For some people, their home is the ultimate sanctuary of utter calm. It’s place of blissful quietude to reset the day, a refuge from the storms of urban life. It is, or can be, a place to relax, gather, and rest. Creating your ideal space isn’t difficult. With some self-reflection, a bit of planning, and a modest budget, your home can be the retreat you’re looking for.
Simply removing clutter will immediately improve your focus and ability to relax. Unnecessary objects lying around compete for your attention, making it more difficult to find your mellow vibe. That’s not to say a home decorated with a certain ‘fullness’ isn’t calming, but it should be neat. Less clutter can mean more positive energy, especially if your home is chock-a-block with garage sale finds and antiques.
It’s easy to become stressed when things aren’t perfect. Maybe the lighting is quite right (yet) or maybe you want to replace the sofa but it’s not in the budget. The cumulative effect of these things can be depressing. Did you know that Japanese people have an expression, kintsugi, which means to embrace a flaw. It loosely translates to ‘golden joinery’ as its origin comes from the practice of mending broken ceramics by cementing gold leaf between the pieces. The result is a beautiful vein of gold that runs through the piece to accentuate it. The broken cup then becomes a meditation piece that will bring much more joy than a new one. (If you try this, be sure to use glue approved for dishwashers.)
Learning to appreciate imperfection and simple materials connects us to nature on a spiritual level. You may have seen this philosophy in home decor that emphasizes contemporary and rustic in the same space. A well-chosen piece can anchor or ground a high style room by providing a juxtaposition as focus. A handsome burl side table next to a creamy leather sofa is a pleasant contrast, for example. Or a rustic farm table and mismatched chairs in a streamlined granite-and-stainless kitchen may help us see our weaknesses and strengths in the metaphor.
Rather than embark on a journey to redecorate your entire home, consider repositioning or adding a contrasting element. Look for one or two items that you think are beautiful and reflect the use of natural materials. Pottery is a perennial favourite that can appreciate in value if the artist is recognized. A handmade craftsman-style chair is a statement piece that will become a family heirloom. Don’t worry if it doesn’t match your other furniture, it will stand on its own merit as an objet d’art.
Three essential elements to create a nature-like environment are light, sound, and scent. These provide a sense of atmosphere that becomes a protective boundary between you and the outside. Lighting should be even throughout the home. Use light strings and dimmers to illuminate dark corners and lessen harsh glare. Place lights lower than waist level for a transcendental effect.
Wireless bluetooth speakers can often be networked to create surround sound music throughout your space. If you have a house, link them together to hear soft jazz or spa music in every room. Background music helps create a mood and with new technology it doesn’t need to be an expensive improvement.
Scent is the finishing touch to your natural and calming space. Use a cold mist atomizer to distribute your favourite essential oil combination throughout your home. It will lift your spirits and soothe your senses.