Feel the Feng Shui
Whether you’re an introvert who loves a night in, or a nocturnal animal who thrives in the moonlight, everyone deserves to zen out when they arrive back to their humble abode. The home is a place to collect your thoughts in the morning before the day begins and to recharge at night. In this article, Simi West explores how to create a harmonious kitchen environment through clever design and nifty inclusions to promote a healthier body and mind.
MAKE FRIENDS WITH PLANTS
Plants have feelings, too. They’re just like us! Just make sure you give them the water and attention they need. If you’re short on time or prone to (unintentionally!) killing your plants, succulents are the perfect, low-maintenance option to enhance your kitchen space. There is an abundance of plants that have been proven to reduce stress and anxiety, producing calming effects on the body and mind. Some ancient plants to consider are aloe vera, jasmine and lavender. A species in the succulent family, aloe vera is a herbal remedy that has been around for centuries. The aloe vera plant is known to be one of the most powerful plant air purifiers and help to remove harmful chemicals like formaldehyde and benzene from the air. It’s also a low maintenance plant, as it requires minimal water and attention. In fact, the Egyptians famously nicknamed it the ‘plant of immortality’ due to its resilience. You too can transform your kitchen into an eye-catching space with an assortment of plants that are guaranteed to enhance relaxation while cooking or enjoying a cup of tea with friends.
Another worthwhile idea is to invest in rubber plants, also known as ‘Ficus elastica’. As some nasty toxins can be released into the air from furniture and flooring, rubber plants have the power to eliminate harmful toxins like formaldehyde from the air. While these rubber plants are not for your average suburban backyard, they are an excellent addition to an indoor space, and can grow up to 40 metres tall. Another plant that is bound to make your kitchen a happier, livelier hub is the philodendron. Philodendron care is easy because the plant can survive indoors and outdoors, oscillating easily between the two environments and adapting to the conditions of your home. Even inexperienced houseplant owners won’t encounter any issues with the help of sunlight, water and good fertiliser
FEEL THE GOOD FENG SHUI
The term ‘feng shui’ literally translates to ‘windwater’ in English. A pseudoscience originating from ancient China, it is also known as Chinese geomancy. Feng shui claims to use energy forces to harmonise individuals with their surrounding environment. It’s important that your kitchen exudes good energy, as the mess and smells can directly affect your health and well-being.
The first step is to rid the home of any clutter. According to Marie Kondo, Japanese organising consultant and author, each and every item in your home should have a purpose and should bring you joy, and if clutter is minimised and the home looks good, you too will feel good. Kitchens are a yang room, which are not always serene, since they are filled with fire and bustling activities. To combat this, a neutral colour palette with little pops of pastel can help mellow your kitchen. If you plan on entertaining guests often, opt for bright, bold splashes of colour for your outdoor areas.
STEP INTO THE LIGHT
Lighting plays a vital role in how people feel in their home. While most kitchens are basked in beautiful natural light during the day, feature pendant lights are an excellent addition for when they sun goes down. You can also invest in dimmers or downlights to make the transition from day to night more palatable. Another feature to consider is skylights; commonly used in older properties, skylights are making their way back into vogue. Skylights are perfect for harnessing natural light in summer and during colder seasons they act as solar heaters, bringing the heat in and combating the seasonal blues – providing homeowners with a clearer headspace. It is best to design your kitchen with lighting in mind as a brighter, sunnier kitchen is especially beneficial to your mental and physical health!
OPEN-PLAN FOR AN OPEN MIND
Open-plan living is a popular trend many homeowners are embracing when designing their dream kitchen. This type of living eliminates barriers such as walls or doors and combines two or more rooms into a single space. Alternatively, have your designer create a broken-plan layout. This establishes distinct zones within an openplan layout by using different styles of floor finishes and split-level partitions, like half-walls or bookcases. This way, you can have elements of open-plan living, while maintaining a clear distinction between your kitchen, living and dining areas. To create better flow within your home, install large, glass windows or bi-fold doors, which are perfect for establishing a sense of openness between your indoor and outdoor zones.
If one of your 2020 goals is to re-style and invigorate your space, capitalising on natural light and creating your indoor plant sanctuary is an excellent first step in greenifying your home and will set a precedent for the rest of the year. With a few minor tweaks, good feng shui will be flowing throughout the kitchen and you’ll soon be on your way to not only a healthier home, but a more relaxed body and a focused mind.
Projects displayed: Artedomus, Smith & Smith Kitchens, Christian Mackie and Priscilla du Preez