A few weeks ago, we had our living room painted. In the process of preparing for the painters, I did a massive declutter.
After the painting was finished and it was time to put everything back in its original spot, I took a moment and realized how much more relaxing the space was without all that extra stuff. I used it as a chance to permanently declutter that busy area and wow, what a difference it has made.
Even my kids have said that our living room feels like a beach house. Between the new soothing color and the much fresher look, it is just a more enjoyable, more relaxing room to be in — not to mention I am so amazed at how much easier it is to clean!
We are living in a new era, where spending more time at home seems to be here to stay, at least for a while. Turning our home spaces into places that we can enjoy and de-stress in should be a priority.
Here are some ideas to turn your home spaces into more zen ones — and make every day feel like a staycation!
• Simplify Your Space: Decluttering the home is an ongoing battle but there are some things you can do to streamline this.
Take everything off your counters and walls and see what you think of how that room loos without it. If you can’t bear to part with an item, can you streamline things — perhaps consolidating items to one area or finding cute storage bins to keep items that offer no real decorative value to the room?
Instead of five picture frames on a table, could a nice wall collage make a bolder yet simpler design statement?
Are there things on display that don’t mean anything to you or provide any real function? As Marie Kondo so famously reminds us, if it doesn’t spark joy, you can let it go!
• Smell Stress Away: My youngest child has always struggled with sleep. We’ve attempted all the tried and true remedies and have found that diffusing lavender essential oils while he sleeps has an incredible calming effect.
I’ve started putting some of my favorite scents in every room of my house and have found smells have a wonderful way of calming our anxiety, with some of the more nostalgic scents bringing me a lovely sense of well-being that can be hard to find these days.
Research shows that aromatherapy is a powerful stress relief tool.
A simple smell can evoke emotions that can directly impact our nervous system in positive ways.
There are tons of options out there to accomplish this kind of sweet smelling stress relief.
There are room sprays, essential oil diffusers and plug-ins, scented candles — even air filters with specially fitted filters to disseminate clean and scented air.
Look for scents that are calming such as lavender, eucalyptus and chamomile, comforting scents such as vanilla and sandalwood or uplifting scents such as ginger, lemon or peppermint.
• Vacation Home at Home: Think of your favorite places to visit when you leave your home. Is it the beach or the mountains?
Perhaps you enjoy fishing or hiking with your loved ones or maybe that annual Disney World trip is the highlight of your year.
Bring those places into your home. If all of your best vacations are spent at the beach, bring those beautiful muted tones and themes into your home with painted walls, subtle décor or even those aforementioned scents.
We redid our guest bathroom with a beachhouse theme, decorating it with keepsakes we have picked up during past vacations.
Every time I walk into that room, I get a sweet trip down memory lane that immediately calms me.
If hiking and camping are your go-to happy places, bring some of those outdoor elements into your home via color schemes, Google your favorite theme or vacation spot and see what colors appear — then try to emulate that in the room of your choice. Plants, terrariums, fresh flowers and indoor fountains can help bring the outside in.
Plants will release more oxygen and humidity into the air to help you breathe better — another way to add some zen to your life!
• Designate Your Space: I tend to spend my time working from my laptop in every room of the house. While I have always considered it a way to multitask and be efficient, what ends up happening is that I associate every room I am in as a “working” room. If you are teleworking or simply trying to catch up on household bills, designate a place where you can quietly and comfortably do this important work. This space designation should apply to your other daily activities, too!
Designate a fun space for you to read, exercise take a nap, binge watch Netflix — and fill that designated space with things that make you happy. For a reading space, that can mean a well-placed chair with a big picture window or beautiful lamp along with a cozy chair and blanket while your exercise or yoga area can be nothing more than a quiet, decuttered space dedicated to helping you work toward your health. You will find that having small spaces devoted to the things that give you joy to be some of your favorite places in your home.
(Editor’s Note: Kristine George is a freelance journalist who resides in Easton.)