This past year, 55% of Americans reported experiencing stress on a daily basis. That is not a surprise, as we are all pushing ourselves harder to achieve more, whether consciously or unconsciously, creating more stress than we’ve ever experienced before. When we add the stress from the recent events over the past 10 months, it is no wonder we are all experiencing anxiety and, in some cases, depression. Our homes, and the comfort we get from being safe inside it is more impactful than ever, so it is important that when we are home, we have a calm and relaxing space to restore our wellbeing.

Creating a calming and serene home does not take much effort to accomplish.  It is a combination of creating a calming color palette, a more functional and organized space and adding more intentional, and potentially therapeutic, lighting sources.

Color helps create a mood that ties together a space. It is one of the easiest tools for manipulating your mood. Bright colors are energizing, while muted or warm colors are calming. Color can also be used to create a narrative in your space. Encourage relaxation with colors ranging from subtle neutrals to blue-green hues and greys. These colors offer a calming effect when placed on walls and ceilings, and can be incorporated in accent pieces.

When selecting colors, you should think about how you want the space to make you feel and let your emotions guide your choice. Any room in your home can be transformed with a fresh coat of paint to create a calming atmosphere, whether in your kitchen, living room, bathroom or bedroom.

One of my clients recently painted her bedroom a warmer tone of blue grey in a matt finish that her husband thought was “too dark”. After the renovation was completed, she thanked me for encouraging her to go outside her comfort zone because they are sleeping better than they have in the last year. The warmer, matted color did not reflect the light as much from the outside and provided a more serene sense than the lighter, more reflective blue that was there before.

When creating more calming spaces in kitchens and bathrooms consider bringing in as much natural light as you can. Sunlight cues special areas in the retina, which trigger the production of serotonin in our brain. Decreased sun exposure has been associated with drops in serotonin levels which can lead to depression. By increasing the amount of light inside your home it can provide a heightened level of energy and a more positive outlook on the day.

Light creates more than just a visual effect.  It has biological and psychological effects that can impact our health and wellbeing. It can improve our mood, our sleep patterns and increase cognitive performance. Consider adding fun LED lights to your home to bring in some color therapy into your design. They can be added under and around molding, bed frames, soffits and cabinetry.

Nature is known to have a calming effect on mood as well.  Even though we spend much of our time indoors, especially during the winter, it is important to take advantage of the views from our windows and open up blinds and shades during the day. Consider adding plants or a terrarium into your décor to bring some of the outdoors inside.

Declutter your home as best as you can to open up the space and to clear your mind from the clutter. Things laying around your counters or in the corner of a room can make you feel overwhelmed. A messy closet or room can unconsciously make you feel disorganized and bring out a sense of agitation. If there is too much to organize at one time, set aside 15 minutes a day to tackle small areas until your home is clean and organized.

Smell, touch and sound are all elements that can promote calm and are just as important as the visual design of a room. The more you engage the senses, the more you impact your mood.  Adding texture to your design, using candles or oils that make your room smell beautiful or playing soft music in the background can all add to the calmness you feel when sitting down to recharge from a stressful day.

Sonny Golden, President  –  Golden Key Interiors

(718) 761-2366   [email protected]