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Creating a sanctuary for your sanity
Posted on 22 Mar 2021

After a disruptive and unpredictable 2020, many New Zealanders are experimenting with style to turn their homes into peaceful retreats. Calming colours and cosy nooks are going a long way as we search for stress-free escapes as we spend more time at home.

Our homes are sanctuaries for our sanity and it is important – now more than ever – that we make our homes comfortable and a space we enjoy to be in.


Soft shades

Research shows that colours can have a profound effect on moods. Yellow inspires energy, while green, blue and purple shades promote relaxation and calmness – with some experts claiming these colours can even lower blood pressure and heart rate.

Generation Homes’ national paint supplier, Dulux, suggests decorating your home with hues such as blue and green to promote a sense of tranquillity this year.

The colour palette from Dulux’s 2021 colour forecast focuses on paints titled ‘nourish’, ‘reset’ and ‘retreat’, which will ensure new home interiors are on-trend but also classic, calming and enduring. 

Dulux’s Davina Harper says that 2021’s forecast consists of three soothing palettes, inspired by nature that include moments of stronger colours to lighten the mood and brighten your outlook.

“This year’s soft, earthy neutrals, muted greens and gentle mauve-greys provide a reassuring connection with nature, whilst richer and brighter hues, such as coral and stormy blue awaken our senses and allow for moments of optimism,” says Davina. 

“Surrounding colour can be a remedy for the soul in challenging times.” 

Images 1 & 3 Stylist: Julia Green, Photographer: Armelle Habib * See Dulux image credits below

Soothing Scandinavian style

The simplicity of Scandinavian-inspired interior design is the perfect antidote to a stressful, fast-paced day. Warm wooden accents, soft grey and off-white colour combinations work together to create a welcoming abode.

Elegant, chic and minimalistic spaces are all trademarks of the Nordic style, with a focus on neutral shades and natural light.

Home within a home

The majority of us are spending quite a lot of time at home, especially in the past year, and it can become hard to incorporate a sense of calm into this space. Overcome this obstacle by creating a sanctuary for yourself within it – a prime example is using the master bedroom as a ‘home within a home’.

The master bedroom is the one room in the house that should reflect your own style, becoming a personal sanctuary for rest and rejuvenation. This idea of a reclusive hub is becoming increasingly attractive to homeowners when building or redecorating.

Large armchairs adorned in soft faux fur throws and cushions, a table and lamp for curling up with a good book or even a wall-mounted television, are simple additions that can contribute to quality ‘me time’ without having to leave the house.

Corners of calm

The flipside to the continuing open plan living trend is a lack of confined spaces or separate living rooms to escape the commotion of kids playing, dogs barking or television blaring.

An alternative is to create a private space to unwind and switch off – a corner of calm. An area with plenty of natural light, cosy furnishings and contrasting textures can be the perfect escape, no matter how small. It might be a separate room or a sectioned-off corner of the main living area.

More homeowners are also choosing to create living rooms without digital distraction such as televisions and computers, allowing families to completely switch off.

Ultimately, your home should be a place where you and your family feel comfortable, inspired and happy. For more interior design tips and trends check out the Design Inspiration section of our website.

* Dulux image credits

Main Image
Left to right: Reset, Nourish and Retreat. Stylist: Julia Green, Photographer: Armelle Habib

Bedroom (Retreat story): Wall Colour: Dulux Teahouse. Ceiling, Dulux Remuera. Greenhouse Interiors: ‘Sun Drenched’ Print. Available via Greenhouse Interiors. Dress, bag and perfume - supplied by Steph. Lights Lights Lights: ‘George Nelson Pear pendant’. Available via Lights Lights Lights. Greenhouse Interiors: “Alice Bell Ceramics’. Available Via Greenhouse Interiors. French Linen Quilt Cover and Pillowcase in Marine Blue – Available via I Love Linen. French  Linen Flat Sheet in Marine Stripe and European Pillowcase – Available via I Love Linen. Belgian Vintage Washed Lined Charcoal Long Cushion – Available via Adairs. Life Interiors: ‘Amara Curve Side Table’ in White. Available via Life Interiors. Muscat Mustard Throw – Available via Adairs.

Bedroom (Nourish image): Wall colour: Dulux Sandymount. Cabinet: Dulux Kūaotunu. Ceiling, cornices, skirting in colour: Dulux Haast Half. Wall hanging on right – ‘Dakota Wall hanging’ by Three Queens Interiors via Greenhouse Interiors. Artwork above fireplace – ‘Little Vase’ via Castle and Things. Pink Lowdown Locker – ‘The Lowdown in Blush’ via Mustard Made. Salvador Table Lamp in Off White via Few and Far. Basket in front of fireplace – ‘Fez Small Natural Basket’ via Adairs. Kobbie Rattan Honey Bedside Table via Adairs. Printed cushion at front – ‘Pacha Linen Pillowcase’ via Sage and Clare. Maisy Knit Cushion via Sage and Clare. Throw on bed – ‘Mexica Mustard & Natural Throw’ via Adairs. Pure French Linen Quilt Cover in Mustard via I Love Linen. Pure Linen Mustard Standard Pillowcase. Pure French Linen Sheet Set in Soft Grey Stripes via I Love Linen. Daisy Rug by Armadillo & Co via Norsu Interiors.