Our homes, by their very nature, are meant to promote our comfort. A place to return to after a long day, a sanctuary where we can kick off our shoes and truly be ourselves. And while that concept of home may be true for us if we’re lucky, the reality is that it’s sometimes hard to relax, even within our own homes.
We may look around and see chores that are vying for our attention – from the pile of laundry waiting to be folded and put away to the dust visible on the surfaces every time the sun peeks out. It could be children (or pets in my own case) requiring immediate attention or school or work stress our families have carried home with them as well. Then add technology to the picture, where we are constantly on call and available, where our email boxes and other online commitments can sometimes feel never-ending and overwhelming.
So just being at home isn’t always necessarily relaxing and sometimes it’s important we carve out a space especially for relaxation, whether that’s a permanent spot (as in a living room or bedroom) or a temporary one (drawing a long hot bath and locking the door for a bit!).
I thought I’d share some tips today on creating a relaxing space at home and some of the elements that can often be overlooked when decorating our homes for relaxation.
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Working with Mood-Altering Colour
I think for every person, what colours calm them will be very subjective. So many colour psychologists will point to blues as being one of the most relaxing shades. In nature, this is reflected in the colour of a crisp, summer sky or the sparkling turquoise of a clear sea. These are colours I adore in nature but for some reason, I don’t find the colour blue relaxing in my own home! However, I realise I’m probably an anomaly in that sense so if you adore blue shades, then of course, please surround yourself with calming blues.
Greens are another wonderful calming colour (and one of my personal favourites as well). Reminiscent of our glorious green planet, inviting nature indoors by way of shades of green is the perfect way to evoke a feeling of calm and relaxation in our homes. Biophilic design has been well documented in recent years as a way to create harmony with the natural world, pulling the shades and textures of nature into our sanctuaries to promote feelings of wellness. Georgia Metcalfe, French Bedroom Founder & Creative Director, gives this advice: “One of the calmest places to be in nature is outdoors amongst greenery and any interior colour palettes that emulate these tones will be close to Mother Nature’s soothing hues which makes us feel calm.”
For me, I know soft warm shades are my favourites and they are the ones I reach for again and again. Calming warm pinks, terracotta and soft peach shades and a touch of mustard yellow are all favourites of mine, reminding me of golden hours and sunsets, of candlelight and the warmth of the sun. This is one reason why I decided to paint my living room in shades of pale terracotta and peach and these colours wrap around the entire room, including the ceiling and the woodwork. It’s almost womb-like in its feel, the light transforming into warmth even when the skies are grey.
The Importance of Texture
Texture is a key element in creating a cosy and inviting home that encourages relaxation and comfort. Soft furnishings like cushions, throws and blankets are an excellent way to introduce texture into your space and create a tactile experience that soothes the senses. In my living room, I have a variety of tactile textures including that stunning Mulberry Silk Soft Pink Striped Ruffle Boudoir Cushion from French Bedroom and I have never felt silk that was so soft in my life! I’ve paired this with a chenille throw and a faux fur cushion alongside my velvet sofa – all contrasting textures that feel good against my skin.
Not only does this layered effect bring depth to your interior design, inviting you to curl up and relax but it also also stimulates the senses, which can be an aid to relaxation. Running your hands over a fluffy cushion or chunky knit throw can be a calming and grounding experience, helping you to unwind and de-stress after a long day.
Can Technology Be Relaxing?
While our mobiles can often be a source of stress, they can actually help aid us in relaxation techniques. With just a few taps on our mobile phones, we can access a world of relaxation and mindfulness, making it easier to find peace and serenity in our busy lives. First things first, turn off your notifications and place your phone on ‘do not disturb’ mode if you can.
