Our environment has a huge impact on our ability to relax. It’s no wonder then, that we often end up feeling more exhausted in the house than out of it. With never-ending to-do lists and all that clutter to clear (does it multiply overnight?), it can be hard to switch off in the place where we’re supposed to feel at our most comfortable. But it doesn’t have to be this way, our homes can be restorative sanctuaries as well as functional spaces - all it takes is a few well thought out adjustments.
Given that we’re all human, it’s not unusual that our homes get overrun with clutter (overflowing laundry baskets, full dishwashers, piles of paperwork… the list goes on). But just because it happens to most of us, doesn’t mean we need to put up with it. And it’s worth making changes for our health and well-being too. Messy or disorganised homes not only prevent us from relaxing, they can actively cause feelings of stress, anxiety and being generally overwhelmed too [source]. With this in mind, it’s more important than ever to create relaxing spaces for that ever-elusive ‘me time’. Whether it’s a tranquil bathroom, a cosy library or a luxurious dressing room complete with gorgeous dressing table and walk-in wardrobe, it’s time to carve out a place - or places - in your home just for you. But first things first, there are a few basics to get to grips with to ensure your relaxing space is, well, relaxing.
Feng shui and other relaxing things
Even the most cynical among us have to admit there’s something in the whole ‘feng shui’ thing. You don’t have to be spiritual to be able to see that clutter is bad for the soul (or mind, if you prefer). When you strip feng shui down to its basic components, it’s essentially about creating a space that we feel good in, and who can argue with that? There’s a lot more to it, of course, and if it’s your kind of thing it’s well worth figuring out your ‘lucky directions’ and ‘feng shui stars’. But for others, it can be enough to create a space that looks and feels great simply by following a few simple rules:
- Goodbye clutter: First and foremost, make sure to spend some real time decluttering. Clutter constantly sends signals to our brain that ‘our work is never done’, making it next to impossible to relax, so this is a really important part of the process.
- Hello sunshine: Secondly, maximise natural light as much as you can, whether that’s from large mirrors or the removal of walls to open spaces up. Natural light physically lifts our spirits due to sunlight triggering the hormone serotonin, which boosts our mood and helps us feel focused [source], so getting as much of it as possible indoors is vital.
- Nurture nature: There’s lots of evidence to say that nature has a really positive effect on our mental health [source], so it’s a no-brainer to incorporate it into our décor. Think tall, graceful house plants, pretty bursts of flowers and indoor herb gardens, to bring a calming, tranquil vibe to your chillout spaces.
- Calming colours: Feng shui claims certain colours affect our mood significantly, from passionate red to energetic yellow and restorative green. There’s scientific evidence to back this notion up too, with studies showing the most calming colours to be blues, greens and whites [source] – worth bearing in mind when creating your peaceful space!
An idyllic space – just for you
Now you’ve got the basics in place, it’s time to think about creating a space that’s just for you. It may seem a novel concept at first, but carving a little piece of your home for yourself is easier than you think. If you’re stuck for ideas, here are a few to get your creative juices flowing:
- The ‘Do Not Disturb Bathroom’: The bathroom can often be completely overlooked as a place to relax. But hold on a minute – and there’s a clue in the name – isn’t the bathroom that place where the bath is? Perfect for long hot soaks, candlelit reading and general winding down? If all that sounds appealing to you, it’s time to ditch the clutter, and invest in lots of white fluffy towels and scented candles to give your bathroom the calming boost it needs. Re-paint or tile the walls in a dusky shade of blue and complement with lots of lovely cream accessories for a tranquil space you’ll want to spend hours in (sorry, other residents of the house).
- The ‘Just for Me’ Dressing Room: If you’re the kind of person for whom fashion is a sort of therapy (you’re not alone!), why not create a room dedicated to just that? Take time to decorate the space in a way that works for you and that clearly defines the purpose of the room so you’re not tempted to double it up as storage space. We love this uber-shiny mirrored vanity table, perfect for adding glamour, luxury and a feeling of spaciousness to the room.
- The ‘Great Escape’ Library: There’s nothing better for relaxation than a bout of good old-fashioned escapism. And for many of us, that comes in the form of a book. But even when reading’s our most-loved hobby, we often don’t find time for it. So why not create a space that restores escaping into a great story to the top of your priority list? Go for whitewashed bookshelves, dreamy blue sofas and pebble-toned walls for a room that eradicates all stereotypes of stuffy old libraries, and is a haven of relaxation instead.
Turning your home back into the sanctuary it was when you first moved in may seem like a mammoth task. But, once you get started, you’ll be amazed at how fantastic you feel both during the transformation process and afterwards, when you can reap the rewards of having a relaxing home. It’s time to say goodbye to clutter, chaos and stress and welcome your new, idyllic space with open arms. Happy home, happy head!