Interior Design and Menopause
Menopause can be a time of changing needs in our homes. This is an opportunity to make sure that we are living in the way that best suits our needs today and into the future. In this article Natasha Labe, an Interior Designer with 20 years' experience, provides us with a framework within which to assess our living spaces and dream of our ideal home. Natasha has given me fantastic advice on our house over many years.
Coming Home to Yourself
Menopause can be a time when we seek a new way to live comfortably in our homes. A time to explore, open ourselves to possibility, to reflect and make choices.
As we process this personal journey, we might reconsider our lifestyle, including the way that we live in our houses.
Using our acquired wisdom we can refurbish or design our homes in a way which reflects our hearts desire, which fits in with the way we want to live. In our maturity we no longer have to slavishly follow trend and fashion. We want a space that is easy to navigate, easy to use, practical, stylish, fit for purpose, a pleasure to maintain, a space that is enhanced with age and use. A space that enhances the quality of our lives.
You are individual, unlike any other
Decorating and designing space is always a matter of personal preference, a means of expressing one's own style, taste and individuality. The focus and concerns each person has are all entirely individual...
- Some of you may have more time and a new reality. (maybe an inheritance)
- Some may be newly separated or divorced and reconsidering their needs from that point of view.
- Others may have children leaving home - do you keep their room as a shrine or move on to some extent?
- You may need more storage space
- Some of you may need to downsize
- You may want a home office in the house
- It is important to consider how your home would adapt itself to old age or the need for surgeries in the future.
How to being your interior design project
1st...Evaluate your home as it is now:
Measure how much space you have at your disposal.
The location and style of your home
Does the house utilise natural light and views
Note the positives and negatives of how you live now (for example, lovely natural light, warm and cosy as positives or not enough storage, kitchen too small in the negatives)
Which room is your favourite and which is your least favourite room and ask yourself why?
2nd ...Define your goals, your needs and your desires
How do you want to live? Who do you live with and what are their needs? Do you work from home? Do you enjoy entertaining? Do you want to declutter? What are your favourite and least favourite colours?
Forget the budget for a while. Dream on! Fantasise about your ultimate home.
3rd ...Write down your wish list.
This could include an extra bathroom, a double sink, and a pullout larder in your kitchen, a conservatory or an outside tap.
4th ...Budget and plan
Plan your makeover meticulously. Think through your ideas, are they practical? Will they make your life easier? I was called on recently to redesign a kitchen, which was as pretty as a picture but was completely impractical, the stylish marble worktops stained unless you wiped water off them immediately, the beautiful crockery did not fit into the dishwasher and had to be washed by hand. Life is too short to be stressing over such things.
Good storage and organisation are high priorities. As is the boring stuff like plumbing, electrics and energy saving.
Write everything down, and specify exactly what you want done.
Work out your budget on paper down to the last detail. If you are going over- budget you can make changes and prioritise where you spend.
Keep it simple, functional and remember a home is a work in progress, like all of us.
Trust your own instincts and explore your creativity
The bit I love most about my work as an interior designer, is exploring with my client their ideas, their creative thinking, which is innate in all of us, and helping them to realise those ideas.
Make sure your space is personal and works for you.
You may want the door on your kitchen drawer to be shocking pink with stars emblazoned on it or maybe a more sedate colour that is supposed to resemble the breath of an elephant. Either will work in context. The measure of the success, however, is if the drawer glides open and closed with ease!
Natasha Labe has worked as an interior designer for over 20 years.