Colour Psychology, Holistic Interior Design, Interior Design, Stress free living

Turn Your Home Into a Calm and Stress Free Space

Recently Mehnaz and I went live on Instagram to bring together our top tips to Eliminate stress and create calm in your home, we decided to create a blog for those who want the notes from the live or missed the live.

Floral Artwork by Mehnaz Khan

Mehnaz – Loving her Entry!

I love to keep my entry clean and tidy and give it a vacuum and mop every morning to clean up the water stains from snow and salt- we have a lot of shoes in our family of 5! When I get home from the school morning drop off and enter the home to a clean and tidy entry– it makes a huge difference to my energy levels for starting the rest of my working day!

Sherri-How to Declutter and get Organised

I believe the first step to any great decorating ideas is to declutter and get organised as it has a huge impact on how we feel about that space, about what we have to do for that day and peace for going to bed in the evening.

The first step to eliminating stress in the living room and entry (or any part of your home) is to remove any rubbish, old bits of paper, anything that does not have a purpose or is not wanted. Get organised, have a place for everything, use baskets for similar objects or things of a similar purpose and stores these baskets in an easy reach location. Once the children have gone to bed take five minutes at the end of each day to pack things away in their right place, this will have you going to sleep destressed and avoiding the overwhelm knowing your home is tidy and gives you a great start to the new day!

Sherri-Why house plants?

The Fiddler Fig front left, the Pathos hanging plant back right. Photo by “Mentatdgt” from Pixels

House plants have a number of fabulous benefits in our home, not only do they clean the air, they also help us feel connected to nature. When we connect to nature our senses come down, our heart rate comes down, and we feel more positive. Having the plants in the living room and in the entry bring your senses into that state of feeling relaxed!

The three favourite plants for the living room and entry are:

Parlour Palm, this plant is a great plant as it is very hardy and easy to care for and will live in high to low light levels, has plenty of growth and the height can be controlled by size of the pot it is living in.

Fiddler Fig is another great plant, it is very popular with large leaves and can grow quite high. It is very hardy and will tolerate a range of light levels. The Fiddler Fig would be lovely in the entry if you have plenty of room as well as in the living room.

Golden Pathos plant, a great option for a hanging basket option, again very hardy, and is very forgiving with watering and light conditions. 

Plants not only look great, connect us with nature and positively affect our feeling of wellbeing, they clean the air and can absorb chemicals and mould spores. It’s no wonder we love our plants! Give your plants a watering about once a week, keep them away from direct hot summer sun and enjoy!

Sherri – Essential oils for the living room

Essential oils work wonders on our senses!

Essentials oils are a wonderful natural choice for helping to create peace and calm or mental clarity and great conversation in your living area. Oils work on the scent sensory that directly connect to our brain.

Depending on what feeling you want in the living room, for example if you want fun lively conversations, or you are lacking energy and you have a lot to do, Citrus is your oil! You may like to choose between wild orange, lemon, or a blend with vanilla for example Citrus Bliss. Vanilla lifts the spirits and other great oils are Rosemary or peppermint both used for improving concentration.  

Pop the essential oil in your diffuser, there are a number of different types to choose from, and enjoy the beautiful scents that not only smell lovely but affect the mind and emotions.

If you want to bring the energies down, if you have had a hectic day, you will want to use a soothing and relaxing oil, something like lavender or chamomile. If you are experiencing some levels of stress or apprehension with your family try a blend of lavender and wild orange for a calming and sweet scent on the senses!

Mehnaz – Watch the contents on coffee tables with little ones about

When my daughter was young we had a situation where she grabbed a glass object from a coffee table and ran with it. Before I could get to her, she tripped and cut her hand – it was a very scary and stressful experience and made me very aware of the importance of keeping spaces kid friendly. “Sherri how can we create kid friendly spaces while being beautiful and well decorated”?

Sherri- How to decorate and keep the space kid friendly?

Children friendly spaces help keep your stress down. The green colours and plants help connect us to nature, another stress buster!

When you have little children about you don’t want breakables on coffee tables. Reduce your stress by keeping these areas kid friendly, keep your breakable items away from little hands and look at ways to bring in the beauty to your space through artwork on walls, scatter cushions and throws on the sofa in your choice of “Your calm colour”.

