Reading and Lounging

I’ve noticed, of late, the incorporation of books into, let’s call it, ‘space-styling’. Shop window displays – whether selling perfume or interiors will use the carefully placed spines of novels stacked on top of each other as a sort of palette to illustrate their wares. They are stacked vertically or in the more traditional horizontal row. Books are being used to sell other products like a model typically would. And the appeal is obvious. Books come in many different sizes, of varying thickness and texture, and an array of colours. They can collectively add form and stylistically can convey a feeling, a sense of place, smell even. I’m an avid reader and enjoy books for the world building, story-telling, and social commentary that can be found between their pages but I also love the look of my bookshelves piled with them in all directions – the varying dimensions, some tall and solid, some small and bendy. Quickly running out of space, threatening to fall and hastily being reassembled until a new one comes along and space needs to somehow be found to accommodate it. My walls would be naked and look rather sad without the many books stacked against them.

Although I always tend to gravitate towards a particular style and aesthetic, my mood on a given day can also determine what I want to read, and book cover design is a large part of this too. My bibliophilic tendencies do not yet include the owning of the same book in many different editions with varying cover art; but I know that day soon will come. Especially given the type of reader that I am. I enjoy taking my time over a book; reading it over a drawn out period. I just like to have a particular book that I’m reading at a given time, and I like that same book to occupy space in my bag for a while. This coupled with the fact that my tastes are admittedly narrow and not at all that broad when it comes to genre; most definitely means that in order to keep up with my impulsive obsession with buying a new book, titles will have to start repeating themselves.

My preferred genres are Classics, Dystopian, Modern Classic (Black Authored), Darkly Comedic/Satirical.

Although that all seems rather heavy, I do love a nicely designed cover – some examples of what has caught my eye:

Pulp! the Classics have modern entertainers moonlighting as classic heros/antiheros on their covers along with tag lines that really sell the concept.

Vintage Minis utilise a smooth, clean, colour-block style palette to illustrate the neatness of excerpts taken from the tomes of great classic and modern authors communicating their ideas, philosophies, and social autopsies.

I’ve picked some cover examples of the following from books included on my digital book shelf

Sketch-style illustration I find these particularly fun and creative editions to any collection of books.

Typeface A striking typeface can be a big draw on the edition of the book that I choose to purchase. If its done in an interesting or quirky way, and the bolder the better then I am sold.

Photographic Whereby the appreciation of a well taken photo is what reels me in particularly when looking for a cook book, reference book, or travel guide.

The latter category of books are the type that I open while reclined in my POÄNG Armchair or in the mini-reading nook beside my terrace window. Funnily, I am at my most suggestible to colour saturation, the pull of far away places, and deceptively easy-looking recipes when I’m lounging very comfortably at home.

Scented Spaces

One of the most, in my opinion, important aspects of creating a pleasing interior space is not the things you put inside and where you place them or even the colour pallette you choose for the walls and floors. It is the sensory landscape that you define. Scent can transform a simply nice room, into a room that makes you feel any numbers of ways – relaxed, energized, artistic, inspired.

In my bite-sized flat I’ve managed to cultivate a sensory landscape that varies by room. I’ve tried to do this as organically as possible, by avoiding overly pungent and artificial smells that intrusively overwhelm.

My home consists of four complementary scent profiles that provide a pleasing olfactory experience in each individual space, created with simple reed diffusers; some of which I get from my local eco shop. I’m an avid fan of reed diffusers because they strike a good balance and allow the scent to filter through the air gradually. It is a much nicer way to experience fragrance than being assaulted with a wall of scent. The scents I’ve chosen work well together in a small space.

My BedroomVintage Rose; I love this. The diffuser is close to my bed so this pleasing floral scent is the first thing I smell in the morning. At night it has a warmer; heavier character.

My KitchenWild Fig; a full Mediterranean scent like the savoury meals I enjoy and try to replicate in my kitchen (with very little success).

My BathroomMandarin & Lime; a clean and sort of astringent scent; yet very refreshing and non-toxic, the zestyness bursts throughout the room.

Landing areaMoroccan Rose; a huskier rose, equally as heady as the vintage.

 

Bonus scent

I love scented candles too but find them to be less effective. Oil burning; however, is a great way to get intense scent but I don’t like using oil burners. So I divised a makeshift method of obtaining the soothing presence of a burning candle with the scent intensity of oil – I do this rarely; just when I want to temporarily inject another scent profile into the room. I take a few simple, non-fragranced tea lights; a mixture of brand new and pre-burnt and drip scented oil on to the wax, going around the candle wick. When it burns it gives off an intense scent that I find to be more soothing than a scented candle, maybe because the fragrance is slightly indirect it feels to be intense but softer as well. I’m currently using a Rain fragrance oil with this method. It’s like mimicking a sudden shower on a spring day and it really freshens up the room with a burst of intensity.   

Other options

I used to be a big fan of incense but I now prefer a lighter, more clean fragrance so I no longer burn it. However, if you’re a fan of heavy scents with a lot of punch then you can’t go wrong with incense. I’ve also recently discovered burning papers and picked up a box of Papier d'Armenie a few weeks ago. Whilst the Rose scent is not conducive to burning as, in my opinion, it gives off a pungent, sickly sweet perfume aroma; the Armenie is fantastic and perfect, as prescribed, for burning after cooking or generally more for the removal of unwanted odors. I generally don’t like room sprays but the Forest Essentials Bengal Tuberose manages to be strong but pleasant and somehow dissipates in an organic way so it doesn’t seem to hang in the air unceremoniously. I discovered this Ayurveda brand whilst in India and am happy to have done so.  

