A home should fulfill many roles – it should be a form of self-expression, it should house our belongings and it should provide a good investment to help us into old age. But perhaps the single most important role of the home is to give us a place to seek refuge and shelter, not only from the elements, but also from the stresses of everyday living. A home should be cosy and it should give you a place to relax and be calm after a hard day at work or a big night out the day before.
Here are a few easy little changes you can make that will make a big difference…
Place Cushions Around
If you've ever seen the UK sitcom 'Coupling', then you may remember an impassioned outburst on the uselessness of cushions. Indeed, at first glance they may seem to lack any real purpose, but actually they can still be fairly instrumental in helping you to feel more relaxed and more at ease in your own home.
Not only will cushions give you more positions to relax in, but their simple presence it turns out can help us to feel more at ease. Leave a few cushions around the room and it seems to signal to us on an almost unconscious level that this room is 'for relaxation'.
Another signaller that can tell us a room is for relaxing in is the colour green. This is due to our evolutionary heritage, where living in the wild we would have sought out lush areas of greenery for food and shelter. Even today, the mere sight of the colour green causes our heart rate and blood pressure to ease and helps us to relax. Plants are even better, but if nothing else at least consider using some green in your décor.
Hanging rugs on the walls can do a surprising job of improving insulation thus making your room warmer, but it can also help to insulate it against sound making your rooms feel quieter and of making the whole room look 'softer' again helping you feel relaxed without really knowing why.
Make One Relaxation Room
You know when a room doesn't feel relaxing? It's when you come home from work to find that it's covered in junk and badly needs a clean and when you need to dig through a pile of clothes to sit down.
Of course though there will always be times when the housework gets on top of us, so how do you avoid letting it get to this point? The answer is simple: set one room apart to always keep clean and organised. Make this room purely for relaxation so that there is no clutter in there in the first place to get out of place and so that dusting takes mere minutes. Likewise you should try to keep TVs and other loud things out of this room, and design it in a way that is conducive to kicking back and switching off.
Have a Reading Corner
One great feature to put in this relaxation room is a 'reading corner'. This will be a comfortable chair along with some books and a light in the corner on a coffee table with space for a mug. This just beckons for you to kick back and lose yourself in a book, and it also provides you with an 'oasis of light' – creating long shadows which we associate with those peaceful evenings and settling down for the night.
Get Rid of That Draft
Warmth is rather critical when it comes to finding ways to unwind, so if you have a draft in your property you need to get rid of it. A common cause of drafts is that air is getting in through a window, often an old window in a bathroom for instance. If this isn't a window you see regularly, then consider covering it in bubble wrap. The air pockets in bubble wrap act as perfect insulators and will have a similar affect to double glazing. Of course using window installers is better yet, but in the meantime bubble wrap will do the job!
Nancy Baker, the author of this article, is a freelance blogger who is currently writing for, Vinyl City, which undertakes window replacement contracts in Vaughan. She loves to decorate her room with small DIY ideas. You can also follow her on Twitter @Nancy Baker.