I love an apartment that has that sort of "controlled chaos" vibe — projects on tables, books on the couch, things strewn about. It looks lived in and comfy, and it certainly feels creative. But there is something to be said for turning your apartment into a more relaxing space, and coming home to a bit of serenity.
As interior design expert Vanessa Deleon tells me via email, "The benefit to creating a relaxing living space, in my opinion, is creating a sanctuary that will give you peace of mind." I don't know about you, but that's exactly what I need after dealing with the world. I mean, wouldn't that feel so nice after a long, busy day? You open the door and are met with a serene and tidy place, instead of one that is overwhelming and cluttered. It really can make all the difference in the world.
Now, I'm not saying you have to get rid of all your stuff, or live a life of stark minimalism. (Unless you want to, of course.) But there are ways to create a more relaxing vibe in your home. With some de-cluttering, and maybe a few paint changes, your digs can feel like a little Zen getaway. Or, at the very least, the tiniest bit more soothing. Read on for ways to do just that.
1. Get Rid Of Excess Clutter
Since everyone's idea of "relaxing" is different, you might enjoy being surrounded by tchotchkes and knick knacks. But if your space feels overwhelmingly cluttered, consider giving it a once over. "Make sure that all corners of the house are clutter-free," Deleon suggests. "Also, if there is a space issue — for example, using under the bed storage — it should be organized and clean." (That means no hiding junk under the bed.)
2. Choose Your Wall Colors
Assuming you're allowed to paint your walls, consider this is your chance to turn a clinical-looking white room into one that really feels like yours. "Pick paint colors that make you feel good and inspire you," Deleon says. Some hints: go for warmer colors for a cozy vibe, or blue/green colors for something a bit more tranquil.
3. Hide Away Your Electronics
If you spend all day, every day, staring at a computer, then why not have yourself an electronics-free apartment? "That means no television ... no smartphone ... and no laptop," said home expert Michelle Ullman on HomeGuides.SFGate.com. Close your TV behind some cabinet doors, and keep your phone on vibrate. You'll so appreciate the lack of stimulation.
4. Don't Forget About Scent
Scent is often overlooked, but it can really up the relaxing factor. So as soon as you get home, do yourself a favor and make the place smell nice. "Boil some Lavender or cinnamon sticks to give the house a natural smell," Deleon says. Or consider some incense, or an aromatherapy room spray. (Personally, I'm all about that nag champa.)
5. Get To Nesting
Make it your new life's mission to collect all the comfy things. Think soft blankets and pillows, thick rugs, and overstuffed furniture. "A deep, cushioned sofa or comfortable futon are perfect for reclining while you unwind," Ullman said. Sounds pretty nice, right?
6. Create A Cozy Nook
Let's say you have roommates, or don't feel like totally redecorating your house. If either of those is the case, the very least you can do is create a nook. "Make a little corner in your home for yourself that you can call your own, a place you can meditate, read a book, or just listen to music," Deleon says. This will be your go-to spot to chill and unwind — no apartment overhaul necessary.
7. Think About That Street Noise
If your apartment's background noise is that of blaring sirens and honking horns, then consider getting yourself a noise machine. Or, better yet, drown out those annoying sounds with some music. Go for something tranquil and your apartment will feel like a bit of a spa retreat.
8. Open Those Windows
"Let fresh air circulate through the house," Deleon suggests. "In the autumn it’s always a nice feeling when you crack a window an inch and let the air circulate, even if its for five minutes." Having that air flow through really can change up the energy in a room, and make it feel brand new.
9. Go For Soothing Lighting
So many of us flick overhead lights on without thinking. But did you ever notice how utterly office-y those fluorescents feel? As Ullman said, "Bright light is too intense for relaxation." Do yourself a favor and go for dimmer table lamps, or some soothing candles.
10. Get To Cookin'
While it sure is nice to order takeout, or feast on a bowl of cereal, you gotta admit there's something so relaxing about cooking for yourself at home. "The aromas from baking or a home-cooked meal are very soothing," Deleon says. As is that amazing feeling of opening the fridge to delicious leftovers. (Win win.)
11. Get Thyself Some Plants
I have the bad habit of killing all my houseplants, but I still try to have them around for their relaxing vibes. "Plants are a good way to induce relaxation," said lifestyle writer Melissa Ulrich on SheKnows.com. "Every room should have something earth-themed to merge nature with the indoors." Even if it is just a little succulent.
Follow even just a few of these tips, and you'll have yourself one heck of a relaxing space.
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