You drag your tired feet up the stairs and tug your earphones out; you switch your iPod off and check your voicemail as you unlock your door. It’s the end of another day and all you want to do is to put your feet up and forget about everything else. Whether you like to collapse into a bed with hundreds of pillows, love the scent of freshly baked cookies or need a foot rub when you finish your day, the best feeling is the world is often the feeling of just being “home”. Here are some ideas to get on the fast track to creating a more homey feeling.
One of the core teachings of Feng Shui, the ancient Chinese art of placement, is de-cluttering. Don’t bring endless boxes into your new place and stack them up everywhere. Move in only what you need, unpack it, put it in its place and put the rest into storage. Feng Shui principles state that rooms should be arranged in a complete square or rectangle. This balance in a room can translate into the one living in it, creating harmony and stability. Feng Shui teaches that in order to have a positive life experience, Chi (life-force, energy) needs to be able to flow freely. To ensure this happens, don’t place furniture directly against the walls and never make a television or other electronic device the focal point of a room. Ideally, you would have three places to sit inside a room with a welcoming piece in the middle, like a coffee table, that forms a full circle. Televisions and other objects should sit outside the circle in the larger “square” of the room.
Create a sense of harmony by only including items in your home that have meaning to you. Flowers may symbolize your connection to nature; a set of doves may represent love. As you decide where to put each object in the room think about its meaning and why you chose to put it there. Now your home is not filled with “junk” but with the things that are important to you.
Touches of Comfort
Now that your rooms are in order, add colors and fabrics that will make your environment pleasing to all your senses. Don’t paint your walls with bright colors in an effort to make it more cheery. Instead, have a neutral base on the walls and in your furniture and add rugs, cushions and wall décor in colors that you like. If you appreciate change, choose colors that are fitting to the season and change them throughout the year. Don’t worry about impressing guests or creating a certain “look” when buying décor. Follow your gut and choose what you like. To illuminate your décor, aim for indirect light sources (keep light bulbs hidden) in every room. Overhead lights can sometimes be too jarring.
Make your home just as comfy to be in as it is to look at by adding soft, natural fabrics to furniture. Use cushions that aren’t too firm, with more give. As you add décor, choose a variety of textures to add depth to the space. In addition, make sure to clean your home thoroughly when you move in and then keep it that way. Dirty and messy spaces can ruin a world of good decorative choices.
Scent is an often-ignored, but very important, part of creating a comforting atmosphere. Scent is the sense most closely associated with memory, so try to surround yourself with smells that remind you of things that make you happy. Grandma’s apple pie? Fresh sea breezes? Coconuts and pineapples? Shy away from chemical-based artificial air fresheners and instead choose potpourri and natural candles. These not only give your apartment a homey, lived-in scent but also look very attractive.
Just as scent is often ignored, sound is rarely a decorating priority. However, a beautifully arranged space that is loud and disruptive is not going to feel much like home. Calm down loud sounds with a water fountain table display as a centerpiece. You can also play a recording of nature sounds or hang a wind chime outside your window. To maintain your serenity, refrain from turning the volume up too loud on electronic devices and keep your alarm clock on a low volume or a set to a radio station with calming music.
Live in Harmony
One of the quickest ways to spoil your home environment is to invite the outside world into it. Bringing work home, making business-related calls and paying bills in the kitchen all disrupt the purpose of your home. Make your home a relaxing sanctuary by leaving business outside whenever possible. If this can’t happen, or you work from home, create a space in which to handle all work related tasks and don’t let it seep over into other areas of your home. Your mind creates associations with various places so if you get used to working on your laptop while lying on your bed, you will begin to associate your bedroom with work. Confine activities to the room in which they were intended—eating should only happen in the kitchen. Your job or school commitments are only one aspect of your life; when you intertwine it into your home and especially your bedroom, you can throw your life off balance. If you start these habits now, your home will quickly become your quiet sanctuary in the middle of a noisy world.