Meditation apps like Headspace and Calm offer guided meditations that can help you to clear your mind, reduce stress, and improve focus. These apps offer a variety of meditation techniques and can be tailored to your specific needs, making them a great tool for anyone looking to relax and find inner peace. White noise and soothing nature sounds can also be effective in promoting relaxation. Apps like Relax Melodies and White Noise provide a variety of sounds, from gentle rain to ocean waves, that can help to calm your mind and create a peaceful environment. These sounds can also help to drown out distractions, making it easier to concentrate on relaxation and mindfulness. Other apps, such as Breathwrk, can also aid in relaxation. These apps offer a variety of breathing techniques that can help to reduce stress and promote relaxation.
Routines and Rituals
Creating some simple rituals and routines can be an effective tool for promoting relaxation and calm in our own homes. By setting aside time for ourselves and establishing calming practices, we can create a sense of balance and tranquillity in our daily lives, making it easier to unwind and find inner peace amidst the chaos of daily life.
One simple ritual is to create a cosy space where you can unwind and relax. As you can see, I’ve easily done this in my own living room and similarly, this might involve setting up a comfortable seating area with cushions, throws, and soft lighting in your own living room. Or it may mean creating a peaceful reading nook where you can escape from the hustle and bustle of daily life. A simple cosy chair with cushions and a throw in a quiet corner where you can simply sink in and read a book or journal.
Another way to establish a calming routine is to practice mindfulness and meditation. Using the apps mentioned above or simply on your own, taking just a few moments each day to focus on your breath or practising meditation, yoga, deep stretching exercises or simply journaling. By focusing on the present moment and letting go of distractions, you can reduce stress and promote relaxation. I’ve been reading my good friend, Victoria Jackson’s book Manifesting for Beginners which has had such a positive impact on my mindset with plenty of actionable steps and rituals you can use (like EFT Tapping and journal prompts) to help break cycles of negative thinking.
Georgia Metcalfe, French Bedroom Founder & Creative Director had this to say about her own rituals: “I find balance with 5 minutes of journaling in the morning. I also like to do 2 minutes of yoga followed by 20 press-ups – it gets my blood flowing first thing in the morning. Finally, taking time to enjoy an English breakfast tea with oat milk sets me up for the day ahead and has a lasting effect on my ability to stay calm.”
Creating a calming bedtime routine can also be effective in promoting relaxation. This might involve taking a warm bath, drinking herbal tea, or reading a book before bed. By establishing a calming routine before bedtime, you can signal to your body and mind that it’s time to wind down and prepare for sleep.
The Power of Scent
Owning my own home fragrance business means I experience firsthand how aromatherapy and scented candles can be a powerful tools for promoting relaxation and creating a calming atmosphere in our own homes. Each of the fragrances within the Swoon Worthy Scents line creates a different mood and science has proven again and again how the use of essential oils and fragrances has been shown to have a positive effect on our mood and emotions, helping to reduce stress and anxiety.
Scented candles, in particular, can create a cosy and calming ambience in any room of the home. Lighting candles in the evening or during rituals can also help to signal to the brain that it’s time to unwind and relax, creating a new olfactory memory each time we repeat our rituals. Once our brain becomes hard-wired to a certain scent and links this to a relaxing ritual then just lighting the candle and enjoying the scent can be a powerful way to create an immediate feeling of relaxation.
By using essential oils and fragrances to create a soothing environment, we can reduce stress and anxiety and promote better sleep, making it easier to unwind and find inner peace in the comfort of our own homes.
While I realise that it’s not always easy to promote a calming atmosphere in our hectic lives, I hope some of my suggestions today will show you that even if you’re carving out a tiny space for a brief period of time, the smallest changes can really go a long way in giving us some rest and relaxation in our own homes. Life can get hectic but taking time to slow down and ground ourselves, to reconnect and allow ourselves time for rituals and relaxation can be the best way to move forward, allowing us to refill our cups before pouring ourselves into others.
How do you promote relaxation in your own home? Is it through colour, scent, texture, routines and rituals or something else? I’d love to hear from you in the comments!