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Your home is your sanctuary: it’s where you feel most safe, the setting for many of life’s milestones and the place you long for when you’ve been away too long. Because our living space is such an important part of ourselves, it is often a reflection of our distinct personality.

Think about it for a second.

We all have that one friend with boundless, chaotic energy. At her house, every surface is covered with something; you need to clear off a space to sit down. While sharing a cup of tea, you find yourself staring at the half-built Ikea bookshelf when it dawns on you: it’s been that way for the last six months.

Then there’s your other friend. Upon entering her house, shoes must be removed: no outside dirt is permitted on her floors. You’re afraid to drink red wine on her couch, because one accidental drop could mean the end of your friendship.

However, it doesn’t matter if you’re a free spirit or a live by the rules person: we all could use a little more peace in our lives. It makes sense that altering your living space would have a positive effect on this process. Read on for tips on how to transform your living room into a place that encourages everybody in it to slow down and enjoy the moment.

Calm with colour
Are you feeling stressed and craving a bit of peace like so many of us? Ditch the white stucco walls in favour of a soft, soothing colour. Painting an accent wall in a blue or lavender will remind you to breathe.

Bring the outside in
Speaking of breathing, there’s a very simple way to cozy up your living room while at the same time improving the air quality of your home—get some plants. They literally create oxygen and their nod to nature is inherently relaxing.

Decluttering through joy
Worldwide phenomenon and organizational consultant Marie Kondo has some of the best advice for people trying to declutter their lives and their homes: hold an item against your body and pay attention to how it makes you feel. Does it “spark joy,” as she titled her best-selling book? If so, find a special place for it. If not, throw it out.

Hang some happiness
Home is the place where a lot of beautiful memories are made. It can also be a place to display some of them. Frame some pictures of when you were at your happiest and hang them all around your living room. When you’re having a particularly rough day, looking at those scenes from your holiday abroad will cheer you up and serve as a gentle reminder that things will get better.

Turn the technology down a notch
These days, most of us are guilty of having too many gadgets. If you look around your room and see nothing but screens, there’s a good chance you’re being bombarded with too much information. Try to designate a specific area for that laptop, and store it when it’s not in use. Trust us, life as you know will not end if you keep your smartphone on the second floor for an evening.

You spend a lot of time, well, living in your living room. If you desire more tranquility in your life, you should take some of these small steps to make your surroundings more peaceful. And if you’re feeling generous, maybe help your one friend finally assemble that bookshelf.

This post is also available in: Dutch French

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