When you dream of creating a sacred and beautiful living space what does it look and feel like? For me it’s a feeling of warmth and comfort. The way I feel when I visit my Mom. The sanctuary she’s created makes me feel safe, comfortable and lovingly adored. A part of this is the connection we share, but it’s also freshly laundered sheets, vases of fragrant flowers and everything in its place. My mother is the mistress of creating an oasis where you can exhale and relax while taking in the beauty of her gorgeous living space.
The 100-year-old Craftsman home I live in with my family is cozy, warm and inviting. The walls in our living space are painted with warm, rich colors. Granny apple green, barn red and sunflower yellow make for a colorful environment and complement the maple flooring and custom cabinets. Original paintings and photographs cover the walls. Most of the art was created by local artisans, close friends and my talented daughter.
Look around the room and you will find heirlooms and treasures from holiday adventures. Every piece has a story. My favorite painting by Simon Bull came home with me from a shopping trip at The Lanes in Brighton, UK. After sharing a delightful visit with an artist, a piece of his exquisite pottery traveled over the Atlantic to be on display in our kitchen. The wool throw on my favorite chair came from a small shop in Bruges. Our second floor hallway is covered with photographs from exciting adventures to Hawaii, Antigua, Aruba, Scotland, England, Germany, Holland and many more wonderful places.
- What does your ideal environment look like?
- How does this living space make you feel?
- How does this compare to your current environment?
Here are five steps to create your sacred living space:
Clean up your environment
Creating a nurturing space begins by cleaning and de-cluttering your environment. Years ago my particular brand of cleaning was out-of-sight, out-of-mind. I would fly through the house unconsciously stashing away items in drawers, closets and cupboards. As long as the immediate area was free and clear, I could breathe a little easier; that is until I went to find whatever it was I’d absentmindedly put away!
Chances are you have at least one large bag full of items in each room of your house that you could be rid of. When was the last time you donated your gently used items to Goodwill. Have you considered selling some of your old books, electronics or CDs on Ebay? Is there a neighbor who could use some of the items that no longer serve you?
Want to get a jump-start on cleaning up your space? Hire a cleaning service to clean your home. Make a list of all of the areas you wish to be cleaned and make it happen. You can find a number of cleaning services Online. Look for Molly Maid or Merry Maids. Better yet, ask a friend if they can recommend someone.
Once you’ve cleaned up your living space and work space it’s time to take inventory of your belongings.
Keep only meaningful items
Let go of old clothing, dishes, linens and outdated decorations. Clean out folders and shred old documents to create more spaciousness. There is something rewarding about keeping only the items that you love and the essential documents you may need. You can let go of all the rest. Take a minute to request electronic invoices for your credit cards, bank statements and cell phone bills. Recycle old magazines or donate them to your local library.
Do you plan to keep all of your children’s grade school work forever? Choose a few items from each grade and store these special treasures in a safe place. I have gorgeous box for all of my daughter’s special school projects. One box contains everything we decided to keep from kindergarten to eighth grade.
How many gifts have you received that you are hanging on to just in case the person who gave you the gift comes for a visit? Will your Aunt Beverly be devastated if you give away the tea set you never use? Do you really need to keep every present you’ve ever received? What can you let go of that no longer serves you?
Imagine what would your home be like if it contained only items that were either highly functional, meaningful and beautiful.
Color, texture and light
After you’ve eliminated most of the non-essential items from your living space, you can begin to personalize your environment. What is your favorite color? Do you have anything in your living space that is this color? When was the last time you painted your living room, kitchen, bedroom? Is it time for a color change?
I love going to the spa. When my husband and I renovated our master bath my goal was to create a spa like feeling on a shoe-string budget. Can you recreate a spa environment in your bathroom? How would it feel to slip into a luxurious cotton robe and warm slippers after a relaxing bath? You can easily create a spa environment with a new shower curtain, bamboo or Egyptian cotton towels, candles and soft music.
What about your bedroom? Is the place you sleep, dream and make love an oasis or an eyesore? What might your sanctuary feel like with a high thread count sheets, a new duvet for your comforter and the absence of a computer or television set?
You can breathe new life into your kitchen by getting rid of cracked dishes and mismatched glasses and coffee cups. I collect Fiestaware and don’t like the coffee cups that come with each place setting. Rather than store them, I passed them along to a friend with a yoga studio. Add a new throw rug, get rid of worn out pans and trashed utensils. Keep a vase on your dining table for fresh flowers, greens, dried grasses or eucalyptus.
Can you see how could can improve the feel of your living space easily and inexpensively?
Invite nature in
My home and office contain natural gifts from the shores and forests of Michigan. I love to collect wild flowers, pussy willows, cat tails, beach stones, pine cones, driftwood and acorns.
Fresh flowers bring more beauty into any environment. I have a single rose in a vase on my desk. You can invite nature in to your home with a beach stone or shell collection. I live in an area with four seasons and collect and display items that represent mother nature’s seasonal offerings.
Another fun way to let nature in is to have some fun with your camera. Get outside and capture images of your favorite tree, flower or breathtaking sunset. You can easily enlarge and print your image, pop it in a frame and Voila! You’ve just brought something you love from nature into your personal space.
Set the mood
Music and aromatherapy are perfect for staging the desired mood of your environment. Feel like dancing? What kind of music might you be listening to? Need to chill out and relax? Classical music or a new age playlist might be a good choice.
You can enhance your environment with scented candles, incense and essential oils. Lavender is perfect for a calming effect. Citrus will awaken your senses. I love burning the earthy sweet scent of Shoyeido White Cloud incense when I bathe or meditate. Before bed I sometimes spritz my pillows with lavender or rose water and often smudge my home with white sage to clear negative energy.
Begin to create your nurturing sanctuary by clarifying how you want to feel in your own space. Once you know what you want, it’s time to clean and clear the area. Then it’s time get rid of the items that longer serve you. Say goodbye to clutter, one room at a time. Paint the walls, add a new throw rug, pillow or special blanket. Invite nature in with flowers, collections from nature and landscape photography. Create the desired mood with your favorite music and aromatherapy. Follow these simple steps and enjoy your new sacred living space.