay­ers, lights and mir­rors. “Ac­cents like mir­rors and chan­de­liers add char­ac­ter, depth and a bit of her­itage to a space,” she says. “If pos­si­ble, use nat­u­ral fi­bres such as beau­ti­ful linens and nat­u­ral tim­bers.” This re­fined hint of the great out­doors cre­ates a har­mo­nious en­vi­ron­ment that’s per­fect for cre­ative types, Bon­ham adds.


Want a fool­proof method for stay­ing on top of clut­ter? “Be open-minded to not hid­ing things,” Bon­ham says. “Con­sider clever stor­age ideas where you have things stacked in bas­kets or shelv­ing units, so you’re us­ing your stor­age as part of your in­te­rior de­sign.” If you need more mo­ti­va­tion to keep your space tidy, know this: a joint 2016 US and Aus­tralian study pub­lished in En­vi­ron­ment and Be­hav­ior found “chaotic” en­vi­ron­ments can make you more vul­ner­a­ble to un­healthy snack­ing. Tidy space, tidy diet.


“Where I can, I burn beau­ti­ful soy-wax or­ganic can­dles to cre­ate am­bi­ence. We have a par­tic­u­lar scent that we burn, so it evokes a mem­ory for peo­ple when they come into our space,” Bon­ham notes. La Porte’s sig­na­ture scent? A woody, uni­sex fra­grance from Le Labo. Try the brand’s

Palo Santo 14 or San­tal 26 for a sim­i­lar feel.


A back­drop of fresh white sets a serene scene, says Bon­ham, who is in­spired by Parisian and Scan­di­na­vian style. “There’s some­thing very calm­ing [yet also] en­er­getic about white and there’s so much you can do with it,” she adds. To keep it from feel­ing clin­i­cal, “I use a lot of nat­u­ral tones. I con­sider those warm­ing, neu­tral el­e­ments when choos­ing couches, pil­lows, throws, cof­fee ta­ble books and can­dles – those el­e­ments that make you feel like you’re in a home; that cre­ates a nat­u­ral warmth.”


Con­sid­er­ing a paint job?

Mind the tox­ins. Re­search by the Na­tional Oceanic and At­mo­spheric Ad­min­is­tra­tion con­ducted ear­lier this year in the US found chem­i­cals from con­sumer prod­ucts, such as paint and clean­ing sol­vents, con­trib­ute as many air pol­lu­tants as cars in ma­jor cities. “We’re try­ing to be as en­vi­ron­men­tally aware and ef­fi­cient as we can, so we use [low-chem­i­cal] paints to en­sure there’s no tox­i­c­ity in the space,” Bon­ham ex­plains. Her range of choice? Porter’s Paints.


Per­mis­sion to go over­board at the gar­den cen­tre, granted. “Plants are aes­thet­i­cally beau­ti­ful but they also serve a real pur­pose,” Bon­ham says. “They cre­ate more oxy­gen in the air, you’re more pro­duc­tive be­cause there are liv­ing ob­jects within the space, and they def­i­nitely add that in­door-out­door el­e­ment.” A 2014 Uni­ver­sity of Queens­land study of com­mer­cial spa­ces in the UK and the Nether­lands found of­fice plants boosted pro­duc­tiv­ity by 15 per cent. Not bad for some leafy greens. WH


“There are cer­tain things we try to do spa­tially to make peo­ple feel very calm, very at ease, and very wel­come in the space,” Bon­ham says. That in­cludes spe­cially cu­rated playlists for La Porte’s of­fice and well­ness zones, and, of course, plenty of flow­ers (hy­drangeas and or­chids are her top picks for their long-last­ing ap­peal). “Even though you find your­self un­der one roof, dif­fer­ent rooms can emit dif­fer­ent en­er­gies de­pend­ing on what you put in the room,” Bon­ham shares. “It’s about cre­at­ing a space that’s vis­ually in­spir­ing but also one that leaves you with a re­ally pos­i­tive en­ergy.” Good vibes only!

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