Learn how to create a laid back living space that is fun and welcoming, but exudes chill vibes. With this casual but luxe look, you’ll look forward to coming home and your guests won’t want to leave.
This is a given. In order to find tranquility, one must be tranquil. You can’t fully feel relaxed or inspired in a space with no space. Think of your walls as living, breathing creatures who mirror what they see. Do they see you stepping over a heap of dirty clothes or worse, a heap of clean clothes? Are you shuffling through a mound of paperwork every time you need to find a receipt? If your guests have to clear an area just to get comfortable, we have a problem. Your walls are pissed off! They don’t like their view and unhappy walls make for an unhappy living space.
Get rid of everything that doesn’t represent your style or personality. What do you want people to know about you when they walk into your house? How do you want people to feel when they are there? Figure that out and examine every single thing in your place. Although that sounds overwhelming, it’s worth the effort. This is not an overnight project. Don’t know where to begin? No worries, try these tips to perform daily to get you started without burning out before you reach your goal.
- Get 1 box for things you want to give away, 1 box for things to put away, and 1 box for things you want to store away, 1 trash bag
- Set the timer on your phone or oven for as long as you have time or want to make time (10, 15, 20, 30-minutes).
- Work as fast you can to clean up and clear out everything you can before the timer goes off
This can mean a drawer, a shelf, or even a magazine rack. Start at the entryway and work counter clockwise. When the timer goes off, you are done! Do this everyday and you can declutter without extending yourself too much. This is your first step towards creating a laid back living space.
Are you loving your color right now? Does it need an update? If you really want to create a laid back living space, give your living and breathing walls a new outfit to wear. There is just something about newly painted walls that makes everything in the home feel brand new again. As a bonus you get rid of scuff marks, fingerprints, and Karen’s cocktail she splattered on the wall when she tripped over your DVD collection. She may not remember, but your walls do.
Painting the walls is pretty easy. The hardest part is choosing a color palette or if you want a seamless look, a single color that suits the entire place. Either way, keep in consideration the color of your decor and furniture. Those things are part of the color palette so don’t go too crazy and pick three or four colors off a sample strip from Home Depot. You don’t want your walls competing with anything and else in the room. You want it to compliment and highlight your style. Can’t decide? The no-fail choice for any space is Benjamin Moore Decorator White in an eggshell finish.
3. Separate Your Space Into Zones
Think of this as the first step to a thorough cleaning. To fully create a laid back living space you need to seriously deep clean everything you have left after de-cluttering and painting. This doesn’t have to be done in one day or even one week. The important thing is to establish a routine that is manageable and will keep your place clean for the long run. To keep things simple, divide your place into zones. Work on one zone per week and continue to alternate. You can do this with a single-family home, an apartment, and even a dorm room. For a single-family home, you might think about assigning your zones like this:
- Front Porch
- Laundry Room
- The Master Bedroom
- One Extra Room
- Living Room/Family Room/Den
Make any necessary adjustments to fit the details of your home. If you live in a dorm room, here is an example of how you can assign your zones:
These are only suggestions, so be sure to personalize your zones to accurately mirror your future laid back living space. By breaking your place into zones, it is more likely you will be able to maintain the fresh vibe you are creating.
4. Create A Detailed To-Do List For Each Zone
It helps to create a detailed to-do list for each zone that you will be working on for the week. You can print it out and keep it in a binder, or you can write in on index cards to refer to each time you are back on each zone. This way, there is no question (or much thought) having to go into keeping your laid back living space clean. This saves time and mental energy, not to mention it makes it easier to commit to a routine. Here are the basics that you want to check off for each room:
- Window Sills
- Picture Frames
- Any Decorations
- Throw away trash
- Polish Furniture
- Polish Mirrors
Each zone may have zone-specific tasks. For example, in the bathroom you will want to scrub your tub and make it super shiny. Go ahead and go the extra mile and deep clean your toilet as if either the Bathroom Police are coming or as if you are selling it on your local Trash and Treasure Facebook group. Get rid of broken hangers in your closet. While you are on a roll, nix the clothes with stains or tears. Don’t forget to spray the dust off of your plants in the sink or shower.
The biggest benefit to creating a detail-specific cleaning list for each zone is it enables you to concentrate on the deep clean that creates the atmosphere you want. Once you get in the habit of this, your laid back living space becomes an almost effortless haven to sustain.
5. Arrange Rooms To Reflect Their Function
The purpose of every room (or corner) of your laid back living space should reflect its purpose. People feel more relaxed in an area they know what to expect and what is expected of them. Keep your paperwork off the kitchen table and in your office or the section of your place where your desk is. In small spaces, this can be a difficult task to accomplish. However, there are tricks you can apply to clearly set boundaries as to the function of that particular area. Large potted plants, tapestries, and deliberate furniture placement are all ways to separate intention.
Before you can effectively pull this off, you need to identify what your intention of each room or space is and how you visualize spending your time there. Let’s take the kitchen, for example. Do you picture your friends gathered around while you are cooking meal to enjoy together? Do you want them to all take part in the prep work or just have drinks while you do the work during conversation? Is the kitchen going to be the main social area of your place or is that reserved for the living room? If you don’t want a crowd in the kitchen, try only having two counter height seats available. This set up is still welcoming in an intimate setting, but will discourage larger crowds from lingering.
Try to go through each room or area of your laid back living space and give it a job title. Accommodate its purpose by arranging it to best serve the job assigned. This helps to keep items where they belong and cuts down a lot of unnecessary work for you. Your guests will feel welcome and relaxed when an area’s function is obvious.
