Make a tranquil space in a time of turmoil

By: Sarah Wojcik | Shelby - Utica News | Published February 8, 2017

 Plants and soft window treatments can help make a room into a hideout from stress.

Plants and soft window treatments can help make a room into a hideout from stress.

Shutterstock image

METRO DETROIT — With a slew of cloudy, rainy weather and a rise in political tensions, some may want to seek a sanctuary or escape from the real-world challenges that persist daily.

A local home stager and an interior decorator offered some tips that readers can implement in their homes to help carve out some peaceful, quiet moments for themselves.

Corie Conroy, president of First Impression Home Staging in Bloomfield Township, suggested outfitting a space with comfortable furniture and eliminating electronics, including TVs, computers and phones.

“I think it’s really a good idea to take time to sit in a room toward the end of the day and reflect on the day and just find some peace and quiet without all those sounds that go off during the day,” Conroy said.

She advised adding low lighting; calming and soothing colors, such as soft greens, blues and grays; and soft window treatments, such as silk or a soft fabric, to add a bit of warmth to a room.

Incorporating plants, photos of loved ones and gentle music also lends to a stress-free state of mind, she said.

“Have as much natural light as possible,” she said. “I think different people have different thoughts on what it is to escape.”

While some people might enjoy woodworking, crafting or yoga, others might simply enjoy reading, drinking a cup of coffee or thinking.

“One thing that causes a lot of stress, and people don’t even realize it, is if they have a lot of clutter,” Conroy said. “Clutter produces physical, unconscious chaos. Take 20 minutes to put everything away. Organize and make sure a room doesn’t have clutter in it.”

Figuring out a system of where to put things, especially papers and mail on the dining room counter, helps to create a calmer home, she said.

Denyse Tzavellas, president of Denyse & Co. Interior Design Center in Grosse Pointe Woods, said homeowners don’t need to redo a big room to find relaxation; simple changes to a single spot can do the trick.

“If you have a guest bedroom or a den or even a large closet, you can put a comfy chair in there and just kind of hide out,” Tzavellas said. “Surround yourself with colors that relax you, soft colors like sages, silver blues and off-whites.”

She recommended sitting by a window or fireplace and adding a lamp and a few candles with calming scents, such as lavender, jasmine or even cinnamon, to create a one-person retreat. Soft music, a plush rug, a throw blanket or pillows can also instill a sense of tranquility.

“I suggest not doing trendy,” she said. “Just keep it simple and clean — no clutter, because that just makes you nervous.”