Delving deeper than decor to explore the power of home as a path to wellbeing #happyinside

January 8, 2020

January 2020 Newsletter

A bumper January missive to share what I’ve been upto since my last newsletter and what’s coming up. Especially as I decided to skip doing a July-December update post. And so, my big (actually, only) New Year’s resolution is to get more efficient at sharing my news. The goal from now on therefore is one post a week. Some may be pieces that have previously been published in print. So posted in case you missed them (plus I can add in links and pictures). Others will be whatever I’m currently musing on. And then the occasional newsletter as more of a round-up. So here we go…

The power of colour

As you’ll know from my Instagram feed, the power of colour to transform any space and impact your emotions is a great passion. Personally I’m drawn to what I call dirty colours, shades muted by a big dollop of grey. But then I like to add an accent of something spicy to give them a lift. I like the contrast. The way one pushes the other.

But I’m very particular about the precise shades employed and as such LOVE to write about such colour nuances. In particular, the subconsious messages behind variants of any shade. So, over the last few months, I’ve been busy evaluating both the Dulux and Pantone 2020 Colours of the Year. Click the links to read as first published on Dezeen.

Updated/expanded versions with more images can be found here.

paint dulux green 2020

The Dulux 2020 Colour of the Year ‘Tranquil Dawn’: a pale, slightly greyish green to inspire serenity (shown in background) alongside an accompanying palette of supporting shades. The ‘Meaning’ palette.

blue pantone colour paint 2020

The Pantone 2020 Colour of the Year ‘Classic Blue’: intended to “challenge us to think more deeply, increase our perspective and open the flow of communication”.

A Decade of Colour

But as well as commenting on other brand’s predictions for the 2020 Colours of the Year, which all launch in January, I also look back over ‘A Decade in Colour’.

This was a feature commissioned by The Financial Times: How to Spend It magazine for a Future-Facing special edition. Published on December 14th 2019, it charts change through the lens of colour trends. I also share my thoughts on what I think is coming next. More on that soon too.

Instagram colour moodboard

Some of the colours I’ve explored via my Instagram feed in 2019. But which ones were particularly significant over this last decade?

Talking colour and curtains

Very excited to announce my work as a brand ambassador for the Thomas Sanderson ‘Collaboration in Colour’ with Harlequin campaign.

Thomas Sanderson are renowned for their excellence in bespoke curtains and roman blinds. Harlequin for their glorious fabrics. So a perfect partnership was born for a special collaborative collection. All they needed was a stickler for colour combining to pick her favourite fabrics and make some moodboards. And that would be me! Happy days.

Click the following link for a 2-minute introductory film about our work together. Thomas Sanderson Collaboration in Colour with Harlequin And from there you can check out my top three colourways for January too.

Filming in the studio for Thomas Sanderson and Harlequin. PS My top is by Oscar del la Renta!

Filming in the studio for Thomas Sanderson and Harlequin. PS My top is by Oscar del la Renta!

colour curtains moodboard gold

One of my moodboards for the Thomas Sanderson ‘A Collaboration in Colour’ with Harlequin

Trend Report 2020

On the subject of what’s coming next my 2020 Interiors Trend report is also now up on Dezeen. It details the seven trends that I feel will be significant over the coming year and beyond.

Albeit, this is my opening paragraph… The dawn of a new decade invariably gives rise to a whole host of grandiose pronouncements about new trends and cultural shifts for the next ten years. But in truth, there’s only one thing that we can be absolutely certain of. Change will be the only constant.

An extended version of that report is here.

trend report #2

I was also honoured to write the foreword to the Geberit 2020 Trends Report. Available throughout January, it’s a beautiful printed volume that includes expert opinion on other aspects of home like Designing for Emotion by biophilic design champion, Oliver Heath. And The Intelligent Bathroom by Emily Murray of @pinkhouseliving.

January 2020 moodboard

More products get made.com

A while back now, I worked with made.com to curate a range of products from up-and-coming designers through its TalentLab platform. Nearly all of these are now available to buy online. And the latest to drop is the ‘Enso’ flower holder.

It’s inspired by Japanese Ikebana flower arranging and designed in mango wood and brass (£29) by Corinna Göhlich. Shown below is an early prototype that I was playing around with at home!

One of my other faves were the ‘Schema’ geometric mirrors, in brass and tinted glass (small, £99, large £129). These are also now available to buy. See the whole collection and read more here.

vase wood brass

Enso vase designed in mangowood and brass by Corinna Göhlich for made.com, part of a special collection curated by me.


The ‘Schema’ mirror in situ on my study display shelves.

The Great Indoors came over…

The inimitable Sophie Robinson and Kate Watson-Smythe, they of the fabulous podcast, The Great Indoors, came round to MO HQ. We had wonderful chats and covered a lot of ground, including me rendering KWS speecless with my design crime.

You can listen to it all here… http://thegreatindoors.libsyn.com/at-home-with-michelle-ogundehin

Kate Watson-Smythe and Sophie Robinson, hosts of the fabulous The Great Indoors podcast.

