Friday, January 13, 2012
Five additions to make the home a quiet, peaceful place to escape to

Surrounded by the soothing sounds of the country? Many aren’t. With ringing cell phones, traffic noises, loud neighbors, along with work and life stresses, people now more than ever need an escape to find some sense of peace and calm. While removing yourself from everyday hassles by heading to a spa or a vacation getaway is a solution, peaceful surroundings don’t necessarily have to be an
occasional luxury. Rather than heading across or out of town to find a serene space, with a few simple steps, it is easier than ever to create a healing environment at home that can be cherished each day. Try these five tips from design expert Sally Morse, Director of Creative Services for Hunter Douglas, the country’s leading window fashions manufacturer, to start and end the day in a calming place that enables you to take on whatever life may bring.

1. Calming Colors

Re-energize and rejuvenate at home by incorporating cool and calming hues. To not only create a soothing space but also an on-trend one, refer to the “Nonchalance” palette, one of nine palettes for 2012 from color authority Pantone. Its delicate Blue Fog and Grapemist purples along with Silver and Egret grays are ideal for creating a serene space. For the largest impact, try using on walls in an entryway, living room or bedroom. Blogger Kimberly Latimer of Re-Do It Design blog says, “The simplicity and casual ambiance in this palette are easy to read and enjoy. The reassuring colors coax a feeling of tranquility and relaxation with no suggestion of anxiety in the surroundings.”

2. Comforting Textiles

Fill every room in the house with items you can’t wait to curl up on or cuddle into. Plush and soft textures are paramount when creating a relaxing space. Incorporate such materials in furniture, blankets and pillows. Try a simple cashmere blanket thrown over a chair, a soft faux-fur rug, silk decorative pillows, gentle suede or silk-covered chairs and couches. Essential for any relaxing retreat, opt for high-thread count linens, towels and robes and add soft textures at the window. The smooth, contoured fabric folds and finishes of Hunter Douglas Vignette® Modern Roman Shades or Pirouette® window shadings, that offer soft adjustable fabric vanes attached to a single sheer fabric backing, are both good choices. With these easy additions, each room will exude an inviting, soft-to-the-touch aesthetic.

3. Soothing Silence
When you think of a beach y
ou conjure up sounds of waves rolling in and at a spa there is soft music, fountains or even silence. Relaxing destinations are devoid of traffic and other noise interferences, which is why that golden silence is so important to achieve at home. If outdoor noise is an issue inside your home, help dampen it by using insulating window fashions such as Vignette® Tiered™ Architella® shades from Hunter Douglas. Its innovative design features rear fabric air pockets that trap air for increased energy efficiency and substantial sound absorption for a peaceful space. Additionally, it’s not only the outdoors that bring on noisy disturbances. Try silencing phones and computers for an hour each night to unwind without distractions or create a room that is dedicated as a space to simply read, meditate and relax in.

4. Gentle Lighting, Comforting Scents
Look to the lighting to
create a peaceful ambiance. To set the tone, soften the illumination. Try using a lower-wattage bulb to reduce glare, look into track lighting that can create ambient lighting, or use lamps and fixtures that come with a dimmer to easily reduce the level of illumination and improve the mood of a room. To temper incoming light, use Hunter Douglas Silhouette® window shadings with sheer fabric panels and rotating vanes that transform the quality of light from harsh and unyielding to soft and comfortable. Also, consider using crystal candle holders or chandeliers that reflect light and, of course, incorporate plenty of candles into each room to cast a soft, warm glow across the room. To add to the overall sensory experience, have scented candles in lavender, vanilla or other comforting scents.

5. Peaceful Nature Elements

No serene views of the mountains or ocean from the living room? No problem; simply add
nature into the space. Try placing indoor plants throughout the home. They not only give off oxygen and purify the air by removing toxins, but a recent NASA study found that indoor plants have a positive effect on stress levels, fatigue and headaches. Additionally, when placed in the corners of rooms they can help to absorb noise.
With a few small changes at home, you along with friends and family, can easily retreat into an utterly relaxing space that may be so soothing, you and others may