That’s the feeling coming home ought to evoke.
When chaos swirls around so much of life, with work pressures and 24/7 emails, texts, news, tweets and posts, it’s especially important to create a retreat from the pandemonium.
Tucson interior designer Pat Mooney, owner of Designlines, says creating a sense of peace and calm in your home does not have to be complicated.
“I think with what we have going on today in the media and world, with our daily routine of being on the Internet and getting emails every minute, it’s nice to have a space that is serene, where you can meditate and feel good about being in that space,” Mooney said. “It can be as simple as a chair in a room. It doesn’t have to be anything fancy.”
Color, light, sound, smell and touch all impact how we feel, and each deserve attention, said Mooney, who is sharing her 11 top tips for creating a calm and peaceful home.
Two of the most soothing spots in her home are her outdoor shower and her bedroom.
With beautiful views of the eastern sky, Mooney’s outdoor shower incorporates repurposed tiles, shells, marbles and more, collected during favorite adventures. Next to the shower is a tree stump that holds soaps, and nearby is a bench with outdoor cushions and pillows, for relaxing after a hot shower.
Mooney grows pots of lavender and rosemary nearby, infusing the air with their perfume.
The shower is used throughout the summer and during the warmer months the rest of the year.
“There is something very special about the eastern rising sun. You are meditating the first part of the day, and it’s nice to be out in nature.”
While the sky’s the limit in terms of what an outdoor shower can cost, Mooney said a simple shower can be created with about $500 in plumbing work.
“Everyone should have one,” she said.
In her bedroom, Mooney uses soft blue tones and decorates with her favorite subject matter – horses. She has created a calming sitting area, and installed blackout shades, for those times when a cave-like atmosphere is in order.
She keeps her bedroom cooler than the rest of the house – between 68 and 70 degrees, perfect for curling up with soft blankets.
Mooney recommends banishing clutter and stashing away unfinished projects. “They are a constant reminder of unfinished work, which can be stressful.”
Tamara Scott-Anderson, an interior designer and vice president of Contents Interiors, said the first question her team asks clients is how they want their home to make them and their guests feel.
She said paint is always the least expensive way to change the feel of your home. While tranquil spa colors – blues, greens, grays – come to mind when creating a peaceful environment, Scott-Anderson said color is a very personal choice.
“We have a client who finds all bright colors to be peaceful. It’s important to choose colors that make you peaceful and happy.”
She suggests using only comfortable furniture and arranging it to take advantage of views. And while it does not need to be new, furniture should not be frayed. Sitting in bedraggled furniture is not likely to inspire a feeling of peace and calm. And be careful not to overcrowd your room, Scott-Anderson said.
She suggests creating separate areas for specific activities to minimize stress. Having a 72-inch television in a space you use for meditation might be counter-productive.
Fill your home with relaxing scents, and make sure to remove any unpleasant odors, including dog or cat urine or cigarette smoke.
In the cooler months, place comfortable throws indoors and out, creating a cozy feel. Piped in music, light dimmers and other features can help you design a retreat from the stresses of life.
And if relaxing on the couch with your pooch is your favorite way to unwind, don’t forget to protect the furniture.
“If you allow your pets on the furniture, invest in attractive, color-coordinated, washable throws to use daily to cover your furniture,” Scott-Anderson said. “Then it is easily pulled off and folded up when guests come.”