Aaaaah serenity. ‘Seren-what?’ Don’t you know we live in a post-switch-offable world? Ringtones and message alerts are the new music to our ears. ‘Beep beep’ is the new language of love, and giving someone our sacred attention means following them on Twitter. But lets be honest, even though we are becoming less and less able to switch off, we still yearn to be able to, and tapping into the serenity that surrounds us is easier than you think.
You don’t have to jet off to a Thai island, or the Caribbean, or a hilltop Tuscan villa to find your spot of serenity. Serenity is a feeling, a state of being, not a physical environment. I have a friend who lives in an apartment in Hamburg. She doesn’t have a garden, the apartment is in the city. I visited her recently, and after a blissful nights sleep stumbled through to the kitchen bleary-eyed and jet lagged. There was my friend, perched on the windowsill, knees drawn up, coffee in hand, gazing at the trees and watching the world go by. My disheveled interruption didn’t seem to phase her, she breathed deeply, smiled at me warmly and said, ‘I get up an hour before my family just so I can sit here with my coffee and be still for a bit’. When she got up to make me a coffee I surreptitiously slid into her spot, and instantly understood why this has become her daily practice. That little windowsill was a space of utter peace. It was tangible. Since then I’ve often wondered why that little windowsill in Hamburg can create such a sense of serenity, and I’ve come to the conclusion that finding serenity in your life is about channeling not traveling (although lets be honest, an infinity pool in Bali will do the trick too).
For those of us who are on a mission to create a spot of serenity in our lives, there are a few ground rules to follow.
1. It doesn’t have to be white to be serene. White is calming, yes, soothing I suppose, but colours can be serene too. Pick a colour that makes you feel dreamy, that reminds you of the last time you felt totally balanced and content, then use that colour in a variety of tones from light to dark. Blue is a good bet. Light blue evokes cloudless skies, whilst the azure tone brings back lazy afternoons on the Med (even if you haven’t been there, imagine what it would be like, that’s the point!).
Darker, richer hues can be equally serene. Purple is magnificent and luxurious but when its paired with toned down organic colours it becomes humble and calming.
2. Look Inwards or Look Outwards. Your spot of serenity needs to either look inwards, or look outwards. Think of a courtyard and the feeling of order and peace they often have. Maybe its Feng-shui, or our innate appreciation of symmetry, but courtyards are happy places.
If a courtyard is not in the realm of possibility, choose a spot in your house that has a view, or that looks out at something. A window with a view to your garden, or the street, or the sea if you’re lucky, even the tops of the trees will work.
3. Bring the outside in. For me, this is the most important part of creating a spot of serenity in my home. A pot plant, some fresh flowers, open the windows so you can smell the trees. And remember we are channeling serenity so a bit of poetic license is definitely allowed. If you aren’t the pot plant type or your window looks into your neighbour’s bedroom then bring in things that remind you of nature. Wall decals of trees are awesome, and they suit a more modern interior.
Nature themed wallpaper will do the trick too, and the combination of blue, orange and yellow is sublime.
Don’t fancy wall decor? Then use a tree stump as a side table, or as candle holders, the warmth and texture of natural wood is beautiful.
4. The texture of serenity is the serenity of texture. When I enter a space that has exposed beams, wooden or flagstone floors, and pared back brick walls I feel my spirits lift. Add touches of luxurious velvet, faux fur, some pops of colour and feel the calm returning.
5. Use your imagination. Sometimes all it takes is one pot plant on a windowsill to create a spot of serenity. In this crazy world serenity is found in the pauses we allow ourselves. Go to your spot of serenity and breathe…only put your phone on silent first.
Images via HERE