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10 tips for Decorating Your Shared Space and Creating Domestic Harmony

10 tips for Decorating Your Shared Space and Creating Domestic Harmony

Whether you are starting a new relationship and moving in together for the first time, have bought a new place that needs transformation or feel it is just time to redecorate your pad, successfully decorating your shared space is vital. These tips will help you find a balance between your tastes, creating an environment that highlights and complements your combined style.

1. Before you start, discuss together what you want to achieve and create a mood board.

Stop! Before you do anything and especially before you rush out to the interior design shop, discuss your ideas for your shared space. One idea is to create a mood board where you cut out images, place fabric swatches and colour chips to see what a potential design may look like. You may feel that creating one may be over the top but it can help you visualise and share ideas. (Think of it as a shared craft exercise!) Grab those magazines, don’t forget, you can get inspiration not only from the glossy pages of interior magazines and do it yourself specials, but also fashion and food magazines. If this doesn’t inspire your partner you will find that even car magazines can provide inspiration with  beautiful colours, tones and shades which will inspire your shared colour sense when you are decorating.

Decorating choices with colour swatches

    2. Select your colour palette for decorating perfection.

    Decide on a colour palette ensuring it is not too masculine or feminine to ensure there is harmony within your home, it ensures a room is not just for one partner. Step away from those obvious pinks and blues, leave ‘stereotyping’ a room colour for the nursery or children’s bedrooms.

    Think of colour temperatures that complement each room. If a room is blessed with being sunny from dawn until dusk, think cooler shades such as teals, greys or lilacs. If you want some warmth in your boudoir, head towards the reds, golds and purples. Get to your home improvement store and look at the variety of interior paints, make sure you pick up some sample pots to test colours in your rooms.

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    3. Consider how you live your life.

    What is central to your life? Is TV important to you or do you enjoy a roaring fire? Look to encompass how you will use your space and build your design around this. If you love to entertain, consider a large dining table where you can share dinner parties with friends. If you love sports or movies on the big screen you can create a comfortable viewing area for you to relax together. It’s all about how you spend your time and ensuring your interior suits this.

    4. Use special items as inspiration.

    Have you got one treasured item that you both love? It could be a particular vase, a picture frame which contains your favourite photograph, your favourite armchair or even something as silly as that cuddly animal toy you both bought at the zoo on your first date.

    Beautiful home

      Take these special items as your inspiration for the main colour palette for the central room in your life, where you’ll both be spending time.  It will always bring back special memories and gel the rest of the interior.

      5. Decide what’s in and what’s out.

      You need to take some time to decide what will you keep to be part of the new style and what just ‘has to go’. Do be ruthless – otherwise you will find that you will clutter your new space. Look to find the central, special items that you want to use as your focal points.  Just remember, don’t go for broke and get rid of everything!

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      You may not be able to get magazine shoot perfection in your interior, remember however that this is your home and not a studio set up for one photograph! You may strive to create just one style; however, you shouldn’t have to. Strike a balance between styles, it may create an eclectic look but it will be your look! It doesn’t matter that you’re dining chairs are all different or that you have differing styles of soft furniture.

      6. Give each other space.

      Your partner may feel they need their own space, whether it is his ‘man cave’ with the scruffy leather chair that he has had for years or you may want to create a feminine dressing room. If space allows, go for it. Utilize your spare bedroom, basement or even just the corner of a room to give each other your own personal space that you can each call your own.

      Comfortable recliners

        7. Use soft furnishings to accent and change up your interior.

        Don’t forget to use your soft furnishings as accents. Use your duvet cover and pillow cases as quick ways to inject colour and design into your bedroom or cushions on your sofas to provide a contrasting look.

        From large prints and embroidery to add impact, strips in blue or red to give a nautical look. You can also use blocks of complementary colours as a way to create a theme. Remember, they are the simplest things to change so if you feel you want a change or style, you can do it with a change of fabrics!

