10 Mood-Altering Decorating Tips for City Dwellers

City living offers its own set of challenges, not the least among them finding peace and quiet. Here are some simple ways to help you find the calm within.

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  1. Finding Peace (and Quiet)


    Amid the cacophony of stimuli that is city life, finding peace and tranquility can often feel more mountainous a task than paying the monthly rent. How does one keep it together? By decorating with calm-inducing elements in mind. Here are 10 ways to improve your habitat—and mood.


  2. Paint It Green or Blue


    It’s no surprise that rooms painted green or blue (or both)—the colors of trees, plants, skies, and oceans—are known to have calming and soothing effects. By painting your room any tint of either hue, you’ll experience a mental, physical, and emotional change. As a bonus, the act of painting itself can be therapeutic as well. 


  3. Nurture a Bonsai


    Relative to common houseplants, bonsai trees require a greater level of care, which guarantees that you’ll divert focus from daily worries to tend to your trees' needs. For an added element of calm, look for a bonsai garden with a built-in waterfall or pond.


  4. Assemble a Fish Tank


    Staples of elegant hotel lobbies and low-noise Chinese restaurants, fish tanks exemplify serenity, so you can expect one to have the same effect in your own abode. Caring for this contained habitat is a Zen-like practice in and of itself; you'll find time to reflect on the importance of things that matter, and let go of the things that don’t.


  5. Decorate with Sound


    When you're crafting an at-home sanctuary, it is vital to address sound. You can drown out unwanted noise by using a machine to generate the sounds of thunder showers, rushing water, or chirping crickets. You can also download mixes via iTunes. Decorate with sound—your mood will thank you.


  6. Find a Better Bed


    Switching to memory foam mattresses and pillows can help realign the spine and bring energy channels back into harmony. Admittedly, these mattresses can be a bit pricey, so if you’re on a budget, opt for a memory foam pillow and a pad to cover your existing mattress.


  7. Light Aromatherapy Candles


    Pleasant scents can calm us, rejuvenate us, and put us at ease. With aromatherapy candles, you can fill your room with the relaxing scents of lavender and orange blossom while creating a soothing setting of soft, flickering light. (Trade some electric lamps for candles, and you can reduce money stress, too.)


  8. Toss the TV


    Television can provide hours of enjoyment and entertainment, but it can also distract us from more contemplative activities like reading, listening to music, or other creative pursuits. You wouldn’t want a giant TV in the forest or at the top of a mountain, so why keep one in your quiet retreat? Toss the TV, and make peace your priority.


  9. Bring Nature In


    Scientific studies have proven that immersing one's self in nature can have a positive effect on the mind and body. Hang posters of mountains, canyons, forests, or oceans, or place starry stickers on your bedroom ceiling. These little glow-in-the-dark goodies can mimic the psychological effects of stargazing and help you drift off into a peaceful slumber.


  10. Set Up a Meditation Station


    Clearing your mind and slowing your breath are essential actions in reducing stress and finding peace. When you establish a shrine, you provide yourself with a set of rituals that make easing into meditative practice less of a climb. Customize your shrine with teacups, incense holders, and whatever other accessories you like. 


  11. Carve Out a Yoga Corner


    By devoting a little corner of your room to ayurvedic stretches, you can foster the tranquility of a yoga studio, simply for a class of one. Clear an appropriate-size space, add a full-length mirror, a yoga mat, and a poster of poses, and you will be well on your way to better health and well-being.


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