10 Ways to Create a Great Atmosphere at Home
When you’re home with young children it can sometimes feel so overwhelming and stressful. Messes, noise, nagging, whining, and tantrums are inevitable. Maybe you’re getting less sleep at night, and during the day there’s certainly more caregiving than if you were on your own. With all that’s going on, you can start to feel like you want to escape from your own home.
I work from home with four young kids (soon to be five), and I completely get just how much it takes to run your life well, take care of little ones, and have time for self care.
I believe that if you want to create a family life that you truly love, then you should make it as pleasurable as possible. Not only does this help you be the best version of yourself for your little ones, it will just make life more enjoyable. When we experience enjoyment we’re less edgy, less likely to spiral into emotional downturns, and less likely to want to escape!
It’s my belief that we should take every possible step to make our time, and space reflect pleasure, joy, love, fun, beauty and all of that good stuff.
10 Ways to Create a Great Atmosphere at Home
- Plants – There’s ample research to show that any kind of exposure to nature, be it going into the forest of desert, or just having a plant in a room – makes us feel happy, calmer, improves the oxygen flow etc. There’s even been research done in hospitals where they found that the patients who had a room where they were exposed to a tree vs. a brick wall, tended to have a significantly quicker recover time post operation! Adding plants is timelessly chic, looks great in any room, and is a nice pop of color that isn’t going to detract from neutral tones or take a way from the calmness.
- Music – Play that type of music that you love. It is something that affects us on a subconscious level – so playing music that we loved when we were younger, meditation music, etc. can be an instant mood shift. Music changes the atmosphere of the home very quicky. It can calm our kids down, energize them, help them tidy up, and just be a powerful non verbal cue for the type of behavior and mood we’re trying to elicit.
- Aroma – The next subconscious way that we communicate with the world is through scents. If we’re smelling poopy diapers, sanitizer, and doing dishes all day – those smells can really even repulse us and make us feel the need to escape. Pleasureable aromas can come from diffusing essential oils, burning insence, wearing perfume, or baking.
- Clear Surfaces – This one can take a bit of extra work, but is well worth the effort. Smooth surfaces visually signify order. If our eyes are drawn to these suraces, and can provide a feeling of calm. Whereas if you walk in and every surface is cluttered, it can be an instant cortisol spike. After you eat, clear the table every time. After you cook, clean the contertops. Make sure the tops of dressers are clear, the bathroom cabinetry, and the bathroom sinks remain clear except for the things that stay there like the soap dispenser or a candle. This will show yourself that there’s a sense of order in the home. Even if you can’t get to that mess right now, put the clutter somewhere that’s covered so you can see the flat surfaces, and feel some instant calm. Kind of like if guests were coming over, you’d likely clean up a little bit and at least hide some clutter. Treat yourself as you would a guest, and show yourself you’re worth it. Get your children used to tidying up so it doesn’t feel like so much upkeep. My children are asked repeatedly to clear their own plates, hang up their own coats, pick up their books and put them back on the shelf etc. even if I have to call them back from a different room to do it. This is a long term investment for me!
- Words of Affirmation – Display words that reflect your values, or make you feel good. These are subconscious primers that influence our behavior. Having a word like “hustle” may actually make you feel a little agitated. How can you have words that actually prime you, and guide you to embody what you’d like to? For example, “good vibes,” or “love.” In my Present Play membership our values are “Presence, Peace, and Play” so I’ve actually had an artistic canvas made with this words on them. I also have a goal to read everyday to my kids, so I have the word “read” on the wall by our bookshelf. Words can goal post a certain area in this way, like “create” for the art area, or “family” for the dining room.
- Family Photos – There’s something so powerful about seeing yourselves at your best, or at your funniest, having a good time. You could have a digital photo frame that rotates them. You could actually frame and hang up your photos, or display multiple albums. You could almost think of this like a look book, or a branding for your family! They can remind you of why you’re a family, who you are, and what you’re doing in the world.
- Neutral Colors – There are so many color theories out there. Like all of these tips, it’s all about your own taste. A lot of people go for very bright primary colors for kids’ spaces thought, and most (not all) people respond with a heightened sense of nervous system alert to bright colors. In the wild, colors like red and yellow can signal danger like a poisonous animal, so in terms of evolution that makes sense! In our culture it’s the same – think of a traffic light. So for children, we might think primary colors attract them but they don’t actually help them to play deeply being so stimulating.
- Lighting – This is similar to colors in that it really affects our nervous system through visual experience. Bright, fluorescent, LED, or bluish lights can be pretty harsh. It’s one of the reasons that basement playrooms are actually not the best. Research shows that most people feel much better in natural light, whereas fluorescent light increases cortisol. It’s too bad that’s what usually in schools! Consider removing dressing from the windows, and spending time in spaces where there’s natural light. Open doors if you can, and when you do need lighting consider warmer lighting, nightlights, Himilayan salt lamps, and apps that block the blue light from screens – especially if you need to use these within an hour or two of bedtime.
- Beautiful Objects – I think sometimes we have a super utilitarian approach to decor when we have kids, being super functional and not thinking so much about the esthetic. However, we can really be choosy! Before buying a kitchen utensil, we can consider if we also think it’s beautiful. A bundle of sticks from the forest can add beauty. We don’t have to buy anything – in fact usually decluttering usually helps so that what’s left are the things we find beautiful and useful. Double whammy. Each item we use – makes a difference to whether or not we feel like escaping! Making oatmeal and putting in a bowl you think is ugly, vs a simple bowl you think is beautiful, really makes a difference to that moment! These moments add up. Often we hide our beautiful objects behind cupboards or save them for special occasions, which makes sense. Perhaps there’s a way to keep them around us – by displaying them up high or teaching kids how to respect them. Shop in your own home for the things that make you feel good, and perhaps set up a little ritualistic space for yourself. Have things that are wipable, not breakable, washable, etc. that you can still enjoy now. We don’t have to wait til their older to replace everything and have beautiful things.
- Comfortable Pieces – Invest in making your home work for you, ergonomically so that you’re physically comfortable. For example, switching an uncomfortable office chair for a yoga ball, or putting a bolstered pillow in your bed where you breastfeed, as I did for example. Then also think about how to make your home work for you by having enough hooks accessible to children so they can hang up their own towels and coats, or putting extra shelving or laundry baskets where things tend to accumulate. The physical comfort and functionality of your home is going to increase your joy and decrease your overwhelm.
To conclude, be in a space that really supports you and is a great atmosphere! How would you set your home up for an AirBnb guest? Treat yourself as you would an important guest! Get your pleasures through all your senses! Your home is like the vision board for the life you want to life.
Speaking of vision boards…If you’d like to refine your family vision and come up with a compelling game plan for the blissful family life you didn’t even know was possible…
What are your tips for creating a great atmosphere at home? Let us know in the comments below.