Mindfulness is a mental state of calm, acceptance, and awareness of the present moment. While the practice is rooted in Buddhist and Hindu principles, the origin of mindfulness in the United States can be traced back to Jon Kabat-Zinn, who founded the Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction (MBSR) program to treat those with chronic illness. Adopting what he learned from the Zen Missionary Phillip Kapleau, Kabat-Zinn’s program used the principles of mindfulness to encourage a hyper-awareness of the present moment. He was ultimately successful in extracting its guiding principles from its religious origins for scientific and mainstream use.
Today, mindfulness is a major part of the wellness culture that permeates modern society. With a greater focus in recent years, mental health is widely regarded as a necessary component to a happy life, and so the ideals of mindfulness have become a playbook for those looking to achieve their own state of calm. Reinforcing the principles of wellness starts with our own personal spaces, and there are easy ways to use home decor to inspire mindfulness in everyday life — especially by favoring uncluttered spaces and clean lines that offer less visual stimuli. Below are eleven home decor tips to help inspire mindfulness at home.
An important ideal of mindfulness is to make sure that each act—or in this case, each object—serves a purpose. While impulse buying may be tempting when redecorating, consider the reasons that a piece of home decor speaks to you before making a purchase. Buy new items sparingly: only when you have a specific need for them or when you’re certain they’ll contribute to your home in a positive way.
Decide if the piece, whether it’s a glass figurine or a silver candlestick, is something you truly want or need, and consider the function it would serve in your home. It can be practical, such as a vase that holds flowers or a unique light fixture to brighten up a corner of the house, or an object may simply offer a positive sentimental association. While both types of purposeful objects can cultivate a mindful space, be sure that your home is balanced in serving both your functional and emotional needs.
In order to properly meditate on your daily priorities, there should be a dedicated area in your home for just that purpose. Even if you are a meditation novice, a small area free of distractions can make a significant impact and help clear the mind.
A comfortable cushion or stool is recommended for meditation zones, as well as a focus object, or a place to anchor the senses to practice achieving a meditative state. Surround yourself with items that make you feel comfortable, both physically and mentally, in order to achieve a relaxed headspace. If you don’t want to create a dedicated room for meditating, consider ways you can make your environment more serene: try designating a nook for reading or display an inspirational quote to inspire creativity.
Familiarity is an important aspect of a mindful home, and Psychology Today reports that scent is one of the most powerful tools for recalling memories. Whether you are looking to call upon reflections of home or create your own, developing a signature scent for your home is a great way to get started.
Inspiration for your new signature scent should be derived from your favorite places, so test out a few candles, types of incense, or fragrances until you find the right one. Then utilize that aroma throughout your home, letting it add to the calming atmosphere you are cultivating. This will also help your brain associate the scent with feelings of home and safety. From there, you can consider bringing the scent with you when traveling or visiting unfamiliar places to help bring you back to your roots.
Just as you want each aspect of your life to be balanced, the rooms in your house should follow the same advice. To create a cohesive, harmonious experience at home, choose a color family or theme that speaks to you and reinforce that palette throughout your home, so that moving from room to room feels like a seamless and natural transition.
Focus on prominent decorative elements to reinforce the color family in your home, such as painting an accent wall or buying a rug in the same shade. An easy way to decide what color family you should choose is by thinking about your favorite place. If you love the forest, for example, consider lush greens and dark blues as your predominant colors. In contrast, those drawn to the city may consider more stimulating colors such as yellow, red, and orange to reflect the energy of the environment.
While lamps and other light fixtures serve as a good source of light, they are no match for natural light. Studies have shown that 6% of Americans suffer from Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD) and that another 14% suffer from a lighter form of seasonal mood changes known as “winter blues.” SAD can impact a person’s ability to concentrate, wake up, and perform daily tasks.
To ensure maximum exposure to sources of Vitamin D, like sunlight, consider switching to sheer panels or even removing curtains entirely to let in as much natural light as possible. Light therapy is also another option for those who live in colder climates or for those who don’t have many windows in their home. Installing natural light devices have been shown to improve the symptoms of 60–80% of SAD sufferers.
A mindful home sees beauty in everything, even a trash can or laundry bin. To ensure this cornerstone of mindfulness translates in your home, consider giving a makeover to items that are traditionally considered less appealing.
A large wicker basket with a lid and ribbon can turn a woebegone hamper into an item that blends seamlessly with your bedroom furniture. Consider decorative, oversized ceramic vessels as receptacles for a more aesthetically pleasing approach.
There is a reason that the KonMari method has caught on: decreased clutter leads to decreased stress. But you don’t have to throw away the entire contents of your home; there are easier ways to make sure your space sparks joy.
When looking for furniture, look for pieces with drawers, doors, or other hidden storage compartments. That way, you only have to display home decor that inspires tranquility while less aesthetically-pleasing necessities can remain out of eyesight (but still within arm’s reach).
Take a cue from Anne Sage of Sage Living and turn to design as an avenue of self-realization. Envision what you want your life to look like, and look for pieces that reflect those ideas so you are constantly surrounded by inspiration.
Whether you’re dreaming of a tropical vacation or are just looking to take a more relaxed approach, incorporating artwork or design pieces that mirror your goals can help you manifest them into existence. Alternatively, if you are looking to become a more organized person, start by tidying up your home and let that structure radiate into the other aspects of your life.
Although it’s the very first thing you see in your home, entryways are often not given the consideration they deserve. Not only does an entryway set the tone for your house, it also offers a first impression when your guests arrive.
It’s important to design with function in mind in the entryway, meaning that minimalism is key. The entryway should be free of clutter with easy access to places to store shoes, coats, and bags. This will provide a sense of peace for anyone who enters, allowing them to come into your home refreshed and ready to be in the moment.
Mindfulness is about anchoring the mind, and visually anchoring the decor in your home can offer a perfect complement to this tenet of wellness. Rugs can anchor the design of a room, adding warmth and focus that can easily be layered upon. Rugs are also helpful grounding tools, as the natural texture against your bare feet (also known as earthing) has been proven to help regulate sleep patterns.
Invest in natural fiber rugs for your home’s high-traffic areas. Look for rugs with muted patterns and colors so that they complement, rather than clash with, the rest of your home decor.
Shoji screens, or Japanese translucent folding screens, are a staple of a mindful home as they help to separate larger spaces and distract from spaces that aren’t aesthetically pleasing. They can help tie together unused spaces and provide a barrier from items that are functional, but not necessarily alluring.
Consider placing a Shoji screen in front of appliances, trash cans, or use one as a privacy divider. Their wooden frames and white interior easily align with many decor styles, so you won’t have to worry about the screen clashing with the rest of your home.
By following these ideals, collectors can set themselves up for a peaceful environment that fosters inward reflection, creativity, and relaxation, but the appealing thing about mindfulness is that it is unique to each person. These ideals are meant to inspire discovery of what mindfulness means to each individual, and to use decor as a way of reinforcing its principles at home.