Don’t keep fresh flowers on the coffee table or dining table where little hands can reach them. Use floral artwork with flowers, as they are an object of beauty that help us feel connected to nature, bring down our stress levels and help us feel happy and bring a lot of joy to us.

Mehnaz – The colour psychology to choosing your perfect colours to reduce stress and create a welcoming entry

When thinking about using these colours we can paint a wall, choose artwork with our chosen colours or other décor items to add another layer to the approach to home decorating that are very robust and hardy for the general wear and tear with our children in the home. Art with flowers reduces anxiety and having artwork on the wall brings in your chosen colours. Having the art at eye level makes more of a difference than some other décor items at lower levels to the impact of your chosen colours in the space.

Mehnaz – How to choose “Your welcoming colour” in the entry

Go bold in the entry with your favourite welcoming colour

I recommend the entry is a great place to go bold as you are only in the entry for a short period of time and therefor the colour will not become to overpowering. You want to use warm welcoming colours – happy colours.

These happy warm colours also work well in an entry as they reflect light into what is often a darker area. Paint your walls or use your artwork with your chosen happy colour and it will bring a smile to your face. The entry has no rules as it is a small space and you don’t spend much time there – so go bold and have fun with your colour!

Reds will eventually become overwhelming and irritating and bring out adverse affects, but in the entry red is not an issue because you spend so little time there, so you are free to use any colour in the entry!

Mehnaz – Choosing “Your Calm Colour” in the living room

A pink sofa will add a soothing touch to your living room

In the living room one choice is to bring in light blues and green as they are mentally relaxing and very soothing. Because green is in the middle of the colour spectrum the wavelength is short and it is easy on our sense to view that colour. Green is very balancing and both green and blue connect us to nature. 

Another colour suggestion in the living room during stressful situations is a light pink. Light pink is great to bring down hyped up behaviour. You don’t have to paint all your walls in light pink, it could be bringing in some of your décor like a light pink sofa. Pinks are physically soothing. 

If your living area is an area where you like to entertain and have a lot of fun and communication bring in some yellow. Yellow evokes fun and joy and helps with having lots of conversations.

We hope this blog from our live on Instagram has been inspiring and we would love to hear from you, if you have found any of our tips useful or if you have any tips you would like to share with us.

You can find Mehnaz on her website, Instagram, Facebook and Pinterest

Mehnaz is a Colour Strategist and specialises in Colour Psychology and is an Artist with beautiful artwork for sale on her website.

You can find Sherri on her website, Instagram, Facebook and Pinterest 

Sherri specialises in Interior Design with a niche in Sustainable, Healthy and Beautiful interiors, along with making bespoke Macrame and stocks Lux Linen tableware.

Christmas Decorating, Christmas Decorating and Preparations with an Eco friendly Twist, Interior Design, Stress free Entertaining

A little Christmas Spirit brightens all the world

So…the count down is on, as I write this there are less than 7 weeks ’till Christmas!

While that might not sound ‘that bad’, I must confess thinking of Christmas and all that needs to be accomplished before the end of the year, I break out in a cold sweat!

This brings me to the reason for this blog…it is my hope together we can de-stress a little, do a little strategic planning and get our groove back and head into the festive season with confidence and an eager happy heart. It wouldn’t be a blog from my heart if I didn’t share a few sustainable and eco friendly tips along the way too!

With this in mind let’s get started!

First port of call is to decide what will be scheduled in for your Christmas festivities? Will you be hosting meals at your home, at a venue, at another home, by the beach or at a park?

*Who will this include?

*Number of people?

*Ages of the guests?

*Dietary needs?

*The type of lunch or dinner meal – traditional roast, cold meats and salads, BBQ, family favourites according to your favourite cuisine or a combination of these?

Once these details have been decided / voted on ( if your family is anything like mine – very diplomatic 😉) it is time to get planning!

The planning stage:

Call me old school…. but I love nothing better than grabbing pen and paper (or an old school book with plenty of blank pages) and writing down my list. Using the dot points above as a guide I start planning out all the details so I can clearly see what will need to be done. If you are delegating certain jobs, meals prepped or cooked etc.. add that in with names of those helping and let them know well in advance your plans.

Now you have a plan you can see what needs to be done and a time line in which to get that list ticked off.

To simplify I will break each of the main places we normally host a Christmas meal and add in some decorating and planning ideas.

Christmas lunch / dinner at your home:

Often seen as the most stressful option, we will start with this first, as with a little planning it can actually be the least stressful of the options.

