Last year, I shared this post about How Your Environment Impacts Your Life, and that includes using design to create a peaceful and serene home. I believe that having a home that feels like a sanctuary is essential to our health, especially in today’s culture.
A serene home is about creating the right atmosphere and environment to cultivate feelings of peace.
Steel+Plank is hosting a serenity-inspired Spring Equinox gathering on March 19 in our Athens store. We’ll enjoy a tea tasting, share in thoughtful meditation, and engage in some mindful movements designed for peace and rejuvenation.
I would love to invite you to join us! Until then, here are some tips to get you started...
The Sounds of a Serene Home
Sound is an often overlooked but deeply important aspect of creating serenity at home. If you were to visualize, right now, the places where you feel most at peace, can you mentally hear the sounds that go with them?
For me, I feel most at peace when in nature, when immersed in the creative zone of designing furniture, during meditation, and when mindfully practicing yoga. What places or occasions feel most like a serene sanctuary to you?
Once you’ve identified these settings, you can use sound to recreate the same serene feelings at home. You could open windows to hear birdsong. You could play soft music. You could enjoy a crackling fireplace. You could even embrace a lack of sounds — silence can be just as powerful.
Whatever the case, be willing to engage in quiet time. Your life will be all the richer and more fulfilling for these slow, mindful moments.
What Does Your Most Serene Home Smell Like?
This same principle can be applied to our sense of smell. Think back to those serene places and moments you pictured before. What scents might have been included? Pine or rich earthiness? Sweet and stimulating peppermint or citrus? Soothing lavender or chamomile?
Aromatherapy has a unique power to create a sense of calm and is something that I practice in my own home to support mindful, peaceful moments. To bring scents into your home, you could use candles, a diffuser, or crush dried plants and herbs to create your own fragrant blend of elements.
Hand-crafted Steel Vessel candles in Tobacco Leaf and Teak Wood for earthy scents and a steel vessel that can be reused as a pot for succulents.
The Kokili aromatherapy tree. Designed to hold a bouquet of dried herbs, flowers, and other aromatic oils and materials.Declutter for a Breathable Space
Whether or not you love to organize and clean, you can’t deny that tidiness is comfortable. It is simply easier to relax when you don't have to constantly think of where to put things. A tidy space means coming home to a clean room and a breathable space as soon as you walk through the door.
You don’t need to undergo a deep purge to create a serene space (unless you want to), but I would suggest making sure things have a home and that your organization itself makes you happy.
Some pieces that could inspire “happy” organizing, could be wire baskets, soft buckets, or woven baskets for storage and organization.
There’s no substitute for natural lighting on our wellbeing and health. In addition to the vitamin D (the happiness vitamin) absorbed through the skin, sunlight is awakening, refreshing, and a necessary component of our natural circadian rhythm.
If you can, get as much natural sunlight into your space. Opt for large windows,
When natural sunlight isn’t an option, candles, lamps, and dimmable lighting can help create the perfect ambiance of serenity and peace.
In a culture where we are asked to spend most of our days indoors and near a screen, incorporating real plants into your home can be grounding and uplifting. There are several simple ways to stay engaged with every day with the outdoors.
I personally have a mindfulness practice, where I cut a small branch, a few flowers, or gather dry fallen items and display them in traditional vases or the Kokili vase shown below. You could also add indoor plants to your home, a planter with an indoor herb garden, hang air plants, or use driftwood as decor.
Mary's Vase was inspired by a friend with a daily flower-cutting habit. Each day brings something different.Create Environmental + Emotional Coziness
I like to define coziness as a feeling of warmth and belonging, be it internal or external. You can foster both environmental and emotional coziness with a few simple items and practices.
For your home, choose blankets, quilts, and pillows that feel particularly cozy to you. You can also layer rugs or add bathmats to allow you to walk around your home barefoot and stay warm (not to mention enhance the room’s overall look).
For emotional coziness, you could cuddle up with scarves and wraps at home or on-the-go, or brew some tea to relax with and savor.
When it comes to art, the best pieces are the ones that resonate with YOU, not just what you think is trendy. Different colors and patterns affect your mood differently. A wavy, ocean-esque painting might create different emotions than a bright red and orange beauty with energetic lines and sharp angles.
That doesn’t mean one is better than the other for your home; it simply means that each has a time and place depending on the feeling you want to inspire.
When collecting art or searching for a particular piece to bring serenity into your home, look for those that bring you a natural sense of calm, relaxation, and tranquility. You shouldn’t have to think too much about it – trust your instinct!
To help, here’s a nice post about the visual and emotional impact of art in your home.
How does this painting make you feel? Designed for calm and imagination, it was inspired by the play of light and shadows found in nature. Made by Emily Mann, a full time artist working from her studio in Atlanta, GA.
I hope those 7 areas for serenity give you the confidence to start layering peaceful design elements into your home. The more serene we can be at home, the more we can bring that calm energy and presence to the activities and people in our lives.
This renewed mindfulness and connection, well, we believe that’s what life is all about. :)
I’ll see you next month with more mindful design tips. In the meantime, I hope you’ll pencil our March 19th gathering into your calendar, and we’ll see you there!