Décor Ideas & Simple Tips For A Tranquil Home
Let's face it, we spend a lot of time in our homes.
The home environment is really significant in how it affects our mood & well being.
When we think of Zen, usually images of Buddha & lotus leaves come to mind.
We think of tranquillity & calmness & not being disturbed by people & events.
It has been well documented for many years now, the damaging effects of stress on our physical, as well as mental & emotional health.
So having a tranquil sanctuary to return to after a long day is super important.
Remaining centred & peaceful is one of the best gifts we can give to ourselves & others.
We've heard the saying "charity begins at home", but I believe our peace of mind also begins from the moment we awaken.
So greeting the day in a mindful home environment is going to help you face the day ahead with calmness & positivity.
A Brief History Of Zen
Zen derived when Buddhism was introduced into China in the 6th century, then later in the 12th century in Japan.
It’s core principle, or ideology, is realising enlightenment, or a mind without mind, or the state of no "mindness".
Basically getting past the minds interpretation to reveal the unfiltered reality as it truly is.
Anyway, this isn’t a philosophy lesson & I’m probably not the best person to try to describe a state of being that is .. well, indescribable!
How Do You Make A Home Look Zen?
It’s really important to have a home you feel comfortable in, a space where you can relax & unwind from the outside world.
Even if you’re not into meditating or taking an inward journey, just having a peaceful home environment improves your well-being on so many levels.
As we learned in the introduction, Zen is a Japanese philosophy.
But you don’t need to use Japanese & Zen specific décor to create a mood of calmness in your house.
Whatever the definition of Zen may be, it basically comes down to the same state of being that is described differently by various philosophies.
I hope you're not superstitious!
13 isn't really an unlucky number .. so here are some useful ideas, in no particular order of importance, to help you bring peace into your home.
1. Be Mindful
Before heading out to buy Buddha statues & paintings of Ganesha, just take the time to really understand the space you’re working with.
You may have a modern house, an older style home or a tiny apartment.
Understanding the bones of the building, the different elements already within it, will help you choose the right décor that compliments rather than clashes.
These can be small things like modern or old style light switches & power-points, cornices & mouldings & other elements.
You may find existing furniture & accessories you already have will work within the space.
Otherwise you might need to get rid of the old & incorporate new things.
Also ask yourself how far are you willing to go?
Are you up for stripping off wallpaper, painting walls or other larger renovation jobs?
After all, this is meant to create calm, not add stress to your life!
This goes hand in hand with being mindful of the space you’re working with.
Have a really honest & brutal look at what items you genuinely love & stuff you can live without.
Decluttering & discarding things you no longer use is very cathartic.
It also clears old energy & makes way for new things to enter your life.
Many things can be donated to charity shops, or alternatively have a garage sale & make some money for things you may really need or want.
There’s always a certain amount of clutter that seems to accumulate.
The kitchen drawer full of batteries, odd screws, receipts from 5 years ago. ( Yep .. that’s mine! )
Bathroom tops piled with beauty products, laundry & utility rooms with mops & brooms leaning around.
Storing things in this way isn’t very conducive to a relaxed state of mind, especially when you’re trying to find that pair of scissors you know you’ve put somewhere.
There’s another saying, “a place for everything, & everything in it’s place“.
Having stylish storage solutions that are organised, not only makes things easy to find when you need them, it keeps the home from being visually cluttered & can also free up floor space.
Having the kitchen bin in a cupboard, or the slide out type you often see for recycling is a good example of keeping the messy stuff out of sight.
Another handy hint is to keep cords out of sight.
Have you ever seen a professional photo of a home interior with power cords & cables lying around?
4. Cleanliness Is Next To Godliness
If that's the case, I ain’t no saint!
Seriously though, a clean tidy house is a beautiful thing to come home to, don’t you agree?
I do actually try to keep my place clean.
Regular vacuuming, dusting & general cleaning may seem like a chore, but when it’s done, the house is a much friendlier place.
If you find it too overwhelming, one room will only take 10 minutes or so, then clean another room the next day.
If you get into this habit, you’ll never again waste a weekend doing the chores.
Doing the dishes instead of letting them pile up in the sink, as well as avoiding attracting unwanted pests, avoids that visual clutter.
