Thoughts on creating a serene environment
BY JON FORTUNA
The 21st century world can be overwhelming, chaotic, and full of stress. From the daily commute, to nonstop social media, texts, and emails, to the inundation of 24 hour news cycles, it seems as if people have less and less serenity in their daily lives. As an Interior Designer, I feel one of the most important things that I can assist a client with is creating a serene environment in their homes. I feel that the creation of a place where the eye and mind can decompress is actually one of the most important things that can be accomplished in any space. There are several tried and true ways to creating that serenity, whether you choose to work with a designer or not. (But please do, it’s a fun experience, I promise!)
Take a moment, relax, decompress, and read a bit of how you can bring a bit of serenity into your home. The photos attached are various design projects of my own which I feel illustrate the points you are about to read… I hope you enjoy them, and as always comments and thoughts would be most welcome!
Use the two color, one neutral rule…
One of the fastest ways to establish serenity in a space is to employ a scheme of two related colors plus one neutral, for example blue and green plus white, or blush pink and peach plus cream.. If you look through the photos attached to this blog entry, each one uses this particular rule. Sometimes one of the colors is the dominant player in the design scheme, sometimes the neutral is dominant with the actual colors in the room being delicate accents.
Keep it simple…
Very often I will do window treatments that match the background color of the room. This causes the eye to read the whole wall plane as a single, unified element, and draws attention to the view outside. Serenity is often achieved by what is left out rather than what is included. One of the constant discussions in my house is leaving enough space on the wall for the eye to rest. If the eye rests, so does the mind. Every wall doesn’t need to have something amazing hanging on it, every bed doesn’t need 92 pillows to appear finished, each tabletop doesn’t require its own collection. Sometimes, just the sculptural lines of a piece are enough, and sometimes one piece of art or a standout sculpture or mirror is all that is needed for a room to feel complete.
Don’t rely on sight alone…
A serene environment also depends on sound, scent, and texture in addition to sight. Think of a room in a Five Star hotel, the linens are crisp and cool to the touch, the down pillows envelop you in a puffy cloud of luxury, the wood feels slick and clean, the robes are plush and accommodating, and the rooms never smell of cleaning product. Most often, the rooms have a soft, sweet smell that often is a subtle variation on a “signature” scent found elsewhere in the hotel. We expect this when we travel, why don’t we do it on a daily basis. One thing that I do almost every night is add a few drops of lavender essential oils to a diffuser, so that before I retire for the evening the bedroom has a soft gentle scent that remind me of home… I am very cognizant of the density of pillows and admit that I do sleep with 3 pillows on each side of the bed, a dense pillow for sitting up and reading, a soft pillow for general sleep, and an extra soft pillow to rest under my neck… that to me allows me a level of luxury which is relaxing and puts me in a calm space which allows me to sleep more comfortably. do you pay attention to these details regularly or do you only notice them when travelling?
Take a few minutes and reflect on what you can do to promote a sense of serenity in your home. Please remember I’m always here to help!
“Peace is present right here and now, in ourselves and in everything we do and see. Every breath we take, every step we take, can be filled with peace, joy, and serenity. The question is whether or not we are in touch with it. We need only to be awake, alive in the present moment.” ― Thich Nhat Hanh, Peace Is Every Step: The Path of Mindfulness in Everyday Life