But if your house isn't the sanctuary you need it to be, here are five tips to help you create that calming atmosphere, without breaking your bank:
Place a small fountain near where you spend a lot of time — perhaps at your computer desk, or in your living room — and let the sound of moving water soothe you.
You can also make a fountain yourself with a small water pump (often found in aquarium stores and pond suppliers, for less than $10), rocks from your garden, and a bowl. Some of the best fountains are the ones that are homemade.
Bring living plants into the house that not only add beauty to the surroundings, but that also bring in healthful oxygen and purify the air.
Plants can take in stuffy air filled with carbon dioxide and pollutants and turn it into healthful oxygen. Through a process of metabolic breakdown, the leaves of certain plants absorb harmful organic chemicals and destroy them. Spider plants excel at this feat. Even formaldehyde, a highly toxic substance, can be metabolized and converted into harmless substances by the humble little spider plant.
The most important rooms or areas to start with when using plants are those places where you spend the most time. Your bedroom, where you spend many hours sleeping, and your workspace are two places to start. In your bedroom, place a healthy plant on each side of your bed, on bedside tables. Next, place plants near where you work. For example, put plants right next to your computer if you use the computer a lot. For all of the other rooms in the house, like the living room, or kitchen, place two or three plants in the corners, depending upon the size of the room.
The best air-purifying plants are the following: areca palm, red palm, Boston fern, Australian sword fern, rubber plant, weeping fig, bamboo palm, Chinese evergreen, English ivy, gerbera daisy, mass cane/corn plant, pot mum, peace lily, and spider plants. They range from $5.00 for a small spider plant or English ivy starter, up to $80 for a large red palm. Some of these can be picked up at your local nursery and others can be ordered on line.
Introduce beautiful scents and aromas into your home. These can come from natural sources like sprigs of evergreen trees, cinnamon brooms, scented flowers, or herbal essences. Different plants and herbs produce different beneficial results. For example, lavender is an excellent stress reliever, spearmint can help bring greater mental clarity, and anise has been known to help to relieve menstrual cramps.
You can prepare a bath with herbs, as well to get a direct infusion of their healing and aromatic properties to your body.
For a quick way to bring a hearth-like and warm homey aroma into your home, try this: Sprinkle 1 teaspoon of cinnamon, and a 1/2 teaspoon of vanilla into a pan filled with 2 inches of water and heat on the stove until steam rises from the mixture and permeates your home.
Arrange natural objects that in locations throughout the house.
For example, place beautiful shells around the sink or on top of a cabinet in the bathroom, or smooth stones on your desk. The best part about using natural objects to beautify your home is that not only are they free, but also they help you create a unique and relaxing setting to come home to at the end of a hard day.
Play natural sounds like bird songs, crickets, rain falling softly, or flowing rivers. These natural sounds can immediately relax you and even make you feel more inspired.
One of our favorite providers of real nature sounds is www.naturesounds.ca. Be careful not to purchase artificial nature sounds. These claim to be natural sounds (like surf breaking, rain falling, etc), but are noises that are actually mechanically created in a studio... and they're just not the same.
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