Same in living rooms & bedrooms, just tidy up as you go along so it doesn’t become a big job later down the track.
5. Colour Is Key
The importance of colour has been well researched.
Different colours affect our psychology, often on a subtle & subconscious level.
You can explore this in more depth, as I wrote an article on how room colour affects our moods & psychology.
But the main thing is to use neutral & soft tones for your colour palette so as to create a relaxed vibe.
Here’s a quick run down on some different colours & how they affect our state of mind .
Blue - a soft shade of blue can reduce anxiety by reducing the heart rate & lowering blood pressure.
Green - because it represents nature, it instils a sense of calm & tranquillity.
Beige & yellow shades are the best for a calming mood.
Pink - in Feng Shui, pink is believed to soothe various energies, promoting tranquillity & peace.
White - the colour of clarity & freshness.
Great for getting your thoughts in order & de-stressing.
Violet - representing strength, wisdom & peace, it’s a good colour for promoting inner tranquillity & balance.
Grey - not a colour you may initially think about using for a Zen space, some people may think it’s a bit dull or dreary.
But in fact, a pale grey used with blues & whites can create a sense of relaxation.
White walls work well for a minimalist look, but adding a feature wall in a soft or earthy tone is a nice way to add another element.
Decorating in neutral tones also means colours won’t clash, tying the décor together.
This means you can still use different hues & shades throughout the house, your colour choices can still be expressive & varied.
6. It's Easy Being Green
You can’t go past bringing some of Mother Nature indoors for making any space instantly feel more relaxed.
Not only do plants help filter the air, they provide a visually calming element.
Different rooms & areas of the house will vary as to how much natural light is available.
Your local nursery will help you find the perfect plants to suit any space.
But please, stay away from those plastic plants!
7. Setting The Mood With Lighting
Harsh light isn’t conducive to a relaxed mindset.
Sometimes it’s practical to have a good level of illumination to be able to see.
So if possible, installing dimmer switches is a fantastic way to instantly control the light levels.
Otherwise, having lamps with lower wattage & softer globes will allow you to create mood lighting.
If you need a brighter light to work by, use task lights like desk lamps.
This will allow you to see what you’re doing without illuminating the whole space.
Alternatively, if you're just chilling, why not use candles?
You’ll also save on your power bill!
You can use scented candles too, this means you’re incorporating aromatherapy at the same time.
During the day, allowing as much natural light into your house is another way to create calm & a nice open energy.
It’s quite depressing when houses are dark during the day.
So if you need to, replace heavy curtains & blinds with lighter alternatives.
More natural light streaming in is very uplifting, especially through the darker winter months.
If you’re in a warmer climate, consider having the windows tinted so you’re able to allow more natural light without the heat.
8. The Lowdown On Furniture
Keeping the height of your furniture to a minimum helps create a visual flow.
It also opens up the space.
Tall cabinets & wardrobes can make a room feel closed in.
Especially if you don’t have high ceilings, keeping furniture height to a minimum makes the proportions of the appear taller.
It’s tempting when creating a Zen space, to feel you need to keep the furniture very simple.
Perhaps plain white or other tones & pieces that have clean lines.
Although this is true in the main part, it can also leave a room feeling a bit cold & unwelcoming.
So don’t be shy of injecting some of your personality into a space by introducing a unique piece.
This could be a funky sofa or a shabby chic or upcycled set of drawers.
Whatever your style is, just use restraint.
This will create a focal point.
What you’re avoiding is making the room too busy.
9. Staying Grounded
When it comes to flooring, just keep it simple.
Carpet can require more maintenance to keep clean, but it's comfortable to walk on.
Providing it’s plain & a light neutral colour, then other minimalist décor elements will work just fine.
A shaggy rug would work on a timber, parquet or even polished concrete floor for adding an element of texture.
But choosing a deep pile carpet for an entire room will detract from the simplicity of Zen.
10. Wall Art
If you’re looking to achieve the Zen look, some interior designers will advise against having art on the walls.
But well chosen artworks that are well placed will add interest, personality & some life into the space.
Canvas Cultures have a great range of Zen & spiritual inspired art, plus they support their artists & I like that!