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        Bedroom soft furnishings

          8. Always remember, compromise is king.

          Neither of you will get everything you want in your interior design. It’s a fact of life that there will have to be compromise. So bear this in mind as you plan and decorate. Be ready to deviate from your plan, you will find that you will more likely create a design you can both live with.

          9. Use some of the tricks of the trade.

          There are numerous ‘tricks of the trade’ used by professional interior designers that you can use to make the most of your own rooms. Some of the most effective ‘quick wins’ are:

          • Use mirrors to make a space seem bigger. Well-placed mirrors will reflect light and make any room seem more spacious.
          • Be creative with lighting. Rather than just using overhead lighting, consider using table lamps and other creative lighting features such as LED colour changing lamps, which will allow you to totally change the atmosphere at the touch of a button. You can go from warm white to a cool wash of blue or green, and for party nights a funky disco style!
          • Pictures let you add interest. Use your wall space with pictures which mean something to both of you. Artwork can add colour and be a focal point for any room. Remember to hang them at eye level to ensure you make the most of them.

          10. Make it fun!

          Make every part of your interior design a shared activity. Enjoy a glass of wine as you plan and the promise of a nice night out to celebrate when you finish. Remember, even when you have decorated, it is not the end. Your décor and surroundings are a living thing. You can always be on the lookout for something that will ‘just look perfect’! A great interior design is a ‘living thing’.

          Once you have your design, here’s how to make it happen!

          When you have agreed on your perfect interior design you have the task of putting it all into place. If the thought of hard work makes your quake in fear, here are some pointers to make it more fun for both of you.

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          The key to ensuring a room looks fabulous is to make sure you spend the time preparing to decorate. Clear the room entirely (make your life easy by giving yourself the room to work!). Clean walls of old wallpaper thoroughly (an excuse to get steamy with a wallpaper stripper!), carefully sand any woodwork and clean any painted surfaces with Sugar Soap to make sure it is clean and ready for repainting.

          Basically it allows you to start with a clean blank canvas. Discuss what each of you will do (one of you might be taller so can reach higher for example, whilst the other takes more time because they like detail, so fine gloss painting would be a great task). Don’t expect just one of you to do all the prep work! You will need to work together to create a perfect room.

          Remember, there may be one of you who is more skilled in yielding a paint brush, it might be better than one takes the lead whilst the other supports and becomes the ‘labourer’ (However, for the sake of harmony don’t tell them this!). Don’t feel one of you must do everything. You will each have skills to share and you can make it a fun learning experience.

          Decorating is a fun activity that can bring a couple close together in a physical sense, as you share the same space whilst holding a ladder. Don’t forget, it can be great fun getting clean together after a hard day with a paint roller!

          If this has whet your appetite, you can find out more with this great infographic from  Z Gallerie, which will give you even more ways to achieve interior decor harmony.

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          Published on November 14, 2018

          Why You Suffer from Constant Fatigue and How to Deal with It

          Why You Suffer from Constant Fatigue and How to Deal with It

          With our busy, always on lives, it seems that more and more of us are facing constant tiredness and fatigue on a regular basis.

          For many people, they just take this in their stride as part of modern life, but for others the impact can be crippling and can have a serious effect on their sense of wellbeing, health and productivity.

          In this article, I’ll share some of the most common causes of constant tiredness and fatigue and give you some guidance and action steps you can take to overcome some of the symptoms of fatigue.

          Why Am I Feeling Fatigued?

          Fatigue is extreme tiredness resulting from mental or physical exertion or illness.  It is a reduction in the efficiency of a muscle or organ after prolonged activity.[1]

          It can affect anyone, and most adults will experience fatigue at some point in their life. 

          For many people, fatigue is caused by a combination of lifestyle, social, psychological and general wellbeing issues rather than an underlying medical condition.

