Happier Home Decor
Have a happy New Year! No, really – make 2014, and the years to follow, more happy and less stressful for you (and other members of your household) by resolving to make some changes for the better where your home's interior is concerned.
- Get a better night's sleep. Do you have a TV or computer in your bedroom? If so, it needs to go – screens and sleep don't mix. What about exercise equipment? The bedroom is no place for that either. The only things that should be in your bedroom are those that contribute to an atmosphere of serenity. Outfit your bedroom windows with light-blocking drapes; ditch the synthetic sheets (which are chemically treated) in favor of a set that's made with natural fibers; and introduce a good air purifier into your bedroom.
- Lighten up. Blackout curtains are great for sleeping, but darkness during the day often makes us feel lethargic and depressed. Natural light is the cure for a gloomy mood, so open your window treatments during the day to let in the light and the sun. The yellow dullness of regular incandescent and fluorescents light bulbs makes for a dreary interior and can contribute to low-grade stress; adding even one full-spectrum light bulb to a room can really brighten it up. Used in the treatment of seasonal affective disorder, full-spectrum bulbs mimic natural light
- Clear away the clutter. In addition to posing some practical problems, such as making it more difficult to quickly find what you're looking for and (in extreme cases) to navigate through your home, clutter has been associated with a host of negative psychological effects. Stress is the most obvious, but living in a cluttered environment can also engender feelings of lethargy, shame, hopelessness, and loss of control over one's life (effects that can be felt by anyone in the home). As well, it can have a negative impact on one's social life.
- Create an in-home retreat. How about a spa-inspired bathroom in which you can rejuvenate? Think raindrop showerheads; accessories that can turn your regular bathtub into a whirlpool; towel warmers; heated flooring; super-soft, high-quality towels; plants; aromatherapy candles; and music. Or perhaps you'd like a sumptuous bedroom sanctuary where you can relax? Comfort is king (-size): upgrade your bed and pillows (most people are sleeping on ones that are well past their prime); introduce bedroom furniture for lounging; and incorporate luxurious, textured fabrics and mood lighting
- Harness the power of paint. Neutral walls are ideal for when you've decided to sell your home, but while you're still living in it, why not use color to help shape your mood? Active hues – reds, oranges, and yellows – are energizing and cheering, making them ideal for social spaces such as kitchens and living and dining rooms, as well as for exercise rooms and home offices. Passive hues – blues, greens, and purples – have a calming, relaxing effect (particularly when soft shades are used), making them perfectly suited for bedrooms and bathrooms.