8 simple changes you can make around your house to reduce stress
Parineeti Chopra’s go-to interior decorator gives us her best tips
If you’re of the tribe of people who say ‘I’m so stressed’ more than ‘Hello’ or ‘It’s not the heat, it’s the humidity’, then take some time off from pulling out your hair and read on. We’ve read the reports and looked longingly at a Facebook timeline filled with friends mingling with dolphins off the coast of some beach in WishIWasThereVille and gotten back to whatever problem we’ve decided to stress ourselves over. You might not be going back home to colourful cocktails and dolphins, but there’s no reason why you can’t turn your space into your personal sanctuary.
Taking a break from decorating Parineeti Chopra and Rani Mukherjee’s homes, celebrity interior designer Shabnam Gupta helped us decode simple ways to make your space calmer.
8 ways to use decor to destress
An attempt to personalize your space can also contribute to the clutter. Take a page out of Marie Kondo’s guide to cleaning up your life (her KonMari method is revolutionary, to say the least) and remove unwanted objects that have piled up over the years. “This will instantly change the energy of the space which tends to get stagnant,” says Shabnam.
Once you’ve got the sunlight in, turn your attention to plants. “You need to let nature into your space in order to let it breathe, whether it’s in terms of plants or light,” advises Shabnam. A study done in Sweden proves that adding more green around you can exponentially bring down stress levels. You can follow our handy guide to pick out the best plant for your personality type.
The easiest and quickest way to achieve optimum peace-to-Instagrammable interiors ratio is to re-arrange your furniture. If you can’t really do much with furniture re-arrangement (especially if you have a small space to work with), then it’s time to give it a DIY makeover. “Hand-paint your center table or create wall stencils. There are a lot of ways you can do this without spending too much,” suggests Shabnam.
Unsurprisingly, the materials you use around your house also play a key role in. “I know that white sofas are a nightmare to maintain, but if you put a nice, colourful throw on it, it would work. Even if you’ve got some old saris that are just lying around, you can use them as runners.”
There’s no blanket rule of de-stressing your space that applies to your whole house. For instance, bedrooms are a place to unwind so they need to be extremely calm and de-cluttered. “Even if you want to play with colours, choose pastels, or whites. You can even play with soft floral patterns,” advises Shabnam, “If you want to use dramatic colours like deep burgundy, save it for your study.” In the same vein, the kitchen can be (depending on the type) over-the-top. It’s a place of maximum activity, so the decor can be busy. “Living rooms are spaces that can be high on glamour. This space is used for entertaining, so you can get away with incorporating loud colours and décor elements to liven it up,” she says.
While asking for a complete digital detox at home seems unrealistic, you can at least keep your bedroom a ‘no-tech’ zone. “Today everyone has two to three gadgets that they need to charge at the end of the day. But now people are consciously seeing to it that the charging pots are not in the bedroom. They are reserved for an assigned area where you know you’re going to work out from,” says Shabnam.
It's important to know the connection between colour and emotion. There are many studies that correlate the effects of colours in your environment on your stress levels. For example, people who are angry or upset are likely to calm down in a pink room. Your pulse and blood pressure will go up in a red environment and go down in a blue environment. Certain shades of both blue and yellow can affect the way neurons connect in the brain. Once you’ve understood the colour psychology, then it’s all about maintaining a balance. “If you’ve got a strong coloured wall, then you need to go easy on the furnishings. You can’t have both the elements screaming out loud,” says Shabnam.
If your house is easily mistaken for a dungeon that doubles up as Professor Snape’s Potions classroom, then you need to re-evaluate. “Getting a lot of natural light into the space is an important way to liven it up," says Shabnam, “If you have thick drapes, then you need to replace them with white mul. Or you need to have blinds that open up completely. Just don’t use anything that blocks out the sunlight.”