Home Sanctuary Décor Ideas -- for Less

No time for a spa day? No problem. It’s easy -- and budget-friendly! -- to transform your home into a calming, stress-free haven. Simple changes can help relieve tension and welcome serenity, even with little ones running around. The benefit? You’ll notice a positive boost to your health, including increased positive energy, decreased stress level and the ability to process information, says Dawn Falcone, organizer/designer and owner of Dawn Falcone Lifestyles. Take a deep breath, and get started with these simple steps.

Cut the Clutter

Before adding spa-like elements, take control of the mess behind the stress. “Eliminating clutter is a process, so be sure to set realistic goals and start small,” says Falcone. Instead of organizing your entire bedroom at once, start with your dresser. Label three boxes to help you organize: One for donations, one for recycling/trash and one to keep. Place any items to keep in practical, easy-to-find areas.

Add Accents

Now the fun can begin. Look for small, inexpensive accessories that are both luxurious and comforting.

  • Lighting: “Overhead lighting is unflattering and less soothing,” says Betsy Helmuth, owner of Affordable Interior Design in NYC. “Add table and floor lamps to manipulate light and create soft pools of light.” If you already have overhead lighting, “put all your lights and lamps on dimmers,” says Falcone. Scented candles are a good option for your bedroom, where kid play is off-limits.
  • Textures: Soft, plush textures are the ultimate comfort boosters. Look for inexpensive cashmere throws, a soft rug for the foot of your bed, plush towels instead of terrycloth and soft pillows. “Having little moments of decadence throughout the day will create a spa-like atmosphere,” says Helmuth.
  • Sound-proof drapes: These can be purchased for under $50, and are a good investment if you live in a bustling city or loud environment, says Helmuth.
  • Plants: Often found in resting areas at spas, plants add elements of nature into your design. Succulents are a good choice, as they’re small and stay longer than flowers, says Helmuth.
  • Guest basket (for you): Just as you would for visitors, keep a basket by your bed with water, books and essential oils.

Prioritize Spaces

Instead of an entire home overhaul, start with the rooms that you spend the most time in, and which are just yours (and not the kids’). “The room with perhaps the biggest impact is the entryway,” says Falcone. “If it’s a disaster, you’ll instantly feel stressed as leave or enter through the door.” The bedroom is also key, as clutter affects your sleep and state of rest. Falcone recommends creating a recharging station in your bedroom just for you: no electronics allowed! It’s a small space meant for relaxation, drinking tea and reading. Place something comfortable for you to sit on and escape.

Keep it Personal

Select a relaxing color palate to suit your taste, say the designers. Light blue, sage, beige, buff or other earth tone are more soothing color choices than bold, bright colors. Carry these colors throughout the house to maintain a nice flow. Then, personalize your home with artwork that you feel connected to you, and which brings out a happy feeling in you. “Choose your favorite photos, and have them blown up and put on canvas,” says Falcone. But don’t over-decorate. “Instead of filling every wall or bookshelf with something, avoid visual clutter and pick one piece to give your eye a place to rest.”