By Jane Thomson.

There’s been a long standing tradition of the ‘man cave’. Dad disappears to his back shed or garage and tinkers happily for hours. But for the lynchpin of the family – the mumma, there’s no precedent set for the ‘lady cave’.

During the COVID-19 pandemic, when we’re all at home self-isolating, finding a space just for you is even more vital, and with the tips below I can help you find one.

I promise, the whole family will benefit from your new found zen.

Jane Thomson is a Sydney based interior designer, stylist, property stylist and media presenter, often appearing on Network 10’s Changing Rooms.

The strange feeling of self-isolation is an experience millions of Australian mothers have been familiar with for a long time. You’ve probably heard it before: mum is stuck at home with little or no adult conversation, and only the perspicacity of a five year old for enlightenment.

Thanks to COVID-19, we’re all in isolation mode. And, what a great eye-opener for our male counterparts!

When the whole family is stuck at home, me-time is even more precious and important for mums. After all, mums have been ‘locked down’ for a long time already.

The psychology of our home, in times of stress, affects us. The drive to create calming and relaxing environments is huge for me, as a professional designer. Remember, to put it bluntly, if Mumma Bear and Papa Bear aren’t happy then there will be no porridge! The wellbeing of a household depends quite a bit on their environment.

See how best to create a beautiful space in my tips below …

Living room reclining

Living rooms are for living! This is not just a room for binge watching our fave streaming service. They also provide a sanctuary for the whole family.

Living rooms should feel inviting and reflect you, Mumma Bear. It’s one of the only places in the home that we can stretch out or curl up and feel that we are indeed protected.

So, my advice is, if there is only one thing you can do, make sure you have a sumptuous sofa. It is absolutely necessary for it to be super comfy. We’re looking for that “I just want to dive onto you” sensation.Comfortable sofas, psychologically, provide a feeling of embrace and inclusion. And, it has to be something generous. No stiff-as-board sofas, please. You need a place to really relax, especially if you’re at home with a small bubba.

A space to yell MINE!

In some cases, this may not mean a separate room. Not everyone has the luxury of a spare bedroom or even a secluded study. So, why not create your own special corner?

That bare corner or spare spot. We all have one, you know, the sparsely decorated part of a room that never gets filled because we just don’t know what to do with it. Or, perhaps a wide hallway. There’s a nook out there for everyone.

Create your own personal sanctuary that screams, ‘you’. A small desk area with a gorgeous piece of art above. Perhaps, complemented by a desk-lamp and plants.

Work your colour palette magic around the artwork. Take cues from it and splash out with decorative items (remember: less is more). Make sure everything ties in with your theme.

For instance, an artwork with a tropical vibe is a good match for a coral crown. Add a beautiful natural framed image of your family that evokes feelings, and a scented candle will add to your own personal serenity. All of these knicknacks can be found online or at a good emporium (if they reopen!) near you.

Happy you = happy everyone.


A pop of green has transformed many a tired and uninspiring space. Plants are my favourite go-to for adding calm to a space. They help relieve stress, calm our overworked minds and contribute to overall wellness. Plants greatly enhance the sexiness of our living environments.

I use plants extensively when designing spaces. In fact, I never complete a scheme with-out at least one. The magic is, they transform the dullest of interiors instantly and are relatively cheap.

In the midst of COVID-19 working-from-home and schooling-from-home, indoor plants have never been so important. My top tip: Go for plants that will survive. Think easy, like succulents. ‘Craussula Ovata Gollum’ is my fave. Or the good old ‘Ficus Lyrata’ works well too. They need little watering, about once every two weeks.

READ NEXT: The best child-friendly indoor plants

Decluttering, Styling and fixing things

Yeah, I know, I know, we’ve all had our fill of Marie Kondo and feeling so incapable! ‘

But seriously, a bit of decluttering is another go-to tip in my design career. It helps create harmony and removes visual (and mental) clutter and noise. It shows you what you’ve really got to work with.

When knee deep in mess, we feel irritated, confused or maybe even depressed. It’s generally symptomatic of household unruliness. So, it’s time for a family call-to-arms. Channel your inner Kanye and remember, delegation is your friend,. Delegate to hubbies, partners and kidlets. You will be surprised how quickly they take to the task!

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