I have known Jessica Gordon Ryan for several years and have always admired her style, flair, and spunk. Her website, The Entertaining House, is one of my favorite blogs, and I asked Jessica to pass along some of her tips on creating a peaceful home. I am sure you will find her perspective to be refreshing and helpful. Note the beautiful oyster picture below was “just a pic taken on my old cell phone!” Darn… my pictures never come out that good! She’s such a gem.
Here is what she had to share…
“They say that home is where the heart is. I happen to think this to be one of the truest statements. Over the years, I have lived in a great many. I’ve lived in homes that I’ve owned and homes that I’ve rented. I’ve lived in very large homes, and in smaller homes. I believe that a house is different from a home. A house is simply a building with a roof and 4 walls – a place of shelter, a place to rest weary eyes and tired feet. A home is a house that is filled with love and laughter. It’s more than a place to rest weary eyes and tired feet – it is where one looks forward to returning to at the end of the day. It embodies comfort and calm, filled with those items that best represent you and your passions.
Perhaps your home is large. Small. It has minimal décor. Brimming with artwork, color and all sorts of exquisite esoteric items collected from journeys to faraway destinations. Quiet, with the sweet melodious sounds of classical music, or filled with children and laughter. At the end of the day, there’s nothing like coming home to the familiar sights and soothing sounds. There really is no place like home.
Your home should be your sanctuary, though often, especially where children are thrown into the mix, it feels like anything but! Teenagers zip through like whirling dervishes, doors slamming as they come and go. They’re noisy! They’re messy! They don’t know where the dishwasher is no matter how often you point it out to them! They are loud – oh so very loud. They walk like elephants, and they’re constantly shouting. They drop things – keys, books, bags, phones – and take over the house. Sometimes you just gather up their items and toss them into their rooms, pulling the door tightly shut behind you. When they’re home, the television is on too loudly, they’re talking over each other, or the sounds of their iDevices are pinging and beeping away. “Dogs are easier” you tell yourself – but even they bark and shed.
As we juggle work, home, and our children’s busy schedules, it seems that the only quiet time is the time before the kids get up or after they go to bed. If you have teenagers, the chances that they’re in bed before you, are slim to none. Downtime is crucial.
That one special nook in our homes where we can go without being interrupted.
The good news is that you don’t need a lot of square footage, or money, to create your own domestic bliss. It can be in a guest room, home office, your bedroom, or a spot on the porch.
In order to create this tranquil retreat, you’ll need to surround yourself with the things that motivate, uplift, and calm you. Below are some ideas for creating a perfect oasis:
- Color. Can you paint your walls? Do you prefer soft soothing pastels or bright, energetic colors?
- Books. Do you thrive when surrounded by piles of books?
- Music. Whether a small iPod or larger sound system, music is enlivening yet soothes even the most savage beast.
- Candles. It’s known that certain scents such as rosemary, lavender and eucalyptus soothe and relax. I adore the candles from Nest and Lafco NY. They are not only beautiful, but fresh and natural.
- Flowers. Flowers are a must and such a simple way to add color and beauty to your surroundings.
- Lighting. A good lamp for reading is essential. If possible, set up a chair or sofa near a window. Natural daylight is most underrated.
- Remove clutter. Clutter is distracting. Always. Magazines and odds and ends can get tossed into wicker baskets which look great in any space.
- Comfort. A large, soft over-sized chair or couch with throw blankets and pillows adds a comfortable and relaxing touch. Comfort is key – without it we cannot truly relax.
- Refreshments. A pitcher of lemonade or ice water by your side. A glass of wine. A cup of coffee or tea. Do you have room for a coffee maker or even a small refrigerator?
- Framed pictures of loved ones. I don’t think it is possible to have too many pictures in silver frames.
- An inspiration board. Create your own inspiration board. Fill it with the things you long to do and places you long to see.
- Room for your interests. Do you play guitar, draw, paint, knit or write? This space should accommodate your hobbies.
- A jar filled with your favorite pencils and pens. One glance and you are renewed and revived.
- A pile of notebooks to jot down thoughts and ideas. I always have pens and notebooks nearby.
There are no set rules in creating your own sanctuary – only that you create an oasis where you can completely allow yourself to unwind. We owe it to ourselves, don’t you think?”