Your home should be your sanctuary. A place where you can relax and unwind after a long day. Nowadays, it is more important than ever to create calm and peaceful spaces to recharge. That’s why it helps to come home to a stress-free home, one that is uncluttered, comfortable, and healing.
When you design your space with your well-being in mind, you create healthy and happy homes – more livable and comfortable spaces that promote positive feelings.
Take for example the concept of creating “healing environments“. Commonly used in healthcare, it means that nurturing spaces can have therapeutic effects on patients’ recovery and overall mood. This goes to show that a human-centered approach to design is one that seeks to create supportive spaces that cultivate comfort, connection, and harmony.
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Here are some simple ideas that will help you transform your space into a sanctuary and help you feel better about it:
1. Stay minimalist
Declutter your home to clear space for what really matters. Make space for things that “spark joy”. Get rid of things that you’ve kept for a long time but do not have a need for. By being more intentional with what you keep and discard, you can free up more space in your home.
“Minimalists don’t focus on having less, less, less. Rather, we focus on making room for more, more, more: more time, more passion, more experiences, more growth, more contribution, more contentment—and more freedom. It just so happens that clearing the clutter from life’s path helps us make that room.” – Joshua Fields Millburn, Minimalism: Essential Essays
Choose good quality and multipurpose furniture you can use for a long time. This will reduce the unnecessary addition of newer things in your home. Doing so also reduces clutter and makes space for the essentials.
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2. Pay attention to color
Create a sense of calm in your home by using muted colors and light pastel colors as accents. Cooler room colors like light blues and greens are also ideal for relieving stress and promoting relaxation. These colors are also frequently seen in healthcare centers and hospitals around the world due to their soothing effect.
“The promotion of a greater sense of wellbeing, particularly in long-term care environments, is possible when color schemes and design are carefully considered and planned.” – Karen Haller, a color psychology expert.
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On the other hand, deeper or more saturated colors like yellow and orange are more stimulating so they are ideal colors to brighten up your mood and your room. Consequently, these colors are great as accents to add a pop of color to any room.
Along the same vein, darker and deeper room colors are more refined and can make spaces feel more intimate.
Earth tones such as tans, olive, burnt sienna, and terracotta, are considered warm, mellow, and inviting. These nature-inspired hues are easy on the eyes and can immediately make your space feel homey and comfortable. Earth tones naturally complement each other and can easily be combined with neutrals for an effortlessly elegant look.
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3. Bring nature in
Biophilic design aims to establish a deeper connection with nature through harnessing it in our built environments. Examples of these are maximizing natural light, better air circulation, and sprucing up your space through indoor plants.
“We love nature because we learned to love the things that helped us survive. We feel comfortable in nature because that is where we have lived for most of life on earth. We are genetically determined to love the natural world. It is in our DNA.” – Dr. Qing Li on Biophilia and E.O Wilson
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By incorporating nature into your space, you feel more comfortable in it and enjoy the benefits of more natural greenery. Studies have found that when you have indoor plants at home, it can reduce stress, anxiety, and blood pressure. These green babies also increase your creativity, productivity, and feelings of wellness.
Another study published by the Journal of Physiological Anthropology showed that interaction with indoor plants is proven to relieve physiological stress, improve cognitive health, and reduce negative emotions. Making it an inexpensive yet effective way to enhance healing environments for anyone and everyone.
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Spruce up your space by placing trailing plants on high bookcases to achieve a dramatic look. Use plants to add a pop of color in a simple room or one with a very neutral palette. It will make your place more homey and cozy.
You can also create an urban jungle by grouping your plants in one place. These green touches can be brought to different areas of the home to breathe new life to varying spaces – the kitchen, bathroom, balconies, etc.
4. Hygge your home
Hygge means a ‘quality and comfortable conviviality that engenders a feeling of contentment or well-being”. It is derived from the Norwegian term, hugga, meaning “to comfort” and is also related to the English word, “hug”. In terms of interior and home design, “cozy” comes a close translation.
“Hygge is about an atmosphere and an experience, rather than about things. It is about being with the people we love. A feeling of home. A feeling that we are safe, that we are shielded from the world and allow ourselves to let our guard down.” – Meik Wiking, The Little Book of Hygge: Danish Secrets to Happy Living
To create a sense of hygge in your home, use design elements that promote intimacy, coziness, and togetherness.
Photo source: Pexels | Dimitri Zvolskiy
Layer different textures and natural materials that feel soft to the touch. Use area rugs, soft pillows, comfy throw blankets can also add more warmth into your space. When it comes to bedding, use lightweight and breathable sheets and layer with blankets.
Have spaces in your home where you can gather with friends and loved ones. A cozy dining table, a reading area, a comfy nook.
5. Find your personal mental wellness space
Creating a space at home that can serve as a personal sanctuary from the outside world can be extremely impactful to your health and wellness.
“Similar to how our brains get into ‘work’ mode in the office and go into a relaxed state when you’re on the couch or the bed, going into a mental wellness space can help to calm the mind. People who have difficulty managing their stress and going into a calm state at home may find mental wellness spaces useful,” – Dr. Brian Wind, Ph.D.
Your personal wellness space or a zen zone is a space where you can comfortably be alone and away from all interruptions at work and daily life. It is a private space where you can slow down, meditate, journal, or even just spend some quiet time with a cup of coffee.
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This space can be anywhere in the house, a corner of your bedroom, a spare room, the garden, a walk-in closet, or even your bathroom. To make it more comfortable, use natural or dim lighting to create a comfy nest. Candles are also a great way to make your space even more inviting.
“Our home environments can influence mood, stress levels, behavior, and motivation, so having a place that feels like a sanctuary can enhance your health. It doesn’t have to be grand, or a whole room – a nook, or even a chair will do. The only rule is that is comfortable and you enjoy being there,” –Karen Nimmo of On The Couch
By cultivating a personal mental wellness space at home, you can find it easier to embrace solitude, enjoy a mental pause, and realign with yourself.
Photo source: Unsplash | Jonathan Borba
6. Find beauty in imperfection
Designing a space that inspires relaxation and harmony means not over-stressing about every little detail of your room. Instead of making sure that everything is perfect, learn to embrace imperfection and find beauty in the mundane. It means loving the rustic and lived-in charm of your belongings even when it’s not in tip-top shape anymore.
“The physical decay or natural wear and tear of the materials used does not in the least detract from the visual appeal, rather it adds to it. It is the changes of texture and color that provide the space for the imagination to enter and become more involved with the devolution of the piece.” – Andrew Juniper, Wabi Sabi: The Japanese Art of Impermanence
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Embrace imperfection by repurposing old furniture and the home decor you already have. Give it new life by refurbishing or repainting them. Mix and match it with other decors that you love to bring more joy into your space.
Use natural linens and handmade decors like ceramics and boho tapestry. Using materials that “weather beautifully” like wood and stone that you can grow old with rather than fretting over cracked plastic.
Choose bespoke craftsmanship over fast furniture or decor and items made from sustainable materials like bamboo or reclaimed wood.
Photo source: Unsplash | Annie Spratt