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Your hangout hut. Your chill pad. Your … love shack? Okay, maybe that’s taking things a little too far, but you get the idea; your home should be more than just four walls and a roof over your head. While that doesn’t mean you need to give it a cheesy name, it should still be a reflection of your personality.
A 2018 report by IKEA found that 35% of people feel more “at home” outside of their own homes. If you can’t feel like yourself in your own home, it’s probably a sign you need to switch things up and make your living space feel more like you.
Think about what your home really needs to be a reflection of who you are. It starts with making sure it’s clean and safe, of course. Then, the sky is really the limit when it comes to splashing your personality into every room. So, whether you haven’t redecorated for a while and you still have that Pulp Fiction poster from 1995 hanging in your living room (not that we’re judging), or you’ve just never taken the time to truly make your home into a place that feels like you, there’s no time like the present.
Let’s go over a few tips you can use to make your “fortress of solitude” feel more like a place you want to spend your time. Tip number one? Leave the kryptonite at the doorstep.
A Home That Grows Up With You
Sometimes, one of the issues people face is that they just haven’t redecorated or remodeled in a long time. Tastes change. Trends come and go. While the fashion industry suggests that trends cycle every 20 years, that doesn’t mean you should wait that long to switch things up in your home.
If your own personal tastes and sense of style have changed over the years, make sure your space changes with it. When your home has an aesthetic that makes you feel peaceful, calm, and comfortable, you’re more likely to want to spend your time there.
An easy, inexpensive, and quick way to completely change the aesthetic of your home is to paint different rooms. It might not be enough to just go with your favorite colors (especially for those of you who are partial to neon yellow). Instead, choose colors that reflect the kind of atmosphere you want in a particular room. Interior colors can have a large impact on your mood. Look at a few of these common colors and how they can evoke certain feelings and moods:
- Blue – calm, relaxed, centered, serene
- Yellow – happy, energized
- White – clean, open, spacious
- Green – reduces anxiety, restorative, restful
- Pink – calming, reduces anger and aggression
Color coordination is just as important. Using warm colors in your room like yellows, purples and reds can reflect passion and happiness. Using cooler colors like green and blue can help you to feel calm and focused. When you consider color coordination, you can pick out furniture and decor to work with the wall colors in specific rooms, and use it to your advantage. For example, using greens in your home office can help you to feel more productive while having yellows and whites in your kitchen can make it a welcoming, happy, and open space.
Does Your Home Smell Like Home?
Did you know that your sense of smell is linked to emotions and memories? The olfactory receptors are directly connected to the limbic system in the brain, which is typically thought to be where emotions occur. So, if your home doesn’t smell right to you, it could be the reason why you’re not comfortable there.
We’re not talking about that pizza box that has been in the garbage for three days (you should probably take that out, by the way). It could be something like a stuffy room, or certain air fresheners or cleaning supplies you’re using that makes your home’s smell off-putting to you. Maybe the smell just isn’t as inviting as you want it to be.
So, what can you do to switch up the scents?
First, make sure your home is clean. This might seem like a no-brainer, but it’s easy to let things go from time-to-time, and having pride in the cleanliness of your home is a great way to appreciate it more, and feel more comfortable. Clear the clutter, keep things tidy, and take preventative measures to keep out pests and bugs, including cleaning up trash and any exposed food.
Next, find which scents work for you. For example, if you want a more calming, peaceful bedroom, you can start by painting it one of the colors we talked about earlier. But, the smell can have a big impact on how relaxed you feel. Again, decluttering can help it to smell better and feel cleaner, but using something like an oil diffuser or even a fan can help to make it feel less stuffy and smell more inviting. Aromatherapy can actually have a big impact on how well you sleep. Some of the best oils for sleeping are:
Putting a few drops of those oils into a diffuser each night can whisk you off to dreamland right away.
Scent can also impact your productivity. So, while you may not want to have jasmine in the air around your workspace, sweet-smelling scents can help to relax you and make you feel more alert. Even if you don’t want an air freshener in your office, opening the window to let in the breeze can make a difference in your productivity.
Getting Smart About Your Space
Maybe we don’t yet have the technology for your home to make you hot pancakes and bacon in the morning, but there are a lot of “smart” features you could be using to make your home life more comfortable. Smart home systems have become increasingly popular for good reason.
Amazon’s Alexa can do everything from telling you the weather to recording your favorite television shows to making a grocery list. Google assistant can make and take calls. The Apple HomeKit allows you to adjust your thermostat, turn on lights and appliances, lock doors, and basically control every aspect of your home from your phone. Simply put, these smart home solutions can make you feel like James Bond.
You can even get smarter in your bathroom with trends like high-tech toilets, heated tile floors, and smart showers that can preheat the water to your perfect temperature at a certain time each day. Here’s your martini — shaken, not stirred.
There are so many ways you can make your home cooler — just like you. All it takes is a little innovation, a little creativity, and a willingness to showcase your personality. When you put in the effort, you can easily start to feel more comfortable in your own living space, and actually want to spend more time there as the king or queen of your castle.
Indiana Lee is a writer and journalist from the Pacific Northwest with a passion for covering workplace issues, social justice, environmental protection, and more. In her off time you can find her in the mountains with her two dogs. You can follow her work on Contently, or reach her at [email protected] or on Twitter @indianalee3