My dream vacation is one where I can relax and enjoy elegant surroundings, be pampered (just a little!) and feel indulgently luxurious. And I often dream of how to create a comfortable retreat in my own home. A home where I would sigh with contentment as soon as I walk in the front door.
The realities of laundry and dishes and pets and family makes the idea of creating a beautiful haven seem a little out of reach. When I compare the “life” going on inside our home with the pristine beauty of my vision, that dream of mine feels like it’s constantly slipping a little further out of reach.
But over the years I’ve come to realize that it isn’t some picture perfect home, with always tidy rooms and perfectly curated furnishings, that I’m really longing for. The truth is, those things were just the pretty paper in which my perfect vacation was wrapped.
The real gift of feeling pampered and relaxed has a lot more to do with the way you feel than with the decor that surrounds you.
A place that is warm and welcoming, that surrounds you with things that you love, and allows you to relax – is the essential goal of every vacation destination you visit, and you can create this in your home as well.
Focusing on these key areas can help you create a comfortable retreat – at least on a small scale – that wraps you in comfort and treats you to the little indulgences and treats that make life special.
1. Make It Calm and Relaxing
A universal theme of bed and breakfasts and fine hotels is that sense of calm that envelopes you when you enter. And a large part of this feeling is the absence of clutter that so quickly accumulates in a busy home. Coming up with routines that minimize the mess in your house and keep your home looking quiet and organized will go a long way in giving you the feeling of an indulgent “escape”.
A quick de-clutter strategy is to make your way through the room with a basket or box, putting everything extra in that box. Then, get rid of the things you’ve collected in one of three ways: trash it, give it away, or put it in its designated place.
The most important point about keeping your home clutter free and calm is that it’s a process, not a destination. If you’ve gone thru a hectic period in your life and feel overwhelmed by stuff and chaos – don’t give in to feelings of failure, just realize that whenever you can make time to straighten it back out, your reward will be finding that sanctuary of peace in your home once again.
Remember – kid-friendly and calm don’t have to be polar opposites. Children can be both messy and neat; just as they can be noisy and quiet, at the appropriate times. The ability to unwind and calm down is important to children and adults alike.
2. Delight the Senses
What sights, sounds, and scents do you associate with some of your favorite places? Do you imagine hearing the soft ticking and the hourly chime of a grandfather clock? Or the delicious aroma of cookies baking in the oven? Were there freshly picked flowers in every room, or beautiful potted plants in the corner of the rooms?
Don’t underestimate the effect of little things on your senses. If the smell of your favorite soap invigorates you, unwrap several bars and place them in a decorative dish in your bathroom. Hang wind chimes on your porch, and outside your bedroom window, and enjoy the soft sound in every gentle breeze. Make a habit of picking a few roses (or zinnias, or camellias, or crepe myrtle branches – whatever is blooming in your yard) to put in a vase on your bedside table.
3. Flow With The Seasons
Stock your home with seasonal touches that make entertaining (and everyday living) a breeze.
Break out those fall wreaths and scarecrows; put a bowl of mini pumpkins on the table and get your fall on!
Keep some ingredients for cozy winter meals on hand, along with popcorn and cocoa for cool nights when you want to snuggle by the fire. A bowl of apples in the fall and oranges in winter are festive looking and encourage healthy snacking. In fact, winter is the perfect time for all sorts of warm fruit cobblers and pies.
Where we live, there are plenty of warm days right through the winter, so we keep the porch swept and chairs out so that we can spend time outdoors as often as the weather permits. Even when we bring pot plants in for the winter, containers and beds with pansies keep things looking cheerful outdoors.
Add soft blankets and throws to your living room décor, and place an additional throw across the bed. Bring home winter staples for the pantry including spiced tea, hot chocolate, and flavored creamer for coffee. Keep some basic baking staples on hand. Stock the freezer with casseroles, stews and chilis that can be popped in the oven (or microwave) for easy dinner options.
4. Create a Spa-like Bathroom
Place a small vase of fresh flowers and / or a candle in the bathroom. Hang small towels to use for hand-drying, and place extra unwrapped soaps in a decorative container (they will look pretty, be easy to reach, and have a nice scent as well). You can also add a hook to the back of your bathroom door to hang a plush bathrobe.
Use pretty containers (repurpose empty jars, decorative containers, or even vases or wine bottles) to hold bath salts and gels. Use a basket to towels in neat rolls, or hang a rack on the wall and place rolled up towels in it as a decorative accent.
5. Look at Your Home with Fresh Eyes
When you are looking for ways to tweak your home’s décor or freshen it up for a new season, walk around the house as though you were a first time visitor, and try to notice things you might overlook on a regular day.
Are the baseboards clean? Is there gunk on the shower door jamb? An inexpensive magic eraser will do wonders for both these things. The tub and shower can be cleaned a number of ways (one method is to use dish-wash powder – be sure to wear gloves!) Is your stove top clean? Using a damp cloth, scrub it gently with baking powder to remove most of the stains. Do you need to dust your windowsills, shelves, lampshades or picture frames? Are the entry rugs pretty, or do they need to be updated?
Take the time to look at each room as though you were seeing it for the first time, and clean up the areas that need attention. You might be surprised at how restful and welcoming your own home feels when you are through!
Reasons to Make Every Day Special
If you’ve always wished your home were more like those fabulous get away weekends you never get to take, you owe it to yourself to create a relaxing retreat right in your own home.
It doesn’t need to be perfect place to feel relaxing. It just needs to comfort you, inspire you, and offer you a sense of security and calm.
Create that place – for yourself and for your family – because when it comes right down to it, your home is where the magic happens, every single day.
One Final Suggestion
No matter how comfortable our homes are, there are times when we just want to escape the stress, the routine, and the ordinary in our day-to-day lives. If you’re ready to take planning to the next level, request your free Get Away Weekend 5-Day Planner and get inspiration and ideas delivered straight to your inbox.