In our quest for the most stylish of interiors, comfort can sometimes fall to the wayside. There should be in every home a room, a corner, a nook, or cranny that serves the sole purpose of acting as an everyday oasis. Here are 5 tips to keep in mind when creating a relaxing, comfortable space of your own.
Regardless of how you like to spend your fleeting down-time, remember that you have to remove the stressors in your life in order to relax. This means keeping a decorative box or basket nearby to house bills and receipts. If the neighbours are having their yard landscaped, close the drapes or pull the blinds and give your eyes a break from the chaos outside. PDAs and cell phones are extremely convenient and extremely addictive—turn them off and give yourself a mini-holiday away from these devices (somehow the world will go on, even if they’re turned off). Sometimes the biggest distraction can be the ones you love the most—your family. Make your downtown into a regular routine and soon family and friends will get the subtle hint.
Bring the Outside In
Don’t underestimate the power of nature and the all the calming attributes it contains. Plants and flowers can do wonders for a space: plants scientifically improve the oxygen in a room, while flowers can emotionally improve your mood. Budget-friendly foliage includes lilies, daises, ferns and spider plants. And, if you’re lucky enough to have a deck or balcony that opens onto another room, open the drapes or blinds and let the natural light in. Especially in our harsh Canadian winters, even an hour’s worth of mid-day sun can drastically lighten your spirits.
There’s a reason why bedrooms are often painted in soft colours like powder blue, dusty lilac or barely-there-beiges. These hues are proven to lend a calming hand and aid in relaxation. Incorporate these shades into the space you use for your retreat with accents such as pillows, throws, candles or artwork.
Furniture and Textiles
Very often, the most comfortable seat in the house is also the least attractive. It’s usually a little ratty, but lovingly worked in, so that every crease adds another level of comfort. Make sure whichever room or space you use for your retreat includes an oversized chair or chaise lounge, with plenty of pillows. Invest in a gorgeous, neutral-coloured cashmere blend throw—you’ll wonder how you ever did without it.
Scents and Sounds
In the last few years aromatherapy has boomed with fragrance appearing in everything from candles to air freshener. It’s easy to incorporate scent into your “me time” with a few essential oils on hand. Lavender is a known stress reliever and you can find lavender oil at health food stores and speciality shops. Try mixing 2 drops of lavender with 2 drops of rosemary with a few teaspoons of massage oil to gently work away body aches. Further enhance your senses with relaxing sounds—this does not necessarily mean new age music! If Enya and the like aren’t your cup of tea, try one of these albums instead:
Breath: Relaxing Music from the Movies (Various Artists)
The Most Relaxing Jazz Music in the Universe (Various Artists)
Baroque at Bath Time: A Relaxing Way to Wash Your Cares Away (Various Artists)