Starting with a good clean and declutter you will have your home ready for decorating and all the preparations needed for Christmas. I like to give the home a thorough clean at the end of November ready for the Christmas tree going up 1st December – a family tradition.

Decide on a Christmas colour theme and consider what you can reuse from previous years. When purchasing new items for decorating be mindful of its quality and materials. Purchasing a few quality items made from sustainable materials will be a wise decision long term.

Don’t forget bringing in natural foliage from the gardens is another lovely way to decorate, adding fairy lights, Christmas ornaments, ribbons and including natural candles is a beautiful way to decorate with out purchasing a lot of plastic ‘future landfill’ products.

Writing a menu for the Christmas meal, including all snacks, drinks and other extra goodies will not only help with food prep and purchasing, it will also give you the perfect opportunity to assess your crockery and glassware needs.

Filling in the gaps with new wine glasses, tumblers for the children, serving platters and plates is a great way to introduce some modern and sustainable options in beautiful neutral colours that will stand the test of time. Replace paper napkins with linen napkins in a neutral colour for an earth friendly option. Use extra Christmas ornaments etc.. to add in extra festive colours of choice with your table decorating to compliment your Christmas tree and other decorations throughout your home.

As your special Christmas lunch / dinner approaches decide where you will eat – inside or outside depending on the time of day, weather and number of people attending. Alfresco dinning is one of our favourites when weather permits. Again decorating outside in the entertaining space with fairy lights, garlands, candles and cushions and throws add a little bit of inside comforts to the great outdoors.

Preparations with foods and drinks can usually start a day or two before the event, making a shopping list and then listing preparations in a timeline help keep you on track and organised. Enlist help wherever possible – take out the stress by not doing it all yourself! Usually people enjoy helping, but often don’t realise the help is needed!

On the day…..have your final to do list, breathe, and enjoy! Your guests will enjoy the day/night even more if they sense you are relaxed. You have done your best and now it is up to each person to make the most of the festivities!

Other Destinations:

At another home:

If you have been invited to another’s home, check in well in advance as to what you need to contribute, then the day before do a final check that plans have not changed, confirm arrival time and pack ready for an easy departure the next day.

At the beach or park:

We love being outdoor and being prepared is key to having a fantastic time,  over packing is better than being caught out with not having essentials for the day.

Sunblock, hats, towels, picnic rugs and chairs plus games and activities for small and big kids alike – frisbee, cricket, football, water sports etc… all make for joint effort fun times!

Don’t forget ice for the esky, a way to provide shade and extra seating and tables and even the BBQ if that will be your source of food cooking. Better to be prepared than miss out because of crowds. A little decorating can again go a long way to adding to the festivities – on tables, in nearby trees and on the back of chairs. Swap out plastic cups and plates and cutlery for eco friendly options like bamboo settings available at most grocery stores and don’t forget your fabric napkins – better for the environment and they don’t have that nasty habit of flying away! Lastly provide a bin for the rubbish.

At a venue:

If you will be having a large gathering at a venue or a self catered venue preparation will be key to have everything run smoothly. Having one person as the contact person for the venue or the head organiser for the self catered festivity will be wise so the details don’t get missed or doubled up. It’s important that large amounts of organising is delegated but overseen by the ‘organiser’.

Confirm booking a week before and then again the day before to ensure all goes smoothly. Follow up with other guests a week before that all details are clear and understood. If you have special table favours or decorations you will need to discuss this with the venue. Decorating the self catered venue will add to the glamour of the event. Often decorating can be done the day before – enlist help and bring the music, snacks and drinks and have a mini party while you are at it!

Arrive at the venue approx 20 min prior to the party and if at a self catered venue know what is required for after party cleanup.

Final Touches:

Don’t forget the music – keep it age appropriate and a mix of Christmas and current music should keep the crowd happy!

Light the candles, turn the fairy lights on, tidy up, adjust the tree, decorations and presents (even the big kids can’t help touching and rattling the gifts etc…😉) and finally take 5 minutes for some time to breathe and smile…..Enjoy and Merry Christmas xx

From my family to your family, wishing you and your loved ones a very safe and Joyous Christmas and a Fabulous New Year!

This blog is the property of Sherri Smith Interiors. No part of this blog can be copied and shared without written permission by Sherri Smith Interiors. ©️2019