Meet pig. I bought him from a little Chinese gift shop called Mrs Red & Sons in Sydney, in a far fancier (pre-kids) galaxy a long time ago. My lifestyle has changed somewhat – I now live in a small mill town in the north west of England, less fashion-forward, more school run – but pig’s purpose remains: to stand guard at the front door and frown like fury, protecting the house from uninvited guests, evil spirits, nuisance callers and the like. Besides, he’s cute.
As a design journalist, it’s no massive leap of the mind to imagine there are certain homewares that I have a soft spot for. For instance, throws and baskets – I can never have enough. I’m a sucker for designer lighting that costs more than I’d dare to admit and I have a stack of beautiful, blank notebooks that outweigh my sum of notes.
On the quirkier end of my home love spectrum are my Chinese figurines. From my hand-painted papier-mâché pig to a miniature white glass elephant, these have hidden juju powers, if you choose to believe. Elephant is friendlier than pig, but it still wards off the unwanted. Not forgetting my lucky cat who faces south-east in my office-slash-dining-room, rhythmically waving his prosperous golden paw.
As part of my collection, I also have a rusty old horseshoe, a present on my wedding day that my dad unearthed while prepping the garden for the marquee. If that doesn’t signify good luck in my life, I don’t know what does.
Built on a love of things with beauty and meaning, people have been using objets d’art for wellbeing and good fortune since ancient times. While some opt for Chinese mythology, like me, others embrace the powers of rocks and crystals, of which I also have a few. “For me, it’s amazing to have them in the home. It’s a case of nature at its finest,” explains Victoria Forster, crystal expert and owner of the tantalising Notting Hill emporium Venusrox. For houses, she suggests amethyst as a good protection stone: “People often have these in doorways, clearing negative energy from the people coming in and wrapping you up in a protective bubble when you leave.”
At the end of the day, they make a pretty vignette on the mantelpiece. If they also happen to radiate good vibrations, then that’s a win-win for me
Luke Simon of the Maha Rose Centre for Healing in New York also believes in the benefits of crystals in the home: “In my experience, good luck is a result of cultivating positive energy inside.” He recommends quartz: “Its subtle benefits for clarifying and harmonizing are superb.”
Whether or not there is any tangible truth of objects bearing magical gifts, I’m a firm believer that our homes have the power to affect how we physically and mentally feel. For instance, a beautiful bunch of flowers immediately perks up you and your kitchen. A velvet blanket thrown over an old, comfy sofa not only feels good, it ramps up the glam factor.
Interiors will always have the ability to uplift, energise, relax and unwind us. To calm the mind, paint walls in soothing grey or blue-green. Or opt for decoration that’s easy-on-the-eye, like London-based interior designer Sussy Cazalet, who avoids geometric patterns: “The idea of a feature wall upsets my brain. For me, anything that jars the mind is bad design.” Nature-loving designer Sera Hersham-Loftus starts her day by watering the plants: “It’s quite cathartic. Some people do yoga – I water my plants.”
From the few drops of lavender in the bath (I’m on an upper/downer mix of soothing clary sage, camomile and reviving bergamot right now) to the auspicious positioning of beds in accordance to ley lines, things like feng shui, colour psychology and scent can all play a part in making our homes and ourselves feel good. And if we feel good in ourselves, then good things happen, right?
As for the animal charms, well, my superstitions are superficial… ish. At the end of the day, they make a pretty vignette on the mantelpiece. If they also happen to radiate good vibrations, then that’s a win-win for me. Sleep well, live well and, ideally, make money. The charms are in place. Now, I probably just need to get out more.