The next time you’re standing at your front door, about to turn the key and cross the boundary from the outside world into your private abode, pause for a moment and ask yourself: Are you entering a house, a home, or a haven? It’s true, each one provides a place to eat, watch Netflix and sleep, but there’s a genuinely perceptible difference between a roof over your head and a shelter for your spirit. Let these ten ideas get you started in creating a sanctuary that rolls out the red carpet every time you step inside.
1. Select a beautiful color and surround yourself with it by painting your walls.
Color can give your psyche an instant lift. In general, bright clear hues like turquoise and granny apple green are energizing, while deeper shades of mulberry and hunter green feel cozy. Neutrals, such as creme and soft gray give an open and calming vibe. Visit the paint store and see what hues you respond to. Pick up a gallon or two and throw a painting party.
2. Keep your cupboards stocked with foods that you enjoy eating and are good for your body.
Check out the organic, natural foods options next time you’re out grocery shopping and try something new. By buying organic, you’re helping farmers committed to healthy, flavorful, pesticide-free farming and food production stay in business. Eating organic makes every one of your cells smile during mealtime.
3. Introduce scents into your home through candles, incense, or essential oils.
The latter can be used by sprinkling a few drops into bath water, onto an aroma ring that fits onto a lamp bulb, or into a diffuser that plugs right into the wall. Try an exotic scent like sandalwood, a restful one such as lavender or an energizer like spearmint.
4. Place a throw over your favorite chair or sofa.
It’s the perfect item to have on hand to curl up in while binging on a favorite show or reading a great book. When making your selection of a throw, think luxuriantly tactile, softly draping and richly colored. There are so many lovely show blankets to choose from, so why limit yourself to only one? Treat yourself to a new throw in a different weight, texture, color and design as the seasons change.
5. Set little personal rituals for yourself and loved ones.
Enjoy a solitary cup of hot cocoa on Saturday mornings while you journal quietly. Plan a Thursday evening pizza and game night with the kids. Host a monthly potluck or Sunday brunch with your closest pack of pals. (Even a regular, virtual get together can keep you feeling close-knit.) These types of activities and occasions add rhythm to the weeks and months of the year. Most importantly, you’re setting aside a regular time to connect with the people you care about most.
6. Have your favorite candid shots of family and friends enlarged and put on display.
Pinterest has all kinds of creative ideas for displaying your photo collection, from gallery walls to custom photo wallpaper to mini DIY photo frame fridge magnets. Let these images be a constant reminder of all the enjoyable times you’re spent in the company of kindred spirits.
7. Keep a basket full of good books near your bedside or your e-reader parked nearby.
Read something positive, thought-provoking, or inspirational before your head hits the pillow each night or to usher in the start of a new day.
8. Adopt a few houseplants and get into the habit of learning their personalities and caring for them.
Plants don’t just add a homey atmosphere to your space, they make you feel good both mentally and physically. Studies have shown that indoor plants not only improve the air quality by absorbing toxins and releasing clean oxygen, but they can reduce your stress levels and boost your mood.
9. Veg out in a warm bath of bubbles, rose petals or essential oils.
Warm water is calming to both the mind and the body, so make bath time a meditative experience by using soft lighting, relaxing music and your favorite scents. And if you must, hang a “do not disturb” sign on the door to prevent disturbances during your personal Zen time!
10. Lastly, get rid of anything in your home that doesn’t make you feel good.
This means hand-me-down furnishings you never liked in the first place, books you know you’ll never read, unfinished projects you probably won’t ever get around to completing and impulse buys that turned out to be mistakes. Don’t feel guilty, wasteful or sad. These items are all good candidates for the neighborhood recycle program or a thrift store drop box and can be a blessing to someone else who would use and appreciate them. Just send them back out into the world.
Your home is the one place in the world that should support and nurture you in all ways: Mind, body + spirit. Take your time and enjoy the process of making it a haven that you can’t wait to return to at the end of each day.