There are many things, too many, that we can’t control when we’re out in the world.

For instance, the service person who snapped at you because she was having a bad day.

Or the traffic jam you couldn’t get around and just had to wait your way through; car by car, foot by foot.

Maybe you picked up your favorite dress from the dry cleaner’s and was told they were very sorry but that stain just couldn’t be removed.Doubly sad because you’d plan to wear it to an important event that evening

You get the drift.

I actually remember a day when all 3 above examples happened to me.  I’m sure you’ve experienced days like that as well.

The one place we have control of (at least most of the time) is home.  That sacred place which has been mindfully designed to reflect calm and order.

Here are some ideas that show how tranquility can be found in all of  the spaces in your home.

Entry and Mudroom

Try something low. A long, low table or bench in the entry invites you to come closer and investigate, rather than dump your keys and bag in a rush through to other rooms. It’s a subtle difference, but it could be just enough change to slow your pace from the harried outside world to the peace and comfort of home. Enhance the peaceful effect by placing a single, beautiful orchid or vase of flowers and a pretty cloth on the table.

Living Spaces

Establish a basic housekeeping rhythm. This may sound a bit old fashioned, but knowing you have a system in place for keeping the house neat and tidy can be a great source of comfort. Ask yourself what the hallmarks of “clean” are to you — for some, it may be a perfectly scrubbed kitchen; for me it’s clean floors and fluffed cushions. Whatever says “clean” to you, make time for it in your weekly schedule.

Stick with a serene color palette. This is not to say that homes done in pale neutrals are the only ones that feel calming (it may be that deep, moody colors are what invite you to sink in and relax), but generally speaking, the more colors and patterns there are in a room, the less restful it will feel. So if something feels off in a particular room, a good starting point is to simplify the color palette or try removing a pattern.
Filter light and views. Natural light streaming in through wide windows can be lovely, but if there is an obnoxious view out the window or the light is too glaring, it can be a nuisance. Judiciously placed window films, sheer curtains or translucent shades will modify the light without blocking it completely.
Bedrooms

Make your bed each morning. This one simple thing can go a long way toward feeling that all is right at home. If it’s not already your habit, resolve to begin smoothing your sheets and covers and plumping your pillows each morning. Just walking by the bedroom will give you a little lift, and sliding into a crisply made bed each evening is one of life’s little pleasures that shouldn’t be missed.

Store linens where they are needed. Rather than keeping all extra blankets, sheets and towels in one central closet, try breaking up the collection and storing just what is needed in each bedroom. Neatly folded and stacked quilts look appealingly restful, so feel free to stack them atop your dresser or shelving unit if you are short on space.
Workspace

Go wireless. Cables and cords are an eyesore, but more than that, they can contribute to a general feeling of chaos and disorder in a home office. Choose wireless devices when possible to cut down on the cord tangle, and sort the rest with labeled clips to keep them out of the way. If you have the option, installing outlets exactly where you need them below your desk is a wise investment.

Minimize visual clutter. When it comes to paper storage, the easiest thing is to sort it all into matching containers. Woven baskets and bins along with simple white magazine files or kraft paper photo boxes are versatile pieces that can handle almost anything you have. Get a label maker if you don’t like your handwriting, and stick on a fresh label each time you make a new bin or file.
Offset tech gadgets with living plants and handmade objects. Workspaces tend to be filled with plastics — and even if those plastics are sleek, they are still plastics. Bringing in something tactile and handmade, like rustic plant pots filled with succulents, an intricately woven textile or a hand-turned wooden bowl, will help bring much-needed balance to the space.
Kitchen and Bathroom

Keep counter space cleared. Stow all small kitchen appliances except those used daily, and you can free up a lot of counter space in the kitchen. And cleared counter space is like money in the bank: Use it to spread out ingredients for cooking or papers for a school project, or just enjoy the lovely feeling of having a clean, orderly counter.

Bring nature in. As with workspaces, kitchens and bathrooms can become so utilitarian that they feel cold and impersonal. Warm things up with small potted plants in the bath (ferns do well in this humid space) and herbs in the kitchen, along with rustic woods and hand-thrown pottery.
Allow for orderly open storage. Knowing that you can easily find exactly what you need in an instant is incredibly comforting. Instead of digging through an entire assortment of mismatched dishes (and let’s face it, most of them never get used), keep your favorite set stacked neatly on an easy-to-reach shelf.

Dining Room

Treat your dining room as a flexible living space. By keeping this room fresh and clean, with a vase of flowers or potted plant and candles on the table, and a few artistic finds or thoughtfully chosen books about, it can expand from eating place to all-around hangout zone. And without the tech trappings of the den or home office, it can actually be a more peaceful spot to spend an afternoon in. It does take some effort to keep that large expanse of table clear of piles of clutter, but it is worth it.

Photo credits: Houzz

Until next time…

Blessings,
Nancy


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