When the world around seems to be getting more crazy and hectic, it can be a pleasure to come home to your place and close the door behind you.
But if your living space does not always offer the calm, relaxing environment you’d like, here are some easy changes to make.
Remove the clutter. Mail, the kids’ toys, homework, art and crafts, dirty coffee cups – it all adds up. Make available drawers, cupboards and boxes, so those things have a place and are out of sight. Scoop toys into a bag which can be put in a cupboard, to be brought out another day.
Leave space. Remove at least half the items displayed or ‘parked’ on any surface, whether it’s the kitchen bench, vanity, bedside table or bookshelf; like the kids’ toys, they could be displayed in rotation to create interest. The space that is opened up will bring in light and calm.
Optimise the dishwasher. Train the family to put dirty cups, dishes and utensils in it immediately after use, and use it to clear the bench before leaving the house. You might need to re-stack before running it, but at least you won’t walk into the kitchen and have to clean up before starting on the next meal.
Make the beds. It is a small thing to pull up the bedcovers when you first get out, yet it makes a world of difference. An unmade bed is not only visually messy, but it serves as a constant reminder of something else that needs to be done.
Create a quiet corner. A comfy chair, side table and a reading lamp is all it takes to set you up for a short break with a cuppa and good book. Add cushions and a throw rug in the cooler months.
Optimise on light. Open the curtains wide, or replace heavy drapes with sheer, filmy fabric to allow natural lighting to fill the rooms. Hang decorative mirrors in strategic places to reflect the natural light into a room or passageway, and if possible, install skylights in places that don’t get much light.
Add greenery. Healthy indoor plants look great, smooth out rough edges and clear the air. Place Pothos (Devil’s Ivy) on a high shelf so it can hang down as it grows, or sit a Peace Lily (Spathiphyllum) on that newly-uncluttered surface. For floor plants, try Sansavera (Mother-in-Law’s Tongue) or Ficus, which are both hardy and tolerant of low light.
For longer-term changes, consider painting walls in soothing colours and using natural tones for furnishings. Colour can then be added in ‘pops’ so it is less overwhelming on the senses.