Regardless of the phases of MCO imposed since early 2020, the pandemic has made us spend more time at home for the safety and well-being of the community. For most of us, the ‘new normal’ is now no longer new as we have adapted our daily routines and lifestyle in the confines of our homes, which includes the practice of working from home due to the restrictions of capacity in the workplace. Nevertheless, compared to when we first started this practice in March 2020 and were struggling to focus on our work despite distractions in our homes’ surroundings, we are now all work-from-home professionals!
As we have begun to settle down, the opportunity for us to spend hours at home has given us the time to really understand our living space better from the interior design to extra furniture needs – this has made us think about what we can do to create a more comfortable environment not only for ourselves but also our family and housemates.
A pleasant environment will not only enhance our effectiveness when working from home, but also promote a better mental well-being as we will be more relaxed and relieved when we are in a comfortable environment. As such, you might be thinking of restructuring the setting of your home to create an ambient living environment that will improve the quality of life and fit your needs at the same time, especially when your home has been converted into an extended workplace.
Linking the concept of ‘ambient living’ together with home interior design might sound pretty hard to accomplish especially for people who are not artistic or creative and also for those who have limited budget and time. That said, there are many ways that we can achieve this not only through re-furnishing – in fact, it is possible to create an ambient living by just making small changes to our home or developing a small habit in our daily routine. Here are some simple ways that might help you to get started on your very own desired ambient living environment.
1. Organising the chaos away
Chaos breeds anxiety. Look around your home environment and we can feel the immediate stress when we see a pile of dirty laundry, floors that need vacuuming or a cluttered and dishevelled desk, the cleaning to-do list will sometimes feel never-ending. Procrastination on cleaning not only may lead to more cleaning tasks for your future self, but also other consequences such as creating visual tension or physical stress and even lead to sleeping troubles. Developing a small habit in our daily life can help to avoid this situation and create an ambient living environment at the same time. For instance, putting things back to their original place immediately after we use them could avoid a messy surrounding. The same thing goes to the dirty dishes, wash immediately after every meal could avoid the dirty dishes stacking up in the sink too. A clean place can make us feel that we have nothing to worry about and keep our minds at peace.
2. Creating a comfort zone
Knowing that work from home has now become a norm for most people, it is important to separate our working place and resting area that will give us a chance at relaxation whenever we can. For example, designate a place as a comfort zone where it tailors to your relaxing activity, whether it be listening to music, meditating or reading. Place a comfortable chair in the spot that you like or an area with natural light and make it the go-to spot for reading. We don’t necessarily have to utilise the entire room but only a specific spot that you like which is out of the main flow of household activity. While for the working area, it should be set up in an environment that helps us to concentrate at ease. Placing this barrier in the beginning might be an effective way to avoid distractions while working, such as a folding screen or curtain shades to block out distracting views.
3. Making home environment livelier
A lively home environment could naturally make us feel more relaxed and comfortable. Adding in some green plants as part of the home decor will be great for us to release our stress especially when catching a quick break from high-intensity work concentration. Plants can also improve the air quality and humidity of your home as an added benefit to your health such as relieving dry skin, preventing dry throat and more.
Setting up a water feature or a small aquarium is also quite a popular choice these days, as it is not only one of the easiest pets to have around, but it also beautifies the environment at the same time. People whose house is spacious enough can also consider building a small yet lovely water feature or fish pond that will emote a relaxing live ‘soundtrack’ to the tranquil sounds of flowing water.
While there might be concerns of weird odour and difficulties to maintain clear water due to the fish feed and waste it produces, this can easily be solved by choosing the right water filtration system that will help you to maintain a clean water environment at ease. Using high quality yet affordable water filtration such as those from Waterco (leading one-stop solutions provider company for safe and healthy water environment) will not only reduce the time of scheduled cleaning with its effective hydraulic backwash and filtration system to support dense population of bacteria, but it will also save cost in the long run!
4. Utilising natural light for ambient lighting
The lighting system is seen as a vital part of the household environment, yet it is also one of the most neglected. Our environment dictates our mood, as such creating a perfect atmosphere is necessary for us to go through our day to day lives in our homes. The choice of lighting will not only directly affect the overall atmosphere of the interior spaces but will also bring about a different feeling. It is not necessary to install fancy light fixtures in your house, in fact, natural lighting can play an important role if it is properly utilised as it could be one of the ways to create ambient living as natural lighting can give a sense of warmth during the daytime. For instance, we can try to remove the furniture that might block natural sunlight from entering the room. Adding a mirror to reflect the daylight is also a great way to create an illusion of a bigger space. However, do keep in mind to place mirrors on walls perpendicular to windows and not directly across them to avoid light bouncing right back out the window.
5. Adding in minor decorations
Another simple way to create ambient living is to add some knick-knacks as decorations. Suitable decorations that fit into the style of the house can bring a stronger sense of consistency to the interior design. Simple DIY items such as bamboo weaving craft and wall decoration using waste materials will be great for you to practice your art-and-craft skills and will be a meaningful activity with your family! In addition, photos of family and friends can also be a wise choice as they can contribute a sense of warmth and inviting aura. Here is a small tip: It would certainly be better to put big frames instead of dozens of small frames for better cleaning and dusting.
6. Maintaining a clean and lively swimming pool
Just as important it is to ensure the inside of our home should be clean and tidy for an ambient living, the external parts surrounding our home should also be well maintained. While we all have to stay home for now, it does not mean we should be confined indoors only. To improve our mental wellbeing, most Malaysians would need to step outside for some fresh air – to enjoy the view and the sun to lift our moods.
For those who have swimming pools in their homes, soaking ourselves in our pool can lift our spirits and kick-start our day right. However, to ensure that our mood will not be dampened, it is important to maintain the cleanliness and liveliness of our swimming pool. Even if we are not taking a dip for that day, the energy surrounding our homes plays a great deal to the energy we absorb indoors. To maintain our swimming pool (especially now where we can’t get our pool person to help us maintain our pools), it is wise to have an automated chlorination system. This will make our lives easier when it comes to maintenance as this system helps maintain the clarity of the pool for a clear-looking swimming pool.
A plus point to consider, especially for those who enjoy swimming in warm water on a chilly day, consider installing heat pumps for a comfortable swimming session. Heat pumps such as Waterco’s will efficiently keep our pools heated for 24 hours a day. So even if you are an early bird, swimming before the sun rises will not be an issue and even if you are a nightowl, keeping warm in the pool when the sun goes down will be easy. P/S, installing an underwater light in the pool will definitely give you the zen you are looking for in night swims!
There is no place like home that could give us that sense of comfort and warmth. Since the time we spend at home is getting longer under the current situation, our home environment is now very important and might have huge implications to our mood. Although we are still in the MCO stage and are unable to go to our favourite places, we can still utilise and incorporate these tips to make our ambient space our favourite place!