How to Make Your Home a Soothing Sanctuary

Give your home some TLC and it will love you back…

Your home may never be a castle, but it can definitely be a haven–your own private refuge (at least after the kids are asleep) from the mayhem outside.

Creating a stress-free and soothing home environment can mean hiring a contractor to install serious soundproofing or a spa-worthy steam shower–pricey upgrades that are likely to add property value. But just as often, it’s about simple things you can do without laying out a cent.

Ready to boost your home’s relaxation quotient? Here are some easy ways to do it:

Clear the Decks
Clear open surfaces of extraneous stuff, clean out closets and generally straighten up. This kind of orderliness really helps people feel more energetic and cheerful.

Muffle Irritating Noises
If you’re serious about blocking out noise–such as traffic noise–you can soundproof walls and ceilings by doubling up on drywall and caulking gaps where sound enters.

Carpets, drapes, and other soft materials help absorb sound. For walls, a quick, cheap, sound-muffling solution is Homasote, a recycled cardboard material that costs about $25 for a 4-by-8-ft. sheet. It doubles as a pinboard, making it especially suited for children’s rooms and home offices and takes paint like a dream.

Soak Out the Stress
A prefab steam shower can run you $5,000 or more, but there are less pricey ways to take your bathroom in a spa-like direction. If your existing tub isn’t deep enough, a 30-inch-deep soaking tub starts at around $500 (plus installation, of course). Don’t forget the bath salts.

Color Yourself Calm
Blue is considered a restful paint color, which is why decorators often choose it for bedrooms. Followers of the Chinese art of feng shui believe pink calms a room, while green–because it symbolizes nature–is serene and refreshing. As luck would have it, emerald is the color for 2013.

Light it Right
Overhead lighting can be glary and unflattering, whereas light at lower levels creates warmth and intimacy. Balance an overhead fixture with wall sconces and table lamps–and be sure to put that ceiling fixture on a dimmer, especially over a dining table.

Flickering Flames
Sitting by a crackling fire has nurtured souls from time immemorial. If you’re lucky enough to have a fireplace, use it to create relaxing ambience.

No fireplace? Make the most of candlelight for a mid-winter mood boost. Plain, long-burning candles from the supermarket are so inexpensive ($7 for a box of 72), you’ll feel free to use them in abundance. Also, during the December holidays, some cable stations offer a “Yule Log” station which features burning logs while playing holiday music…very soothing.

Flower Power
Freshly cut flowers provide measurable uplift. Chrysanthemums last the longest; they can go up to three weeks in a vase, with alstroemeria, roses and lilies a close second.

This article is being presented by the (Name of the Board of REALTORS).  And remember, when you are looking to buy or sell a home contact a REALTOR professional today.