Late entrepreneur Steve Jobs was a fan of Zen-inspired design, known for its minimal and clean aesthetic. Given the fast-paced nature of modern day life, it’s no surprise that people are looking to recreate that look and feeling of calm that zen-inspired design can evoke in their homes.
There are a handful of ways you can put this practice to use in your home, but it may be best to start with one room. Use the tips below to design your own zen-inspired oasis In a space like your living room:
Tip #1: Declutter.
Be like Japanese organizational consultant, Marie Kondo and her millions of readers around the world! Purge your living room of things you no longer need, want or enjoy.
With every bit of decluttering completed, you’ll bring instant breathing room into your space—and the best part? This comes at no cost to you whatsoever.
Do you still have clutter you just can’t let go (e.g. kids’ toys)? Get creative with concealed storage solutions like a paneled cabinet or wall screen so you can tuck anything away that isn’t immediately necessary and doesn’t need to be seen.
Pretty soon you’ll realize that you never really needed those things in the first place!
Tip #2: Keep Things Simple.
When thinking about what things to keep or bring into your living room, opt for simple lines. Imagine a mid-century modern lounge chair next to an antique Queen Anne chair with an intricate wooden back. Though both designs are attractive, the modern chair’s minimal design looks more streamlined to the eye and, as a result, it just feels more peaceful.
It’s also important to stick with a consistent theme. Just like the example above, that modern chair also wouldn’t go with an antique mantle or an old oriental rug.
While some changes may need some actual renovations, look at what you can swap out for cheap. If you’re willing to put in some elbow grease, you could strip that nasty old wallpaper yourself and repaint the wall with a nice neutral color.
Tip #3: Embrace Neutrals.
When choosing colors for your home, embrace neutrals like white, cream, gray, etc. which lack the same visual stimulation of primary colors like red, yellow, and blue. By not competing for your attention, these kinds of colors set the stage for rest and relaxation.
If you’re already using neutral colors, invest in a paint job to freshen up any dinginess that may have accumulated over time. While it may not be inherently obvious that your walls do need a fresh coat of paint, the results will speak for themselves and you may start noticing when your friends could stand to touch up their living rooms.
Tip #4: Bring Nature Into Your Home.
Finish off your space by layering accents inspired by nature into your living room like plants, river rocks, sisal rugs and woven baskets – just to name a few.
That seashell you picked up on a family vacation will not only remind you of the beach but also of the time you were able to spend with the people you love most.
Plus, studies have shown that plants make you happy! You can actually drastically improve the air quality of a room by selecting a few choice plants. If you’re concerned about upkeep, go for some simple options like a snake plant or a few succulents.
Tip #5: Make the Room Smell Nice
There are certain scents that are scientifically proven to be relaxing and soothing to the soul. Lavender, Jasmine and Chamomile are just three fabulous aromas that will leave you feeling refreshed and zen whenever you walk into the room. Using incense, burning candles or installing a flavored humidifier can all achieve this effect but making sure you have tackled any underlying odors first is a must. Many homes are plagued with strong smells like smoke, damp or kitchen odors. Buying an air purifier with a permanent filter can be an affordable way to handle this situation before you start to incorporate relaxing scents into the mix.
But keep the first tip in mind and don’t go overboard—you don’t want to “re-clutter” what you just de-cluttered!
Rooted in Asian traditions like meditation and conscious living practices, Zen-inspired design starts with paring things down to the essentials.
After decluttering your living room, decorate your space with furnishings and accents that have simple lines in neutral colors. This minimal backdrop then sets the stage for objects that remind us of nature and help us feel grounded. With just these few tweaks, you’ll not only create a space you can look forward to unwinding in after a long day, you’ll also be able to extend that soothing Zen feeling with others lucky enough to visit your home.