We live in a fast-paced, hectic world, especially here in the west. We get up early, rush to get to work (whether that be at home or away), try to ram as much into the day as possible, and then return home to do chores, eat, and—maybe—relax. It’s exhausting! It’s become more difficult than ever to find peace and calm our racing minds, and MIND reports that 1 in 6 of us are experiencing depression or anxiety in any given week.
Those are some pretty serious statistics, but whether you’re struggling with your mental health or simply want to find better ways to switch off during your down-time, redecorating your home to encourage relaxation can seriously help. So, how can we create beautiful, relaxing homes we love to spend time in? Read on for our 10 top tips!
10 Ways to Create a Peaceful, Relaxing Home
1. Declutter, Declutter, Declutter
Before you grab a paint brush or start browsing décor sites, your first step should be to declutter. Pick a room, a drawer, or a cupboard and go through everything in it, asking yourself if you still need it, if you know what it’s for or can envision yourself using it again in the next 12 months, or if it has any positive memories attached. If your someone who tends to hold on to things they shouldn’t, invite a more ruthless friend round to help push you to let go of those things you’ve not used in a decade.
If there is anything inexpensive you’re holding onto in case you need it, but haven’t or rarely use, consider passing it on and just buying it new if you need it. Most of the time, we don’t need these things, we just don’t want to let go of something that’s “perfectly good.”
Do this for your clothes, too. If your holding onto a pair of jeans you fit into when you were 18 to help “motivate” you to get fit, but you’re 36 now, let go of them! Just buy a fabulous new pair if you change shape – you are worth it!
If you have a lot of books or papers around, consider scanning the papers and keeping them on the cloud and buy digital versions of books you aren’t super attached to.
2. Look at the Colour Palette in Your Home
The colours we see have a profound impact on our emotions – there’s a reason why brands choose bright colours if they want you to be excited and take action! Neutral and muted colours are much easier on the eye, so if you’re finding it hard to relax at home, consider redecorating so your most-used rooms (such as your bedroom, bathroom, living room, and home office) have neutral colours.
Start with a base of white, off-white, or beige, and add other neutral tones depending on your preferences, such as pale blues, greens, pinks, browns, grey, and so on. Use touches of black, gold or silver to keep things from looking too bland. Use textures to create visual interest instead of bright splashes of colour.
3. Consider Using Plants and Flowers
Unless you’re someone who likes those extremely minimalist interiors, plants and/or flowers will help you find your home more relaxing. While some find large bunches of flowers relaxing, the majority of us will find foliage more so. Studies have found that even looking at pictures of greenery help us relax, so a few touches of green around the home can do wonders.
Artificial plants will be much easier to look after (you don’t have to do more than dust them) and are often almost indistinguishable from the real thing, so it’s a great choice if you want the look but not the work! Some of the most relaxing plants to use in your home are:
- Artificial olive trees – these are tall and thin and so can be placed in even the narrowest of areas. The leaves are a beautiful, muted green-silver colour that beautifully complements modern, Scandinavian, and costal décor, though will work with any muted colour palette.
- Artificial palm plants – Artificial palm plants come in every size imaginable, but they make a great statement plant for a living room or dining room. While there is a lot of foliage, the narrow leaves mean you can see through to the wall or window behind, which creates a sense of depth. So often, we feel calmer at home when we feel like we’ve got more space.
- Artificial eucalyptus – Eucalyptus is a calming scent, but overwhelming. However, the shape and colour of the plant itself is a favourite for relaxed interiors because it has a beautiful, muted green colour, and the leaves are usually circular and uniform. Add this plant to vases on windowsills or on your bedside table for a relaxing accent.
- Artificial herbs - Most people find herbs evoke a relaxed, homey feel, but real herbs can be finicky to look after and an assault to the senses. If you want them anywhere but on your kitchen window, you better l-o-v-e the smell, because you’ll have to smell it whenever you go near it. Opt for artificial herbs and similar looking plants for the same feel without the smell.
- Artificial ferns – Find yourself longing for the forest? While real ferns need so much watering you’re likely going to need to buy a dehumidifier, artificial ferns can bring those forest walks home. Add a little artificial moss to the base of the pot for an even more earthy feel.
- Artificial lavender – lavender is well known for its calming effects, but you don’t have to have live lavender to benefit from it. Lavender has subtle, relaxing colouring and you can light a scented candle or use essential oils when you want to have the benefits of the scent.
4. Use Candles to Set Intentions and for Evening Lighting
Don’t worry, we’re not about to get all “woo-woo” on you here, when we say to use candles to set intention we simply mean that you can use lighting a candle (especially if it’s scented) to trigger a certain response in the brain. For example, if you light a candle every evening as you get ready for bed, lighting that candle will soon start to trigger feelings of deeper relaxation in you. You can also use candles for lighting in the evenings, as the soft lighting creates a romantic and relaxed atmosphere.