6. Give Life To Your Laid Back Living Space
You want people to feel alive when they walk into your place. Poor air circulation and low oxygen levels just will not cut it. Add green leafy plants that are easy to keep alive, like a philodendron. You don’t need to recreate a jungle, but adding greenery that filters air will keep the place alive while you are not home. Fresh herbs growing in the kitchen window (or any window) are visually pleasing while dispersing an incredible aroma in the air and flavor in your cuisine. Remember, this is about creating a laid back living space that reflects the utmost chill of vibes. Being relaxed doesn’t equate to feeling tired, you want to feel alive! You want your guests to feel alive! It keeps moods high and encourages engaging conversations.
Keep good vibes alive by making sure your air filters are clean and that you change them according to the instructions (generally 30 to 60 days). When things start feeling stuffy and unclean, even if you just cleaned the whole house its generally due to overused air filters. Another habit you want to incorporate is opening your windows for at least thirty minutes a day. This should be done in winter and even the hottest summer months as well. When living spaces are primarily closed up, the energy begins to feel stagnant. Keep good energy flowing throughout the home by allowing it to breathe daily. Laid back living spaces always get their daily dose of fresh air.
7. Choose A Signature Scent
Give your guests something to associate your laid back living space by choosing a signature scent. It has been said that people can recall a scent with 65 percent accuracy for up to one year and it is most closely linked to an emotional reaction. You want this to be a good emotional reaction walking in and out of your place. No one want to smell the strong scent of bleach, cigarettes, or the neglected cat litter box. Don’t even think about having moth balls in your house. If you can actually find a person who thinks back fondly on the smell of moth balls, let them enjoy that memory at their own house. You don’t want people to confuse their memory of your place with their great-grandmother’s.
Cleaning products count when choosing the perfect aroma for your home. Avoid harsh chemicals and overly fragrant air fresheners. Clean with natural products whenever possible. Although vinegar is no one’s favorite smell, it only lasts a couple hours. It is the best natural cleaner and you can add essential oils to increase the cleaning properties and decrease the harsh odor of the vinegar. You don’t want people to think you cleaned for company so avoid scents of pine, bleach, and other scents one might associate with a fast food restroom.
The best way to pick a signature scent for your laid back living space is to experiment with essential oils. Use them in a diffuser and create a long lasting aroma that makes everyone feels good. You can use one by itself, or try mixing different ones together to make a scent unique to your style. Some people like to create a different scent for each room so your nose doesn’t get used to one smell to the point you don’t smell it anymore. This is a great idea. Just try to make sure each different scent compliments the others. Essential oils are also great because of their relaxing and de-stressing properties. Aromatherapy is one of the most important ways to create the laid back living space you envision.
8. Set The Mood With Music
Pretty easy, right? Nothing helps create an enjoyable atmosphere more than music. Of course you want to play your favorite playlists and whatever your friends listen to, but switch it up. Spend some time discovering music you’ve never dabbled in or never thought you would try. Most people want to be introduced to a new sound or a new scene. Make that happen for your guests at your place. Try letting entire albums to play instead of listening to a complete mix of artists. Choosing four or five artists should set whatever mood you are aiming for, depending on the length of time you intend to entertain. Pick a genre that reflects the theme of your gathering and keep it at a volume people don’t have to yell over. Unless you are hosting a dance party, conversation is the main reason people are there.
It really doesn’t matter if you play music on stereo, iPhone, iPod, or vinyl. As long as the sound is coming through pretty decent speakers, you are good to go. If your get together is in more than one part of the house or an indoor/outdoor event, have enough speakers that all guests can enjoy. Having some solo time? Kick back with whatever makes you feel good. Consider letting music play throughout the day, even while you are gone so can you come home to the mood you want to feel.
9. Keep Stressful Items Out Of Sight
Keep bills, unfinished projects, and school work out of plain sight. While these things should be easily accessible, you really only need to have them out if you are working on it at that moment. Your guests don’t want to see your responsibilities laying around. They came there for a break, not a reminder of their own lengthy list of obligations. The idea is to be able to relax and enjoy yourself when you are not busy with the not-so-fun parts of life.
The most promising way to be able to store stressful items out of sight is to stay on top of your game. Don’t wait until the last minute to complete projects or assignments, and you definitely do not want your bills to pile up on you. You will get the most out of your laid back living space if there isn’t a deadline looming over you. You will get the full effect of downtime when spent with a clear conscience and sense of accomplishment.
10. Make An Effort To Create Positive Memories
Once you have created the laid back living space you have dreamed of, you are ready to start putting it to work. Be proactive and deliberate about creating memorable moments that make you feel good. This should be a mindful and continuous action for as long as you live there. You want the activities in your place to go hand in hand with the vibe you worked so hard to create. If you want a space to entertain and energize guests, you need to invite energetic people. If you want a place to unwind and spend time alone, you wouldn’t invite a bunch of people rambunctious people there.
Consider the feelings you want your home to exude and then plan things that give you that feeling. You want to live in a space that makes you feel happy, safe, and right at home. Having fond memories to look back on creates a sense of security and belonging. Your friends and family will treasure the time spent in your laid back living space when they have shared their time with you in your home.
What steps have you taken to create your laid back living space? Share your favorite step in the comments below.
Featured image: Pinterest
essica Hope Murphy is a student at Ashford University studying English and Journalism & Mass Communications. If she isn't writing, she is fishing, cooking, or entertaining friends. In addition to Society19, her work can be found on Points In Case, Cracked Mirrors Online, LinkedIn, Murphy Review, and in The National Library of Poetry.