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7 ways to create a more calming and peaceful home

Searching for more serenity? Thankfully, there’s one area in your life where you can create and control it—and it’s the home

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By Vogue UK | November 3, 2021 | Trends

If the past couple of years have left any kind of lasting impression, it’s the value of carving out a quiet and calming space in your own home. Certainly, spending so much time indoors in the past two years has taught us that interiors matter, and they can have a huge impact on how we think and feel. While the rise in popularity of Wabi-Sabi or Japandi interiors speaks to this, there are other ways to introduce more tranquillity at home—and they don’t require a renovation or complete design overhaul to achieve.

From simple things, such as adding stress-reducing houseplants to your living area, or working with the dictates of colour therapy to create a more soothing space, there are many small measures that will incorporate more zen into your interiors. So, in the interest of creating a more calming home space, we chat to New York-based interior designer Cara Woodhouse about how to quieten your home—and reap the mental and physical benefits.

1. Read the room

“When creating a calming space, it’s important to first assess your home and its surroundings. What makes you feel comfortable and cosy? Lighting, materials, colours, etc.? On the other hand, you want to determine the details that make you feel the opposite so that you can start swapping those out immediately,” says Woodhouse. Remember this is entirely personal too—there are no hard and fast rules about what makes a calming room. Find the elements that make you feel good.

2. Sense check

“When it comes to feeling calm at home, there are certain sensory triggers that you should pay attention to. These fall under touch, smell and sight. Focus on these senses to start,” suggests Woodhouse. This means paying close attention to the textures, materials and fragrances that make you feel relaxed, and finding new ways to add them to your space.

3. Emphasise these

“I always consider emphasising the most important rooms in your home—including your bedroom, as this is where you rest and wake up; your bathroom, as this is where you decompress and treat yourself; your living room, as this is where you entertain and lounge; and your kitchen, as this is where you fuel yourself,” says Woodhouse.

4. Take it to bed

“For your bedroom, look to implement comfort and light,” suggests Woodhouse. “Softer colours can create a sense of comfort and safety, and you can incorporate these shades into window treatments, bedding and accessories.” While some colours, such as red, are not recommended for bedrooms because they’re stimulating, others like soft pinks, blues and green work a treat, as do neutrals like white and cream.

5. Out of sight, out of mind

“For all of your spaces, it’s crucial to keep anything stressful out of sight,” says Woodhouse. “This includes any clutter, work items like laptops (don't bring them to bed with you!) and laundry.” Remember the saying, ‘tidy home, tidy mind’?—you better believe it.

6. Get in the mood

“For your bathroom, recessed lighting with dimmers is key,” stresses Woodhouse. “You can adjust the light based on your needs and mood. Keeping your vanity crisp and clean with limited clutter is a great idea and splurging on candles or flowers by the sink will add that extra sense of serenity to your space.”

7. Keep it clean (and fragrant)

In the kitchen, be sure to add calming but appetising aromas and don't use cleaning products that interfere with your appetite or other cooking smells says Woodhouse. “Your kitchen should smell clean and fresh! And your countertops should remain clutter-free; keeping the spaces bright makes it feel clean, calm, spacious, and comfortable.”

Written by Yeong Sassall.

This article originally appeared on Vogue Living Australia.