Peace At Home How To Make Your House A Place Of Calm And Tranquility

Dated: 06/29/2016

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Here is a fun article I was apart of for the Wall Street Journal in my formal life before Real Estate. Some great tips on how to make your home more "spa" like! 

A home should be a sanctuary, but with the bustle of daily life, it isn’t always easy to achieve a relaxed feel naturally. Grant Bruce, spa director of the high-end Miraval Resort & Spa in Tucson, Ariz., says it can be easy to create a relaxing spa-like ambiance at home, however, if you keep a few things in mind.

“At the end of the day, I really feel that it should be a place of mindfulness and tranquility,” says Mr. Bruce, who lives in a three-bedroom house just north of Tucson. “It’s so important that it’s a place to relax.”

Mr. Bruce makes it a priority to fill his home with just the necessities. “My wife and I make sure we live very minimalistically,” he says, noting that clutter or too many items in a room can make a space stressful. “But we do subtle things to make it cozy.”

For example, “buy bedding that’s out of this world,” says Mr. Bruce, who likes to use just high-thread-count white bedding, which creates a visual image and feel that “gives you the mind-set of luxury,” he says.

The whole color scheme throughout your living space should be chosen carefully. “Try to keep things very neutral,” says Mr. Bruce, who has largely done the walls of his home in earth tones. And since a sleep specialist at the spa suggested that soft purples, blues and greens “help promote sleep,” his bedroom is done in light aqua, which also “gives it a separation from the rest of the living space with its natural colors.”

He tries to take advantage of natural elements. “We have a front door with a beautiful view of the mountains and a backyard that overlooks a desert,” he says, and that has inspired him to bring elements of the soothing nature outside into the home. “We have rose bushes outside, and I like to clip roses to bring that inside,” he says.

Lighting is a key consideration, Mr. Bruce says. “The important part is not to have harsh lighting if at all possible,” he says. “Very bright lights stimulate the mind to keep you going and you want to slow down your heart rate and really be in the moment.”

“Having lights with dimmers is extremely important,” adds Mr. Bruce, noting that the light in a room changes throughout the day. Having dimmers installed will allow you to control how bright the lights are at any given time.

Playing with texture can also create a relaxing ambiance, Mr. Bruce says. “Our home has tile and wood flooring, but in the living room, we have a furry rug. It’s great to be able to take off your shoes and have your feet sit on it after walking around all day,” he says. In the same vein, he has soft, light throw blankets on the couches and chairs in his living room and bedroom. “Don’t have huge blankets—things that are very heavy and bulky,” he adds.

Keeping things minimal also means trying to cut out modern technology as much as possible, Mr. Bruce says.”At work, we have computers, cellphones, tablets—when we come home, we don’t want to be surrounded by that,” says Mr. Bruce, who has just one TV in his home and opted against having an elaborate sound system. “I have a little speaker that I’m able to carry around from space to space if I want to fill the air with music.”

Mr. Bruce is especially firm about keeping electronics out of the bedroom. “We have no TV in our bedroom, no alarm clock. We literally have a bedside lamp and that’s it. It should be a place of sleep and relaxation—we don’t want to be continuously living our day and stimulating the mind there.”

In his studio and kitchen—areas where work occurs—Mr. Bruce does have the elements necessary for facilitating work, such as a desk, chair, kitchen counter and more. But he still tries to create a relaxing atmosphere with small touches. “We have our desks facing the window so we can see cactus's or watch the hummingbirds come to the window—it makes the inside space more outside,” he says. “We also have a little oversize chair, so if we need to take a break, we can go sit in that chair for a few minutes before getting back to work.”

Scent can be a powerful tool, notes Mr. Bruce, who says “one thing that I absolutely love is having candles throughout the entire home. I have a couple in the kitchen, on the dining room table and have diffusers in the living room and study.”

It’s important to keep these scents light and natural, he adds, noting that he tends to choose fresh scents that have “a little bit of herbs and a tea scent to it. It’s very clean and it’s not too strong—it’s a very calming scent.”

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