Your Home Retreat

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Your home should be your ultimate retreat—a place where you can rest, relax, and refresh yourself. With a few simple steps, you can transform every room of your home into a peaceful oasis to nourish your well-being.

First, no matter what room you are working on, there are basic techniques that will help create a more restful place. Decluttering and removing unnecessary, unused, and unwanted materials opens up the space and prevents sensory overload that can be distracting and disruptive. Do you have too many towels in the bathroom, unused appliances in the kitchen, or outdated files in the home office? As you declutter, clear off broad spaces, such as the tops of dressers, counters, and desks to create a feeling of greater spaciousness.

You can also create visual calmness by opting for neutral colors and tones that will provide a soothing background to each space. Continuing the same color scheme into adjacent rooms will provide a calm flow and sense of continuity.

Finally, open curtains, shades, and blinds to bring more natural light inside. This helps reduce eyestrain and further creates openness. To preserve privacy, opt for sheer curtains that will not block light completely.

Once you have laid this groundwork for your home sanctuary, turn your attention to each individual room and make every space more restful and rejuvenating. Start right at your front door by adding a welcoming sign or wreath as well as a new welcome mat to keep dirt outside.

Whether you call it a den, living room, parlor, or family room, your home’s main living space may be a hub of activity, but it doesn’t have to be a hectic one. Create a cozy nook with coordinating toss pillows on a sofa or in a comfy chair, or use a soft lap blanket as a colorful and functional accent. Use artwork or a moveable panel to hide the television so it is not visible when it is not in use, and be sure your furniture is arranged conversationally without being too crowded.

The kitchen often gets overrun with junk and clutter, so organize drawers and cabinets to make sure everything fits, and move your most used small appliances and utensils into easy reach. Put dish soaps and other cleaners away under the sink or otherwise out of sight along with unsightly sponges and rags. Clear off your refrigerator and leave only essential notes or the magnets you like. Add a bit of freshness to the kitchen with a bowl of fruit.

If you have a formal dining area, turn it into a welcoming space by displaying china in appropriate place settings instead of hiding it away in a cabinet—this is one instance where a broad, empty surface (the dining table) can be intimidating rather than restful. Instead, create a space that reminds you of festive family meals and the good times spent breaking bread together.

Home offices are common, and your home workspace doesn’t have to be a source of stress and worry. Be sure you have good lighting so you can work productively, and invest in a high-quality chair mat for easier movement and to protect your flooring. A desk mat can immediately refresh a scratched desk surface, and you should organize desk drawers or filing areas to offer adequate space and reduce clutter. Post your work-related accomplishments prominently—degrees conferred, awards won, etc.—to remind yourself that you are valued and make a difference.

Bathrooms are the ultimate in home sanctuaries with their privacy and intimacy. Invest in high-quality bath towels and mats to replace thinner, worn-out linens, and opt for fragrant soaps that deliver indulgent lathers for a more luxurious experience. Install intimate lighting in the bath, such as a tub or shower light, so you don’t always have to use harsh overhead lights.

Your bedroom is, by definition, a place to rest and relax. Upgrading linens and coordinating colors can help you create a more soothing space. Install intimate lighting or dimmer switches so you don’t need to rely on brighter, more jarring illumination. Decorator pillows can give your bed a lusher look and feel, and investigate white noise options like a sound machine to give your bedroom a relaxing ambiance that can help you get a good night’s sleep.

Once you’ve addressed each room individually, it’s time for the finishing touches that can really make your home sanctuary an amazing place to relax. Consider adding indoor plants and fresh flowers to gently refresh the air and bring a touch of nature into your home, and use different scents—oil infusers, scented candles, decorative soaps, etc.—to nurture your nose as well as your eyes. Be sure there is music in your home, whether you prefer soft classical sounds or an eclectic array of artists.

Most of all, be yourself in every room. Use your favorite colors and themes throughout your home, and use each space to evoke feelings of comfort, happiness, and joy. Everyone will have different ideas for how to do that most effectively, and only you can truly design your perfect sanctuary.

Melissa Mayntz is a Florida-based writer whose home sanctuary includes soft beach tones in the master suite and plenty of bookshelves for her home library.

Use your favorite colors and themes throughout your home, and use each space to evoke feelings of comfort, happiness, and joy.