Dated: 07/05/2018

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You’ve seen it. You walk into a friend’s living room and can’t figure out what the room’s purpose really is. A playroom, a media room, and a catch-all room for every UPS package that arrives at their doorstep? Bottom line: relaxation is not found in that list. The room now represents stress — everything that’s wrong with how you pictured your home decor to turn out.

Thing is, many homeowners who don’t believe in what used to be considered “formal” spaces use the room in ways that don’t truly offer them a haven — a space for relaxing, entertaining and hiding away from the worries of the day. And (OMG) maybe even a place where you’re actually proud to usher guests into and feel like an adult?

Instead of avoiding this room, there are ways to make decor choices capable of soothing your mood and transforming the space into the laid-back paradise you deserve.

If you watch HGTV shows at all, you may cringe at how owners leave their homes for the hosts to see. Clutter is often everywhere, and the owners keep complaining they don’t have enough room for their lives. While it's fine for a living room to look lived-in, too much "living" can leave a space looking like a junkyard. And yes — mess and stress are psychologically linked.

Even if your living room has some lovely architectural finishes, boasts large windows, and has a stunning feature wall and fireplace, you’d never notice them. Instead, you’d focus on toddler toys, dog bones, shoes, remote controls, yesterday’s pile of mail, and leftover video game boxes.

The solution? Tuck away games and books into built-ins and choose furniture with storage so you can easily keep odds and ends out of sight. You can find inexpensive storage solutions in places like Target and Home Goods. Oh. And don’t overlook how much of that clutter is no longer touched. Store, donate, or pitch it.

Did you know that clutter isn’t all visual? Hearing and scent are also at play. Do you have monitors, laptops, iPads AND a big screen TV often being used all at the same time? Are your kids playing video games while you're watching "The Bachelorette" on the big screen? Even if they have headphones on, it takes away from your ability to focus no matter how many glasses of chardonnay you down during the show. While you want to keep an eye on the kids, you may also designate another area of the house for it, hook up a video monitor accessed through your smartphone to watch them, and begin celebrating the moments of your life at last.

As for scents (or odors), see if you can avoid doggie or food smells by choosing one primary scent and plug it into a few outlets.

Experts also warn against all-white decor in a room that may take a stain-full beating. Stay away from white fabrics or you'll constantly be worried about spills and stains, causing more stress. Darker colors camouflage messes and allow you to live in your living room more peacefully. Those gorgeous white sofas or chairs can come later — when the kids are bugging you for a bigger monthly allowance at college.

While bare windows bring in lots of light, it's hard to shake the spooky sense that you're being watched when there's nothing between you and either nature or the neighbors. Believe it or not, full-strength, unfiltered sunlight causes stress. Covering up your windows returns your sense of control, and helps your living space feel private and personal.

And how about some REAL plants? Take a look around your living room and try to imagine how greenery can be soothing. There are reasons people pay big bucks to go commune with nature, so why not bring some of it into the room? If you doubt your ability to keep plants alive, how about a water element, like a fish tank, or a tabletop fountain that offers a lovely, tinkling water sound in the background?

Of all the rooms in the house that cry out for organization and beauty, it’s your living room. Consider what makes you feel the most Zen. Comfy couches? Bright colors? Furniture pieces to hide the “stuff” of your life? Then go for it. Crafting a well-designed space that's tailored to you turns a stressful room into a retreat you can adore.

Source:, TBWS

Next Page Realty 


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Sina Sabeti

Sina Sabeti is the owner and designated broker of Next Page Realty. His specialties are fix and flip deals, rental property acquisition, short sale processing, mortgage origination, and commercial....

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