A home should be more than just somewhere to live. It should also be a retreat — a place in which you feel relaxed and nurtured. All too often, though, our houses slip into a more perfunctory role. Sometimes they even cause stress, confronting us with reminders of things to do as soon as we step through the door. How can we steer our homes toward more cozy shores? Try these mood-enhancing ideas and housekeeping tips to add comfort and keep the to-do-list worries at bay.
Work With the Seasons
Allow your home to reflect the time of year, and it will feel more enjoyable and nourishing. In the winter, put up heavy drapes that can be closed to keep in the heat, then light candles and, if possible, a fire to create a sense of coziness and protection from the elements.
In the warmer months, open the windows so you can hear the birds, hang gauzy curtains to let in lots of warm, soft light and dot your rooms with wildflowers.
Get the Lighting Right
Good lighting can lift the mood of a room and help it function better. Get it right, and any space can feel like a welcoming oasis. Weave in a mix of sources for a layered effect and be sure to add plenty of ambient light too — candles and twinkle lights are good for this.
Whether it’s a podcast documentary burbling away in the background or your favorite band drifting through the speakers, sound plays a role in making your home what it is, so tune in and chill out.
Make Your Bed Each Morning
Just the sight of a beautifully made bed when you return home from a busy day can help you relax. So even if you do nothing else before running out the door each morning, make your bed!
If you work from home but your desk is part of a large multipurpose room, be sure to hide your computer at the end of the day to give yourself a mental rest. The same goes for any paperwork you haven’t addressed yet. When it’s quitting time, stow it away so your home switches to being a calming haven instead.
Introduce Some Scent
Turning your home into a space that soothes and nurtures can be as much about how it smells as how it looks. Scent can help us unwind and may carry associations of places we love and bring back fond memories.
Try varying the scent with the seasons, choosing something musky or woodsy as the nights draw in, then swapping to something with more citrus or floral notes during the warmer months.
Choose Cleanliness Above Styling
It doesn’t matter if your home isn’t quite ready for a photo shoot; it’s still your special place. To help it feel like a haven, focus on keeping it clean and tidy over styling it with the latest buys. An ordered home always seems relaxing, and even a space filled with the most on-trend pieces won’t feel like a refuge if it’s cluttered and messy.
Invest in a Throw
Blankets and throws can’t help but appear inviting. They transform a sofa from somewhere to sit into a wonderful place to snuggle. Invite children, dogs or your partner under your blanket too, then forget about everything else as you cozy up together.
Add Fresh Flowers and Plants
Bringing a little living greenery into your home can give it a lush focal point. Caring for a houseplant and watching it grow can also be satisfying, and will contribute a sense of specialness.
Make it Personal
Displaying family photos and furnishing your home with items passed down through the generations or unearthed at a yard sale will give it personality and help it feel like your individual getaway. Add pieces picked up on holidays or upcycled lovingly by you too. Items with a history or story behind them bring more soul to your space and are nice to come home to.