Hotel Design Expert Shares Three Simple and Sustainable Hacks to Improve Your Space and Your Mental Health
By now, we’re all going a little stir crazy. As the year turns, so does our sudden itch for cleaning, gardening and taking on those “fixer-upper” projects that you’ve been putting off.
But refreshing your space doesn’t require leaving the house. You likely have some low-cost options right around you. A Hilton design expert is sharing some easy and sustainable ways to take on all the above while making your space more hospitable and in turn improving your mental health, a proven side effect.
Ashley Michaels, global design manager at Hilton, finds some of her inspiration on social media sites such as Instagram and Pinterest. “Your home is your sanctuary and with all the extra time we’re spending at our houses, many of us have started to evaluate and look for small ways to improve our living spaces.”
Here are a few DIY (do-it-yourself) projects and tips that anyone can take on while quarantined and keep your mind clear during your extra down time:
1. Aim for optimal feng shui (a practice that aims to balance the flow of energy in a space).
Although you may not be inviting guests to your home, that doesn’t mean your front entryway or living room can’t be as welcoming as a hotel lobby. Focusing on these areas of your house can easily create a happier and healthier space.
- Declutter and make your rooms more open or well-lit. Studies have shown a link exists between clutter and the stress hormone cortisol. Reducing clutter can make a huge difference in your mood. “This is a popular concept for the reception and common areas at our hotels,” Michaels says. You can make a room more spacious by simply removing items or more inviting by adding a bit of natural sunlight. This also allows more positive energy to enter your home – a key element of feng shui.
- Play around with your existing furniture and decor. “When designing for our hotels and brands, having flexible furniture, fixtures and equipment (FF&E) means you can re-configure your room setups quickly,” Michaels says. This also applies at home; by moving around some interchangeable items including accent pillows or rugs – this can completely change the look of a room, as can updating your current “shelfie” situation with a different décor arrangement. For example, have you considered changing up some long-time photos and frames? Or rearranging your books by spine color rather than size? The options are endless and makes for a fun weekend project.
2. Upcycling: Repurpose items you already have.
A big focus area for Hilton’s design team is sustainability. From incorporating reclaimed wood elements to eco-friendly textiles, the team is always thinking of innovative ways for our guests to Travel with Purpose at our properties. (For example, check out the world’s first vegan suite at Hilton London Bankside.)
- Give existing household items a new life. Too many towels? Does your kitchen utensil drawer overflow? In normal times, you might want to donate surplus items. But maybe now, they can serve a new design-inspired purpose. “Many of the donation centers are currently closed and yard sales or other marketplaces may feel a little too risky right now,” Michaels says. “What should you do with the items that you want to get rid of in the meantime? Making a hand-braided bathmat or tie-dying old towels can be your next creative at-home project.”
- Liven up your video conference backgrounds. Why use a fake background when you can make the real thing look better? Try adding a fresh coat of paint to an old art frame or a piece of furniture, and think about creating an accent wall. Studies have shown that paint colors and décor can affect your mental health and overall wellness. Pro tip: if you’re looking to rearrange an existing gallery wall, many small businesses on Etsy also offer digital prints, so you can print yourself and use an existing frame.
3. Bring the outdoors indoors.
The inclusion of plants and greenery into a space has been proven to improve air quality and the mood of the people in a space. Our design teams have been incorporating this biophilia trend for years. Our living wall made from moss at the Hilton Downtown Cleveland is a great example of this.
- Create your own herb garden. “An easy way to incorporate this into your home is to salvage some of your vegetable scraps, grab a shallow bowl of water, potting soil and find a sunny window,” Michaels says. “No green thumb required – you’ll be cutting down on food waste and the need to go grocery shopping.” This can create a small activity to keep you (or even your kids) busy!
- Incorporate more greenery. Adding more flowers and easy-maintenance plants like succulents can add more color to your living space and provide you air purifying benefits for many months to come. If you’re looking to buy some new plants online, delivered straight to your door, The Sill is a convenient option.
“With our homes now being our offices, gyms and schools for our kids, it’s a great time to make it even more hospitable. By borrowing some of these design ideas you may see at our hotels, you can reimagine your space at your house, while practicing self-care.” said Michaels.