These 6 things add serenity to any room in your house

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We could all use a little more Zen in the place where we rest, recharge, and refocus: our homes! Now that you’ve detoxified your house, Feng Shui’d it up, and put it through the spring cleaning wringer, you can take a deep breath and find a little more peace in your home life with these tips, thanks to Oprah Magazine. The best part is that you can do these things in any room that you think could use more positive vibes, whether it’s your bedroom, your living room, or your dining room!

A Noise-Canceling…Rug

You probably never even noticed a spa’s greatest trick for creating a calming environment: “Soft fabrics, like mohair, help keep sounds from echoing,” says Stacy Shoemaker, editor-in-chief of Hospitality Design, which recognizes the world’s top hotels with its annual design awards. White sheepskin throws, rugs and covered pillows are especially popular right now: They’ve got all the plushness of a high-end fabric, but—starting at about $30 a piece—they won’t kill your budget.

An Odd Couple That Works Together

In a room with a mishmash of furniture bought, given and handed down, one of the easiest ways to keep things from looking jumbled is to figure out which pieces of furniture could work together—like a mirror and a chest that form a makeshift vanity—and paint them the same color, designer and The Nesting Place author Myquillyn Smith says.

A Signature Scent

Le Méridien commissioned a custom scent for its rooms, which smells a lot like leather-bound books. It’s familiar enough to comfort guests, and distinctive enough that they’ll associate it only with the hotel. Similarly, having a nontraditional scent that reminds you of your home—and only your home—can help you leave work, traffic jams and that rude woman at the grocery store behind as soon as you walk through the door.

A Bright Spot

Oh, to have gigantic windows and skylights. That may not be the reality for most of us, but with a few extra lamps—including an overhead light set to a dimmer switch—and boosting the lights so they’re brightest at mid-day, when the sun is at its brightest, could help you feel better (and create a home that looks like this). An October 2013 study in the Journal of Advanced Nursing found that hospital patients who were exposed to low levels of light 24 hours a day were more fatigued and reported higher pain levels than those who stayed in rooms with lights that adjusted. With just 40 people surveyed, there’s no guarantee that brighter days and darker evenings will improve your health, but it may be worth testing out for yourself.

A Glimmer of Warmth

While soft blues continue to be the most popular “peaceful” color, Zillow Digs’s Board of Designers survey found that a new shade has tied white for the number two spot: Gray. Unlike other calming colors, which tend to be cool tones, most people prefer light grays that have hints of red in them. Cool grays feel sterile, like an industrial warehouse, explains Jackie Jordan, director of color marketing at Sherwin-Williams. She recommends Mindful Gray or Anew Gray, and says she’s seeing them paired with pale aquas as an alternative to the classic blue and white.

Find Your Center

Start with the biggest piece of furniture in the room–that’s where your gaze will naturally rest. Flank it with two similar items, like a pair of side tables, wall art or lamps–but not pairs of all three, or you risk veering from symmetry to “sameness.” Because you’re going for serenity, not boredom.



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Mysteries of the Human Heart

“The human heart has hidden treasures, in secret kept, in silence sealed.” — Charlotte Brontë

The human heart, the size of two adult fists, is mysterious, intelligent, powerful, and sometimes inexplicable. The Egyptians believed that Anubis, the god of the underworld and judge of the dead, weighed the hearts of the recently deceased against a feather — if the two balanced, the heart would be returned to owner. If the heart was heavier, it was weighted by bad deeds and fed to a monster.

Heart as Ruler of the Brain

Aristotle considered the heart as the center of reason, thought, and emotion, senior to the brain in importance. Ninth century Arabic philosopher Abu Nasr al-Farabi believed that, “The ruling organ in the human body is the heart; the brain is a secondary ruling organ subordinated to the heart.” Auguste Comte, a 19th century French philosopher declared that the brain should be servant to the heart.

“The most common denominator in all religions is that the heart is the seat of wisdom,” said Rollin McCraty Ph.d, director of research at the groundbreaking HeartMath Institute in Santa Cruz, CA. Twelfth century Christian mystic, Hildegard of Bingen, would agree. She wrote, “The soul sits at the center of the heart, as though in a house.”

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