How to construct a healthy environment for your home this summer
Now more than ever, we live in a world where lazy, unimaginative, and boring home decor isn’t just tacky—it’s potentially harmful. Across the board, studies have shown that spatial layout and room design can significantly impact our productivity, creativity, and mood. With countless Pinterest boards, blogs, and YouTube videos out there to help, you owe it to yourself to push your limits and create the perfect sanctuary. Whether you’re renting a 400-square-foot apartment or own a spacious home with a sprawling yard, embrace your inner interior decorator with these five easy tips.
It’s simple: humans love natural sunlight. Although our jobs may keep us stuck indoors and in front of screens for much of the day, we aren’t biologically programmed to be concealed inside and hidden from the sun. While you can’t change the layout of your office, you can maximize your exposure to natural light at home with a few simple tricks. One of the easiest ways to brighten your home (and mood) is to strategically place mirrors in spots throughout home where light filters through (i.e. windows and skylights). This helps distribute natural light and gives rooms a more welcoming, comfortable feeling. Another nugget to consider: solar shades. Unlike most blinds, these window appliances let in light and provide a clear view outside while reducing glare, blocking harmful UV rays, and reducing heat absorption. You can find them at any hardware store or home furnishing purveyor.
We get it—not all of us have green thumbs. Maybe you’ve killed a few plants in your day, or maybe you’ve avoided them entirely because you hate the hustle and bustle of the hardware store. Regardless of your comfort level handling plants, there’s no disputing plants’ uncanny ability to make a room feel livelier, brighter, and more exciting. With that in mind, this should be more of a decision about which plants to buy, not whether you should get them at all. If you have minimal light in your place or are new to this, try a local nursery like The Great Outdoors or Tillery Street Plant Company and grab a ficus elastica (also known as a rubber plant) or a pothos (devil’s ivy). Both are easy to maintain, require less watering and minimal sunlight, and are about as foolproof as it gets. If you’re working with more light, take a trip to Eastside Succulents and stock up on their bevy of beautiful and tantalizing succulents.
We’ve all heard the bit about geniuses being unorganized and, frankly, we’re not buying it. Clutter makes spaces feel smaller, stressful, and makes them more difficult to fully utilize. A cleaner, organized space, on the other hand, typically makes for a more relaxed environment and can even be cathartic in times of stress. From making your bed to clearing your desk, little habits and details can add up and make a huge difference in your mood when you walk through the door every day.
Grabbing a premade bookshelf or desk from IKEA might be easier, but with videos abound on the internet explaining how to execute every at-home task from table building to wood staining—the opportunities are endless. Whether you’re a carpentry pro or flying by the seat of your pants, give the DIY route a chance the next time you’re considering purchasing a new piece of furniture. Pushing your limits will boost your confidence, broaden your horizons, and embolden you to take on even bigger projects in the future.
Austin receives plenty of acclaim for being the Live Music Capital of the World, but its artists deserve just as much love. With local producers of all mediums, styles, and price ranges present at the city’s frequent festivals and pop-up shops, there’s always a chance to peruse new pieces to add flair to your rooms. If you’re leery or overwhelmed by art at fairs and fests, we recommend checking out spots like Austin Art Garage (IG: @austinartgarage), Atown (IG: @shop_atown), and Art From The Streets (IG: @artfromthestreetsaustin). Regardless of your preferred way to shop, there’s a vast abundance of local and incredibly talented artists to fit your taste and budget preferences. Adding original art to your walls—even if it’s just a single piece—can stimulate your creativity while supporting the thriving artist community that’s defined Austin for so long.