Creating an inviting home
Our homes are much more than places we live or sleep at the end of the day. They are a sanctuary from the outside world and a place where we should feel wholly comfortable in being ourselves. Thus, we should be mindful of what we put into our homes. Our apartments may be small or dated, but we can make them our favorite places to be. Creating a mindful and inviting home is a reflection of you and we should take the time to create a place that is a sanctuary for ourselves.
Focus on the senses
When we are being mindful of our present moment, we often focus heavily on our senses. What do we taste, smell, hear, feel, and see right now? Focusing on the senses helps us feel calmer, more grounded, and safe in our environments. It helps reduce overthinking and those pesky ‘what ifs’ thoughts.
When creating a mindful + inviting home, it is important to use our senses to help curate that sense of safety and calm. Think about what you enjoy, what makes you feel good, and how you can incorporate those senses into your space.
Your space should always be your sanctuary. It should be welcoming and inviting and a place where you feel as though you can be yourself.
What do you love to see in your living space? Think of the lighting, the color scheme, and the decor you enjoy.
Color therapy is huge for the way we feel. Whether we realize it or not color therapy is being used all around us every single day. Restaurants use a lot of red to make you eat more, spas use a lot of greens set the tone for relaxation. Yellows are used to create a more cheerful atmosphere and blues, greys, and purples help you reduce stress, help you relax, and encourage sleep.
So being mindful of the color you use in your home is actually important. Personally, I use lots of blues, greys, and greens because I love the relaxing and natural vibe it gives. Colors can create that inviting home feeling. It just depends on what you want to get out of the vibes. Do you want to feel energized? Relaxed? Safe? Whatever feeling you want to invoke, you can almost certainly do with color.
Also, keeping a clean space helps lower stress and prevent overwhelm. I know, crazy right? But just think about how good you feel when you finish cleaning and organizing your space. Well, if you maintain that cleanliness, you can keep that feeling for good, my friend.
And when your space is clean and clear it’s easier to see + display the things that you love! When your space is kept pretty minimal and decluttered, you get to see your home and watch it be filled with memories, love, and happiness. Hanging up your favorite picture feels good and looks good. Coming home after a bad day and immediately seeing your favorite stuffed bear from childhood (don’t lie, you still have him) feels good. Coming home and not being greeted with clutter and messes feels extra, extra good. Seeing the things that bring you joy + peace feels good.
Keep the clutter down
Scientists have researched the effects of clutter on our brains. When we are overwhelmed with visual stimulus it’s much harder to relax and calm down after a long day.
A cluttered home isn’t an inviting home. It is an overwhelmed home filled with unfinished projects and unmade decisions. Make a decision to live comfortably in your home.
Smells can create a vast range of emotional and biological responses. If a place smells clean and fresh, we feel more relaxed. If it smells bad, we immediately associate bad smells with filth.
I highly suggest letting in fresh air as much as you can as well as having some pretty houseplants to help neutralize any odors.
There are so many good ways to add good smells into our apartments as well. Candles, incense, essential oils, baking or cooking, or just giving the apartment a good scrub down does wonders.
Certain smells do different things too. Lavender is known for it’s calming aroma. Citrus smells are energizing. Eucalyptus is invigorating. The smell of flowers or the sea invokes summer vibes, while apple and cinnamon make you ready to cozy up for winter. Through smell alone you can create a million different feelings for a cozy, inviting home.
When you think of an inviting home, we often forget about sound. But let’s think about it. What sounds do you think of hearing in a happy, safe, and cozy home? Some think of music, others of laughter. Maybe you’re like me and you love a pretty quiet home where there’s not much sound except for the breeze, a fan, and a old snoring dog.
If you’re trying to create a calming space sound can have a huge effect whether we realize it or not. Sound can create a sense of familiarity and comfort. When we’re surrounded by familiar and happy sounds that we enjoy, we have an easier time relaxing.
This is an evolutionary response. Unfamiliar or unpleasant sounds meant that we were most likely in dangerous or unknown territories which kept our fight or flight responses engaged and kept us alert and unable to truly relax. Whereas familiar sounds that we decided to be safe sounds allowed us to let our guards down and relax.
All the senses create biological responses, of course but I think sound is bigger than we realize. Although we are mainly visual animals, meaning we use our sight more than anything, sounds have an extreme effect on our subconscious mind.
So by paying attention to the sounds we hear in our home we can adjust them to help us relax, help us feel happier, and make us more comfortable. There’s no one noise that feels best to each of us but some ideas to try can be things like…
Podcasts or audiobooks
Another fun one that I used a lot when I was in school was Ambient Mixer. It’s a website that allows you to combine a bunch of different layers of sound together to enjoy. My favorite while studying was to listen to the Hogwarts sounds so I could pretend I was a wizard rather than studying O Chem.
