With all the go-go-go attitude around us, we all need a moment to breathe.
Burnout is on the rise; and with lifestyles and economies changing so rapidly, many of us can’t help but feel that we need some tiny breathing room.
Our homes are supposed to be our stress-free sanctuaries. But with lockdown, quarantines and WFH situations, this precious space is also contributing to anxiety. As such, it is important for us to rethink our spaces and make it work for us in multiple ways.
Having this rather urgent societal need in mind, we decided to write about ways we can design our homes more mindfully. These are all easily doable yet strategic design tactics to make your home a happy place that encourages better wellbeing and allows you to be at ease.
1. Choose your happy
Your home must be a reflection of who you are, your design style, your personality and your own happy moments. If you have little pockets of displays that make you smile or remind you of a happy memory, then you’ll find your home a more relaxing and welcoming place.
Start with a small corner in your WFH area for meaningful memorabilia. You can also have pictures of family and friends on your bedside table or atop a shelf. Maybe better yet, create a gallery wall filled with mementos or images showing your interests. These need not be large, overpowering items or areas. As long as you see them and understand what they mean to you, then that should be all that’s needed.
Photo source: Poster Store
2. Comfort is priority
Remember that time when you saw a very pretty couch or chair on Instagram or Pinterest and instantly wanted to get one? Yes, that’s happened to many, including me.
Despite the urge to get that for your home – which probably may only be Instagram-worthy but actually utterly uncomfortable, think twice and look for another. Go for one that you would be perfectly at ease to lounge in while binging Netflix, reading a book or to simply just be. This part is extremely important for couches, lounge chairs and your WFH chair.
Photo source: Interior Design Ideas
3. Engage the senses
For spaces and homes that encourage healthier wellbeing, it goes beyond the visual to creating a multi-sensory environment. Usually, when you exercise mindfulness, you see with your mind’s eye and feel with your heart. For mindful living at home, take note of how things look, yes; but don’t overlook the scent and texture too.
There’s a whole psychological aspect to it.
Photo source: Women’s Weekly Singapore
For scent, think of your signature scent or a familiar one that could easily transport you to happy places and moments and bring on positive feelings. This could be your favorite perfume, the saltiness scent of sea air, grass on the mountains in the countryside or even freshly brewed coffee and baked bread and try to mimic these at home.
Similarly, enhancing textures at home gives a certain level of comfort through touch. Soft, fluffy pillows and throws can give a heightened feeling of comfort and relaxation, and that hygge lifestyle. While other touchy-feely fabrics can trigger different memories or sensations. Like how a jute or sisal rug reminds you of a beach house, or imperfections on natural wood finishes bring you closer to nature.
Photo source: Morning Chores
4. Discover your color
Color is easily the most considered and thought of part of interior design that affects visual and psychological conditions of a space. And it’s true. Color hues, tone and saturation can dictate the feel of your home.
For a mindful home where you can relax and be at ease, go for soft, muted hues. Contrary to what you probably thought of, it doesn’t all have to be white – that will look too plain and sterile. Instead, choose your favorite colors and then, lower its saturation or choose a lighter shade. This way, your space still feels like you and also be a stress-free sanctuary.
Applying these color tones is not limited to walls. Consider your flooring, furniture, small home decor and light fixtures too.
Photo source: HomeLane
5. Carve your own ‘me’ time corner
A mindfully decorated home isn’t complete without having your own private little nook or corner for some ‘me’ time. In today’s world where our homes have become even more multi-functional and diversified spaces, it is crucial to have a safe space to fully unwind and regain balance.
This ‘me’ time corner is yours and yours alone – a personal area that speaks to you and gives you an opportunity to breathe and be present. It need not be big or a full room. You can spruce up a couch in your bedroom, redecorate a small balcony, or transform a small corner into a reading nook. As long as that space is separate from the rest and can give you the respite, in mind and body, that you need.
Photo source: Camille Styles
6. Create a wellness station
Going one step further from the ‘me’ time corner is to have a wellness station. Like what it suggests, a wellness station is a dedicated and more straightforward area to make you feel good. Not looking like a regular reading nook or comfortable couch, this area goes above and beyond to make you happy and comfortable about yourself and the world.
It could be a dressing table with all your personal favorites. Or a large walk-in closet and dressing area where your favorite clothes are on display, easy for you to try on and have fun. Alternatively, you could transform your bathroom, especially the tub area, into a spa sanctuary. Filling it with a relaxing scent, fluffy towels, soft rug and bubbles, ready for you to spend an entire afternoon in.
On the other hand, this wellness station could also be a meditation area. A space that helps you be present and get into that mindful moment. Here, for this approach, you quite simply just need a meditation pillow and a small rug in a quiet corner.
Photo source: Architectural Digest India
7. Invite bits of nature in
Now this point can connect to many of the previous ideas. Greenery has the power to heal both physically – some houseplants can purify indoor air – and mentally – since it revives your innate connection with nature.
Not limited to that but natural greens can breathe new life to your home with their attractive and sometimes colorful additions to your palette. They are also part of sustainable and biophilic ways to soften the concrete-ness of today’s modern homes. Plus, taking care of your plant babies results in mindfulness of being present and happiness as you see them grow.
Photo source: Soho Interior Design
8. Welcome natural light and fresh air
Another way to get some positive energy and calmness in your home is by blurring the indoor outdoor flow and welcoming as much natural light and fresh air as you can. Similar to how indoor plants can somewhat reconnect you with nature, these sustainable measures also give you the same results.
Moreover, sunlight has mood-lifting benefits. Because they help increase the levels of serotonin in your brain – a hormone that boosts mood and helps you feel calm and focused – a home with much natural light is a pleasant space to live in. Just around 15 minutes of sun exposure a few times a week is enough; no need to bask in it for hours to get your needed vitamin D nutrients.
Set up your wellness station, ‘me’ time corners or cozy reading nooks near a window to enjoy this. If the sun’s too strong, place sheer curtains to still allow light to filter through. And then, crack open that window to enjoy a soft breeze.
9. Hide, don’t seek
Clutter – a source of stress and anxiety for many. Harder to manage for smaller spaces but this happens no matter how big a home you live in. Decluttering need not be a hard mountain to climb, there are step-by-step organization techniques you can try; where the process itself can actually be quite therapeutic.
Making use of clever storage ideas is ideal for this point. Smartly hiding clutter in double duty or multipurpose furniture is the way to go. Bookshelves, hidden drawers, under-the-bed drawers, ceiling hooks, table trays and hanging shelves are some easy ways to install storage areas for everyday things.
Photo source: Home Made Lovely
10. Take your time
Lastly, if there is one thing you need to remember in a mindfully decorated home is to take your time. All the design ideas above can help you relax, keep calm and claim back your homes as sanctuaries by allowing you to slow down.
These will serve as everyday reminders to rest. Even for just a few minutes, to regain some balance and sanity. If you don’t consciously pick a day to rest and rejuvenate, your body and your mindful home will help you choose the perfect time for it.
Photo source: Shashi Chaturvedula