One of my most favorite expressions in the world is "Home is where the heart is". It just brings a smile to my heart because of its truth. Where the heart is, is where you feel at home. Recently after my move, I really got to thinking about my many rituals that I do to turn my new living space into my own. A lot of people struggle with this, but for me it comes very naturally. I can remember my very first move into my college dorm. I lit my favorite incense ( why incense I don't know, lol ) and I played some of my favorite music, padded my bed with beautiful pillows and I just remember at that moment, the feeling of fear was gone and I felt this peace of home.
Ever since that time, when I moved to a new place, I would implement the same rituals (but lost the incense and used candles). Over the years, and countless moves, I've added a lot to my routine. I've incorporated some Feng Shui principles and just put my own spin on them. Now, I feel I really have this whole thing down. With my design clients, I find sometimes that they have been living in the same place for months or even years and still don't have that "home" feeling. So, I put together a list of 21 things to do to help enhance your space and make it your own...how to add a little bit of heart and spirit to your space...how to make your home your own...to create a space that ultimately makes you happy!
1. Do a domestic detox. First thing is first, if you think your home is in need of a deep cleansing, check out my 30 days to domestic bliss challenge & kill that. This detox is all about your home sweet home and feelings of happiness. I want you to take a good 20 minutes and walk around your entire home and look at everything. Try to really take inventory of what is in each room. Everything should make you feel good, if you stumble across something that gives you a "yuck" or "ugh" reaction, then you've got to get rid of it, asap. You want everything in your home to give you good feelings, bring up good memories and just make you feel at peace. However, let's not get too crazy. You want to really try to get your mind working with your home, not against it. So, let's say for example your husband has a really bad taste in art and/or you hate his fishing rod display...ask yourself where that is coming from. If you truly can't stand that art or display, try to see it as a symbol of your accomplishment of 20 years of marriage and let that bring warmth to your heart. I think you get the idea...
2. Create your soul space. You always want a special space in your home that you can come to and get away. Even in the small apartments I have had in NYC, I've had my soul zone, usually a special chair with a favorite pillow where I mellow out, meditate, pray and clear my head. Some people take an entire room. When I was little, I remember my dad turned our garage into his man cave with a 90" screen + projector for movies, large lounger sofa and speakers to play really loud music. He would come out of that room a different person. Everyone needs that space. Create your own soul space. Take some time out to daydream in this space, visualize your wildest dreams while sitting in your special space. Blending your mind power with your home power is HUGE in Feng Shui.
3. Positive affirmations. I have written about this before, It's important to choose artwork and accessories that inspire you. I encourage you to hang a piece of artwork with a message that inspires you with your favorite positive affirmations. Pillows often have encouraging words too. Whichever you prefer. One thing to note: I've seen this a lot on the internet, but don't overdo the typography art prints. You can kill the energy and effect they have by having too many phrases around you as it may over stimulate your mind. Try choosing one or two that REALLY speak to you and so when you see them they are special and you can bring your mind back to that affirmation and thought.
4. Design your life-case. People are always talking about designing their dream life and yet, they don't really know how. Sometimes people make vision boards, create a goal list, but in Feng Shui, a lot of importance is placed around your bookcase. These days most people read books on their Kindle or their phone, but if you are like me then you love to read and look at real books. What does your collection say about you? Do you avoid your bookcase? That may mean you have negative feelings toward reading and finishing your books. Perhaps there are some books that make you feel not good enough or maybe there are books you are embarrassed by. Maybe you have books that you would ideally like to read, they make you feel smarter just by having them displayed, but you probably will never read them. That is a symbol of you trying to be someone or something you are not. Get rid of that energy, cultivate a bookcase/collection of books filled with ones that nourish you and are a true representation of who you are at your core. You want your bookcase to display and nourish your truest self. This will make you feel more free and ultimately happier.
5. Fill up your fridge. I get that we are busy these days, many New Yorkers eat out every meal. That's just how it goes, but I can't express enough how important it is to fill your home with nourishing food for your body. I'm not suggesting to deck out your fridge just to let things go bad. I just want you to outfit your kitchen according to your lifestyle, with enough to nourish yourself so you aren't tempted to get out all the time. You want to be able to enjoy your kitchen and allow it nourish you. I like to always have a few fresh fruits on hand, ginger tea and mint tea, a Brita water pitcher filled with water + chia seeds, baby spinach, mixed nuts, greek yogurt, daily vitamins, pita chips and hummus, carrots, garbanzo beans and various mustards. I always have a bottle of wine on hand. This is just a simple mix of things that allow me to throw together a meal easily if I'm hungry or make something nice for a surprise guest.
6. Try a seashell collection. Seashells, coral, sea urchins, etc. are excellent reminders of the ocean, one of major life giving forces on the planet. When you are at the beach or even just looking at the ocean from a far, there is something magical about it. If that experience is one that makes you happy, bring in a shell or collection. I love clam shells, they make such glam decor.
7. Open all bills or unopened mail. Having stacks or even just a few of these can and will hold you back even you if think you will tend to these things later. Unopened mail is like a depleting energy force. You are avoiding necessary assignments from the universe. Sometimes this can create an subconscious anxiety inside of you, you may not realize just what that is. So, if you feel like something isn't right, have an unexplainable headache, are stuck creatively or just don't feel "at home" in your space...go open your mail.