Also, minimalist art pieces of the appropriate subject matter, will reflect & accentuate the Zen vibe.
Creating gallery walls & placing too much art is just going to create busy walls & a visually noisy space.
But as mentioned in the chapter about furniture, you can use a single artwork as a focal point or to bring a splash of colour to a room.
Some artworks can become a meditation in themselves.
Having an image of your favourite deity on the wall can be a reflection of their inner peace or a reminder to be more mindful.
This is a photograph I took on a beach in Australia's south-west. These balancing rock images make for great Zen wall art. You can purchase this image here.
We’re all aware of how music can impact the way we feel.
You know when you hear a song, or genre you just hate?
You can’t reach for the volume quick enough to turn it off!
The reverse is true when we hear a tune we love.
We’ve all heard how music is the universal language & numerous studies have documented how music affects our moods & feelings.
You can’t go past music for creating a Zen home & inducing a relaxed & serene environment.
Depending on your budget, having speakers placed throughout the home means wherever you are in the house you’re bathed in soothing tones.
There are many streaming services & online radio stations that are specifically for meditation & chill-out tunes.
These are great because you don’t need to keep choosing what you’re playing next.
But in saying that, you can buy music & binaural beats that are recorded at different frequencies for achieving different states of mind.
Some will have subliminal messages for helping with sleep, overthinking & other issues.
Another way to take the music with you around the house is to use a pair of Bluetooth headphones.
If you want to reduce the amount of Wi-Fi in your home, then maybe not as convenient, but you’ll need to use wired speakers & a wired Internet connection.
Which brings us nicely to the next suggestion ..
12. Reducing Digital Noise
There’s growing concerns about the amount of frequencies we’re bombarded with on a daily basis.
Especially with the introduction of 5G, many people are concerned about the health benefits.
But whatever your beliefs, reducing & even eliminating the amount of background buzz in your home will nurture a more calming environment.
If you really don’t need your phone on, turn it off or set it to silent.
It can be quite irritating hearing your phone buzz or ring everytime one of your friends post their latest meal on social media.
It seems to be in our nature to be easily drawn in by these notifications.
Also leave it off, or place your phone in another room when you go to sleep.
Some may shudder at the thought, but turn the television off!
Yes, this can be a hard one, but you’d be amazed at how your mental well-being improves.
We humans seem to crave constant mental stimulation or entertainment.
This is why so many people are walking around hunched over their phones.
The mind needs time to just switch off, whether you’re young or an adult, it’s healthy to just allow the mind to wander.
Be mindful of what you’re doing.
This could be preparing a meal, doing some chores or simply sitting & enjoying the view from the window.
After all, this is about making your home a Zen sanctuary & the less of the outside world you allow in, the more peaceful it will be.
13. Safe & Sound
It’s difficult to be Zen like if you have loud neighbours or traffic noise intruding into your home.
There are many ways to soundproof areas of your home.
You don’t need to stick egg cartons on the walls!
Soundproofing not only reduces unwanted noise, but will also keep the acoustics nice & flat.
Double glazing is expensive, but it’s unbeatable for completely blocking out exterior disturbances.
Fitting heavier doors that seal well when closed will help prevent noise from one room travelling through the house, as too will using sound deadening insulation in the wall cavities.
It’s hard to relax when you can hear the washing machine on spin cycle.
So making sure the utility area is well insulated will help.
Dishwasher manufacturers are getting better at making quieter models.
So if yours is causing annoyance, maybe it’s time to trade it in for a later model.
One thing we can probably all relate to is the refrigerator noise.
It’s funny how you never notice it until it stops!
So make sure your fridge isn’t vibrating against any cabinetry.
Placing a square of carpet under it will also help.
If you can afford it, trade it in for a newer model if the current fridge refuses to keep quite.
Zen interior design isn’t everyone’s taste, but you don’t need to follow Zen design to create a Zen vibe in your home.
Using the ideas in this article, you will be able to create a home that is peaceful & one you can relax in.
Even implementing a few of these elements in your living space will give you a more serene environment.
So whatever budget you have, there’s a way to incorporate Zen philosophy into your life.
I hope you found value in this article & please share if you feel it can help somebody else.