Well-Being//

11 Simple Ways to Make Your Home a Stress-Free Sanctuary

It’s a lot easier than you think.

Wachirawut Priamphimai / EyeEm / Getty Images
Wachirawut Priamphimai / EyeEm / Getty Images

You’ve likely heard about or been swept up in Marie Kondo mania in the wake of her hit Netflix show, Tidying Up With Marie Kondo. In it, she teaches people with cluttered, chaotic homes to tidy up their surroundings, which then decreases their stress and anxiety.

Whether you’re moving into a new place or thinking of making some changes to your current one, there are several simple ways to create the calming space you deserve. We asked members of the Thrive Global community to share how they make their home  — or even just a nook in it — a stress-free sanctuary.

Try the 5S method

“My favorite way declutter my home and workplace is using the 5S method: sort, store, shine, standard and sustain. I actually combine it with the Marie Kondo method. Not only is it a simple, visual method that you can share with family, it’s a culture that keeps your life focused and stress-free.”

Luciana Paulise, agile quality coach, Beaumont, TX

Strip a room to its simplest form

“I like stripping down a room to its simplest form: a comfortable piece of furniture, lighting that suits what you’ll be doing, a single stem of something beautiful — like a casablanca lily or a trailing ivy plant — and as little personalized clutter as possible to keep the energy moving freely. I use the same elements of beauty in every room I design. Color magic is first, as each color has its own influence: orange is for courage, blue is for healing, green is for prosperity, and yellow is for communication. Diffusers with essential oils are a must: lavender or frankincense to calm, lime or grapefruit to inspire, bergamot or lemon to cleanse. ”

—Jo-Anna Silver-Sparta, Communications Connector, Berlin/Cannes/New York

Put things in their place

“I’m fortunate that my boyfriend and I both dislike clutter, so we make an effort to keep our space neat and tidy. The key for us has been this one simple rule: a place for everything and everything in its place. We do not allow things to pile up on counters or tables. When we new items enter our home, we decide where to put them immediately, and if there’s no logical area to do so, we purge and make space. Another simple trick: I vacuum our living room and bedroom every Friday. It gives the space a clean, fresh feeling leading into the weekend.”

—Rebecca, freelance writer/editor, Westlake, OH

Use soft pink light bulbs for a warm glow

“One of my tricks for creating a soothing environment at home is using soft pink light bulbs. It emits a softer, warmer glow, which we all need in the dark days of winter!”

—Cindy J., executive search and HR consultant, Boston, MA

Only keep what you like in view

“My home is also now my working studio space, and my working space must always be available. I only keep what I like in view. Fresh flowers are on my table and at least on one windowsill at all times.”

—Chanit Roston, painter, New York City, NY

Light candles and add soft blankets for a lounge-like feel

“When I make my sitting room/lounge a stress-free sanctuary, I feel more relaxed at night, and more organised in the morning because I have the right mindset for my work day. I take a few minutes when I get home to do some simple things which help me relax, leave work behind, and become my ‘at home’ self with my family or friends. Decide what your unique needs are. I like lighting scented candles around the house using beautiful, long matches, so that even the act of striking them is a part of the experience. Next, I tidy any items that have been dumped in my sanctuary (just into a ‘to do’ pile elsewhere for the owners of said items to deal with). I plump the sofa cushions and get out a pile of soft blankets for whoever likes to curl up, and put music on low volume. There’s also a bunch of great novels to read if the fancy takes me, and luxurious hand cream within reach. These simple things create an environment where I can relax and we can come together organically.”

—Melanie Yates, digital agency office manager, Brighton, UK

Let simplicity take center stage

“About 15 years ago, my husband and I remodeled a dilapidated Victorian house. Since Victorians are, by definition, full of details and are therefore somewhat visually cluttered, we chose to streamline our redecorating process as much as possible. We painted all the walls white, used only white shades for our light fixtures, and stuck to a palette of natural woods, black, grey, and pops of blue and navy. We limited patterns on rugs and upholstered furniture. This simplicity helps us feel calm, and appreciate the intricate molding and details of the house without feeling overwhelmed or burdened by them.”  