8. Take a healing salt bath. Salt is one of the most cleansing elements. If you've ever been in the ocean, you know the feeling when you get out, its a rejuvenating experience and oh so cleansing. Much like spas have salt baths for stress relief, you can create this same experience in your home. Draw a warm bath and put about 1 pound of sea salt. I like to add a few drops of lavender oil too. Trader joe's has an incredible lavender salt scrub which also will work if you have one in your area. Soak in the bath and cover your entire body for at least 5 minutes. Take a few deep breaths and try to conjure feelings of gratitude for the process. You will feel so different when you get out of that bath ( or steamy shower if you don't have a bath ).
9. Light a candle. I light candles all the time. It's good to symbolically light candles for each activity in the home as a way to encourage and appreciate it. For example, when you take a bath light a special candle in the bathroom, when you sit and enjoy a good book light a calming fragrance in the room, etc. Light a few when you have guests coming over. It makes each activity that much more special and you will find that you will appreciate and relish in these moments that much more. Note: If you feel any negative energy or just want to clear out the vibes of the space burn a candle or incense in Sandalwood.
10. Bring in some mirrors. Mirrors are one of the best pieces of decor to use to enhance your home. The thing to remember about mirrors is that they double and magnify whatever is in front of it. For decades, decorators have used mirrors to magnify natural light and add room to a space. It goes the same for anything else, if you have flowers or a plant in front of a mirror that life energy is enhanced, if you place clutter in front of a mirror that will be enhanced. So, whatever you want more of in your life, place a mirror in front of it to enhance more of it and bring more to you!
11. Upgrade your art. I don't mean spend more money on art, I mean make better selections. The two most important places for the right artwork are across from your front entrance (what you see when you first walk in the front door) and the artwork hanging across from your bed. These two spaces for art will impact you more than any other art. You will want to choose something that makes you uplifted, happy, confident. Choose something that has beautiful colors that you love, imagery that inspires you and leads you to dream abundantly. As much as I love skulls, you will want to stay away from anything that is negative or life sucking in these 2 areas. Treat yourself to your favorite prints for these spaces.
12. Fresh flowers and plants. Getting into the habit of having fresh flowers in the home is a symbol that you are giving energy and love to your space. This is pretty self explanatory but I must mention it because often times it can get overlooked. If you don't have the patience to care for fresh flowers, bring in some succulents. They are just as stylish and super easy to take care of.
13. Framed photos. I don't really love framed photos all over the house, it can get a little obnoxious in my opinion, but a few carefully curated framed photos of family and friends can be fantastic positive energy for the space. Only have photos that uplift you and make you smile. Any photos of yourself when you weren't looking your best, put them in an album. Photos of friends who you have had to part way for one reason or another, album them too. I even like to frame magazine tears that I love or momentos of super awesome occasions...anything that makes you happy.
14. Host a dinner party. Even if you aren't a cook or feel that domestic. It can be as easy as ordering pizza. When you invite over family and friends and host them for a meal, there is something very special about it. It connects you to your space and adds an energy of family, friendships, connection, love and relationships. This is one of the fastest ways to get that "home" feeling when you have just moved in or just redecorated.
15. Invest in a headboard. Headboards are a symbol of strength and support and offer protection and grounding to your sleep. Your bed will be stable, it will look finished and you won't find yourself resting on the walls. You don't have to spend a fortune, but you do want to get something that pulls your decor together. You can find affordable ones at Target & HomeGoods. You can also scour Craigslist and see what they have. It makes the whole room feel more pulled together and the room where you sleep is your sanctuary, treat it right!
16. Buy good towels. There is nothing like getting out of the shower or bath and slipping into a big, fluffy towel. It makes you feel like you are at a spa. I see so many people skimp out and buy frumpy towels to save money. This is not my suggestion. While you are at it, get yourself a matching robe too. Those two things will make your master bath feel like a spa and have you looking forward to your nightly bath or morning shower with enthusiasm.
17. Play music. If you aren't fortunate enough to have a Sonos system in your home, get yourself a speaker that plays music from your phone or ipad and put in your bathroom and kitchen. I have a UEBOOM and I am obsessed. I can bring it with me wherever I go and play my favorite music. There is something about music that sets the mood, I need music when I wake up and get ready or even when I am cleaning the house. It helps enhance your daily routine.
18. Get a pet. One of the fastest ways to inject love into any situation is to get a pet. Whether its a dog, cat, bird, fish, etc doesn't matter. They bring such joy to any home.
19. Put down a welcome mat. I love seeing welcome mats with personality sitting at the front door of someones home. It's almost like a cool invitation or greeting card and enhances the entry experience.
20. Dress your front door. Give your home entry a new look and jazz it up. Even in some of the apartment buildings I've lived in, I have seen people adorn their front door. It ups the energy that come out of that space. Just like a welcome mat, it makes the entry a bit more enjoyable and lets people know that you want nothing but good vibes coming in and out of your home. Try painting it Tiffany blue or high gloss black, whatever fits your style. If you can't paint, add a bow, wreath or new knocker to it. Why not spruce it up with a plant or two? Give it some good loving.
21. Create a view. Weather you can just open your window to a gorgeous garden or you have to hang up an oversized picture of an oceanic scene, you want to create a visual getaway in your home. I can remember my first apartment in Beverly Hills, I had this small terrace surrounded by palms and other greenery. You couldn't even see the street there was so much greenery. I would step out and enjoy my coffee in the mornings and just gaze at the gorgeous view of the sunlight glistening on the jungle of leaves. It really was magical and just what I needed to rejuvenate my soul. When I moved to NYC, I always had at least one scenic piece of artwork to bring my back to that serene place. Whatever is your serene place, hang a picture in a special place where you can see it everyday.
Try these and let me know how it goes. Leave your favorite one in the comments below and how you plan to fill your home with heart + happiness.