Our lives these days are busier than ever. We spend more time in our offices or on the road than we do in our own homes. Our lives have become so fast-paced and frenzied that we really need to make a concerted effort to slow down. For many of us, this no longer comes naturally and we must force ourselves to relax – to really stop and smell the roses. A home that is disorganised, chaotic and full of discord is not a relaxed one. There are a few simple and very basic steps that we can do to make our homes more harmonious and peaceful to return to at the end of a busy day.
1) Soften the Edges
Much of life is harsh and demanding, so cut the hard corners off your decor to give it a relaxing look and feel. Textiles are your main ally in this quest. Drapes that pool on the floor, loose-fitting slipcovers, and tons of pillows all bring a sense of ease to space.
2) Redo a Room with Simple Changes
The easiest way to freshen a room is to change a room’s looks with the seasons. Slipping on slipcovers, rearranging some furnishing, and adding elements of the season make a room more welcoming. Seasonal elements – plants, flowers, and other decorations – can give a room an instant facelift.
3) Move the Outdoors In
The goal of garden style is to blur the line between indoors and out, but without sacrificing all the comforts of modern domesticated spaces. Here we’ve used a rustic bench, but if you want to keep a cushy couch, just cover it with a botanical print, or even toss a picnic blanket over it. After all, there’s a reason humankind builds comforting, sheltering homes.
4) Soak Away Stress
Wash away the cares of the day. Make your bathroom function on both the practical and pampering levels. Install a tub deep enough to soak in, add thick towels, warm colours, soft lighting, and soothing music to make those precious moments an experience that bathes body and soul, refreshing both.
5) Dream Up a Relaxing Bedroom
Extend the calming influence of a bedroom beyond the bed: Keep only the essentials within reach and within view. Decorate the walls in colours that comfort you, and add only artwork that makes you smile. Cover the floor with rugs or carpeting that feels best on bare feet. Cocooning your bed in yards of fabric can also help you block out the world, literally and figuratively.
6) Organise Away Chaos
Chaos breeds anxiety, so think of the time spent getting organised as prep time for calm to come. If your life is teeming with stuff, start the path to organising by focusing on a single space, such as the place where you enter the house. Recruit everyone in the household to participate in clearing the clutter.
7) Create a Comfort Zone
Make a place in your home where relaxing is the key function. Make it convenient for your choice of relaxing activity – reading, listening to music, or watching a movie. Put a barrier between you and the distractions of the world. Folding screens block out unwanted views and redirect foot traffic away from the area.
8) Make a Place to Plan
What a home workspace needs is focus and convenience: Have everything you need close at hand so you can concentrate on the work you need or choose to do. Make it an inviting place by adding personal elements and comfort; look at a home office as an investment in yourself.
9) Dress an Inviting Table
Relaxing needn’t be a solitary affair. The company of friends and family for a good meal is an unbeatable stress buster – but not if there’s no good place to gather. No matter how elegant, white china fades into the background, so to make the table inviting, you’ll have to add things – flowers, candles, linens, etc. China of a lively pattern or rich colour becomes its own statement, requiring little accompaniment to set a style.
10) Make Mornings Sing
A place to enjoy a few moments at the beginning of the day goes a long way toward keeping you relaxed. Even if you don’t have a breakfast nook – or the time to enjoy it – set up a portion of the kitchen strictly for the functions of the morning. Having the coffeemaker, toaster, and cereals all gathered in one area helps to create focus; it’s a growing trend in kitchen design.