—Francesca Moroney, writer, Edwardsville, IL

Turn your bathroom into an at-home spa

“I treat my entire home like my sanctuary. I believe that if your space is a mess, it reflects your thoughts being a mess. With that in mind, I keep my home tidy and fill it only with the things I love (including many candles and pictures of fun memories with friends and family). I prioritize my sleeping habits, so I invested in high-quality bedding. When I’m well-rested, I function better in all aspects of my life. I turned my bathroom into an at-home spa experience, hanging fresh eucalyptus on the showerhead to bring out the scent with the hot water and steam. This is great for clearing your head and respiratory system. I also have a plethora of bath oils, ranging from lavender oil for relaxation to peppermint oil for energy. I retreat to my homemade spa frequently to indulge in some much-needed self-care.”

—Heather Reinhardt, self-love aficionado, Los Angeles, CA

Make your bedroom a cocoon

“My bedroom is the one room in my house that I always keep tidy so that it remains my sanctuary, and won’t cause me stress! I have never put a TV in my bedroom, although I sometimes watch something on my iPad (which is rare). My bedding is soft and comfortable, and feels like a cocoon. Lastly, I always have some good books on my nightstand — both fiction and non-fiction/business books — and I use a sage diffuser with a lavender scent to help me relax. When it’s time to go to bed or when I want to wind down, I know that I have a relaxing, stress-free space to rest, dream and sleep well.”

—Kathryn Djordjevic, pharmacist, Toronto, Canada

Bring a room to life with scent and flowers

“Here’s a simple, easy tip: I use lemongrass oil in an aromatherapy lamp to uplift the whole atmosphere of the space. Lemongrass helps to de-stress, relax, keep mosquitoes away, and is good for the respiratory system. I also like to keep fresh flowers in the room so that life becomes a focus and we require less of inanimate decorative items.”

—Dr. Rizvana Patel, Ayurvedic practitioner, Pune, India

Create a ‘Zen Zone’

“I’ve created a ‘Zen Zone’ in a spare bedroom with a small couch which serves as a guest bed when the need arises. It gives me a space to curl up and read a book (or take a nap) when I need to relax and recharge. I’ve used muted pastels and earth tones for décor. According to Feng Shui principles, this room is located in my ‘relationship’ corner, so I chose to feature pink as my accent color. In addition to candles and incense to ignite my senses, I’ve incorporated a Himalayan salt lamp to help keep the energy free and clear.”

—Mina Fies, Zen remodeler, Reston, VA

Follow us here and subscribe here for all the latest news on how you can keep Thriving.

Stay up to date or catch-up on all our podcasts with Arianna Huffington here.

The Thrive Global Community welcomes voices from many spheres. We publish pieces written by outside contributors with a wide range of opinions, which don’t necessarily reflect our own. Learn more or join us as a community member!
Share your comments below. Please read our commenting guidelines before posting. If you have a concern about a comment, report it here.

You might also like...

Community//

‘Tidying Up’ with Marie Kondo – My Top 7 Takeaways!

by Linda Davies Carr
Denise Crew/Netflix
Well-Being//

4 Things We Learned About Reducing Stress from Marie Kondo’s New Netflix Series

by Elizabeth Yuko
Mondadori Portfolio / Contributor
Wisdom//

Marie Kondo: a Psychologist Assesses the KonMari Method of Tidying

by The Conversation

Sign up for the Thrive Global newsletter

Will be used in accordance with our privacy policy.

Thrive Global
People look for retreats for themselves, in the country, by the coast, or in the hills . . . There is nowhere that a person can find a more peaceful and trouble-free retreat than in his own mind. . . . So constantly give yourself this retreat, and renew yourself.

- MARCUS AURELIUS

We use cookies on our site to give you the best experience possible. By continuing to browse the site, you agree to this use. For more information on how we use cookies, see our Privacy Policy.