Make your space the ultimate chill zone
After a long day of work or emotionally taxing experience, you should be able to return home and feel a sense of relief, relaxation, and rejuvenation, imparted by everything from the lighting choices to the organization of your space. There are many ways to achieve a more harmonious, stress-free environment at home; here are some tips to get you there.
1. Repaint in Neutrals
If your home has several brightly-colored walls, it might be time to consider going back to the basics and repainting in lighter tones. A study by G.F. Smith organized with the University of Sussex showed that blues and greens caused people’s heart rates to lower, and that lighter colored hues were more relaxing than deeply saturated ones. If you’re looking for zen, repaint your room in a cool ocean color, like a pale, robin’s egg blue.
2. Become a Plant Fanatic
Research has shown that plants have the ability to improve our moods and bust stress; plus, they help filter the air in your home. Invest in some bright planters and pots and bring some greenery inside. If you don’t have time to care for a potted plant, consider decorating with fresh or even dried flowers.
3. Declutter and Clean
Clutter in your home can feel like clutter in your mind. Go through closets, stacks of paper, and piles of old clothing to clear out any items you don’t need anymore. Organize the things you do need so they are no longer living in stacks and piles.
Paperwork that you must keep should be filed away in a box or filing cabinet, or you can digitize any documents you don’t need hard copies of. Clothing, furniture, and household items can be sold or donated to a local charity.
Once everything is in its place, create a cleaning schedule and stick to it, so the mess doesn’t pile up and become a stressor later.
4. Use Your Fridge as a Mood Board
Instead of sticking bills, deadlines, or lists on your fridge, place photos of family, friends, pets, or even cute animals that aren’t your own to create happy visuals that you’ll see every time you open the fridge door to grab a snack.
5. Let in Natural Light
Got heavy drapes in your living room? Consider replacing them with sheer curtains or shades that will let in more sunshine. Aside from creating a brighter home, sunlight triggers our brains to release serotonin, which helps to boost your mood and keep you focused.
6. Encourage Relaxing Scents
Use candles, reed diffusers, or incense to keep your home smelling like a five-star spa. The smells of lavender, geranium, and bergamot are all known to encourage relaxation, though there might be a particular scent that gives you calming vibes—for instance, the smell of pine might remind you of holiday vacations with your family.
7. Get an Aquarium
Scientists at the National Marine Aquarium did a study where they monitored visitors’ vital signs as they watched fish being placed into one of their tanks, and guess what? Their heart rates and blood pressure dropped. It could be the sound of running water, the mesmerizing scene of fish swimming around, or simply feeling closer to nature, but an aquarium could be a welcome de-stressing object in your home.
8. Design a ‘Chill Out’ Zone
Dedicate a space in your home to relaxing and doing activities you love, like reading, doing crosswords, listening to music or podcasts, or knitting. If you don’t have an extra room available to turn into a relaxation area, choose a comfy chair and put up a room divider so you aren’t distracted by foot traffic or other goings on. Make sure you have a table for your comfort items and proper lighting.
9. Focus on Your Bedroom
Sleeping too little or not well enough will have implications for your stress levels throughout the day, so make your bedroom a sanctuary of relaxation. Buy bedding that is comfortable (and maybe even a little luxurious), invest in a white noise machine, and use blackout curtains to filter out light when it’s time to sleep. You should also add personal touches that make your bedroom a happy place, like photos of loved ones and fresh flowers.
10. Make Everything Easy to Find
How many mornings have you found yourself stressed, looking around for your car keys, your wallet, your office fob, or anything else? Put a console table near your front door where you can keep all your essentials to save time and trouble.
11. Decorate With Inviting Textiles
Add some pillows, rugs, and throws to your home, and pick ones made with comfy, alluring materials, like a soft knit, suede, faux fur, or velvet. Architect Suchi Reddy has suggested in interviews that cozy, inviting textiles suggest feelings of warmth and comfort, as opposed to sterility and coldness. Plus, they make winter nights more bearable!
12. Be Intentional About Every Room
To create a truly stress-free home, you can’t just shove all the stuff you don’t want to deal with in your guest bedroom and hope you’ll have time to figure it out later. Make sure each room is designed with both functionality and ambiance in mind, making sure to organize and add details that invoke a warm, relaxing environment.
13. Use Candles to Set Mood Lighting
We’re used to strong overhead lighting, so the low lighting of candles tells our brains it’s time to mellow out (or even meditate). Try using candles the next time you take a bath or sit down to read a good book; you’ll likely discover a new state of relaxation.