In the garden with Kate Watson-Smythe and Sophie Robinson, hosts of the fabulous The Great Indoors podcast.

Generally getting organised

I am eternally on a mission to streamline my life admin, empty my in-box and meet all my deadlines. And I think I’ve finally found the definitive tool to help me in the form of The Circle Planner!

It’s a notebook/diary/organiser that helps you to achieve three specifically articulated goals over a three-month period. (BTW I completely concur on the 90-days to ingrain a new habit/change your life/instil a new discipline thing). I bought it to start in January, but then got so excited, I had to begin right away!

It works by making you write out the three goals you wish to achieve up front. It’s then formatted to help you break each of these down into key steps. Then further microsteps through to completion week by week, and day by day.

My goals then for January to March are to redesign this website. The last throes of my book. And the design of a new back garden. No biggies then! But the point is, when faced with only the big picture, it can be paralysing. But break it down, and you can start to see a clear way through to chip away at anything bit by bit.

I find it’s also massively helping me to prioritise what order things need to be done in too. And one month in, I can already see progress. I’m also feeling a lot less overwhelmed. PS this is not an ad, or a sponsored post, I’m just sharing because it’s really working for me!

circle planner organiser diary

The Circle Planner designed by Paper x Design. Available in navy, yellow, rose and teal. £30. www.paperdesign.co

And about that book…

It will be published 30 April and you can pre-order it on amazon here!

This is the official back-of-jacket blurb…

Be happier, healthier and more empowered with Michelle Ogundehin’s nine-step practical guide to creating a space in which to feel truly at home.

Whether your home is owned or rented, small or large, and regardless of how much money you have, Michelle shows you how to harness its potential in pursuit of becoming your best self. Because, if you want to feel calm, content, soothed or energized, you must begin with what surrounds you.

Happy Inside covers everything from how to create more light and space to how to get a good night’s sleep; the path to a perfect sofa and why a dining table is your most vital piece of furniture. Plus, how to decorate to promote joy; the importance of play (and circular side tables) and why a tidy home isn’t necessarily a happy one.

The healthy home revolution starts here!

HappyInside: How to harness the power of home for health and happiness. Published 30 April 2020. Ebury Press.

HappyInside: How to harness the power of home for health and happiness. Published 30 April 2020. Ebury Press.

Last thoughts…

Two Netflix documentaries that I watched recently and feel the need to flag. Not that I’m necessarily endorsing all points made in them, but I found them very thought-provoking. The Great Hack will have you re-thinking how you view the value of your data. “The most valuable asset on earth” according to a former insider at Cambridge Analytica.

And in light of the rise and rise of veganism, The Game Changers, which even features former daily steak-inhaler Arnold Schwarzenegger endorsing a meat-free diet! Certainly there’s no argument that we all need to eat a load more vegetables, but this is what I wrote in my book.

I’d be interested to know what you think as it’s two short paragraphs that I ended up re-writing three or four times as it’s clearly a sensitive and complex issue that covers personal ethics and the impact of the climate as well as nutrition.

Go meat-free on weekdays. Eating a vegetarian meal a minimum of once or twice a week is the perfect way to boost your vegetable intake. Do it four or five times and you’ll likely save money as well as significantly support your wellbeing.

Nevertheless, a diet that contains a degree of good-quality grass-fed meat, fish (small, middle-of-the-food-chain species to limit exposure to mercury), organic eggs and a little dairy produce can be perfectly healthy too.

After all, even in the blue zones of the world — those areas where the occupants markedly outlive the rest of us — while their diet is 95% plant-based, on average they also regularly consume small portions (2-3 oz) of meat up to five times a month.

They eat fish three times a week. And add an egg into their meals about 3 times per week. So, plant-based on weekdays with a roast on Sunday, is my recommended way to go.

But if following a strictly vegetarian or vegan diet, it’s important to bear in mind the following. Soya, as the base of many meals, must be organic and GMO-free to avoid the vast amounts of pesticides commonly used on such crops.

The ingredient labels of ‘fast’ vegetarian/vegan foods too need to be read very carefully as some frozen faux meats contain high levels of preservatives, processed oils and salt. Some vegan desserts and ice creams too contain above average levels of starch, gums, pectins and sugar to achieve the right consistency.

Finally seitan, used to create some vegan dishes, is made from wheat gluten, so no good for anyone who is coeliac or gluten-sensitive.

All this aside, one of my absolute favourite ingredients is an ostensibly vegan food. Dried yeast flakes made from inactive yeast. With its cheesy, nutty flavour, it’s a rich source of B vitamins and minerals. And you can sprinkle it liberally over almost anything, although it’s especially tasty on roasted cauliflower

PS Thank you for reading this, and if you’d like to know when I next post something, you can subscribe here.

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Writer, Author, Brand Consultant & TV Presenter

Michelle Ogundehin is internationally renowned as an authority on interiors, trends and style. She is an influencer with expertise and the multi award-winning former Editor-in-Chief of ELLE Decoration UK.