Getaway Days | Tips for Creating a Relaxing Home

Life might not always be a beach, but you can get pretty darn close with these tips for creating a vacation room in your home.

Visualize your own dream space with these helpful tips

All too often, we get caught up in the rat race; not just with work but in everyday living as well. Nowadays with flexible, work-at-home careers and exceptional technology, it's hard to relax even in your own home. You have the TV, the pager, the Palm Pilot, the cell phone, the computer: accessibility at all points. Life can turn into a series of Calgon-take-me-away moments that make you crave the solitude you feel during a vacation in the mountains.

1. Visualize your space

We all know that feeling-you hear a certain song or smell a particular aroma, and it triggers a memory of a special place, time or person. It's that calming familiarity that can relax all of your muscles and smooth your furrowed brow. This is the feeling you want to evoke in your vacation room. Close your eyes and visualize a scenario that lowers your blood pressure and has you breathing easy.

2. Write it down

When you have the specific image of total relaxation firmly planted in your head, write down the specifics. These questions will help draw out the specifics:
  • How does the image make me feel?
  • Is the air hot, warm, cool, breezy, humid?
  • What are you wearing? Is it heavy wool or lightweight cotton?
  • What are you doing? Sitting, standing, riding, lying down?
  • If you're lying down, what are you reclined on?
  • What do you see? Are there trappings of a specific culture or locale?
  • Are there particular materials, such as wood, stone, silk, that stand out?
  • What colors are in your image? Neutrals? Vibrant colors, oranges, blues?
  • How much light is there?
  • What does it smell like? Is it the aroma of wisteria petals falling on cut grass, a pile of raked leaves or the fresh lake breeze?
  • What does it sound like? Can you hear lapping water or the trill of flutes in peaceful spa music?

3. Size up your space

One you have the details down for your escape, you can determine how your getaway will fit into your home, which means it fits into the reality of how much available space you have. If you have an extra wing, clearly there's more flexibility. But even if you have nothing but over-utilized space, you can still pull it off with some creativity.

4. Implementation

Now that you know what makes your vacation clock tick and how much room you have to kick back, start adding the details that will steer you from the rat race and into relaxation station. The key is to stimulate your senses, so combine one suggestion from each of the following four categories: 1. SMELL Virtual reality:
  • Candles, incense, potpourri, flowers, plug-in air fresheners.
Some to spare:
  • Indoor herb garden, larger-scale plants and trees.
Room of your own:
  • Wood-burning fireplace or oil-based incense vessel.
2. SOUND Virtual reality:
  • Relaxing music from a Walkman, iPod or even clock radio.
Some to spare:
  • Surround sound, a small waterfall or tabletop fountain, wind chimes.
Room of your own:
  • Sliding curtain to block out light and noise, satellite radio or a white-noise system.
3. TOUCH Virtual reality:
  • Wool, cotton or velvet blankets; weighted down or sand pillows.
Some to spare:
  • Soft area rug, sweater or blanket, massage pad.
Room of your own:
  • Cool wood floors, leather tiles, cashmere toss pillows.
4. SEE Virtual reality:
  • Task lighting with pink or yellow bulbs, sheer fabric over a lampshade, colorful scarf over a pillow.
Some to spare:
  • A colored wall, artwork, black-out shades, a folding screen, mirrors.
Room of your own:
  • Soft, soothing colors, painted furniture, plants, a plasma TV showing scenes of travel destinations or memorable photos.
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