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Bringing the serenity and beauty of nature into your home and office These days, with so much going on around us and in our ever-changing world, we all need a little time to ourselves. We need a place where we can go to unwind and de-stress. Unfortunately, for many of us, finding a space in our homes where that is possible can be a challenge. The best way we can accomplish this is to carve out a cozy place of our own that can improve our mental health and bring a sense of calm. These personal spaces are called Serenity Rooms, and here’s how you can build one.

From classical to modern and minimalist, and somewhere in between, our homes and offices reflect our personal aesthetic. Themes of hearth and home, the journey of life, of warmth or mystery, of adventure… When selecting a particular space in your home or office, think about what elements will evoke inspiration, peace, or a spark of motivation. There are symbols that can bring memories of life’s special moments; they can also bring calm and tranquility to the present.

Here are six ways you can elevate and transform a spot in your home or office into your own serenity room:

Bringing the serenity and beauty of nature into your home and office

1. Choosing a quiet place

Perhaps you have a rarely used guest bedroom or an isolated space in your basement, or a nook in your office where you can place a small couch or super comfortable chair, a side table and call it your own. Finding a spot where you know you won’t be easily interrupted and can relax into your meditation and thoughts. As you return to this sacred and private space a sense of calm will come to you with ease. This space will become your sanctuary!

2. Color Choices

Choosing soft, neutral colors that don’t evoke a lot of emotion work best for this space of peace. Earth tones are a perfect backdrop for clearing your mind and getting in touch with your thoughts and feelings. Bright, warm colors (reds, oranges) stimulate energy and while cool, subdued colors (blues, greens, browns) are soothing and calming. Bright, warm colors are best in rooms for entertainment like dining rooms or kitchens, while earth toned colors work best in relaxing spaces like meditation spaces or bedrooms. The more subdued colors can lower blood pressure! By keeping your color palette subtle , your attention can now focus on your peaceful, private time instead of being task oriented.

Bringing the serenity and beauty of nature into your home and office 3. Unclutter the Space

Make sure the room you’ve chosen as your Serenity Room isn’t filled with clutter, paperwork, toys and unnecessary objects. Be deliberate about the pieces you place in your space and make sure they bring calm into your sphere and help you relax. Heavy bookshelves filled to the brim, laundry and trash will only make it harder to relax. Since your brain is naturally predisposed to favor order over chaos, constant visual disorganization tires the brain, impairs working memory, and makes it harder and harder to regain focus. Clutter also releases cortisol and is correlated with stress and anxiety.  Without clutter, focus improves, stress lowers, and energy increases.

4. The Calming Element of Water

This includes photographs and paintings. Images of cool, calm water can enhance your sacred space. Research shows that looking at an image of the sea can bring us many of the same wellbeing benefits of being in and around water. It can reduce our anxiety and pain and soothe our nervous system. It can take us back to positive memories and shift our minds into a meditative state. When we take the time to look at calming images of water it is a form of mindful meditation in which you maintain your attention or awareness on a present moment. If you’ve ever heard the phrases “zone out” or “take a mental vacation” that’s exactly what calming pictures have the power to do for your mind and, therefore, your overall wellness. These images can bring you into the present where the past falls away and the future can wait. A small fountain can soothe with the gentle sound of running water. Cushions, and cozy carpets can add softness to your sacred space.

Bringing the serenity and beauty of nature into your home and office
Bringing the serenity and beauty of nature into your home and office
Bringing the serenity and beauty of nature into your home and office

Bringing the serenity and beauty of nature into your home and office

5. Add Natural Elements

For clear thoughts and intentions Crystal quartz harmonizes all the chakras and focuses, amplifies, stores and transforms energy, working at a vibrational level that is attuned to your own specific requirements. And it happens that plants with their fantastic green foliage generate happiness and improve our moods. It’s a fact that being around plants can trigger responses that bounce through billions of neural pathways in the brain to inevitably transform our state of mind and we realize we’re feeling better. Bringing the elements of nature soothe and relax our human nature. The softness of a small, green potted plant reminds subliminally of new beginnings. The scents of aromatherapy and incense have incredible power to transform the simplest space and transport us. Blending sandalwood with frankincense creates a primordial, fragrant pathway to bliss like visiting an ancient forest.

Bringing the serenity and beauty of nature into your home and office
Bringing the serenity and beauty of nature into your home and office
Bringing the serenity and beauty of nature into your home and office

Bringing the serenity and beauty of nature into your home and office

6. Enhance the Ambiance with Comforting Artwork and Soft Lighting

Choose the artwork for your space carefully; comforting colors and images are key to completing the vibe of your Serenity Room. Think of flowers or abstractions in pinks and purples. Images that allow us to dream and take us to another realm are best. Images printed on textured papers, Giclee canvas print in homey frames work well. The lighting should be warm, dimmed and incandescent. If fluorescent bulbs are present, turn them off. Giving yourself the gift of a peaceful, restful place will enhance your life immeasurably. Knowing we have a private spot to recharge and unwind has rewards that you will discover for yourself as you claim this place as your own.

BARBARA BOURNE

PHOTOGRAPHER + ARTIST

I grew up on the east coast and was always painting or drawing something. I fell in love with photography in high school when my dad put a Canon range finder in my hands. I don’t think I’ve stopped photographing since. Both of my grandfathers were prolific fine artists and I come from a family of musicians, film makers, photographers and performers. The arts have always been valued and seen as an excellent vocation in our family and I’m very grateful for that support.

While studying fine art and photography at the George Washington University in Washington, D.C., my professional photography career began. I was a street photographer by day and a water color painter by night. Then commercial assignments followed. As the shoots continued to flow, I began to get assignments photographing interiors for hotels and designers. This work led to 35 years of architectural photography assignments. I have shot many buildings from the ground up and have enjoyed every component of commercial photography.

I moved to the Russian River area of Sonoma County over 20 years ago with my river runner husband. We live half of the year in Medellin, Colombia which has become our second home, travel extensively and love adventure. I’ve built a library of landscape and still life photographs that reflect the beauty and bounty of our home, Northern California. My life’s work has been as an artist and creator of images.

BOURNE Photo Studio + Gallery is based in Healdsburg, CA and features my landscape photography and paintings, atmospheric abstractions reflecting my relationship to nature . My work leaves room for the viewer to create their own world within the painting. Each piece is a process of discovery. I delight in allowing my hand freedom as I move the brush through paint on the canvas.

My photographs and paintings are offered in canvas, metal and fine art papers in a wide selection of sizes. My intention is to bring the outside world inside along with the peace and calm only nature can provide.

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