5 Tips for Creating a Stress-Free Zone in Your Home

This is a guest post from interior designer Terri Fiori. It first appeared in her blog. Fioriinteriordesign.com/blog

Over the years, I have written numerous articles that focus on creating calming environments in your home. These days it seems to be more important than ever. The global pandemic has only heightened our stress levels. According to a poll conducted on behalf of the American Psychological Association, this year 84% of adult Americans experienced negative emotions caused by prolonged stress. Yikes.

So the question is: How can your home help you to recharge and regain control? One way is by creating a stress-free zone in your home.

The following are a few projects and inspiring rooms that we visited at High Point Market along with five tips that will inspire anyone to be their best.

Your home should be a place that nurtures and recharges you.

Since the concept of comfort differs from one person to the next, think foremost about what calms your mind.  Creating stress-free zones may mean redefining a space in your home so that it offers the functionalities you need with a layout and design that works well and feels good.

1. Find a space and change the layout

Hickory Chair showroom

Start by scrutinizing the layout of your space. Does it still serve its purpose? Could the layout be improved by repositioning a few key pieces of furniture?  A few choice changes can reduce stress by enhancing the functionality and flow of your space.

2. Personalize your space

Photo by Laura Moss Photography

Add a few favorite items that speak to you and make you smile.  Think about what you would pack if you could only pack one suitcase of your favorite objects. What would they be?  Then choose three or four of these items to display.

3. Take Inventory


Remove those items you don’t like or need in the space and donate them to someone in need. (Consider donating to Families for Families, an organization that we sponsor!)

According to the National Institutes of Health, when people give to charities, it activates regions of the brain associated with pleasure, social connection, and trust, creating a “warm glow” effect.

4. Add super soft fabrics 

Chaise, Hickory Chair; pillow fabric, Zoffany; fabric panels, Lee Jofa

Research has proven that pieces upholstered with soft fabrics help us to feel not only physically warmer, but better prepared for warm interactions with others.

5. Add color and pattern … carefully 

Chair, Barnes Upholstery; accent table, Itinerant Studios

Using light purples, blues and greens can have healing and calming influences and are generally stress reducing. Colors that are more saturated like reds, oranges and yellows are exciting and increase blood pressure. There is no “one size fits all”  formula. The way we respond to color is very personal. So it’s important to know how you react to certain colors (and which colors might even trigger certain memories) before using them in your space.

Whether it’s clutter, a floor plan that doesn’t work for you, or interiors that just don’t resonate, we may be unknowingly living in homes that contribute to the stress in our lives. It’s easy to let our homes fall by the wayside as we become busy with daily commitments. The good news is that it doesn’t have to be this way with thought, planning or guidance from a design professional.

Terri Fiori is principal of Fiori Interior Design in Wyckoff and an allied member and past president of the New Jersey Chapter of the American Society of Interior Designers (ASID)