Quiet Please! How House Hushing Can Transform Your Living Space And Even Your Life!
Autumn is a great time for trying something new, especially when it comes to styling your home. Popular opinion seems to be that Spring is the time to get busy with catalogues and colour swatches. I admit I’ve always been on board with that ethos, but now I’m not so sure. Let me explain why.
We recently slotted in a late-summer break in Spain, and I wanted to spend some of my downtime designing a few style updates at home, ready for next Spring. It had been on the agenda for a while, but I’d been struggling for inspiration. Then a friend shared an article with me all about ‘House Hushing’ and the clouds finally parted.
I realised that the source of my ‘designer’s block’ was in fact the house itself and I was its partner in crime. The offence in question? Clutter!
As an interior designer and vintage homeware dealer, the accumulation of ‘stuff’ is a constant in our house. I’m forever adding something to a room to shoot it for our website or Instagram or to update the room shots on our Location House portfolio. The problem is, I’ve not been too good about then moving these extra items along. I had in effect allowed my business to fuel an over-indulgence of my passion for sourcing new (old) things.
The room updates had to come forward and I needed to start the process by ‘hushing my house’.
Why House Hushing?
My initial assumption had been that house hushing was all about reducing noise levels, and to an extent I was correct. But it goes much deeper than that. The noise infiltrating our home and blocking my creativity was not the audible type, courtesy of two young girls and an exuberant cockapoo. It was the clutter I had allowed to build up, both on display and ‘tucked away’.
I decided to embrace this new holistic approach to making our home a more peaceful place. A space where we could work as easily as we live. Somewhere that added to our sense of wellbeing, not our levels of stress.
Key to achieving our new nirvana was focusing on what we wanted to get out of this exercise. So after a long afternoon of Rioja and tapas-fueled introspection, we decided to prioritise four key goals:
1) Improved Sleep Quality
Sleep is crucial for our overall well-being, and visual stimulation can be as bad as unwanted sound for disrupting our sleep patterns. Not only did we have too much stuff on every visible surface in the bedroom, I was bothered by how much was in the cupboards and under the bed. A lot of it I could neither name nor visualise, but I knew it was there and subconsciously it was bugging me. I couldn’t remember the last time I woke up feeling refreshed and rejuvenated from a great night’s sleep.
2) Better Concentration and Productivity
When you spend a lot of time working from home, house hushing is key to improving your concentration and productivity. Reduce distractions and create a noise-free work zone, to stay focused for longer periods and complete tasks more efficiently.
When the working day is done, your home should be a sanctuary for relaxation and stress reduction. Having a dedicated workspace, separate from your living area creates a boundary between work and relaxation. Doing this minimises the risk of ‘work-creep’ encroaching on your downtime.
4) Increased Property Value
Besides its benefits to your well-being, house hushing can also add value to your property. Buyers and renters are more attracted to environments that offer easy styling potential. Too much visual noise masks this potential.
The renters in our case are the location agents that book our home for film and photoshoots. They need to visualise how their set design fits in your space and again, there’s a fine line between room styling and clutter.
The Great Chipstead De-clutter of 2023
As luck would have it, the perfect reason to address goal one had presented itself the night before we went to Spain, when a rickety joint on our bed had finally given way. Jamie’s first job when we got back was to fix it, so in having to dismantle the whole thing I took the opportunity to address the whole room. A thorough clear-out of the under-bed clutter store, cupboards and flat surfaces created a real feeling of calm in the room, which definitely resulted in a better night’s sleep!
I’m a big believer in a tidy room/house leading to a healthy mind and I’ve also read that it’s a good blocker against depression, anxiety and stress. So I continued my mission and hushed the kitchen by tidying the drawers and cupboards and reducing the amount of clutter on the shelves. The whole environment now has a positive energy about it and reminds me of how it felt when we first built the extension with the double-height windows bringing in so much light.
We recently decorated the girls’ bedrooms and at the same time ‘hushed’ them. They are also both much calmer spaces now, although how long that state is preserved is anyone’s guess.
I recently wrote about the benefits of Colour Drenching, having taken this approach when redecorating the hallway. As part of that exercise, I had removed a fair bit of room and wall furniture, which made for a naturally lighter and more inviting area. Now that this openness flows through into the kitchen, we’ve achieved an ambience of relaxed refreshment that encourages us all to share more time together.
So why is Autumn the new Spring when it comes to redecorating?
You may remember my opening to this article was to question whether perhaps, Autumn was the better time for “out with the old, in with the new”. My point here is this. Spring usually marks the time when we come out of our metaphorical hibernation, and prepare to spend more of our time outside. We throw open the windows and doors and do our best to bring the outdoors indoors. So why focus our attention on spaces where we intend to spend less time?
Autumn is when we are preparing to spend most of our time inside. So this is when we should be focusing on ‘the nest’ and making our indoor environment as relaxing and welcoming as possible. And the best way to do that? A good old ‘Spring’ clean, of course! Combine it with a healthy dose of house hushing, and you’re on track for a peaceful, less-stressed few months indoors.
Give it a try and let me know what you think.
Until next time.