Your Living Room’s Best Antidote for Stress Lies in the Details

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The best antidote for stress is a living room that’s a soothing oasis from everyday cares. By adding and/or organizing some details, your room could turn into a comfortable place in which you feel safe, secure, and nurtured.

Warm colors nurture.

Because of its presence in nature, we associate warm shades like honey, coffee and rust, with the nurturing, life-sustaining, protective qualities of the earth itself.  Professional decorators recommend these kinds of neutral colors for their timeless, dependable appearance of quality.

Rich materials comfort.

Buttery leather and natural fibers, such as wool, cotton and linen, feel wonderful against the skin, so furniture covered with these materials are naturally more inviting than man-made materials like nylon or polyester.

Soft lighting subdues.

A glowing mood created by several low-watt light sources is ideal in a relaxing living room.  For best results, choose lighting that works on several levels.  For instance, you may choose to use a chandelier, ceiling lights, table lamps – and of course, candles.

Carved details add warmth.

Surface that reflect loving craftsmanship like those of the armoire, coffee table, even the lamps, are very comforting by nature of their one-of-a-kind look.  To get this effect, look for furniture that has hand-rubbed finishes, molding details and interesting hardware.

Bright accents revive.

In contrast to the neutral walls, bright red accents really stand out.  Combined, the colors have an uplifting effect on the spirit and make the room warm and welcoming.

Patterns add harmony.

Juxtapose a casual design (like the pin dot on the sofa) with a sophisticated one (the floral-patterned rug) and you create what decorators called asymmetrical balance to the eye.

Paneling lends coziness.

Paneled walls envelop a room in warmth, but if they’re too dark they can make the room seem closed in.  The solution is to paint the paneled walls with a light color.  Get directions from your local home center.

Cool colors refresh.

When warm tones, like beige, are accented with cool white, the effect is one of balance, or what the pros call homeostasis, which has a very positive influence on our psyches.

Subtle florals quiet.

The abundance of flowers in a room – both real and in the upholstery and rug – makes the room feel mellow and inviting.  But florals aren’t the only element that will produce his effect.  Green plants or botanical artwork can have the same soothing influence.

Plush pieces soften.

Cushy upholstered furniture instantly communicates comfort, especially oversized pieces like 30”x 40”, one that you can use as coffee table or side stool.

Eclectic finishes refresh.

For a pleasant twist on the traditional, look for scrubbed or distressed finishes rather than highly polished ones.  Combining wood tones and painted effects is another way to achieve the same goal.

Casual fabrics calm.

Using unexpected fabrics for formal upholstered pieces is a trick the pros use to add casual charm.  Cotton mattress ticking covers the sofa, and a bedspread can be reborn as a window treatment.

Overlapping adds intimacy.

When displaying items on a table or pillows on furniture, overlap their edges so they don’t look staged.  This laid-back looks fits in well with a relaxing room scheme.


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