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De-Stress by Design

Aug 28, 2008
There are so many people vying for your attention these days and despite incredible advances in technology, we're running more ragged than ever. We all need a place where we can replenish our bodies and minds at the end of the day, and with just a few simple touches, you can make your home a wonderful spot to retreat to.

Because people are so sensitive to the energy of their surroundings, it's critical to create a peaceful environment in your home. One of the easiest ways to begin your redesign is to start with your senses. Engaging your senses of sight, smell, sound, and touch, can have a powerful effect on your well-being.

One of the best starting points in any good design plan is the selection of wall colors. Create a visually soft space by painting with light colors, preferably neutrals. Soft beiges and blues are known to have a calming effect on the mind, as well as being attractive and easy to accent. Bring in more vibrant colors through the use of decorative pillows or striking artwork, but keep the walls simple so your eyes don't become over stimulated.

Arrange the furniture to allow for as much movement as possible. You want the rooms in your home to make you feel relaxed, which is very difficult in a cluttered, confined space. Give yourself some breathing room by maintaining plenty of open space, and getting rid of excess knick-knacks and photos. Removing the clutter will not only free up physical space, but will reduce the amount of visual clutter as well.

Smell has long been known to be one of our most powerful senses. Studies have shown that scent is linked to our memories as well as our emotional well-being. Simply adding scented candles to a room can adjust your mood to whatever you want. Vanilla, for instance, can stimulate fond memories of your mother baking cookies when you were a child, thus creating a warm and cozy environment in your home. Citrus scents on the other hand will give you a burst of energy to get you through your day.

When buying accessories, look for the most touchable fabrics and interesting textures you can find. If you have hardwood flooring, try adding a shag rug to give your feet something soft to walk on. Have breezy curtains that let light and fresh air in the room, while still giving you a feeling of privacy. Buy plush cushions and colorful throw blankets to curl up with.

To create a total retreat, you will want to add a few audible elements as well. Water features such as fountains are not only beautiful to watch, but the trickle of the water can be truly calming. The repetitious flow can lead you into a meditative state, and take your mind off your everyday troubles.

A fireplace is another excellent feature to have in your home. Hypnotic to watch, the flames in a fireplace dance and crack, while the warm air caresses your skin.

With gentle soothing sounds, the shimmer of candlelight to rest your eyes upon, the scent of something delicious in the air, and something cozy to tuck yourself into, you will have all the ingredients you need to create a relaxing oasis right in your own home.
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