(ARA) - There really is no place like home. When the day's hectic business is done, home should be our retreat, the place where we can decompress, relax and recuperate. But houses packed with stuff, or decorated -- and constantly redecorated to follow the next hot trend -- can add to stress rather than relieve it.
Turning your home into a sanctuary doesn't require an expensive redesign. Here are five low- or no-cost ways to make your home a relaxing refuge.
1. De-clutter your home. Organizational experts agree that clutter doesn't just take up space in your house; it creates a negative, unpleasant environment as well. Eliminating clutter not only opens up your home's interior, the act of cleaning out unused items can be cathartic. When your home is clutter-free, you also free your mind of the stresses associated with messy surroundings.
2. Use d cor to create a soothing atmosphere. Choose colors and materials that speak to you of comfort, security and serenity. Natural tones -- from brown, tan and cream earth tones to blue and green water hues -- create a relaxing effect.
Easy-to-hang wallpaper murals are a great way to bring the natural peacefulness and colors of the outdoors inside with your favorite nature scene. Choose from hundreds of restful nature scenes -- from skyscapes and mountains to tropical forests and English gardens -- in sizes to fit virtually every design theme and budget.
3. Live in purpose-filled rooms. When decorating and using any room in the house, keep in mind the room's fundamental purpose. Avoid startling colors or images in your bedroom, where they can disrupt your sleep patterns. Choose fun and stimulating d cor, like a cityscape mural, for your kitchen, where good conversation and fellowship should be key elements of a good meal.
4. Remember to engage your most basic, instinctual sense -- the sense of smell. Scented candles and air fresheners are among the most common ways to incorporate aromatherapy into your home sanctuary.
You can also use essential oils in creative ways -- a few drops in your bathroom soap dispenser or on your furnace's air filters -- to evoke a soothing atmosphere. Opt for naturally calming scents, like lavender and vanilla, in your bedroom. Add zest to your living areas with lemon or eucalyptus.
5. Adapt a tradition from Asian cultures and leave your shoes at the door. Going barefoot is comfortable for most people, and can also evoke childhood memories of being barefoot in the summer.
What's more, leaving your shoes at the door is symbolic of leaving the day's stresses and cares where they belong -- outside your home sanctuary. Courtesy of ARA Content