Cut out the clutter from your life and home with these tips from Teja Lele Desai

In these busy and demanding times, most of us want a home that’s serene, welcoming and peaceful. Nothing works better than Zen, a way of life, a state of mind. The Japanese pronunciation of Chinese word “chán”, meaning “quietude”, Zen is an art of living that advocates slowing down, being at peace and taking time out to smell the roses!

In home décor, Zen is synonymous with clean simple lines, minimal furniture, natural colours, a soothing ambience and a relaxing home. Rule of thumb: Decorate with the five elements of nature - water, earth, fire, wood and metal.

Cut it out

The foundation of a Zen space rests in the maxim less is more. The key lies in relating Zen principles, which highlight harmony and simplicity, to the home.

Think minimalism, harmony, balance and relaxation. The first step is to declutter and ensure that your home isn’t bursting at the seams.

Open floor plans that keep walls to a minimum and open out to the exterior help create a Zen-like feel.

Figure out how much furniture you need and arrange it in a manner that gives your room a sense of airiness and space. Ensure a balance between the occupied and unoccupied space.

Keep accessories to a minimum – do you really need to display all artifacts, photos and paintings? Weed out visual clutter such as small decorative items, patterned fabrics and bold area rugs.

Connect with Nature

Zen décor has its roots in breaking the barriers between the indoors and the outdoors. Sliding glass doors, French windows or expansive openings help bring in outdoor views.

If you have the space, a Japanese garden with a pond and seating areas can provide a few moments of peace each day. Or else, opt for calming elements such as rocks, fountains, waterfalls, Asian sculptures, sand gardens, and greenery.

An Ikebana flower arrangement, which works with stems and leaves to emphasise shape, line and form, adds to the organic ambience.

Stay neutral

An earthy palette of colours - cool blues and greens, neutral sands and taupes, muted pastels and tranquil whites – helps create serene spaces.

Work with natural materials around the home. Try wood (for furniture and trims), bamboo (for floors, dividers, screens), stone or river rock (accent walls), cork (mats, dividers), silk (screens, accessories, lampshades) and hemp (lamps).

Ensure that even accessories create a calming feel. Rice paper lamps that throw off a diffused light work well. A straw mat enhances the appeal of a wooden floor, while a rice paper screen separate areas of a room with elan.

Build whatever relaxes you into your sanctuary - soft music, natural artwork, woven baskets, an indoor fountain, a bamboo plant, a wood figurine, candles or a collection of pebbles.

The lighting should be calming, not in your face – recessed fixtures and dimmable lamps work well.

Think you’ll end up with a space that’s sparse and Spartan if you go Zen? Far from it! What you’ll get is a home that’s an oasis of soothing tranquility!