          Although fatigue is sometimes described as tiredness, it is different to just feeling tired or sleepy. Everyone feels tired at some point, but this is usually resolved with a nap or a few nights of good sleep. Someone who is sleepy may also feel temporarily refreshed after exercising. If you are getting enough sleep, good nutrition and exercising regularly but still find it hard to perform, concentrate or be motivated at your normal levels, you may be experiencing a level of fatigue that needs further investigation. 

          Symptoms of Fatigue

          Fatigue can cause a vast range of physical, mental and emotional symptoms including:

          • chronic tiredness, exhaustion or sleepiness
          • mental blocks
          • lack of motivation
          • headache
          • dizziness
          • muscle weakness
          • slowed reflexes and responses
          • impaired decision-making and judgement
          • moodiness, such as irritability
          • impaired hand-to-eye coordination
          • reduced immune system function
          • blurry vision
          • short-term memory problems
          • poor concentration
          • reduced ability to pay attention to the situation at hand

          Causes of Fatigue

          The wide range of causes that can trigger fatigue include:

          • Medical causes: Constant exhaustion, tiredness and fatigue may be a sign of an underlying illness, such as a thyroid disorder, heart disease, anemia or diabetes.
          • Lifestyle-related causes: Being overweight and a lack of regular exercise can lead to feelings of fatigue.  Lack of sleep and overcommitting can also create feelings of excessive tiredness and fatigue.
          • Workplace-related causes: Workplace and financial stress in a variety of forms can lead to feelings of fatigue.
          • Emotional concerns and stress: Fatigue is a common symptom of mental health problems, such as depression and grief, and may be accompanied by other signs and symptoms, including irritability and lack of motivation.

          Fatigue can also be caused by a number of factors working in combination.

          Medical Causes of Fatigue

          If you have made lifestyle changes to increase your energy and still feel exhausted and fatigued, it may be time to seek guidance from your doctor.

          Here are a few examples of illnesses that can cause ongoing fatigue. Seek medical advice if you suspect you have a health problem:

          Anemia

          Anemia is a condition in which you don’t have enough healthy red blood cells to carry adequate oxygen to the body’s tissues. It is a common cause of fatigue in women.

          Having anemia may make you feel tired and weak.

          There are many forms of anemia, each with its own cause. Anemia can be temporary or long term, and it can range from mild to severe.[2]

          Chronic Fatigue Syndrome (CFS)

          Chronic Fatigue Syndrome (CFS) is a condition that can cause persistent, unexplained fatigue that interferes with daily activities for more than six months.

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          This is a chronic condition with no one-size-fits-all treatment, but lifestyle changes can often help ease some symptoms of fatigue.[3]

          Diabetes

          Diabetes can cause fatigue with either high or low blood sugars. When your sugars are high, they remain in the bloodstream instead of being used for energy, which makes you feel fatigued. Low blood sugar (glucose) means you may not have enough fuel for energy, also causing fatigue.[4]

          Sleep Apnea

          Sleep apnea is a serious sleep disorder where sufferers briefly stop breathing for short periods during sleep. Most people are not aware this is happening, but it can cause loud snoring, and daytime fatigue.

          Being overweight, smoking, and drinking alcohol can all worsen the symptoms of sleep apnea.[5]

          Thyroid disease

          An underactive thyroid gland means you have too little thyroid hormone (thyroxine) in your body. This makes you feel tired and you could also put on weight and have aching muscles and dry skin.[6]

          Common lifestyle factors that can cause fatigue include:

          • Lack of sleep
          • Too much sleep 
          • Alcohol and drugs 
          • Sleep disturbances 
          • Lack of regular exercise and sedentary behaviour 
          • Poor diet 

          Common workplace issues that can cause fatigue include:

          • Shift work: Our body is designed to sleep during the night. A shift worker may confuse their circadian clock by working when their body is programmed to be asleep.
          • Poor workplace practices: This may include long work hours, hard physical labour, irregular working hours (such as rotating shifts), a stressful work environment, boredom or working alone. 
          • Workplace stress – This can be caused by a wide range of factors including job dissatisfaction, heavy workload, conflicts with bosses or colleagues, bullying, or threats to job security.
          • Burnout: This could be striving too hard on one area of your life while neglecting others, which leads to a life that feels out of balance.

