It’s important for our homes to be a physical and mental refuge from today’s unrelenting world.  The place where we gather defines our mood. Our personal space should enrich our life, not make it more stressful.  Here are 5 ways to return home at the end of a long day to a peaceful house.

Start with the entrance and front door.  Paint your door a soothing color like eggplant or chocolate brown.  Plant an assortment of pots of flowers on the front steps, like a mixture of wildflowers.  Keep it simple and opt for a natural woven door mat, not one with funny sayings or crazy patterns.

Keep your kitchen stress free by banning clutter, especially on kitchen counters.  Contemporary cabinetry often uses sliding doors at counter level, where you can store toasters, blenders and the like for easy access, but hidden.  Don’t let your kitchen table end up being a computer desk or the spot where you dump your keys and mail.  Keep it clean and ready to set for dinner.

One word about bathrooms: SPA! This room, more than any, is your personal sanctuary.  Paint it a restorative color.  Roll white fluffy towels and keep them in a basket or on the tub decking.  Use a silverware divider or handled plastic bins for toiletries and make up.  No more searching around your vanity drawers for what you need!

Home offices and children’s playrooms are an important part of todays home. They will never be completely organized and don’t need to be.  The key is to close the door to that space when not in use.  In real life, there are just some spaces that are what they are.  Resist the urge to try and de-clutter this space, but go to the rooms where you can relax.

The best place for renewal and recharging is the bedroom.  Use the bed only for sleeping and intimacy.  Take the TV and computer out of the bedroom completely.  Keep excess pillows and unnecessary items off  the bed. If every bedroom looked like the pictures in magazines, we’d be exhausted by the time we removed all those pillows from the bed just to get into it!  Have scented candles in the bedroom, you don’t even have to light them to enjoy the fragranced as you sleep.

In these times where pressure and stress run high, it’s important to have your sanctuary so you can start each day refreshed and ready to face new challenges.  Your house can do this for you if you allow it.  When you get home tonight, look around and see where and what you can improve in your own home.  Have fun and enjoy your new peaceful surroundings!