10 tips for creating a slow living home

A new trend is emerging on social media that shrugs off fast-paced lifestyles in favour of a more relaxed pace of existence: slow living.

Not only does this trend promote the idea of ridding ourselves of stress in our day-to-day lives and finding joy in simple pleasures, but it also extends to creating a relaxing home atmosphere that encourages personal joy.

In fact, this lifestyle is so popular that Google Trends found searches for ‘slow living home’ to have increased by 111 per cent since June 2022.

What is slow living?

At its core, slow living encourages us to take a calmer approach to life, instead of striving to be constantly busy. It also encourages us to celebrate the little things in life, whether that’s the sun shining or a good cup of coffee. Slow living is all about moments or actions that bring us joy or relieve us of stress. Mindfulness is important too, and slow living seeks to find connections with others and encourages us to feel present in our surroundings.

What is a slow living home?

Think of slow living at home as a lifestyle, rather than as a trend. A slow living home isn’t about creating an Instagram-worthy look, but rather a space that works for you in terms of practicality and enjoyment. When creating a slow living home you should aim to craft a space in which you can retreat from the hustle and bustle of the outside world, prioritising relaxation and enjoyment. It’s also important to make your home reflect your personality as an individual and you should design it to complement your lifestyle and needs.

If you’re intrigued, you’re in luck! Michelle Collins, Creative Specialist at the interior and lifestyle brand, Green Lili, has shared 10 must-read tips for creating a slow living home.

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1. A calm environment is key

Your home should be a retreat from daily life – a space where you can take the pressure off. By creating a calm environment within your interior, you encourage your body and mind to relax.

Nature-inspired elements are a great place to start, as Michelle explains: ‘spaces with muted colour schemes instantly provide a relaxing environment. Think natural furnishings, light tones, and nature’s colours.’

If you need inspiration, take a look at biophilic design. It’s shown to improve brain function as well as increase both physical and mental health. Not only does it promote well-being, but it also lowers stress and enhances creativity.

2. Adopt the principles of hygge

If you can’t get cosy at home, when can you? And no one does cosiness quite like the Danish. Their concept of Hygge is explained best by Visit Denmark: ‘In essence, hygge means creating a warm atmosphere and enjoying the good things in life with good people. The warm glow of candlelight is hygge. Cosying up with a loved one for a movie – that’s hygge, too.’

To bring Hygge to your home, Michelle suggests you ‘opt for earthy palettes that connect you to the outdoors, light candles, and get cosy with blankets and cushions. Slow down and be mindful, savouring the present moment.’

3. Use natural lighting whenever possible

We could always use more light! Exposure to daylight has been linked to boosting our wellbeing and mood and is excellent for making us feel more awake and energised. In the home, natural light can make a room lighter and brighter and give the feeling of more space.

Michelle suggests taking advantage of natural light wherever possible, adding: ‘Open the curtains during the day and place mirrors opposite sun-facing windows. Consider your lighting options and choose an ambience that soothes the space and the soul.’

Read our top tips for more ways to increase natural light in your home.

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4. Select artwork thoughtfully

When decorating your walls with artwork, take a less is more approach to avoid it becoming overwhelming.

‘Choosing new art can be a beautiful process if you take the time to find pieces that have heart and meaning and make you feel relaxed and happy in your home’, says Michelle. ‘Don’t cram every wall with art. Choose large statement wall art to anchor the room visually.’

Abstract art encourages contemplation, whilst line drawings are a subtle way of adding detail to your space.

5. Create a space to unwind

We all need a space that works just for us, especially if you live in a busy household and crave some alone time after a long day.

Michelle elaborates: ‘Create a place in your home that you can use as a retreat. A little reading nook. A space for quiet time. Whatever works for you — make sure that this space feels safe and welcoming so that it’s easy for you to unwind when you need it most.’

Furnish this space with the things that matter most to you, whether that’s a soft blanket, the warm glow of a lamp or a view into nature.

6. Less is more

It’s a universal truth that it’s impossible to feel relaxed amid mess or clutter. It raises our stress levels, so it’s not only detrimental to both relaxation and sleep but also hinders creativity. An organised environment is a calm environment and also highlights the aspects of your home you love the most.

‘Mess equals stress,’ says Michelle, ‘clear out any clutter and unnecessary items from your home. Discard anything that doesn’t serve a purpose in your life in a sustainable way, and donate or sell the rest.’

7. Reshuffle your space

Just because a room has always been arranged in a certain way, doesn’t mean it has to remain that way. If your space isn’t working for you, change it.

Michelle stresses that this doesn’t mean buying new items: ‘Move things around to other rooms, de-clutter, and upcycle existing furniture. You can make the space work for your needs and use it in different ways as your needs change.’

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8. Choose a sustainable option if possible

Try and choose items with long lifespans that you will commit to for many years to come – it is called slow living, after all. By choosing sustainable and planet-friendly options, you avoid unnecessary waste and help the environment in your own small way.

‘Upcycle if you can,’ says Michelle, ‘do your research and choose sustainable products and brands to help reduce your environmental impact at home.’

You don’t have to be perfect, but simply trying to live more sustainably is a win-win scenario.

9. Design your home to work for you

Think about your daily routine, lifestyle and what brings you joy. Then adjust your home to work best for you, prioritising functionality and comfort.

‘Keep the way you want your space to feel and be used at the forefront of the design process when making changes to your home instead of following a trend or style,’ says Michelle.

Do you prefer an understated environment or one full of texture and pattern? Do you love to entertain guests or prefer your home to be your quiet place? What activities or hobbies would you like to have a space for? Is there a room you naturally gravitate towards? Once you identify your needs and wants, you can make your home fit them.

10. Buy less but buy better

Be mindful of what you buy and bring into your home. Sentimental or meaningful items will hold a special place in your heart and have more value to your home than any on-trend piece of décor.

Michelle explains: ‘Each item should have a purpose, spark joy or be special to you. Buy quality items and be considerate of the brands you want to support.’

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By buying less but considering what you choose, your items will have much more longevity. Plus, you’ll create an environment that means more to you than just a place to sleep. Consider how your purchases make you feel – and this goes for everything, from large pieces of furniture to your crockery and soft furnishing.

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