Your home should be your retreat, where you can relax and unwind from the busyness of daily life.

Here are a few simple things you can do to make sure your home is welcoming and peaceful when you need it to be.

Make the most of natural light

Natural light has many benefits, such as improving your mood and helping you sleep [1].

There are plenty of simple ways to maximise the amount of natural light in your home. For a start, make sure you open your curtains fully and use curtain tiebacks to hold them out of the way. Try to clean your windows regularly and avoid blocking them with bulky furniture - it can make a huge difference. You could also make your home feel lighter by adding mirrors to reflect the light and paint walls in lighter colours.

Keep your home spick and span

Tidy home, tidy mind, or so the saying goes. 

When your home is nice and tidy, it really can make you feel less stressed and distracted. So, try not to let house work slip from your weekly routine. It’ll be worth it when you can finally put your feet up.

Create a separate workspace

If your home is also your office, then it’s important to keep your work area separate from where you relax.

So, if you’ve settled for a corner of your bedroom to work in, perhaps look at other options around the home. It’s not possible for everyone, but ideally you would find a separate working space that you can keep behind closed doors when your working day is over. 

If you don’t have the space, putting away your work documents and laptop or computer could help you to switch off from work when you have finished for the day.

Freshen up your home

Take some simple steps to freshen up your home and make it feel new and exciting. You can make a big difference, even on a small budget. You could, for example, upcycle old furniture, paint a wall a new colour or rearrange your living room.

Buy some plants and flowers

House plants can improve wellbeing, according to research [2], and the more the better.

So, find some bright plants and flowers, preferably something seasonal if you’re looking to save money. Alternatively, pick some from your garden.

If you want something low maintenance, succulents don’t require watering as frequently and come in a range of sizes and colours.

Make your bed each morning

Your parents, when they used to nag you about making your bed, may have had a point. 

Making your bed in the morning is an easy way to set the tone for a productive day. It’s also much more welcoming to see when it’s time to relax.

You can also add some throws and cushions for some extra comfort and luxury.

Add sound and scent

Turn on some soothing music - or even the radio or a podcast - and let it distract you for a while. Sound can be relaxing or spark happy memories. 

On the same note, remember to turn off sounds that don’t help you relax, such as the pings and alerts made by your phone - you could even designate mobile-free zones in your home.

Smells can really transform your home, too. Choose your favourite scented candles to infuse your home with peaceful aromas, as well as warm light.

Declutter

Go from room to room and ask yourself: if you haven’t used something for several months, do you really need it? You can even use Marie Kondo’s now-famous technique of considering whether each item brings enough joy into your life to merit keeping. 

A good place to start in your home is the entrance. Get rid of anything that’s cluttering up your porch or doorway, so you feel calm as soon as you step inside.

Add personal touches

Fill your home with things that carry happy memories, such as smiling, happy framed photos of your family and friends. Try swapping them round every now and then too, to freshen them up. 

Also, find a prominent space for any special keep-sakes or personal items you have. It all adds up to help your home feel your own.

Claim your own personal space

For those moments when you want to escape and have a bit of peace and quiet, it’s nice to have a regular spot where you know you won’t be disturbed. Even if it’s just for a five-minute coffee break or to read a book. 

This could be a favourite cosy chair, a corner to read in, or a spot near a window. Like the rest of your home, it should be a place of comfort and happiness.

In just a few steps, these simple home improvements can make it easier to unwind and rest at home.

For tips on how to stay happy and safe in your home, go to Solved.

[1] https://sustainability.ncsu.edu/blog/changeyourstate/benefits-of-natural-light/

[2] https://www.rhs.org.uk/advice/profile?PID=949