Building an oasis of calm

Our modern homes with open-plan layouts don’t always lend themselves to finding a place of peace to work or to get away from the family. How many of us have tried to do a conference call or video while trying to drown out the sound of the dog, the washing machine, someone’s piano lesson or an overly-enthusiastic board game? Or tried to sit at a cluttered dining table to write a report?

Creating pockets of calm and quiet in your home is becoming more critical. How do we go about building that space to concentrate or relax?

1 – Change your mood with colour. Colours affect humans. For your area of calm, pick restful, neutral colours that speak to you in a soothing way. Consider accents to promote specific feelings. For example, yellow makes people feel optimistic and happy while blue promotes creativity.

2 – Think texture. Using different textures gives people a richer experience of a space. It gives the eyes different areas of textural focus and engages multiple senses. Think about replicating some of the textural elements throughout the space, like wooden bowls to match a wooden shelf. Or white tiles on a fire-surround to pick up on a white tiled floor. Adding plants brings texture and oxygen into your space.

3 – Use negative space. This is the space between things. Hanging too many pictures or putting out too many design pieces excites and confuses the eye. Make sure there is space in your room so that your eye has places to “rest”.

4 – Light up. Humans react to light in a space. Think about how you can either maximise the light in your space or bring in more light. Place a mirror to reflect existing light or get advice on a good lighting plan. Think about the space at different times of day. How will it look and feel in the morning versus the afternoon? Consider layering your lighting with both standing and table lamps, or even incorporating dimmer switches to set the mood.

5 – Think of sound as a liquid. What steps can you take to control, channel or dampen the sound that travels through your home? Can you use bookcases or soft furnishings like rugs, cushions or upholstered furniture to dampen the sound? Refurbishments like lowering a ceiling where the TV is or putting in wide doorways to disrupt sound can help keep designated areas calm and quiet.

6 – Cull the clutter. Clutter is the enemy of calm. Think about what is necessary in your lifestyle. Does it have a place? It may be a cliché but “a place for everything and everything in its place” goes a long way to helping create a feeling of calm.

To make your home an oasis of calm you want to create spaces that function well, work together and flow seamlessly. The most beautifully designed home still needs to feel like you,  be practical for your lifestyle and circumstances and reflect your personality. It is a lot easier to find zen if your home is working with you, not against you.