No matter how stressful or hectic your day at the office may be, returning home to a calm and organised living space will always have a positive impact.
Even if you're one of those superwomen types who manages to drag herself to the gym for an army-style spinning class after work, all of that stress-busting will be instantly undone when you find yourself tripping over your floordrobe, unable to find what you need in a hurry and frustrated by the fussiness of your own living space. It can be incredibly anxiety-inducing, especially if you're already on a short fuse.
Here we run through seven clever ways in which you can ensure your home is as calm and stress-free as possible.
- Clear out the candles
We all equate the glow of candle light with serenity, but sometimes, having each and every available space adorned with dripping candles can have the opposite effect. Instead of having twenty of them dotted around your living room resembling a script and giving you a headache with their mix of conflicting scent (not to mention the allergies from all the dust they'll collect), opt for just one big candle with several wicks that's guaranteed to burn for ages.
Choose a scent that's not too strong, and make this the focal point of your calm oasis. We're currently loving anything from Helen James' Considered collection at Dunnes, 42 Pressed's offering which you can pick up at Seven Wood, an interiors shop in Ranelagh, but if it's the ultimate in candles you're after, you need look no further than Diptyque or Jo Malone, both available in Brown Thomas.
- Pack away the patterns
Bold patterns and strong colours are too fussy for those who are inclined to get worked up. Choose plain, muted tones to create an air of calm. Whites, off-whites, creams, blues, greens and greys are perfect, especially for the bedroom.
Avoid reds, oranges and purples where you sleep. Hues in and around the blue family are known, in colour psychology, to relax, soothe and induce feelings of serenity; the warmer colours are more likely to get you fired up. A neutral beige will have almost medicinal qualities, instantly ridding you of the stress that dominated your work day. Or go full chill on your bedroom and opt for white, floor to ceiling.
- Take time out with textures
While the aim of the game is to keep your colour palette cool and neutral, mixing textures in your home can add a touch of luxury, sure to conjure up feelings of a day at the spa. Why not work that feeling into your own home? From pure linen
Why not work that feeling into your own home? From pure linen bed sets (avoid anything with sequins or harsh adornments unless you're still sixteen years of age) to a sheepskin rug across your home office chair, comforting textures will always be calming. For your living room choose one big cosy throw and unlike the forty cushions you've got strewn around your settee, a throw will never look messy.
- Wall prints to lift your spirits
Before you rush out to cover your walls in every pseudo-profound 'quote' you can find, think about what lifts your spirits. Is there a particular print or painting or series of words that has always had an instantly soothing effect or one that always grounds you and makes you smile?
Find the one that's right for you, even if it's a made-up quote from a made up philosopher or a line of a song from Taylor Swift, and give it a home where you'll always be happy to see it. For us, the simple reminder of breathing in and out makes the best start and end to our day.
- Turn down the lights
Overhead lighting is stressful. Having the main light in a room on is only necessary when you're desperately trying to find something or you're applying your makeup, otherwise, atmospheric lighting is the way to go. Even if your place isn't the tidiest it's ever been, it will feel more relaxed and organised with a few warm low lights.
Mix it up with free-standing floor lamps and lights that sit on table-tops, but as always, avoid the fussy and fiery colours. We love Ikea's range of paper lanterns; delightfully affordable, surprisingly effective.
- Forget the flowers
If I asked you think of one way to make your home a more pleasant environment, chances are you'll think of flowers. What makes it considerably more miserable, however, is a vase of dead flowers, gathering dust and smelling like cats' pee. At best, they've got a few days in them before they wilt and waste away, reminding you of your inability to care for a living thing (we're working on it, okay?).
Your best option here is a succulent. Simple, clean, takes care of itself and - forgive us while we get kooky for a moment - the 'chi' or life force of the plant has been known to energise and calm your space. For us, spiky cacti can be a bit aggressive, so we prefer an Aloe Vera plant (handy for your skin too!).
- Clear away the clutter
With Ikea on our doorstep, we've got no excuse in 2016 for cluttered desk tops or dressing tables, what with their never-ending collection of storage solutions. For those looking to start their day on the right foot (aren't we all), there's no surer way to feel stressed before you step outside your house than sitting down to a dressing table strewn with make-up brushes, products and yesterday's used cotton pads.
Invest in a dressing table with drawers and house all of your toiletries and beauty products in there. For a calm, stress-free bedroom, there should be nothing on your bedside table bar a lamp, and your bedside essentials.
- What's with the wires?
On that note, if it's a more relaxing environment you're after, it's also incredibly important to get your cable and wire situation sorted. Laptop chargers, phone chargers, HDMI cables, the works - have a place that these can live when you're not using them. Nothing like crossed wires to, erm, cross your wires.
Over to you, dear Beaut.ie readers, what are your tips and tricks for making your home as calm as possible?