Zen your den
Transform your home into a wellness haven with these expert design tips
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.
LIGHT IT UP
“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.”
KEEP IT CLEAN
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.
GO OTT GREEN
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
CREATE CALM ZONES
“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!