Award-winning interior designer, Nick Snow , knows first-hand just how important it is to create a happy and relaxing home. Juggling a busy interior design studio with teaching styling and managing interior design projects for clients around the world, Nick’s own home in the Hampshire countryside is something of a sanctuary from the rollercoaster of his day-to-day life. “Your choice of bedding, the lights you use – right down to an alarm clock that wakes you gently, can all help us feel more relaxed and stress-free," says Nick. “When the outside word feels scary, the one thing we can all do, whether we rent or own, is to improve our homes. In doing so, we enhance our quality of life.”
We caught up with Nick during Men’s Health Week to find out what we can do to make our home a happier, healthier place to live.
What makes a good home?
Nick: I always say that you shouldn’t just walk into a room, you should feel like you have arrived. When life is busy and stressful it’s especially important you have somewhere that makes you feel happy and relaxed. So often people neglect their home when they’re busy but in doing so they neglect themselves. Ultimately, a good home is somewhere you enjoy being in and coming home to, which is why I spend a lot of time ‘psycho-analysing’ someone before designing. You need to understand how someone thinks, acts and feels in order to design a scheme that truly works.
Can homes make us feel better?
Nick: Absolutely. Aside from room aesthetics, which will impact the way you feel, elements such as lighting can massively affect our emotions, sleep patterns and even productivity – this is especially important if you work from home. I know from personal experience the effect clutter has on my mood. If my workspace starts getting messy, I can’t focus on a job until I’ve cleared away all the wallpaper or other samples that aren’t just cluttering my desk, but my brain.
Has lockdown changed people’s attitude towards home?
Nick: I think lockdown has made us all appreciate our homes more, and they've certainly had to work harder. For many of us, homes have become gyms, schools and offices - not just places to eat and sleep. In multifunctional rooms, zoning – the art of creating a space for a particular purpose – can be particularly useful in creating areas for specific functions, especially within open plan homes.
What is the most important in a home?
Nick: Estate agents will generally say the kitchen, but for me, it’s the ones my clients spend the most time in and get the most enjoyment from, whether that’s the kitchen, lounge or bedroom. I find my male clients often have strong ideas on the lounge, whereas my female clients tend to be more invested in the kitchen. The garden, and having that indoor, outdoor feel seems to appeal to everyone.
Personally, the bedroom is vital to my wellbeing. With so many projects on the go, having a cosy bedroom and beautifully layered bed with fresh bed linen I can retreat to and switch off, helps me relax. I always make sure I write down what’s on my mind before I go to sleep.
Nick’s Quick Fixes to a Healthier Bedroom
Lights affect mood and can radically change the look of a space. For a seriously soothing bedroom avoid bright, stark lights and all-white ceilings and walls.
I love neutral backdrops and letting everything else talk. Cushions and throws in pops of colour, striking wall panels and statement furniture can bring warmth to an otherwise flat interior. Mixing light and dark woods – a particular feature of ‘Japandi’ style – can also create depth.
Sounds impacts your sleep. If noise is an issue in your house, try drowning it out with simple sound absorbers such as carpets, rugs, curtains and artwork on the walls.
Plants calm the mind and can even clean the air. Houseplants suit any décor, just make sure the pot matches your bedroom’s style. You’ll also need the right plant for your room.
Mess causes stress. Build in storage and only buy or keep what you need. Keep open storage for objet d’art, and closed storage for everything else.
For help making your home a better place, visit nicksnowdesign.co.uk