Photography: Angus Fergusson | Story: Bouncy Hues and Geometric Shapes Lend Fun Flair to a Family's Modern Home
From speedy updates to simple tricks that'll transform your space into your happy place
Blue Monday, otherwise dubbed the most depressing day of the year, is looming.
That's right. Thanks to a toxic cocktail of limited cash (because we spent it all celebrating the holidays), empty calendars (because of the no cash thing), resolutions that have crashed and burned within weeks and downright horrid weather for the foreseeable, it's no wonder this poor, unsuspecting Monday (January 21, to be exact) has us feeling glum. And with a serious shortage of sunlight and a Christmas tree graveyard where presents were once piled and lights twinkled, our homes are likely suffering low spirits too.
However, you needn't resign yourself to an entire day of doom and gloom. In fact, there are many quick, simple and low-cost ways to brighten your home — and your mood — when Blue Monday strikes, many of which take minimum effort but offer maximum return in cheery sentiment.
Keep scrolling to read our top nine mood-boosters for your home.
1. Go green
Pining after the Christmas tree that no longer occupies your living room? Consider putting other greenery in its place. Fiddle leaf figs, palms and monstera will deliver on height and give your space a tropical spin, while eucalyptus stems (which look just as beautiful once they've dried out) and succulents offer smaller easy-care options. Or, if you're really craving a splash of sunshine, opt for a potted citrus tree. Pretty appearance aside, plants can help to purify the air and provide a fresh scent. Just what you need to get out of your new year funk.
2. Do a Marie Kondo
Although likely not one of your most loved activities, decluttering your home can provide a real sense of relief (which couldn't come at a better time, if you ask us). Set aside time to tackle one room — or if it's a particularly big job, one drawer, box or corner — at a time, and split its contents into three piles. Pile one will be kept and will include items that are used frequently or hold some special place in your heart. Pile two will be donated and will consist of pieces that haven't been used for some time. Pile three is for consideration — stash its contents out of sight and keep track of how often you retrieve something from it. Donate anything you haven't used after a few months.
3. Let the sunshine in
Lack of natural light can wreak havoc on our happiness during winter months, so try to up your exposure as much as possible. Make a conscious effort to prop (indoor) doors open and pull curtains and blinds right back to allow sunlight to seep in. And as for the areas natural light can't navigate? Create your own ambiance. Avoid harsh, fluorescent lighting, which can trigger feelings of angst or stress, and instead opt for cozy and comforting alternatives. Use lamps to perk up dark corners and candles to add to the feeling of calm. Oh, and the twinkly lights that once lit up your tree? Drape them elsewhere — perhaps over a mantel or piece of artwork — to add further mood lighting. String lights aren't just for festivities, you know.
4. Spruce it up
Sometimes all you need to perk you up is a good DIY project. Well, let's face it, chances are finances, focus, motivation — or all of the above — aren't working in your favour at the moment, so consider starting small, leaving the bigger and more complicated (and costly) jobs until a little later in the year. Perhaps a paint refresh is on the cards, or maybe you're keen on updating a scheme with a wallpapered feature wall, stencilling or decorative sticker designs. Limit yourself to simple jobs that can be completed in a day or two to prevent any feelings of defeat that might be triggered if you don't finish the task right away, and put a budget in place to avoid stretching the purse strings too much post-Christmas.
5. Host a gathering
While Dry January may refer to the en mass abstinence of alcohol, it also applies to our social calendars, which tend to have fewer commitments than they did close to Christmas. Peace and time spent rejuvenating post-festivities is important, but hosting a catch-up with loved ones could be just the ticket to a cheerier start to the year. Keep meet-ups low cost, as many will be feeling the pinch, by asking attendees to each contribute an item of food or drink and planning easy — and most importantly, fun — activities, such as board games, movies, baking or crafting. Blue Monday, be gone!
6. Start afresh
Overwhelmed by others' resolutions to give their homes an upheaval or pack up and move altogether? You don't need to make a big change in order to enjoy your home. In fact, sometimes it's the tiniest tweaks that make the most notable differences. Fresh bedding, new covers on your couch cushions, a calendar awaiting 2019 adventures or rearranged artwork can all provide a small sense of satisfaction and each takes a matter of minutes to put into action. A fresh start in seconds.
7. Get into a routine
The festive haze of endless eating and wondering what day it is can be undeniably fun, but it can become stressful when that lack of routine seeps into everyday life (aka January), making salvaging even the tiniest crumb of motivation to work or clean neigh on impossible. The trick, although not that exciting, is to ease yourself back in, one habit at a time. Start small by committing to making the bed every morning if you let that slide over Christmas, then pick up the weekly meal prep routine and follow suit with chores and. Although it might not seem like much, getting back into the swing of things will make you feel more in control and a little less out of whack and provides you with successes — however small — even when days are spent horizontal on the sofa (we all have them!).
8. Spoil yourself
If the first few weeks of the year have left you feeling flustered, then self-care can't go amiss. Allow yourself an afternoon — regularly, if possible — to kick back at home and surround yourself with things that make you happy. Burn your favourite candle, sip tea, bake cookies, read a book while wearing pyjamas or blast your favourite playlist. Relieving stress by indulging in the little activities you love will easily take the edge off of blue Monday
9. Make plans
Let's be honest: Sometimes even the tastiest of teas and cutest new cushions can't curb the general "meh" feeling caused by a month of cold weather and a shortage of cash. In those instances, find something to look forward to. Perhaps you're planning a big project, such as an extension or an entirely new kitchen, or maybe it's something smaller, such as a lampshade you've long been lusting after. Regardless, list the things you're looking forward to and allow yourself to relish in the excitement. Blue Monday will be behind you before you know it.