          Psychological Causes of Fatigue

          Psychological factors are present in many cases of extreme tiredness and fatigue.  These may include:

          • Depression: Depression is characterised by severe and prolonged feelings of sadness, dejection and hopelessness. People who are depressed commonly experience chronic fatigue.
          • Anxiety and stress: Someone who is constantly anxious or stressed keeps their body in overdrive. The constant flooding of adrenaline exhausts the body, and fatigue sets in.
          • Grief: Losing a loved one causes a wide range of emotions including shock, guilt, depression, despair and loneliness.

          How to Tackle Constant Fatigue

          Here are 12 ways you can start tackling the causes of fatigue and start feeling more energetic.

          1. Tell The Truth

          Some people can numb themselves to the fact that they are overtired or fatigued all the time. In the long run, this won’t help you.

          To give you the best chance to overcome or eliminate fatigue, you must diagnose and tell the truth about the things that are draining your energy, making you tired or causing constant fatigue.

          Once you’re honest with yourself about the activities you’re doing in your life that you find irritating, energy-draining, and make you tired on a regular basis you can make a commitment to stop doing them.

          The help that you need to overcome fatigue is available to you, but not until you tell the truth about it. The first person you have to sell on getting rid of the causes of fatigue is yourself.

          One starting point is to diagnose the symptoms. When you start feeling stressed, overtired or just not operating at your normal energy levels make a note of:

          • How you feel
          • What time of day it is
          • What may have contributed to your fatigue
          • How your mind and body reacts

          This analysis may help you identify, understand and then eliminate very specific causes.

          2. Reduce Your Commitments

          When we have too many things on our plate personally and professionally, we can feel overstretched, causing physical and mental fatigue.

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          If you have committed to things you really don’t want to do, this causes irritability and low emotional engagement. Stack these up throughout your day and week, then your stress levels will rise.

          When these commitments have deadlines associated with them, you may be trying to cram in far too much in a short period of time.  This creates more stress and can affect your decision making ability.

          Start being realistic about how much you can get done. Either reduce the commitments you have or give yourself more time to complete them in.

          3. Get Clear On Your Priorities

          If working on your list of to-do’s or goals becomes too overwhelming, start reducing and prioritizing the things that matter most.

          Start with prioritizing just 3 things every day. When you complete those 3 things, you’ll get a rush of energy and your confidence will grow.

          If you’re trying to juggle too many things and are multi-tasking, your energy levels will drop and you’ll struggle to maintain focus.

          Unfinished projects can make you self-critical and feel guilty which drops energy levels further, creating inaction.

          Make a list of your 3 MIT (Most Important Tasks) for the next day before you go to bed. This will stop you overcommitting and get you excited about what the next day can bring.

          4. Express More Gratitude

          Gratitude and confidence are heavily linked. Just being thankful for what you have and what you’ve achieved increases confidence and makes you feel more optimistic.

          It can help you improve your sense of wellbeing, which can bring on feelings of joy and enthusiasm.

          Try starting a gratitude journal or just note down 3 things you’re grateful for every day.

          5. Focus On Yourself

          Exhaustion and fatigue can arrive by focusing solely on other people’s needs all the time, rather than worrying about and focusing on what you need (and want).

          There are work commitments, family commitments, social commitments. You may start with the best intentions, to put in your best performance at work, to be an amazing parent and friend, to simply help others.

          But sometimes, we extend ourselves too much and go beyond our personal limits to help others. That’s when constant exhaustion can creep up on us.  Which can make us more fatigued.

          We all want to help and do our best for others, but there needs to be some balance. We also need to take some time out just for ourselves to recharge and rejuvenate.

