a gentle healing home - decorating for the senses - cut flowers in vases and jars
Make Beautiful Things

A Gentle Healing Home – Decorating for the Senses

In an attempt to create a healing home that is comforting to my body, mind and spirit, I’ve been pondering the reasons “home” felt more relaxed and refreshing in the past than it does now, back when I was a child in the 70’s. And not just in my own home, but others as well. What is missing? What has changed?

Design trends such as Hygge and Minimalism are embracing minimal color schemes and less clutter, in an effort to create coziness and less chaos in the home. Those of us trying to survive the excess of the information era, and the excess of an egoistic society, are almost desperately seeking a simpler basic lifestyle. Our modern sensibilities seem to be going back to basics, back to our roots and in search of healing environments, and this is happening regardless of the style you choose. Even “Bohemian” decorating trends, although far from “minimal” like Hygge and Minimalism, with bold colors, patterns and chachkis abound, are also a “zen” lifestyle trend.

a gentle healing home - decorating for the senses - hygge
Plants, Candles and Faux fur are some of the features in Hygge decorating.

I personally love aspects of all of these styles, and in an effort to combine the best elements, and maintain a sense of healing calm in my home, I found the common thread all of these trends share, the one that appeals to my senses and reduces my anxiety level. All of these trends have particular characteristics which define them, but the one thing they share in common is that they all embrace nature. Whether it is wood decor, ceramic dishes, stone counter tops, faux fur throws, natural and organic linens, crystals and salt lamps, these natural items are a common thread that appears in all of these styles.

So I set out to begin planning my future decorating, not by a particular trend per se, but more with the idea of incorporating more nature into my environment. Surely this will appease my inner child, who remembers the back-to-nature movement of my youth. With nature in mind, it is absolutely possible to create a minimal yet soulful, comforting yet wild-spirited and artistic home to relax in.

The spirit of the flower children returns, and hopefully stays…

I found that it was not enough to simply decorate my home, as something was still missing. The spirit that existed in that time is missing, in me and in others. The energy was more mellow back then. People have changed.

We are more hyper, nervous, and fast-moving. We are under more pressure and far more competitive. We are exposed to negative energies we invite into our home through internet and television. We are exposed to more chemicals and highly toxic things. The spirit is missing, but it can be reclaimed.

Upon this realization, it was a wake up call for me to change, and so I came up with some ways to bring myself down a few levels, to find my mellow vibe. We cannot change the world, or society, or other people. Acceptance of that which we cannot change is a cornerstone of relaxation. We cannot change the chaotic energies of the world. But our home is our sanctuary, and we can manifest whatever energy we desire when we walk through our front door. We all deserve a beautifully decorated home, but we also deserve a beautifully energized home. This is done through the senses. Home decorating is only one part of it, sight. Once I started to decorate with other senses including smell, touch and sound in mind, it all came together.

A gentle healing home – Decorating for the senses – Houseplants

So, I started to think about creating my home from a sensory perspective, to comfort me through sight, sound, smell and touch, as well as for relaxing my soul. The goal is, how can I recreate that mellow 70’s vibe, but incorporate it into a modern “smart home”.

Return to nature was a big movement during the 70’s, with flower power, earth-tones and wall-to-wall houseplants as major decorating schemes. Today, just because you have a contemporary smart home doesn’t mean your home has to be cold or stark. Just because we live in a more aggressive period of time, doesn’t mean we have to bring it home with us.

a gentle healing home - decorating for the senses - contemporary

Breezy curtains, soft linens and refined cushions add coziness to this contemporary room.

I am a strong believer that our environment influences us, as we are perceptive and sensory beings, experiencing the physical world, and so buying linens, furnishings, and decor to influence a certain mood absolutely works! However, it doesn’t matter how much money you spend to decorate your home to be “calm” or “minimal” or “magical”; if the energy is toxic, your home will be toxic.

a gentle healing home - decorating for the senses - zen sacred space

Remove emotional chaos and drama from your home. Constant hostility will have negative effects on you and your family’s state of mind. Encourage a sense of well being with family members through positive affirmations, rather than negative.

I can’t tell you how many times I have seen people spend a lot of money to make a Zen home, and then turn on violent television shows or watch depressing news in the very same room, then complain about not being able to be calm. Energy is real, and it is our responsibility to create it. We are much more powerful than we believe in our ability to change our surroundings.

One of the major changes I made to my home was creating a spiritual space where I could do yoga, meditate and perform my Qigong ritual. One of my favorite purchases was my Himalayan salt lamp, the positive effect on my mood and health was immediate! Setup a sacred space in your home for meditation. Soft floor pillows, statues, fountains, and therapeutic salt lamps are all nice features to not only make a space feel more Zen, but help you to “practice” becoming Zen, performing daily Yoga and Meditation rituals.

