Where the Heart Is: Creating Calm at Home
As we spend more and more time at home, it’s essential that our interiors exude comfort and serenity. We’re sharing a few suggestions for creating calming, peaceful interiors that are perfect for those self care moments we all need at the end of a long day!
by Nina Westbrook
Whether you live in an apartment, a sprawling ranch, an older bungalow, or a sleek high rise; with roommates, a partner, among generations of family, or alone, chances are your home environment is the epicenter of your life. For many of us, the majority of our days are spent at home, a reality that has only intensified over the past few years as we faced the reality of a global pandemic. Indeed, if they weren’t already, our homes have become entirely multi-functional! With the help of the latest technology, our children have completed school semesters at home, many of us have worked from home, started exercising at home, and we’re even socializing virtually from home.
Needless to say, there’s been a lot going on in our homes - anyone else feel like you’re living in Grand Central Station?! But as the role of our home environment has expanded, it has become crucial for our interiors to exude safety and serenity. Amid daily uncertainties and challenges, we’re all looking for a soft place to land and, with that in mind, we’re sharing a few suggestions for creating interiors that are comfortable and serene.
Edit with Intention
Cluttered spaces have the potential to compound the stress we’re already experiencing. Visually unspoiled areas, on the other hand, tend to cultivate a sense of peace and rest. Assess the surfaces in your home—have unnecessary items accumulated? Do your surfaces look overcrowded? Are there knick-knacks collecting dust? Edit your surfaces down to the objects that hold the most meaning for you, that signal important memories, or that have a function you rely on regularly.
Select Fresh Hues
Cool-toned, neutral paint colors ground rooms in a quiet ease and an understated tranquility. It’s amazing to see how a fresh coat of paint can entirely transform a room! White and cream hues often make smaller rooms feel airy and larger.
Consider Natural Materials
Natural fiber textiles and blonde or light brown wooden furnishings foster an earthy vibe that complements an airy room. Just like repainting, refreshing rugs can create a significant visual impact, as rugs undergo so much wear and tear each day that they can begin to look dull and shabby after a few years. Sisal, jute, seagrass, and hemp are all natural fibers that are available in budget-friendly options.
Bring the Outside In
Incorporating plants into your living spaces is the next best thing to experiencing the great outdoors firsthand. Look for low-maintenance succulents and hardy house plants, like pothos, jade plants, and calathea ornata (AKA prayer plants). Beyond aesthetics, many indoor plants improve the air quality of your home through their oxygenation processes.
Play with Lighting
Harsh overheads and fluorescent lighting detract from the cozy, peaceful tone we’re striving to set at home. Try leaving harsh lighting off (or removing it entirely, if that’s an option for you) and supplementing with soft, more visually-appealing fixtures such as simple sconces, lamps, and pendants.
Focus on Your Bedroom
It can be tempting to prioritize the improvement of spaces that guests see and spend time in (think kitchen, living rooms, and dining room), especially if you’re short on time and working on a budget. But don’t neglect your bedroom. Your bedroom should be the ultimate retreat, a space that ushers you into rest and invites you to settle in for a full night’s sleep. You can find a ton of tips for making your bedroom a more peaceful place but here are a few of our faves: uncluttered walls; simple, solid, neutral bedding; un-fussy furniture arrangements, dimmers on your light switches, privacy shades or drapes, and a high quality sound machine.
Create Wellness Pockets
Wellness pockets are areas that remind you of how important it is to take care of yourself, especially on hard days and in difficult seasons of life. What spaces in your home bring you the most comfort? Is it your bathroom where you take long, luxurious baths and execute your nightly skincare routine? Or an armchair by the window where the light shines in just perfectly? Do you have a reading nook where you love to curl up with a good novel? Whatever wellness means to you, make sure to create spots throughout your home that nurture it.
Hone Your Habits
Small daily efforts can make a big impact in the maintenance of a calming home environment. Set aside time at the end of each day to stow away items and straighten up, so that you wake up to tidy living spaces. If you don’t currently make your bed every morning, give it a try and see if the habit shifts your mood. Make tidying and de-cluttering as fun and relaxing as possible. Put on your favorite podcast or listen to an audio book to stay focused and help the time pass more quickly. And if you’re overwhelmed with the thought of daily tidying, try a 5-minute mood boosting clean-up. Set your timer for 5 minutes, put on a great playlist, and do as much as you can in those 5 minutes (hint – it’s more than you think!).
Have other ideas for creating a peaceful home? Leave them in the comments below!