For some people, their home is the ultimate sanctuary of calm. It’s a place of blissful quietude, a refuge from the storms of urban life. It is, or can be, a place to relax, gather, and rest. Creating your ideal space isn’t difficult. With some self-reflection, a bit of planning, and a modest budget, your home can be the retreat you’re looking for.

Simply removing clutter will immediately improve your focus and ability to relax. Unnecessary objects lying around compete for your attention, making it more difficult to find your mellow vibe. That’s not to say a home decorated with a certain ‘fullness’ isn’t calming, but it should be neat. Less clutter can mean more positive energy, especially if you find yourself fighting with over-stuffed closets and full-to-jamming drawers.

It’s easy to become stressed when your surroundings don’t make you happy. Maybe your office is dark and unwelcoming, or the living room sofa is a dated eyesore. The cumulative effect of these seemingly small flaws can be depressing. But did you know that the Japanese have an expression, kintsugi, which means to embrace a flaw? It loosely translates to ‘golden joinery’ as its origin comes from the practice of mending broken ceramics by cementing gold leaf between the pieces. The result is a beautiful vein of gold that runs through the piece to accentuate it. The broken cup then becomes a meditation piece that will bring much more joy than a new one.

This philosophy is finding its place in the world of home décor. Rather than embark on a journey to redecorate your entire home, consider repositioning existing furniture or adding a single contrasting element. Envision a reclaimed wood side table next to a creamy leather sofa, each rustic notch in the wood a pleasant contrast against the more modern sofa. A farm table and mismatched chairs in a streamlined granite-and-stainless kitchen creates a bohemian note that adds a splash of fun and warmth to the room. Ask yourself if your eyesore sofa might be helped by a budget-friendly steam clean and a new, more neutral area carpet. Rescue your great-grandmother’s antique lamp from the attic or storage unit and bring more light into your office.

Three essential elements to create an inviting environment are light, sound, and scent. These provide a sense of atmosphere that becomes a protective boundary between you and the outside chaos. Light strings and dimmers are expedient ways to illuminate dark corners and lessen harsh glare. Place lights lower than waist level for a softer effect. Background music helps distract from any neighboring noises and doesn’t need to be an expensive improvement. Inexpensive Bluetooth speakers can often be networked to create surround sound music throughout your space. A cold mist atomizer can distribute your favorite essential oil combination throughout your home. Together with a few small decor changes, these elements can make a private retreat out of your home.

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