When launching this new CocoHome series, we wanted to mix up inspiration with practical advice and proven results. We certainly found that magic blend when we sat down (virtually!) with Amy Wilson, a renowned interior designer and the founder of Amy Wilson Interiors.
HOC: We absolutely love your work, Amy, and your focus on ‘joy’ and ‘happy places’. It goes without saying that we all need to curate our own happy places at the moment. In or outside of your own home – where is your happy place?
Amy: Thank you and yes there has never been a better time to find our own happiness than now and our own homes offer the perfect solution.
My happy place is, without doubt, our kitchen. It truly is the heart of our home- it is where all the family come together to eat, share stories and dance. Kitchen dancing is one of my favourite things and for that I need music, good lighting & a table that is not too precious to climb onto for a good boogie. I am never happier that when all the family gather around the kitchen island to share cooking, stories & fight over the playlist! We also have an Aga which we inherited when we bought our house which adds to the kitchen’s warm and welcoming vibe and is rarely without a child or pet backed up to it! Our kitchen is bold and makes a statement about the kind of home we have tried to create- it is the first room you enter and I hope it makes everyone who comes into it, smile!
HOC: If a reader was looking around their space at this moment in despair, how would you recommend they go about creating their own happy space?
Amy: Consider when you last felt truly happy- was it in bed having your morning coffee, baking a cake, zooming your friends whilst curled up on the sofa or getting engrossed in a great book in a bubble bath?
Next focus on the elements of that moment that made you happy. Often it is not the space we occupy but the accessories and atmosphere we create. Of course there is a lot of talk about decluttering but if you love it, keep it and organise it. An hour spent having a little tidy or organise of just one cupboard or drawer is super satisfying and then reward yourself with a textures and ambience. The simplest way to achieve this is to grab a cosy blanket, light some candles, spray some scent and tune into your favourite playlist or boxset. If, like me, it is the kitchen where you find your happy then turn the music up loud and try out a new recipe and don’t forget to celebrate the occasion by laying the table with napkins, some garden cuttings and the best glasses you own!
HOC: We can often get caught up in trends when decorating our homes – how can we go for timeless joy or lightly lean into trends without hating our work a year later?
Amy: Much like with fashion it is important to try and learn what styled makes your heart skip a beat. Trends will come and go but classic style will stick around and ultimately if it gives you joy then that is the thing to focus on. I prefer to think of homes seasonally when considering styling – things that will never be a ‘trend’ but instead will consistently add an extra touch of styling magic to your home.
For this you need to look to the great outdoors to give you your inspiration. As we approach is spring flowers are the obvious styling accessory so grab some floristry foam and look around the home for alternative options for vases and floral arrangements. Why not spray some old wine bottles for a single daffodil or even some blossom branches when they start to appear.
If your home has a consistent palette then whatever you add in for styling purposes will flow and settle in. This palette can be dark & bold or neutral whichever is your preference – just be sure to carry it throughout your home. Also consider natural materials which help keep a home grounded and are not trend led, even they seem to feature each year in almost every new scheme presented to us. Many of the recent trends such as scandi & japandi call on us to make more considered, sustainable choices in our home for longevity. By simply introducing some vintage, second hand furniture into your home it will instantly create a balance for any cheaper, trend led items you are drawn to.
HOC: Finally, how on earth can we inject some joy into our WFH space?
Amy: The new work from home spaces that are being created around the country range massively from purpose built wooden home studios to a cupboard under the stairs and everything in between. Firstly find your work from home space and stick to it. It is super important that your work zone is clearly identified so that you enter the right frame of mind whilst you are there but also when you log off for the day. If possible look at solutions for shutting away your office at night which could be as simple as closing a cupboard or popping your laptop in a drawer. If possible look for a desk space with a view to help inspire you and motivate you throughout the day. If this is not possible and you are faced with a blank wall, consider hanging a mirror to reflect light and create a view.
Alternatively make yourself a vision board with all of things you would like to achieve in 2021 and hang that above your desk. It is worth considering a standing desk if you suffer from back problems – this can be achieved simply with a high hung shelf or even a flip down table simply attached higher than normal.
Take regular breaks, regular water (served in a glass jug with cucumber and mint of course) and consider having a nice scented candle burning on your desk to improve your mental wellbeing. Finally get your lighting right in your work from home space. If natural light is not an option or you find yourself working later on in the day consider options other than a simple overhead light. An USB charged task light can be a nice option and to illuminate your work space without creating glare. Do not be afraid to use a table lamp with a beautiful shade that makes you smile when you sit down at your desk. If you can’t let go of Christmas and feel that twinkly lights are a year round choice then why not trail some fairy lights around your workspace. Just be sure to set them to the static setting so you don’t end up with flashing lights distracting you!
Amy Wilson is a renowned interior designer and the founder of Amy Wilson Interiors. Keep up to date with her on instagram @AmyWilsonInteriors