What distinguishes a busy, uncomfortable home from a relaxing, welcoming abode? The truth is that the architecture of one’s home, and the interior design flourishes with which you choose to accent it, can make an enormous difference in how you feel when you finally unlock the front door and put your day behind you. In this article, we consider the effects of furniture, lighting,music and flow on your physical and mental spaces.
From the plush surrounds of an overstuffed couch to the slender, back-supporting spine of an elegant mid-century modern chair, furniture not only occupies our space but also defines how we relate to it. Think about how you perceive a room with certain types of furniture, as, for example, an austere dining table and chair set. This room would make you want to behave politely and display good posture, whereas a room peppered with bean bags and oversize hanging lamps would encourage you to lie down and sprawl. The trick to choosing great, relaxing furniture is as much about visualizing how you would react to it as understanding what kind of effect you are trying to achieve. Placing automated Dreamwave massage chairs in a room will encourage you and your guests to stretch out and calmly reflect on your life, whereas importing a series of Eames chairs and a bookcase would encourage a more studied, intellectual vibe. Blending all of these pieces of furniture together would create a room of both mental and physical relaxation, a kind of sanctuary free from the rigors of daily life. Whatever furniture you are considering, always ask yourself this question: What do I find relaxing?
Create Ambiance with Lighting
First, keep in mind that sunlight is your friend. Do your best to take advantage of any and all natural lighting, choosing window treatments which allow you to let in plenty of sunlight.
Although most of us have very little control over the pre-existing structure of our homes, we can add a slew of accessories that enhance and filter the available light in a relaxing way. Consider the use of blinds and light-colored curtains: depending on how these are deployed, you can create a room that is bathed in sunlight or elegantly shaded from the noon-time sun. First, keep in mind that sunlight is your friend. Do your best to take advantage of any and all natural lighting, choosing window treatments which allow you to let in plenty of sunlight.
The material of the blinds can have an enormous effect on how the room “feels.” A set of dark wooden slatted blinds, for example, will absorb a great deal of light and create very precise, geometric beams during certain times of the day. At night, these wooden blinds will visibly function as an element of class and sophistication, making them perfect accessories for rooms used primarily for entertaining. Light colored curtains, on the other hand, are great ways to maintain your privacy while keeping a room light and airy. Curtains like these are exquisite additions to rooms where concentration and mental repose is desired. If you want to keep your living room light but conducive to relaxing, adding some of these curtains will help you feel as if you are in a clean, safe, and pleasant environment.
According to Larissa Hall Carlson, an ayurvedic consultant at the Kripalu Center for Yoga and Health “Peaceful rhythms can settle your nervous system, encouraging relaxation after a crazy day”.
All you need to create your sound system at your home spa is one laptop, wifi speakers and collection of relaxing music. Dr. David Lewis, the UK’s leading stress specialist, came to similar conclusions with his research, and even assembled a list of the top 10 most relaxing tunes.
Match your home’s sound track to your mood – or the state you want to be in.
Perhaps the most intangible of qualities, “flow” isn’t exactly egress, and it isn’t exactly feng shui either. Rather, flow is a very personal but quantifiable measurement that is particular to the placement of furniture, lighting accessories, and the physical walls of your home. To make this easier to visualize, imagine a living room that is chock full of couches. This wouldn’t be a comfortable room, despite the presence of multiple relaxing cushions, because it has no flow: it is blocked up with too many items. Likewise, an enormous, empty room with one lone chair isn’t relaxing for the opposite reason: there is too much space, and no organic pathway for navigating through the space. Creating a relaxing room is as much about the specific items of furniture and lighting accessories you choose as it is about understanding how to arrange them. Ultimately, to find the best flow, give yourself permission to rearrange the space periodically until you find a grouping that makes you feel at ease.
Remember that your home needs to be relaxing for you. The tips above are all general truths, but if you don’t incorporate your own personal tastes and styles your home will still just feel like a house. The style that one person finds most relaxing may seem a bit cold and bare to others, and that same person may find that a rustic country-style home feels too old-fashioned and cluttered for them to truly love it. Every person is different, so make sure to adapt things for your tastes and desires to make your house into the perfect haven for you.