Chill Out at Home

Home should be a place to relax and forget the outside world. But how does that happen? Between clutter, computers, and kids, our apartments can often feel as peaceful as Times Square. Here are some tips on how decorating can help you create a low-stress environment.

Cool Colors. Where possible, use blues, whites and greys. You may not be able to paint your walls, but even hints of soft tones will put your mind at ease.

Let There Be Light. Use natural light whenever possible — a strategically-placed mirror or two will put the sun in every corner. Overhead bulbs can be harsh, so place a few good lamps in every room.

Use Nature. Fresh flowers and live plants are a great way to boost your mood and create an indoor sanctuary. Match them to your apartment's color scheme or bring in whatever strikes your fancy.

Decorating 101: Mix Classic & Modern

Want to give your apartment a makeover? Don't match colors and textures — mix and match! A room that's excessively matched has the sterile feel of a hotel. This is your home, after all, so put your stamp on it by mixing colors, patterns and furniture styles. It's easy to do, and it works with any budget — but it takes planning. Here are a few ideas.

Vintage Photo Frames:  Mixing old and new frames creates depth and versatility in your wall display. Try varying the look within a color palette — like silver and black — or stick to a certain style of photo, like black and white. Gorgeous frames are surprisingly cheap; just check out your local thrift store or drug store.

Repurpose Family Furniture: Does Grandma want that chair from the 1960s? If not, display it! Remember, what's old is new again. Chances are your friends will be bowled over by classic pieces.

Mixing Modern and Classic: Work with what you have. Keep big items like your couch to simple, soothing, neutral colors, and then infuse personality with smaller items. Bring in stylish pillows, lamps, and attractive art work. Don't purchase all your furniture in one spot — acquire over time, and keep your eyes open when you visit thrift, antique, and second-hand stores.