          6. Set Aside Rest and Recovery Time

          Whether it’s a couple of hours, a day off, a mini-break or a proper holiday, time off is essential to help us recover, recharge and refocus.

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          Recovery time helps fend off mental fatigue and allows us to simply kick back and relax.

          The key here, though, is to remove ourselves from the daily challenges that bring on tiredness and fatigue. Here’s how.

          Can you free yourself up completely from work and personal obligations to just rest and recover?

          7. Take a Power Nap

          When you’re feeling tired or fatigued and you have the ability to take a quick 20-minute nap, it could make a big difference to your performance for the rest of the day.

          Napping can improve learning, memory and boost your energy levels quickly.

          This article on the benefit of napping is a useful place to start if you want to learn more: How a 20-Minute Nap at Work Makes You Awake and Productive the Whole Day

          8. Take More Exercise

          The simple act of introducing some form of physical activity into your day can make a huge difference. It can boost energy levels, make you feel much better about yourself and can help you avoid fatigue.

          Find something that fits into your life, be that walking, going to the gym, running or swimming. 

          The key is to ensure the exercise is regular and that you are emotionally engaged and committed to stick with it.

          You could also walk more which will help clear your head and shift your focus away from stressful thoughts.

          9. Get More Quality Sleep

          To avoid tiredness, exhaustion and fatigue, getting enough quality sleep matters. 

          Your body needs sleep to recharge.  Getting the right amount of sleep every night can improve your health, reduce stress levels and help us improve our memory and learning skills.

          My previous article on The Benefits of Sleep You Need to Know will give you some action steps to start improving your sleep. 

          10. Improve Your Diet

          Heavy or fatty meals can make you feel sluggish and tired, whilst some foods or eating strategies do just the opposite.

          Our always on lives have us reaching for sweets or other sugary snacks to give us a burst of energy to keep going. Unfortunately, that boost fades quickly which can leave you feeling depleted and wanting more.

          On the other hand, whole grains and healthy unsaturated fats supply the reserves you can draw on throughout the day.

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          To keep energy up and steady, it’s a good idea to limit refined sugar and starches.

          Eating small meals and healthy snacks every few hours throughout the day provides a steady supply of nutrients to body and brain. It’s also important not to skip breakfast.

          Eating a balanced diet helps keep your blood sugar in a normal range and prevents that sluggish feeling when your blood sugar drops.

          11. Manage Your Stress Levels

          Stress is one of the leading causes of exhaustion and fatigue, and can seriously affect your health.

          When you have increased levels of stress at work and at home, it’s easy to feel exhausted all the time. 

          Identifying the causes of stress and then tackling the problems should be a priority. 

          My article on How to Help Anxiety When Life is Stressing You Out shares 16 strategies you can use to overcome stress.

          12. Get Hydrated

          Sometimes we can be so busy that we forget to keep ourselves fully hydrated.

          Water makes up about 60 percent of your body weight and is essential in maintaining our body’s basic functions.

          If we don’t have enough water, it can adversely affect our mental and physical performance, which leads to tiredness and fatigue.

          The recommended daily amount is around two litres a day, so to stay well hydrated keep a water bottle with you as much as possible.

          The Bottom Line

          These 12 tips can help you reduce your tiredness and feeling of fatigue.  Some will work better than others as we are all different, whilst others can be incorporated together in your daily life.

          If you’ve tried to make positive changes to reduce fatigue and you still feel tired and exhausted, it may be time to consider making an appointment with your doctor to discuss your condition.

          Featured photo credit: Annie Spratt via unsplash.com

          Reference

          [1]Oxford English Dictionary: Definition of fatigue
          [2]NHS Choices: 10 Reasons for feeling tired
          [3]Verywellhealth: What is chronic fatigue syndrome
          [4]Everyday Health: Why does type 2 diabetes make you feel tired
          [5]Mayo Clinic: Sleep apnea
          [6]Harvard Health: The lowdown on thyroid slowdown

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