“I Got a Peaceful Easy Feeling”
Finally, now that your home is clean, decluttered and fresh, it’s time for the finer details. This last article in our homemaking series will show some steps you can take to make your home more harmonious. Let’s get started.
First we can recap previous tips, tricks and advice in our series that can also create a calmer home. Most of all, the previous advice given in this series, when applied as a whole, will itself greatly cut down on unneeded stress and make your home more serene in both look and feel. More particularly, very impactful choices we touched on are incense which can directly calm the mind as discussed, and plants. Let’s dig a little deeper.
Plants not only oxygenate your home (necessary for good cognition and concentration) but provide calm just by their appearance – it’s well established from many studies that the sight of greenery provides a positive, mood-boosting effect on the human mind – a fact increasingly recognized and utilized by modern world-class architects and urban designers for instance. It’s also possible that the gentle rituals of caring for plants can provide a calm respite. Try putting your plants in highly-visible spots – somewhere you’ll see them the most, such as your desk. Additionally, we discussed paint finish for walls in our first article. If you don’t mind the less durable qualities of less glossy finishes, they can better compliment a calmer home with their easy-on-the-eyes effect.
On the subject of walls and paints, it goes without saying that subdued colors are better for a soothed mood, but there are other considerations as well. Aim to create a harmonious color scheme for your entire home. This could mean colors of a similar hue range across the home, but might also consist of complementary color schemes like lavender and beige. And contrariwise, try to avoid clashing tones even when separated into different rooms. Brightness should be considered in tandem with hue, and both should be considered on a room-by-room basis. For instance: deeper, darker and more muted options work well in the bedroom to promote rest and relaxation, but may be too downcast for a living room or any room that receives a great amount of sunlight.
As a general rule of thumb for color, moderation is the key – very few enjoy intense hues, but a total absence of color can also feel sterile and lifeless, so perhaps first consider the presence of light taupes, beiges or creams before using too much pure white. Likewise, strike a balance of brightness in colors and consider more gradual, gradient changes when moving from room to room, instead of intense and sharp contrasts. Natural earth tones are also an excellent and oft-employed choice. Color can be highly subjective, so tailor your choices to your taste or the taste of whomever uses the room the most.
Where brightness is concerned, sunlight should be your friend. Daytime rooms should always receive ample sunlight, preferably in all seasons – a naturally lit room boosts your mood and productivity, and better induces an overall tranquil atmosphere than an artificially lit one does. A brighter room can be especially important wherever windows are for whatever reason lacking and desired (such as in an apartment), by better allowing any incoming sunlight to diffuse in the space rather than fight it. Also consider very careful use of reflective surfaces in these instances. Try to avoid obstructing windows with furniture or objects, which will not only reduce sunlight but outdoor views, as well as create more complex, distracting silhouettes for said view. Another natural lighting choice for particular spaces and moments are candles, which can have a comfortable, sophisticated decorative effect whether in use or not.
Lastly, the layout and arrangement of your room and its furniture play a pivotal role in your room’s mood. An easily navigable space, for example, will better create a sense of ease and flow to the home experience. A room should feel both aesthetically and functionally in tune with its purpose, subconsciously allowing you to move with ease and purpose in that room without great effort. Consider if the room has a focal point, like a TV, dinner table or fireplace, and arrange the room around that focal point. Otherwise, a more expansive, open design is often the right choice – try to limit furniture in the center of a room where it can obstruct and unnecessarily limit space and freedom of movement – dinner tables being the primary exception.
Your materials matter too: much as with color we find the natural charming and instinctively calming, so textures and pieces made from natural materials like wood, wicker and (sparingly) stone can exude that same calm and tranquility. Symmetry is instinctually pleasing as well, and can also be used to great effect in the arrangement of not just furniture but your floor and wall décor. Finally, and again like color, opt for moderation. A fair amount of furniture and décor to create the desired life and flow, but not too much to create clutter. Open space can be just as, sometimes more calming as what could otherwise fill it.