7 Home Decorating Ideas that Reduce Stress

Posted on April 1, 2020 by Nymland™

We all feel stress from time to time and want relief. The source of stress may come from one or multiple factors such as troubling times, heavy workloads or demands, sickness, job loss, stock market crash, heavy traffic, etc. There are literally hundreds of factors that can lead to stress. The impact that stress has on us is profound. According to an article by the University of Minnesota stress impacts not only our health; including cardiovascular disease, digestive disorders, accelerated aging, and decreased immune functioning; but affects relationships and job performance as well. According to HeartMath Institute, we can add to the list weight gain or obesity, headaches, irritability, diabetes, insomnia, as well as others.

Fortunately, studies indicate environment can play an important role in our mood. According to one such study, Ulrich and Zimming, authors of the report, The Role of the Physical Environment in the 21st Century Hospital, more than 600 credible studies show how aspects of healthcare design influence medical outcomes. Essentially, improving the physical environment can make a setting less stressful, safer, and more desirable.

This research and others studies have led us to share 7 things we can do in our homes to help reduce stress.

1. Eliminate Clutter

Reported in The New York Times in their article, The Unbearable Heaviness of Clutter, research findings indicate clutter negatively impacts mental well-being and increases levels of cortisol, which is a stress hormone. The article further states that a cluttered home can be a stressful home.

Clutter can be an overabundance of things hampering movement, or a state of being messy and non-orderly. It might be time to sort through our possessions to decide if you really need or want them. Anything left after tossing what we don't want, will need a place to reside. If there is not enough space, organizer products can sometimes be of help to confine more things in a smaller space while appearing organized.

Taking time to tidy up and declutter is a great first step to creating a stress-free environment while eliminating distractions from your home decor.

2. Add Lots of Natural Light

According to research reported in the US National Library of Medicine, researchers found lack of exposure to natural light is related to depressive symptom and poor quality of sleep.

There are at least a couple ways to add more natural light which include:

  • Maximizing use of current windows by opening existing blinds, shutters, or curtains during the daytime hours
  • Use light paint colors in the home that have greater reflection properties to help reflect light coming from the windows to other areas of the home

3. Add Nature to your Home Decor

Reported in an article, How Does Nature Impact Our Wellbeing?, being in nature, or viewing scenes of nature, reduces anger, fear, and stress while increasing pleasant feelings. Basically, it makes you feel better emotionally while reducing heart rate, muscle tension, and stress hormones. Research done in hospitals, offices and schools found that even adding a simple plant to a room has profound impact on stress and anxiety.

While difficult to bring an entire forest into your home, there are things we can do bring nature indoors. These include:

  • Add potted plants, or even faux plants for those who do not have a green thumb.
  • Hang wall murals or paintings of nature scenes
  • Include flowers as a centerpiece to a table
  • Grow herbs inside your home

For greater depth and more ideas, visit our article, 5 Ways to Bring Nature Indoors.

4. Add Nature Sounds

In an article published by Health called, Why Nature Sounds Help You Relax, a new study revealed nature sounds alter the connections in our brains, which reduce our body's natural fight-or-flight instinct. Some researchers tested the affect of people listening to clips of artificial sounds versus natural ones. They found people listening to nature sound clips registered having the biggest relaxation benefits.

We can add nature sounds inside our homes in several ways. The quickest way is to use apps or sound machines that play nature sounds. Another way would be to add decorative water fountains throughout our home that not only look great, but also produce naturally the sound we often hear in nature from babbling streams of water.

5. Dampen Noise with Decor

The same research above that indicated nature sounds relax people also revealed artificial sound had the opposite affect. For those living in big cities, it is common to hear traffic, car horns, and sirens, which can increase stress. Those with kids or dogs may find it hard to control the volume during playtime. Sometimes a barren room with wood or tile floors will amplify the volume.

How we decorate can help minimize these sounds. Adding floor rugs and wall hangings can help dampen these sounds. In extreme cases, wall sound panels can be fashioned to fit your current decor. Heavy drapes or curtains can help dampen heavy traffic sounds from the windows at night.

6. Add Essential Oil Diffusers

Scientists in Japan are reporting scientific evidence that inhaling certain fragrances can alter gene activity and blood chemistry in ways that reduce stress levels. Marlynn Wei, M.D., J.D., in her article, mentions that studies show specific essential oils used in aromatherapy can help relieve stress, relax our body, and promote better sleep. She mentioned 6 essential oils that can help relieve stress and promote sleep.

  • Lavender - one of the most studied in terms of relaxation effects and findings that it calms the nervous system, lowering blood pressure, heart rate, and changing brain waves to a relaxed state.
  • Yuzu - Japanese researchers found this citrus scent can soothe stress, anxiety, and lower heart rate in as little as 10 minutes with effects lasting almost half an hour.
  • Bergamot - new studies support its ability to relieve tension and anxiety with clinical studies showing reduced heart rate, blood pressure, and stress
  • Ylang Ylang - shown to be relaxing and decrease blood pressure
  • Clary Sage - shown to have antidepressant-like effects
  • Jasmine - less studied but one study suggests odor of jasmine tea can be calming

7. Incorporate Textiles

Finally, adding soothing textiles to your home can help reduce stress. A research study published in the Iranian Journal of Public Health found walking on carpet induces less stress than walking on wood flooring. For those with hard floors, adding an area rug will not only help reduce stress, but can enhance your home decor.

Several studies have also concluded that stress is highly related to poor sleep. Investing in comfortable sheets, mattress, or even weighted blankets may help with achieving a better night's sleep and less stress.


In our stressful world, we can find peace and serenity in our own homes utilizing home furnishings and decor. Eliminating clutter will reduce stress while bringing focus to our home decor. Adding lots of natural light, bringing nature indoors, adding nature sounds, dampening unwanted noise, adding aromatherapy, and leveraging textiles in our homes will go a long way in promoting a stress-free environment. Please leave a comment and let everyone know what you found helpful in your home decor to help reduce stress.

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