Touch is an underrated sense. So many emotions can be created through touch alone. Think about those fancy homes where everything looks so expensive and grand that you’re almost afraid to touch anything. Everything is white and modern so you’ll probably create a mess if you touch anything.
That isn’t a comfortable place to be.
Think about what you love to feel when you are truly at home. Soft blankets? Pillows? Do you love the feeling of a hot mug filled with a warm drink? What about feeling sunshine on your face? What do your feet touch? Cozy slippers? Soft rugs? Use touch to create some place that’s cozy, a place you never want to leave.
When you go to someone else’s home, there’s nothing quite as great as when they pull out a plate of some tasty snacks, is there? Food is the universal object that brings people together, invites them to open up, and makes everyone feel comfortable.
When we come home we should have food available. That doesn’t mean there always has to be fresh baked cookies but we should be mindful to have the food we love in our homes.
Having the option of a quick snack when we get home after a long day feels really good. After all, when we were kids, after school snacks were a big deal, so why should that change? Let’s make after work snacks more of a priority.
Think of the snacks that make you feel good. Maybe its cheese and crackers or fresh produce. Maybe you’re more of a chips and salsa kind of gal. Whatever it is, keep some relatively healthy, tasty things at your disposal to make your home feel welcoming and inviting too.
***Also, on a side note, I make a point to say relatively healthy because though ice cream and cookies taste good, those are better as an occasional treat. The effects of a lot of refined sugar on your brain aren’t good. They make you feel sad, moody, and unfocused. And if we’re trying to create a mindful home, making ourselves sad in it isn’t the best idea for an enjoyable atmosphere.
Don’t forget the drank!
This doesn’t only go for food too. I always try and make sure I have some kind of tasty drink chilling in my fridge. Maybe I’ll brew up a big pot of tea and then refrigerate it for some iced tea later. Or if I’m feeling ambitious, freshly made lemonade is always nice. Even if all you put in your fridge is some cold water, it’s nice having something refreshing just waiting for you to finish a workout or something.
Again, try to make sure you have something refreshing that you can drink all the time. You may love your wine, but seriously, you can’t drink that all the time. And is having iced coffee always available good for your sleep? Have your wine + coffee available but also have some infused water or tea at your disposal too! It’s all about balance, people.
Fill it with love
Personally, I did this with animals and plants. I also would not recommend filling your 500 square foot apartment with 7 animals and a billion plants, but whatever works, right?
A home filled with love doesn’t mean your apartment is stuffed wall to wall with memorabilia or stuff…we’re keeping the clutter down, remember? No, it can be filled with an intangible feeling of acceptance, happiness, and calm. Fill it with the things that will make you happy and only the things that make you feel loved.
Buy yourself a bouquet of flowers just because you love yourself and display them on your kitchen counter. Cook meals that make you happy and satisfied. Snuggle up in a soft blanket that makes you feel secure, warm, and cozy. Have a bookshelf filled with your favorites. Or hide a little box filled with treasured letters and trinkets. Love on your pets (and your plants!) and work on making your apartment a home. Play your favorite tunes and dance around like an idiot. Indulge in a hot, fragrant bubble bath.
A home filled with love is a home where the inhabitants have made the conscious decision to love each other and themselves, to accept the flaws, and to create joy through small moments inside.
An Inviting Home is Clean + Functional
Functionality and cleanliness of a home are more important than we realize. A clean home feels safer, calmer, and more ready to relax in. A home that is functional keeps the clutter down, is organized, and is beautiful.
Taking a few moments in the evening to pick up and put stuff in their proper places saves you a giant headache later. It also saves you from having to spend a full Saturday cleaning from the week.
Do your dishes, clear your bathroom counter, and put your shoes away in the evening. When your home is clean and functional, your mornings are less stressful and you are able to move through your house more calmly and easily. No one likes to desperately search for their keys or wonder where that weird smell is coming from. Just make it easy on yourself and be mindful of your cleanliness. If you’re aware how you good you feel when things are clean, take steps to make that level of cleanliness a habit. It’ll feel good.
For more ways to help create a home you love, check out some more reading!
Your home is your safe place, the place for you to relax, recoup, and escape to prepare to handle another day of people-ing. Making an inviting home isn’t just for surprise guests to enjoy, it’s really just for you. Our homes are places that should reflect our passions and our personalities and be a good place to recharge.
If your home should be the most relaxing environment in your life, we really should be more mindful of it.
Use your senses and use your intuition, they don’t lie to you. Each of our homes should be as unique and vibrant as we are and that requires you to be honest with yourself about what you love.
I know how hard it can be getting started with this whole mindfulness lifestyle. You know the benefits but there always seems to be so much to learn!