Grow houseplants indoors. Houseplants provide healthy benefits to a home by removing toxins from the air. The daily act of caring for plants, by watering, removing dead foliage and occasionally feeding them, is a very soulful venture. And don’t forget to talk to your plants, they like it and they will grow prolifically for you! (no really, it works!)

Add the natural elements of water, fire, air and earth to every room. Natural elements have an energy of their own, and that energy will manifest within your environment. Using earth elements will help you to feel grounded and focused, and place you in a spiritual state of mind. Use a fountain to add the calming sound of flowing water (and also to add humidity to the air for your plants!) Light candles to create warmth and light. Diffuse essential oils into the air in an aromatherapy diffuser. Burn incense for fire and air, for the aroma therapeutic purposes. Add flowers to a vase to bring the earth indoors.

Art is important for the spirit to feel comforted. Whether it has a decorative quality which is pleasing to the eyes and senses, or it is art with a deeper meaning or story by the artist, all art is a shared experience between you and the artist. Whichever kind appeals to you, having artwork, whether it be paintings, drawings, illustration, digital art, sculpture, ceramics, metal art or more, will create a sense of your own personal, and thus very comforting space. I think the point of art in the home is to feel, whatever the feeling is does not matter, it is the feeling that the art evokes that gives us great connection to it, and the place where it is displayed becomes more meaningful.

You can choose to display a single piece of art on a wall alone as a focal piece, which has more of a minimal effect.

Buy Framed art

Or you can do a collage wall which, when done correctly, is very beautiful and relaxing. In the picture above, this wall has a lot of elements, but it is still calming. The key here is working with the “power of three”. In design, using three of something gives balance, which calms the soul. In this case, there are three frame colors, black, beige and white, and three shapes, square, and rectangles, both vertical and horizontal. By playing with the power of three, what could have been a very chaotic display looks calming instead. Notice the three largest black frames are spread out in the top left, right and center for balance, with the black shelf in the middle to anchor them. These natural hues are of course relaxing, but even bolder colors would still create a sense of calm balance in this type of display, as long as there is consistency.

If you love Bohemian style, but are afraid it will be too busy and chaotic, try keeping one of the design elements (color, texture, style) consistent. Consistency creates a feeling of calming balance. In this room there are a variety of prints and textures, but the warm and autumnal color palette is consistent.

You can choose colors based on mood or symbolic meanings of color magick, such as going for a palette of oranges to encourage creativity, or a palette of reds for vitality and sensuality.

Or go for grounding earthy hues. Natural colors include more than just forest greens, browns and neutrals. Go for the colors of the moon, with whites, grays, and shades of blues and purples. Also the sun, with shades of yellows, reds and oranges.

Or go with the flow of the seasons, by changing the colors in your home in tune with your outdoor surroundings.

By ridding your home of harmful chemicals and negative energies, your state of mind and well being will inevitably improve.

Purchase organic products when possible, whether it be cleaning products, linens or coverings on furniture, or decor. Toxic chemicals make us feel unwell, slowly over time, so we don’t consciously notice. Breathing in chemicals affects our respiratory system, and touching them affects our skin. Constant exposure to chemicals takes its toll on our health and state of mind over time, and creates a negative home life.

Use eco-friendly products in your home to contribute positively towards the environment and your health. Save energy and lower your electric bill with energy efficient appliances. Use cleaning products that are free from harmful chemicals to improve your physical environment. 

You can have a lot of elements in your home without it looking cluttered. In this scene we have plants, books, and photos covering the walls, which could feel overwhelming. The natural hues automatically calm the scene, the books are stacked neatly, and the plants are clean and healthy, all leading to a peaceful environment.

Remove excess clutter from your home. Too much clutter creates negative energy in the home and makes you feel overwhelmed. Clutter is low frequency and unnecessary “junk” that gives us no pleasure and/or has no function. Assess the true need of items around your home, and get rid of unnecessary items in a yard sale or by donating to a local thrift store. Organize items you intend to keep and store them out of sight, in decorative boxes or stacked neatly in closed cabinets.

Clutter is agitating; peace comes from a flow of energy. Energy becomes blocked and stagnant by stacks of random objects collecting dust around the home. Put as much as you can out of plain sight.
  1. Play calming music. Soft piano music or nature sounds will give a sense of peace and tranquility and will lift your spirits.
  2. Weighted blankets – these blankets are being used by people who have anxiety, restless sleep and insomnia. The theory is that the heaviness of the blanket wraps around you like a cocoon, which feels comforting like you are being swaddled like a baby. Since it is heavy, it also prevents tossing and turning. Sounds nice to me!
  3. Soft lighting – I have trouble sleeping at night, so I have filled my home with soft lighting so it is easier for me to wind down at night. Some examples are salt lamps, string lights around windows and furniture, and the amazing 3D moon lamps which I want one of in every room!
  4. Furniture – organic and natural fabrics, when possible, or fabrics which can be easily wiped and cleaned of dust are perfect for keeping down allergens. Natural materials for other furniture are best for keeping a higher frequency.

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