English artist, writer, and designer William Morris once declared, “Have nothing in your houses that you do not know to be useful, or believe to be beautiful.” This perspective prioritizes both beauty and minimalism – two of the most important eXO values. Bearing in mind Morris’ words, then, we’ve compiled nine ways to make your home more Zen. Read on.
Edit, edit, edit.
Begin by taking stock of your belongings, being honest about what you need and what you actually want to live with day-in and day-out. Superfluous tchotchkes, tired throw pillows, and artwork that still has yet to be hung – and never will be – should be the first on your list to be edited out. Doing so might feel difficult, but it’s the critical step towards curating a home that you really love – not just one that you like.
Invest in fewer, higher quality things.
We’ve all been guilty of cheap impulse buys. Instead of giving into the temptation of the sale and buying yet another item you don’t really need, prioritize quality over quantity, making considered decisions about each and every item you’re purchasing – even miscellaneous accessories. Engaging in this exercise will result in a house that’s filled with nice things and blissfully free of clutter.
Create a focal point.
When decorating, attempt to create a singular focal point for the eye, such as a statement couch, a beautiful painting, or a personality-filled rug. This principle – one that is implemented in photography and art – is proven to be aesthetically pleasing, plus eliminates any sense of busyness in a room.
Adopt a neutral palette…
While bold prints and bright colors certainly have their place in decorating, a neutral palette is a good foundational element for a calming and peaceful interior. In fact, a study by the University of Minnesota found that rooms painted red created a higher stress response than those painted white. But if red makes you happy, well, go for it…
…But play with textures and materials.
While a neutral palette can be calming, you never want your interior to feel cold or sterile. Integrating diverse natural materials and textures is a great way to keep your home interesting, plus infuse it with a sense of personality. Think of mixing hard metal with soft wood or a tufted carpet with a glass table – have fun with it.
Nature has an undeniably calming effect on our minds, so why not bring the outside indoors? Decorating with plants will not only make your space feel more peaceful, it invokes a sense of life and vibrancy. If you lack a green thumb, buy a succulent – it is an affordable, stress-free plant that requires little in the way of care.
Buy a good candle.
Scent has an incredibly powerful effect on the brain, with pleasing smells helping to improve mood, reduce stress, and even boost cognitive performance. Find a scent that you absolutely love and invest in it – it’s an affordable way to make your space feel (and smell) like a true home.
Hide distracting cords and wires.
Errant electronic cords can be a visual buzz kill for a beautiful room. Take the time to organize or discreetly hide unruly wires. You’ll be amazed just how cleaner and more organized your space can look.
Go for indirect or adjustable lighting.
Harsh, direct, and/or florescent lighting can make a home feel like an examining room. (Not Zen – or sexy.) Opt for a dispersed lighting scheme where intensity can be adjusted to ensure that lighting feels serene, not severe. Of course, take advantage of natural light wherever possible – it is, after all, a proven mood enhancer and makes you look more beautiful.