After a hectic day, you need a welcoming place to relax and unwind, not another source of stimulation or stress. A daily trip to the spa is out of most people’s budgets, but with a few simple changes, you can create a relaxing and tranquil atmosphere in a room in your own home.
Soft colors found in nature are the most relaxing. This isn’t the room for brights, harsh colors or shiny textures. Think of the serenity of the calm ocean or sky, the peaceful look of a meadow, or the hush of a foggy morning. Choose your palette from soft tones of green or blue; muted, warm grays or browns; or medium shades of warmed pink or yellow.
Scent evokes strong emotional reactions and contributes to the mood of a room. Your relaxing space shouldn’t be near pet areas, the bathroom or the kitchen. Give the space a pleasant fragrance with bowls of potpourri, scented oil diffusers, incense or solid air fresheners. Lavender, rose and vanilla is especially relaxing scents.
It’s hard to relax in a cluttered, dirty or messy space. Get rid of anything that doesn’t belong in your tranquility room. Clean up, and invest in a few storage boxes or cabinets to hide away craft supplies, clothes, games or whatever needs to be in the room but doesn’t need to be on display. Minimize furniture and accessories to only those things that are comfortable and that you love.
Electronic entertainment and information surrounds you every day but is often more stimulating or disturbing than relaxing. Make your tranquility room an electronics-free zone. That means no television (hide it behind shutters or in an entertainment armoire), no smartphone, no video games and no laptop. Take time to relax with your own thoughts, not the predigested information, sounds or sights of the media.
While visually stimulating electronics take away from relaxation, music promotes it. During your restorative time, listen to your favorite soothing music. Everyone’s tastes are different, but this isn’t the time for fast-tempo dance music, aggressive rock or angry lyrics. Whether you prefer classical, jazz, ambient electronica or mild rock from the 1970s, use your stereo system or MP3 player to enjoy tunes that put you in a calm, positive frame of mind.
Plants bring nature and life into your room and help purify the air. Choose two or three potted plants for your tranquility room. You don’t need a green thumb for easy houseplants such as Chinese evergreen, snake plant or pothos. Watching fish in their watery world is also very conducive to relaxation. A simple bowl with a goldfish or two, or a colorful betta fish, is enough. If you have space and really want to indulge in this serene hobby, set up a 10- or 20-gallon tank with a selection of easy-care freshwater fish.
Light a few candles to cast a serene glow over your tranquility room. Pick scented candles to add to the overall sensory experience. Look for lavender, rose, vanilla, linen or other soft scents from nature. If you are concerned about allergies, use soy or beeswax candles instead of paraffin wax. These produce less soot and chemicals while burning, keeping the air cleaner.
Surround yourself with soft textures in your tranquility room. Toss a cozy wool blanket on the couch and place a soft rug on the floor. This isn’t the room for angular or hard furniture. A deep, cushioned sofa or comfortable futon is perfect for reclining while you unwind. An overstuffed chair is another good spot to relax. Have a few pillows available to position your body and relieve stress or pressure.
Fill your relaxing room with things that are meaningful to you. Display a few photos of family, pets or a wonderful vacation. Set out the doll you inherited from your grandmother or your collection of treasured animal figurines. But keep the personal accents to just a few especially loved pieces. You don’t want clutter or a stimulating environment. Aim for just enough to bring up good memories or happy thoughts.
Bright light is too intense for relaxation. You probably need good lighting in this space for other purposes, but during tranquility time, keep the lights soft. A dimmer switch on the ceiling fixture is the easiest way to adjust lighting to your needs. If you don’t have overhead lighting, keep an extra small lamp in the room that produces just enough light to be cheery, but not enough to be bright. Turn on your small lamp when it’s time to relax.