5. Change Your Lampshades and/or Bulbs
To build on our point above, lighting is incredibly important. If you can, consider upgrading your lighting to smart LED bulbs so you can change the lighting and dim it whenever you want to relax. Different lampshades will also make a difference, choose thicker, darker shades for the rooms you relax in, such as your bedroom.
6. Make Life Easier for Yourself
Do you feel exhausted by the time you sit down every evening or spend every weekend simply doing chores around the home? Start thinking about if there’s a way you can make keeping your home clean and tidy more easily. Depending on your budget, this could be replacing your carpet with laminate so you don’t have to vacuum all the time, but can quickly sweep up, a robotic vacuum, investing in a dishwasher or healthy frozen meals so you don’t have to wash up each night, dividing up the chores amongst the household, or even investing in a cleaner to come every week or fortnight. You’d be surprised how cost-effective these choices can be, and a cleaner home will take so much tension from your shoulders.
Equally, don’t invest in thousands of live houseplants if you aren’t a hobbyist – you can create the same beautiful look with artificial plants and you won’t have to spend your evenings and weekends watering, fertilising, and pruning. A live olive tree can be quite particular about it’s care and location, but an artificial olive tree will look as beautiful on day one as it does 5 years later provided you dust it off every once in a while – so much more relaxing to look after!
7. Make Use of Your Fireplace
While a lit fireplace is a relaxing companion on a winter evening, the truth is, few of us have working fireplaces! It also doesn’t often get cold enough to light one, unless it’s the only source of heat in your home, but there’s no denying that a fireplace represents relaxation and hominess. If your fireplace just has a few pictures on the mantel, it’s time to make better use of it! Add an artificial plant to the mantel with candles, mount a mirror or relaxing art print above the hearth, and fill the grate with pinecones if it’s not in use or isn’t real. You could also place a piece of bleached driftwood in its place.
8. Reduce Bulky, Unnecessary Furniture
Unless you find that cozy, dark academia vibe in your home, it’s best to avoid big, bulky armchairs and furniture made of solid mahogany. You want to make the most of the natural light, so if you have a large sofa or armchair in front of a window that isn’t often used, consider swapping it for a wicker chair, bean bag, pouffe, or trade it for a decorative accent instead. An artificial olive tree with a couple of smaller plants in one corner, or a low side table may be a better solution if a space gives you a claustrophobic feeling. Often, we feel like we need to fit as much furniture into a room as possible, when we can easily live with less and actually feel more comfortable thanks to the added space.
9. Be Selective About Your Artwork
The artwork we put on the wall will make a huge difference to the way we feel every day, so if a piece isn’t making you feel positive and lighter, swap it for something else. A lot of people choose to have family photos, but if you find that one makes you feel more negative than positive, it’s okay to take it down for a while. Your home needs to help you relax so you can take on life’s stresses at your best, so if you have reminders of something that worries you, it may be time to take it down. Equally, if you feel disconnected from things or people you love, create a gallery wall of things that excite you and make you feel loved and cherished.
10. Don’t Let Hallways Go to Waste
While we focus a lot on rooms, we’ve all got hallways in our homes, and it’s so easy to forget to decorate them. We pass through these spaces all the time, so make them feel as light and relaxing as the rest of the home. Here are a few tips you can utilise depending on the shape of your hallways:
- Remove furniture – your hallway may be wide enough for that bureau or dresser, but if it makes the space feel smaller and you have to move around it carefully, it’s likely too big. Consider relocating it so your hallway is a clear space.
- Encourage natural lighting – you can use mirrors to bounce more natural light into dark hallways.
- Paint it a light colour – if you’re inclined to choose a darker colour because you’ve got little kids and they leave little handprints, opt for kitchen paint that’s washable. This will allow you to go for a light, relaxing colour but be able to wipe off those places where smudges naturally occur.
- Add a gallery wall – long hallways are the perfect location for a gallery wall, so add your favourite art, photos, and quotes you love.
- Add a plant or two – if you have an awkward corner or a landing area that is too small to be used effectively but large enough to decorate, add tall, thin plants. A simple artificial olive tree in a terracotta pot placed in front of a window or in a corner can really elevate the hallway and help bring those calm vibes into every corner of your home.
If you want to create a peaceful, relaxing home, you’ve got to focus on decluttering all the things you no longer need or love, embrace soothing colours, and invite in new, calming accessories and decorations. If you typically surround yourself with a lot of trinkets, you may be surprised to find you feel much more relaxed when your space is decorated with fewer items. Often, a few artificial plants, candles, and just a few things you love are more than enough to make your home feel your own. To find the right artificial plants for your home, click here.