Editor's note: The following is a guest post written by journalist Lisa Ling, program ambassador for the Ikea Life Improvement Project — a program designed to inspire people to make a positive impact on their homes and the lives within. Below, Ling shares tips for turning your home into an oasis.
When my husband and I built our house, we wanted to make it our oasis — a warm, inviting place for us to make roots and raise our family. And because I travel so much, it was important to create a space that I’m excited to come home to. We were really involved in the building and decorating process and created a space that is truly our oasis. Based on this experience, these tips, below, will help inspire you:
- Focus on You: Your home has to be a relaxing space for you, so make your space personal and a reflection of you. Since my husband and I are environmentalists, we had our home LEED Platinum certified — the highest environmental rating a home can be awarded — because that is what is important to us. If you love to read, display your favorite books on large bookshelves in your living room. If you’re a passionate cook, hang your pots and pans and display your best chef’s knives in the kitchen. The most important part of making your home an oasis is personalizing it to your own tastes.
Pictured: Ling's living room
Read on for more tips from Ling on turning your home into a peaceful abode.
- Avoid Clutter: Institute new organization systems in 2013 — if everything has its place then nothing will be out of place. Prominently display items you’ll use often (such as throws in Winter) and use storage bins to store out-of-season items. To keep your house clean and decluttered, come up with a household cleaning schedule and post it where everybody can see it. Tidying up weekly is manageable and will keep your home continuously clean.
Pictured: Her office space
- Embrace Nature: One of the easiest ways to make a room feel renewed and refreshed is by bringing the outside in. Depending on the size of your home, bring in small plants by displaying them in playful, colored glass vases or bring in large potted plants — indoor trees and large green plants can freshen up the space and act as room separators.
Pictured: The master bathroom
- Create Comfort Zones: The best homes are stylish and comfortable. Create comfort zones — areas where you can relax and recharge. For example, we have a sunken conversation area covered with artificial turf outside our house. My husband and I often sit in this space with a cup of coffee and read the paper. Also, inside, use textiles or new cushions to make sure your space is cozy and choose colors that brighten your mood. For example, we used red throughout our home, as red is associated with good luck in China. And textiles are an easy and affordable way to breathe new life into a home, whether you are changing cushions, adding new curtains or reupholstering a chair.
Pictured: The Ikea ambassador's outdoor grass pit
- Lighten Up: The lighting in a room can make a huge difference in ambience. Warm light makes a room feel relaxing and peaceful — replace fluorescent lights with warmer tones. LED lights provide a good, even, warm white light and have a lifetime of 20,000 hours. Revive a room simply by plugging in a decorative lamp on a side table (such as the Ikea Stranne LED table lamp), windowsill, or shelf.
Pictured: Ling's dining room
Stay tuned for more from Ling! Meanwhile, visit the Ikea Life Improvement Project website to submit your own home projects or be inspired; for each submitted or shared project, Ikea will make a $1 donation to Save the Children’s Early Steps For School Success.
Photos courtesy of Tom McCaffrey, Paul Bielenberg, and Clark Dugger / PUNCHouse