With no occasion to get dressed up and go out, dolling up the house is a happy alternative, writes Carol O’Callaghan
Wouldn't we be lost at the moment without technology for work and staying in touch with friends and family? Teleconferencing app Zoom has been like a gift, allowing me to keep hobbies going and to watch The Great Sewing Bee on BBC1 on Wednesday evenings with my friend from London.
I’m even finding welcome changes in the quality of social media offerings. Alongside the celebrity and “influencer” postings of immaculate images of DIY interior design and cooking projects, I’m applauding the first attempts by friends at sourdough and banana bread production, and even everyday porridge accessorised with berries and served in a fancy bowl.
It’s a triumph of wholesomeness and homemade over stylised and staged; where time on our hands breeds creativity rather than boredom.
When it comes to social media in general, I’ve always favoured Instagram as a source of inspiration.
It has a calmness not found typically in social media, especially the pushier Pinterest which can’t wait to pounce and inundate me with suggestions on a topic I searched once and briefly.
So, it was to my gentler, better mannered friend I turned for sources to share which might inspire a few changes at home for making the interior cosier, more stylish and an all-round easier place to be during incarceration.
Perhaps it’s the ongoing mild, dry weather, and appreciation of the patio and garden which has made me especially conscious of people living in apartments. This is where plants can be of extra value.
Take a look at @houseplantclub, a community of Instagram house plant enthusiasts where the word “enthusiast” was never applied so accurately.
If they can squeeze another plant into their interiors they will.
With a flourishing following of 839,000, @houseplantclub is a joint effort by two other Instagram accounts worth looking at also, @cleverbloom and @plantingpink.
For something more pared back, jungle-free and carefully considered plant placement, @thesill tells us, “Plants make people happy”, and it seems so as they have 710,000 followers who like just a bit of arty greenery in the gaff.
Similarly named, but different altogether, is @still and it’s one for the plant minimalists who roll their eyes at the hackneyed phrase of bringing the outdoors indoors.
Run by Janneke Luursema, a stilllife photographer, she says she’s, “inspired by the poetry of leaves — a sense of calm”. With 104,000 followers, it’s moody single plant images mainly, simply styled or in relaxing vignettes.
If we didn’t have time for feng shui before, we certainly have now, although it seems to have been replaced in the popularity stakes by decluttering which is, of course, the starting point of any feng shui project.
There are some really worthwhile Instagrammers with followers in the lower thousands, if you’d like to revisit the topic.
@phoenixandrose run by New York based Nitu Patel calls herself “a natural witch of the home”, but offers nothing too airy-fairy.
Her account is a mix of images and handy tips with suggestions like, “Keep your drawers 75% full so your stuff can breathe”.
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That drew me in instantly as did her purging tip, “If you didn’t wear it this season, you probably won’t wear it next year.”
Next up is @amandagibbypeters, a feng shui-touter who loves colour and warmth, offering inspiration for those who think feng shui requires extreme minimalism.
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the worlds of Chinese medicine and Feng Shui overlap, so i’m sharing a few staples that this body of wisdom suggests both build up our immune response and support our respiratory systems. whenever it comes to health, i err on the side of running any advice through your own filter first and trusting your own gut. that said, if you are in good health, this condensed list is absolutely worth your weekend! 💗 fix leaks. water = energy. leaks = energy leaking away. 💗 LOVE up on your LOVE / RELATIONSHIP area – this is the far back right-hand corner of your home (standing at your front door, looking into your house). if you practice compass shui, this is your Southwest corner. some simple gestures of love: clear any clutter, dust the plants (they clear the air for you, so make sure they're breathing easily!), and/or create pockets of open space. 💗 if you have a narrow hallway through your house, this suggests constriction. open it up – use a mirror, landscape art, or anything that “widens” it! 💗 turn the lights on every day. light = life force! 💗 wind chimes and plants keep energy moving – which is what we want to encourage when it comes to breathing effortlessly, right? 💗 diffuse eucalyptus, lavender, or frankincense. by the way, if you have frank in your house, this is a gentler way to smudge – and it really embodies power, protection and prayer. 💗 rose quartz is calming, reassuring, and mothering. if you have some, move it nearby you during the day or give it space on your bedside table. xo
I can’t say I noticed any “cures” for problematic spaces, such as wooden flutes or tassels hanging from the ceiling which normally make a westerner turn off the idea of feng shui.
Some of us will never embrace colour. I get enthusiastic about the idea until faced with the reality when I shrink back into my safe, neutral space.
Plenty of you, though, love a splash as do 166,000 followers of Sophie Loghman’s @sophlog.
Describing herself as, “colour lover, professional party goer and happy house dreams finder,” she certainly has a knack for finding homes with the most vivid and eclectic colour combinations inside and out.
But if you live somewhere on the colour spectrum between full-on and neutral, join the almost 100,000 followers of @kailochic where Kara Whitten gets colour happy with smaller DIY projects, even as small as painting plant pots.
Better still is her addition of colour to a white table by styling with bright, fruity cocktails. Now there’s a thought for long spring evenings.