Make Your Home a Stress-Free Zone

March 08, 2014

Make Your Home a Stress-Free Zone

Your home isn’t just a place to unwind at the end of a long day. It’s your sanctuary. “Home is what feeds us. It should be a place that promotes the best we can be,” says Christine Eisner, an Atlanta-based interior designer and author of “Comfort Living.”

“Yet because we’re so focused on our jobs, our homes can get overlooked. We have spaces that just sort of happen,” she adds. The antidote? Nuance your nest. Eisner offers these tips for making your home a safe haven.

Invite nature in. “The biggest stressor in our lives is civilization, which has increased our pace of living,” Eisner says. To counterbalance it, bring the outside into your home. Just cleaning your windows and opening them if it’s warm outside can help. So can a simple window valance, which adorns the top of the windows, but doesn’t cover the window space.

If you’re in the market for a more formal look, such as these curtain panels by Insola-Mandalay, simply open them as far as they’ll go. “Let as much light in as possible,” Eisner says.

Adding plants can also make a functional space more environmentally friendly. “Think of nature as a member of your inner circle,” Eisner says.

When choosing colors for decorating, consider sky, water, earth, stone, and floral tones as a bridge to nature.

Consider how you want to feel in each room. Before sprucing up your abode, ask yourself what three words describe how you want to feel in your space. Consider this for each room — your living room, your dining room, your bedroom, your porch, and even your garage, Eisner suggests. Make a list. The word trios you choose for the living room, for example, could be “welcoming,” “soothing” and “cozy.” Whatever you select for each area, use their corresponding word trios as a filter. They can help you choose one lampshade, blanket, pillow or rug over another. For example, silk is too slippery to be considered cozy. But soft summer-weight cotton, such as this organic cotton throw? Cozy for sure.

Get lit. Candles at the dinner table or in the living room, even the flameless kind like these Loft Living Flameless Pillar Candles, help warm up a room and make you feel grounded. For regular candles, such as these Maison Amber candles, be sure to keep a book of matches nearby. “Candles do nothing if you don’t light them,” Eisner says. She likes to use candles as part of her “campfires” — a combination of places, objects, routines, people and even animals in her home that create a sense of well-being, comfort and community. An object campfire could be a lamp, a comfy chair, a decorative wooden tray with candles, and a book, for example.

Change the look with the seasons. For an uplifting feeling, why not switch out somber wintery decorative items in your home for vibrant, springy ones? “Changing the towels and bath mats, even the soaps can completely change the feeling of a bathroom,” Eisner says. For spring, Eisner favors nature-y colors, like lavender and pale green. But pops of chartreuse or hot pink can also make a room feel more seasonal when the weather gets warmer. “Even just changing up the pillow cases or shams on a bed can liven up a bedroom,” Eisner says, while sticking to its serene theme.

Sandra Gordon

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