Creating Visual Serenity

It is that time of year again! Time for making those New Year’s Resolutions! I recently read that two of the top resolutions people make include reducing stress and starting to enjoy life. Because I am a big believer in our homes facilitating the life we really want to live, I think it is a perfect time to evaluate how well our homes are meeting our needs. Changing our behavior, attitude and habits sometimes begins with changing our environment.

I think we are all yearning for a little more peace and a little less chaos. The world outside bombards us with the latter, so we turn inside our homes to create the relaxing environment we crave. The more you have going on in your life, the more this will resonate with you. Do you find yourself repeating “Serenity, now! Serenity, now!” a few times a day? Ok, then, my point exactly. You could benefit from a simple home makeover! Having a home that reflects serenity can actually give you a sense of peace and a healthy perspective on your life. A serene home can rekindle your ability to enjoy life. It is a cycle. First you determine you need to experience more peace and quiet, and then you create the environment that meets that need. Lastly, you must set aside time to fully appreciate and utilize the space you’ve created.

Having a tranquil home doesn’t mean it has to be decorated with neutrals, or that everyone has to speak in hushed voices! Serenity doesn’t necessarily have to do with colors or decorating style.  Everyone has different preferences. But there are a few common tricks we can all use to create a more peaceful life through our home. Let’s look at a few of them!

The best way to create a sense of serenity is to clear the clutter and visual chaos. If your home is filled with stuff–be it clutter, piles of papers, dirty dishes, too many accessories or an over-abundance of furnishings–you have visual chaos. When every square inch of space is filled up, we become easily overwhelmed–feeling anxious and unsettled. By having some empty space in corners, surfaces and on the wall you allow your eyes to rest. Those moments of calm as you look around a room actually help you to fully appreciate the beauty of a space. Breathing room is so important to our feeling of peace. Make sure you have places for your eyes to relax in each room.

Another way to create visual serenity is through what I call “creative concealment.” This is a technique you can use to hide unpleasant features of a room that are structural or otherwise unmovable. Poorly placed or unattractive windows, too many doors, or ugly heating units are common problems that can benefit from creative concealment. Paint is the perfect concealer, it can be used to blank out a multitude of problems! Decorative screens, curtains, plants and furniture placement can also disguise problem areas that jar your vision as your eye roams a room. If something in your room bothers your eyes or is less than pleasant, fix it, remove it or conceal it!

Closed storage is another great way to create a sense of order and peace in your home. If you do have open storage, make sure it is used for attractive items only. It is best to group collections on open shelves by a common theme or color. A mish-mash of magazines, knick-knacks, and random items will always look chaotic. Open storage can be an invitation to clutter, so make sure it has a decorative purpose and don’t allow anything else to land there!

Lighting is another important element in how we feel in a room. Having lamps or lighting you can change depending on your mood or activity level can dramatically affect your feelings at any given time in your home. You need good overhead and task lighting to be able to perform tasks without frustration and variable lighting from three way bulbs and dimmer-switches to keep yourself feeling calm when you are trying to unwind.

Lastly, I encourage you to find a corner in your home where you can fully experience solitude. We all need a place to go to escape or refocus our priorities. Having a comfortable spot that invites you to read, study, pray, or reflect in silence will set the tone each day for what is really important. Choose a chair you love, place it in a corner next to an end table with a pretty lamp and a few well chosen accessories. Then make sure you schedule time to sink into that chair and experience what you intended.  Even just seeing your chair ready and waiting for you will bring serenity and perspective in the chaotic moments of life. Design your home for the life you want, and it will repay you with what you need to make that life happen.

“Now may the Lord of peace himself
give you peace at all times and in every way.”
~ 2 Thesselonians 3:16

©2008, Melissa Michaels
Photo credit, Melissa Michaels

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