Restful Retreats by Rosie Kinsella

Posted 11th January 2024

With the frenzy of Christmas behind us, January is a great month for hunkering down, relaxing and enjoying the long nights of winter. Where once, January was my least favourite month, now I relish the opportunity to stay in and surround myself with soft lighting and textured cushions and blankets, retreating from the world for just a few weeks more before the activity of the spring and the demands of the longer days kick in.

Of all the rooms in the house, our bedrooms make the best sanctuaries. Much of our homes are now either open plan and multifunctional, or are spaces dedicated to working from home. Being able to escape to our bedrooms to find solace, and peace and quiet away from the noise, is quite a luxury.

A bedroom is the perfect place to transform into a snug setting and it can be done easily, effortlessly, and economically, which is perfect if we’re feeling the post-Christmas pinch.

When you start to pack away the decorations, why not select some to keep out? Anything with a starry, icicle or snowflake theme is arguably more suited to being on display in wintery January than it is in mild December. Hang decorations on your wardrobe door or drawer handles, drape fairy lights over your headboard or wrap them around your mirror or bedposts. If you like subtle lighting but prefer not to use fairy lights, LED candles are a safe and realistic alternative. Suitable for shelves, bedside tables, and non-working fireplaces, they can be remote controlled for use from the bed, or timer controlled to enable you to drift off to sleep without having to turn everything off.

Another way to give your bedroom a cosy uplift is to switch your soft furnishings for those that are thicker, warmer, and more textured. Think knitted blankets, faux sheepskin rugs and chunky throws, ideal for snuggling amongst when reading a book or watching tv.

If you’ve been given any new ornaments, photo frames, books, or pictures for Christmas, find space for them on shelves within your bedroom. Christmas can be hectic, so it’s therapeutic to be able to spend time organising your things and putting new possessions away. Bedrooms are ideally suited to being personalised but don’t let them get too cluttered. Ideally, arrange items in groups of three and think about the spacing, height and prominence of objects.

For the ultimate way to unwind, invest in a diffuser. Research suggests aromatherapy helps to lower stress, decrease anxiety, reduce depression, and improves sleep quality. The best essential oils for promoting relaxation are lavender, rose, chamomile, geranium, jasmine, sweet marjoram, and bergamot. If you’d rather stay with something seasonal (but different from the fir, cinnamon, and clove scents of Christmas) then try orange, vanilla or sandalwood.

Flowers aren’t synonymous with January, but you can still find ways to bring the garden into your bedroom. Global media company Forbes recently reported that house plants can reduce stress and improve health, citing that rooms with plants have cleaner air, better feng shui, are ‘emotionally cheering’ and prettier. Early daffodils and snowdrops might be available in your garden or to buy in garden centres. Failing that, houseplants can be bought all year round. Woody stems make for beautifully architectural arrangements and dried bouquets offer a sustainable option.

With the taste of Irish coffees, mulled wine and hot chocolate still on our lips, warm drinks are a great way to relax ourselves and lighten our mood. In a bedroom, a coffee machine or teasmade makes for a wonderful addition. During Sleep Awareness Week last year, writer Grace Simple claimed that the coffee maker on her bedside table made her more excited to wake up, served as her snooze button (she hits the start button as a snooze then fully rises when it’s finished), and functioned as a buffer-worthy ritual that gave her some quiet time in bed before she got up to face the day.

January is a long month with many hours of darkness and typically lots of icy mornings. But if you get your décor right – with atmospheric lighting, comforting soft furnishings, shelving displays that are well-considered, a new fragrance, beautiful house plants and tea and coffee on tap – then you’re sure to love being at home. You may even be disappointed when February is suddenly upon us!

Rosie Kinsella
Interior Designer
01604 751262