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The Spring Spruce-Up

Spring has finally sprung, and what better way to embrace the new season than by giving your home design a bit of a refresh?

While winter calls for a cosy and warm atmosphere, if your space is looking a little too lived-in after the colder months, then this one’s for you. Here to guide us through the process are founders of Hong Kong design firm STUDIO ADJECTIVE, Emily Ho and Wilson Lee. The duo is behind some of Hong Kong’s loveliest spaces — including NOC COFFEE CO. on Gough Street, LittleCoveEspresso and hip co-working space Garage Collective — and a host of other beautiful venues around Asia.

Fitting for the season of blossoms and buds, Ho and Lee are firm believers in the magic of plants to rejuvenate any space. Plants are always on-trend, they’re inexpensive and their effect can be seen and felt immediately (as opposed to, say, devoting your weekend to self-assembling furniture or repainting a wall). The designers suggest choosing ‘a combination of plants in different shapes, sizes and textures’, which aside from looking good, ‘will improve the air quality and offer a chance to interact with living textures every day’. The two say this is essential for learning how to slow down and appreciate living things, especially in a fast-paced city.

Speaking of city living, we know all too well that one of the biggest challenges is storage space. However, Ho and Lee have some solid advice for making the most of the space you do have. Firstly, minimise the clutter! We’ve definitely heard this before, but changing your mindset about what constitutes clutter can be helpful. Lee and Ho emphasise that when it comes to refreshing a space, it’s all about ‘understanding your lifestyle, and identifying what’s essential and what’s not’.

Then, they say, you can ‘experiment with different arrangements to create a space that works with your living pattern’. If you’re more into trainers than heels, perhaps the latter can be packed away until Saturday night comes around. Or, think about the utensils, ingredients and cutlery you use most often around your kitchen, and minimise whatever’s not used every day. The same applies to your wardrobe, bookshelf and any other area where clutter tends to accumulate. It may be easier said than done, but in the spirit of the new season, they say, set yourself the challenge of ‘investing in the essential items and learning to give up the unimportant ones’.

Once you’ve identified what doesn’t warrant precious real estate in your home, the next step is storage. Ho and Lee suggest creating different compartments within your storage spaces, ‘like dedicated spaces for different clothing items, and categorising food and utensils inside your kitchen drawers’. This, they say, ‘will really enhance the efficiency of the space you already have’.

However, they advise against having too many closed-up cabinets in one space. ‘They may be practical, but they can also transform the space into a storeroom instead of a space to live in.’ You can get creative and maximise concealed spaces (like under the bed or sofa) around your apartment, or reimagine existing areas like the corridor, which the designers say is ‘usually neglected, but has huge potential for storage space’. And using concealed storage cabinets — rather than walls — as partitions can also make the layout of a room more interesting.

And there you have it: plants, essentials, and smart storage! However you go about it, keep in mind Ho and Lee’s inspiring parting words: ‘Your home should be a space that represents your identity, relaxes you and ignites your senses.’ Happy spring sprucing!