Although I have my preferred methods of adding fragrance to the home there are many to experiment with. You’ll notice that nowhere have I mentioned supermarket spray air freshener or plug-in air freshener because I find anything that is wholly artificial and too intense is off-putting and I feel that they do more damage than good in terms of air quality. I would always suggest as organic an option as you can find within budget that you will not tire of easily; because one of the great features of reed diffusers for example is that they last for many months so they are actually a cost effective way of fragrancing the home.    

 

Plants (in lieu of curtains)

I’m not a fan of the emergence and overuse of the word ‘hack’ to describe a tip, or best practice, or a helpful hint on how to do something typical in an uncommon way; so I’ll not deploy it in this piece. But, given the nature of what I’m about to write about and the fact that I’m publishing this on the web; it would seem fitting if I were more inclined to speaking in jargon.

I’m always thinking of ways to add a flourish to my flat that don’t necessarily take up a lot of space but add texture to make my living space more dynamic. One such discovery I made is in the title of this blog post and that is to use plants on the window in my kitchen and bedroom to create some privacy, as you would typically get with curtains. Why, you may ask. Well firstly, and unoriginally, why not? Curtains and blinds are so common so why not try something different. Now that the cliché bit is out of the way; I’ll expand. If, like, me you haven’t invested in a pair of curtains because you live in rented accommodation/ are cheap/ think of them as old-fashioned/ were born in the eighties or later/ live alone and are not that handy with light tools/ again, cheap - as in can’t be bothered to pay for a handyman then you are reading the right person to make you a) feel better about your choices and b) impart reasons why you should do this that put you in a better, more creative light when receiving visitors and not wanting to admit to any of the aforementioned characteristics (admittedly, as one decade is the ‘new’ earlier decade nowadays (see 30s are the new 20s and all of that) we’re no longer inclined to have to lie about our age so you can keep that one). Let me just add the caveat that if you instead utilize blinds as a consequence of all of the above then you can also use this method if, again like me, you worry that they are prone to being broken by your clumsy maneuverings.  

So, using plants as window dressing and in lieu of curtains with your blinds pulled firmly and permanently all the way up is a creative way to allow for a measure of privacy and to improve the air quality of your tiny flat (just me?, ok). Practicality and science on a budget! Plants look beautiful and picking them according to the height of your window can increase or decrease your privacy in line with your preferences. Plants can be arranged in any order of assortments – they generally play nice with each other, so you don’t have to have an unbroken line of identical plants of equal height. In fact I encourage you to favour creativity over, admittedly modest, privacy.

Let me fertilize this idea with some facts. Indoor plants benefit the air quality of your home and your body and mind. They do this by:

  • Reducing levels of carbon dioxide in the air which is known to negatively affect cognitive function
  • *Certain plants actually increase oxygen in the air which is beneficial for the body
  • Reducing airborne dust which helps you maintain your cherished furnishings as dust is minimised.
  • Helps you to relax and de-stress

What could be a lovelier alternative to heavy, fussy floral curtains requiring periodic professional cleaning than the real deal? A row of potted plants of varying heights and colours. And don’t forget to mix it up with an assortment of plants pots as well. If you find it challenging to take care of live plants, I promise you; if you do your research you can find the most low-maintenance plant breed that you can easily handle. But also feel free to find a gorgeous fake plant or two if it’s easier and you’re happy to miss out on the health benefits.  

This is a fantastic way to add some vibrancy to your interior space on a modest budget but that makes a big impact. Take a look at my mood board below to give you some ideas of how you can go about windowscaping.  

LOOA loves to...

Welcome to LOOA; an interior brand with a difference. I love the furniture, angles and textile flourishes that give a space character and make it look good, so I wanted to create my own homewares product. I thought about what I like about being at home, and it’s a non-tangible thing. It’s the feeling of being comfortable; fully at ease and relaxed and I’m able to feel this way when I’m actually doing things that I love.

I love to –

 

Curl up in a comfortable chair and read a book or magazine.

Read a few chapters of a book on my kindle app in bed before falling asleep.  

Scroll through the news on my phone first thing in the morning (from my comfortable bed).

Lounge in bed long after the natural light of a new day has woken me up. 

 

So there is a theme. I am unashamedly lazy in that I love nothing better than to be reclined (at varying degrees) while indulging a healthy love for the written word be it on paper or a mobile screen.

I love other things too; although do them less frequently. Sketching, knitting, writing, and crossword puzzles - all from the comfort of my bed.

So clearly I designed a product that would be compatible with my bed/chair reading habits; accommodate my sporadic hobbyist tendencies, and, as I’m no carpenter but absolutely love fabric and patterns, I went with textile for the material.

My Home Storage Sleeve is a twist on a basic concept. A mobile storage solution that is versatile, and also looks lovely.   

Take a look at the portfolio to get some ideas on how you can use my Home Storage Sleeve for the things you love.