If you think you’ve never been more stressed out than you are right now, we certainly wouldn’t argue with you.
Research finds that nearly half of Americans report that their stress levels have increased over the last five years. And since the pandemic, those numbers have only spiked. Lying awake at night? Feeling exhausted during the day? Being quick to anger? Constantly experiencing the prickle of anxiety? These are all symptoms of stress that we’re experiencing at record-high levels.
Now more than ever, we need a calm home in the face of the constant onslaught of stressors. And in order to do that, you need a calming environment, whether that’s the living room or bedroom. One way to do that is by having luxurious yet affordable bedroom or living room blinds. We need to turn our homes into havens. Desperate for a calmer living environment? Read on for five tips for creating a stress-free sanctuary of your very own.
Tip #1. Cut out the clutter
We’ve heard it said that clutter in your physical space equates to clutter in your mental space. A cluttered mind? That’s not a brain that will let you keep your cool.
While a weekend-long decluttering spree will help you rid your surroundings of encroaching items that can stress you out, it’s also important to give incoming items (think: bills, receipts and other odds and ends) a place to land that won’t make your living space look like a recycling bin. Get in the habit of sorting these items as soon as they enter your home and depositing them in specific areas, like labeled bins or specific drawers. This will keep them out of your line of sight while keeping these items handy for when you need to reference them.
Tip #2. Stop tripping yourself up
Tired of falling all over yourself to navigate your own home? We don’t blame you! Your house should have a natural flow from room to room, starting at your main entrance and carrying on throughout your living areas. If you find yourself blocked—say, by a piece of furniture—you should reconsider the way you’ve laid out your space.
Other things, like curling rugs and wayward shoes, can trip you up, too. Take note of the latter items you tend to stumble over most frequently and get into the habit of returning them to their designated homes immediately. To tackle the former, you need to visit a home improvement store. There, you can find specialty tapes and mats that will keep your floor coverings from sending you sprawling.
Tip #3. Create a better balance
Too much of a good thing can make your consciousness prickle with unease. An all-blue room? In the eyes of Taoist tradition, that’s a water-filled space that needs to be balanced with other elements.
As you decorate your living area, try to layer different elements to create a textural and visual balance. Following Feng Shui design, for example, there are five elements: wood, earth, metal, water and fire. To ensure a harmonious room that helps you feel calm and stress-free, you want to include furnishings that represent each of these elements in equal measure.
Think: installing cordless wood blinds and decorating a mantel with pillar candles or choosing a sisal rug to top a natural stone floor.
Tip #4. Lean into your lifestyle
Let’s face it: There’s your dream interior design style and then there’s your practical home decor. White couches, white walls, white everything might be your fantasy living room, but if you have kids and dogs, you’ll spend your free time keeping your home clean rather than relaxing.
Keep the way you live in mind as you choose your furnishings. If the creases in linen slipcovers are going to annoy you, opt for a different fabric, like a heavier cotton blend. If your cat’s black fur is constantly visible on a lighter rug, swap it out for a pattern that disguises the shedding. If you travel frequently or have a knack for forgetting about your sensitive houseplant, choose a bit of wildlife that won’t make you worry.
Tip #5. Eliminate distractions
We’re not pointing fingers—ahem, smartphones—but the outside world seems to be encroaching on our personal space more than it ever has before. To tap into a calmer, quieter happy place, you need to block out as many of these distractions as you can.
Here are a few ideas:
- Put your phone on silent (and maybe leave it in a different room).
- Add more insulation. This is especially important in shared living spaces. Wall hangings and rugs can help absorb sound from inside your home, while heavy drapes and tight-fitting window shades can block out noise from the outside.
- Keep blue lights out of sight. Electronic devices emit a blue glow, which keeps our brains awake and actively pondering all the things we need to be doing before we sit down on the couch. Cover these lights—a small piece of red-hued tape over indicator lights works just fine—to catch a break, and place what electronics you can (like that Nest thermostat) out of sight around the corner.
- Boost your privacy. Feeling like you’re living in a fishbowl? Worrying about being watched in the comfort of your own home is enough to make anyone nervous. Installing window coverings will give you peace of mind, even if they are sheer shades. Motorized window treatments can even be programmed to automatically open and close at different times of day, giving you one less thing to cross off your mental to-do list.
The most important feature of a calming home environment is you surrounded by all the things you love most. If you find that there’s something in your living space that makes you anxious, whether it’s as serious as a reminder of a contentious family member or as shallow as a book you’ve been meaning to read, get rid of it! Relocate the stressor and repeat after us: You deserve some peace and quiet.