Would you love to feel a sense of calm and coziness as soon as you step through your front door? It’s easy and affordable to make your home a comfy retreat, where you’ll want to hang out all the time.
You can make your home a cozier and more relaxing space little by little without putting pressure on yourself to make it perfect, says Amy Tokos, a certified professional organizer, productivity consultant and incoming president-elect of the National Association of Productivity & Organizing Professionals.
“Ask yourself, ‘What has to happen here to make my home just a little better and more enjoyable?'” she says. “Then you can check it off your list and focus on enjoying your space.”
Keeping that in mind, here are 9 ways to make your home into a relaxing oasis, whether you are following “stay-in-place” orders or just want a place to chill for any reason.
1. Clear Out Clutter
Decluttering is the first step to creating a comfortable home. Clutter can cause stress by causing you to trip over stuff and by keeping you from finding items in your home, Tokos says.
Here’s her easy way to declutter: decide on a goal for your space, move all the clutter out into a different room and sort it into two piles: keep and don’t keep. Then go through the “don’t keep” pile and decide whether you want to consign, donate or sell each item—or put it into self-storage.
2. Rearrange Your Space
Rearranging your living room furniture can breathe new life into your home. It’s also a good idea to identify the “prime real estate” in your house and use that space to store the items you use a lot, Tokos recommends. For example, if you bake bread once a week, you may want to store your bread maker on the kitchen countertop. Finally, add visual appeal and a fun vibe to your home with a few new area rugs or colorful throw pillows.
3. Display Cherished Items
Do you have “feel good” items stashed somewhere in your home? Take the time to put them on display so you can enjoy them every day. For example, maybe you’ve always planned to frame those postcards you bought on your honeymoon in Italy. Or you’d love to make a coffee table display with the beach glass your kids collected last summer. Or you keep meaning to put your favorite family photo in a frame on your desk in your home office. Taking a few minutes to place beloved items front and center will add a warm vibe to your space. Just a few items will do.
“When it comes to displaying memorabilia, less is more,” Tokos says.
4. Focus on Activities You Love
Think about how you use your space and what activities you love to do at home. Then create and organize space in your house just for those activities. If you enjoy books, set up a reading nook with a comfy chair, a floor lamp and a bookshelf. If you’re into crafting or DIY projects, create a corner with a work table and shelves for your tools and supplies. If you love to bake, put your flours and flavorings on a dedicated shelf in your pantry. You’ll be more likely to read—or craft, or bake— if everything you need to do the activity is readily accessible and visible in your home.
“You want to make it easy to do the things you love to do,” Tokos says.
5. Bring Greenery into Your Space
There are many benefits to bringing plants into your home. For example, plants can reduce stress, improve your mood and cultivate a sense of wellbeing. Adding greenery to your space can be as simple as cutting some fresh flowers from your yard and putting them in a vase. If you’re new to plants or unsure about your skills, you may want to start with some easy-to-grow succulents.
6. Indulge Your Senses
Visual appeal is nice, but you can add ambiance to your home by engaging all five senses. One easy way to make your home smell fantastic: get an aromatherapy diffuser and some essential oils. (Or, in a pinch, you can just throw some citrus peels in a pot of water and simmer on the stove.) To add soothing sounds to your environment, consider a wind chime, a small fountain or a white noise machine. Appeal to the sense of touch by adding different textures to your home.
7. Make Your House Feel Like a Hotel
When you stay at a nice hotel, it’s often the little luxuries that make you feel pampered. Maybe that’s a rich cup of French press coffee, a set of plush cotton sheets or just a fancy lotion that smells amazing. That high-end hotel vibe doesn’t have to cost much, and it’s just an Amazon order away.
8. Get Comfy
If you have a little extra cash to invest in your space, consider buying a few items designed for coziness and comfort. A weighted blanket can add coziness to your home and may even relieve nighttime anxiety and stress, according to Harvard Medical School. The blankets make you feel like you’re getting a “comforting hug.” Other items that can make your home cozier: a faux fur throw blanket and a towel warmer.
9. Set up a Serene Outdoor Space
Find a way to bring nature into your space, even if it’s just a bird feeder outside your window. If you do have an larger outdoor living space, take the time to make it a true extension of your home. Comfy chairs with cushions are a must. And consider adding a feature like a fire pit that will make you want to spend more time outside. One study shows that sitting by a fire can actually help you relax. A little garden, a water feature and string lights also can make your outdoor space more relaxing.