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These days, we’re in our homes more than ever. But is your space working for you—or against you? Most of us have no idea, but that’s where Carolyn DiCarlo, a wellness-driven architectural designer in New York City, can help. She believes we’re profoundly affected by our environments, and is here to offer up some tips on how we can outfit our homes to usher in a sense of calm.
Use your gut
Sheltering-in-place has showed many of us that we can slow down—and survive. “Getting off our ever-racing hamster wheel has allowed us to look at the simple and important things in life: our families and our homes,” says DiCarlo. “Our homes can benefit our well-being if we pay attention to what feels right.”
You know the drill: Walking into a room packed with piles of papers and endless clutter doesn’t exactly promote serenity, right? But entering a clean space with well-chosen elements can do just that. “I recommend objects from nature and of the earth to help ground you in these ever-fluctuating times,” she says. “Reconnection to nature directly affects mood.
Go toward the light
“Objects of light and sunlight are critical during this time,” says DiCarlo. “They uplift you so you feel lighter—less heavy.” Using mirrors to amplify the effects of sunlight can also help our dispositions. “Studies show that sunlight directly affects mood elevation, regulation of melatonin for healthier sleep cycles and even improved cognitive function,” she says.
When it comes to mirrors, the more the merrier. “Position them so that they can capture the incoming light,” says DiCarlo. And get creative with other metal objects—just don’t overdo it. “Mirrors are best, but metal sculptures or picture frames can also reflect sunlight and bring more light into a room.”
Using natural objects means that even if you don’t have a yard, you can reap the benefits. DiCarlo sites a study saying indoor environments that reproduce the experience of being in nature may prove to be as beneficial to an individual’s mood as being outdoors.
“Bring in plants and fresh-cut flowers to remind you of nature, the grounding feeling from solid wood furniture or rugs made of natural materials with natural dyes,” says DiCarlo.
Round it up
When deciding on accessories, don’t overlook the power of circles. “It’s helpful to use round shapes—they’re the symbol of wholeness, as well as the shape of our planet,” says DiCarlo. “We live in a boxy world—our rooms, our homes—so using circular tables, lighting and art can help us calm down.”
Ready to tweak your home for optimal relaxation? Scroll down for eight ways to bring in light and nature—and enjoy a happier, healthier existence.
Round, wood and light-reflecting, this mirror with a modern flat edge checks all the boxes for a serene home. 22 inches diameter.
Shop it: Loftis Modern & Contemporary Accent Mirror, $139 (was $156), wayfair.com
At 30 percent off, this round cutie is the perfect (affordable) side table, nightstand or end table. The X-base is made of indestructible metal. Choose from five finishes including dark walnut, shown.
Shop it: Enrique Cross Legs End Table, $90 (was $129), wayfair.com
Glass flowers turn this iron pendant into a treat for the eyes—great for enlivening a dining room, entryway or living space. It’s damp rated, so it works in bathrooms and covered outdoor spaces too.
Shop it: Abella Globe Chandelier, $780 (was $1,198), anthropologie.com
Handwoven in India, this floral jute rug is sturdy enough for high-traffic areas—and beautiful enough for just about anywhere. A gorgeous, original way to appreciate nature.
Shop it: Safavieh Natural Fiber Beige 5 ft. x 5 ft. Round Indoor Area Rug, $125, homedepot.com
At 51 percent off, this round coffee table is a steal. With a rough-sawn 26-inch top and open metal base, it’s the perfect combination of form and function.
Shop it: Hendrix coffee table, $240 (was $492), wayfair.com
This genius portable LED lamp is a great alternative to candlelight. Made in Spain with an oak handle, you can take it from room to room. Perfect for a nightstand.
Shop it: FollowMe Rechargeable LED Table Lamp, $222, ylighting.com
Handwoven of rattan with a wire frame, this beauty is adorned with flowers for a hit of sunshine no matter what the weather looks like outside.
Shop it: Floral Rattan Pendant, $515 (was $798), anthropologie.com
Even if you can’t get to the beach, this pair of seagrass lamps with linen shades will give you that vibe. Eco-friendly 9-watt LED bulbs are included.
Shop it: Elicia 25 in. Natural Sea Grass LED Table Lamp (Set of 2), $135, homedepot.com
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