Close your eyes, breathe deeply, and envision the space where you feel the greatest sense of joy and calm. Is it a spare, expansive beach? A lush garden? A tranquil forest? More than likely, that's your ideal bedroom.
"If the place you feel the most peaceful is in the mountains, then include things like a photograph of mountains, essential oils of fir or juniper in a diffuser, or a bowl of pine needles," says feng shui teacher Denise Linn, author of Sacred Space. "You won't be able to re-create the exact environment, but there are aspects you can incorporate."
Reinventing your bedroom as a place of beauty and serenity sets up a lasting source of renewal and replenishment, both spiritual and physical. "The bedroom is the most important place in your home for enhancing your sense of well-being," says Linn.
No need for an expensive, time-draining makeover. Here are 10 simple ways to create a dream bedroom that nurtures your health and refreshes your spirit.
1. Soften the Colors
Bedrooms are meant to be "yin rooms," which facilitate passive, feminine spirit rather than generate active, masculine yang energy. "Yin rooms should be calm, so you can walk into them and relax," says Susan Levitt, author of Taoist Feng Shui. She suggests painting walls in pastels such as lavender, beige, or off-white, or in muted flesh tones like cream, taupe, and rose.
Whatever hue you choose, make it nontoxic. Many paints contain volatile organic compounds, which produce hazardous fumes when wet and may continue to release those fumes for years after drying. Debra Lynn Dadd, author of Home Safe Home, recommends buying a water-based paint that's low in VOCs. "Brand-name paint stores such as Sherwin-Williams and Benjamin Moore carry their own nontoxic paints," says Dadd, who also suggests sleeping elsewhere for three or four days after painting a bedroom.
Another option is using Anna Sova Luxury Organics wall finish, manufactured with up to 99 percent food-grade ingredients (from $49 a gallon; annasova.com). To enhance the soothing effects of your new colors, add a bottle of Anna Sova's Organic Aromatherapy formula ($12). Stirred into the wall finish before painting, these essential-oil-based blends scent your room with lemon, vanilla, orange and clove, or sandalwood.
2. Clear the Clutter
You needn't sleep in a Zen den, but a clean, open space allows you to rest better at night. Throw out—or put away—items you haven't read, worn, or looked at in a few years. "If you don't love it and you haven't used it in several years, get rid of it," says Linn. "Reducing clutter is modern-day alchemy. Anything you don't love only drags you down."
And don't try to hide the clutter under your bed—even if your frame has built-in drawers, store only bedding and pillows there, Levitt advises.
Bookworms may want to keep beloved novels at hand, but too many tomes can be overwhelming. Instead of having piles everywhere, keep one or two books out in your bedroom and store the rest on a book shelf, says Levitt. Don't pack them too tightly; leaving a little free space gives you room to grow and symbolizes the acceptance of new things in your life.