When I moved out of my family home to rent with a friend, the only piece of furniture I bought with me was my bed. I was pretty lucky and managed to snag the huge master bedroom, so my space looked desperately bland and lonely with just one big bed plonked in the middle. It felt quite disconnected and wasn't a placed I considered 'home'.

When you are uncomfortable in your own living space, this can filter into other aspects of your life: sleep, diet, mood, productivity, etc. This is what got me thinking about the concept of 'zen'.

A quick google search will tell you that zen is a 'Japanese school of Mahayana Buddhism emphasising the value of meditation and intuition rather than ritual worship or study of scriptures'. Your interior design should embrace these principles. I'm not suggesting that you should turn your house into a Buddhist place of worship - but emphasising meditation and intuition? Now we're on to something. Your home should be a place that you can come home to after a stressful day at work and feel at peace.

To help get you there, we have put together some tips on how to turn your house from a clinical structure into a relaxing haven- a place of "Zen".

Avoid bright light.

We are 'children of the sun'- our bodies are not designed to withstand large amounts of unnatural light. Harsh fluorescent lighting can not only cause eye strain and migraines, but it can bring on a terrible night's sleep. This sleep deficit can then have a flow on effect, and may reduce your productivity at work the following day.

Solutions? Try a light cover. This will soften the intensity and stop you from looking directly at the globe. Pinterest has some beautiful (and practical) options for light coverings.

Alternatively, try some floor lamps. This will offer you flexibility, as you can re-position the lights according to what you are doing.

Lastly - make the most of daylight! Why? Because:
A) Exposure to natural lighting has numerous health benefits, and
B) You can save $$$ on your electricity bill simply by opening your curtains!

Address the mess.

There ain't nothing more stress-inducing than clutter. If you want your area to be a zen sanctuary, then follow the golden rule: Less is more.

The stacks of papers on your desk? Hide them in a drawer. The loose change on your bench? Straight into a coin jar! Pick your clothes up off the floor and put your toiletries away. It takes just seconds to tuck in your sheets and make your bed, but the avoided stress is sure to add years to your life!

Choose 'soft' for your loft.

Textures are everything. Think about the feeling you get when you take off your shoes to feel the soft, plush carpet between your toes. Now, compare that to the feeling you get when you step onto cold, sticky vinyl flooring - not so satisfying, huh?

When considering design, visuals are often prioritised and textures are ignored. Make sure you focus on both elements; pick out a crisp timber desk, and splash some cash on 1000-count sheets - you will thank yourself after many a perfect night sleep. Make sure your home not only looks good, but feels good too.

Go for earthy hues to prevent the blues.

While a bright red feature wall may be en vogue, it's not going to do much for your inner peace. Opt for a natural, earthy colour palette. Whites can add an element of purity, and soft browns can give your room a cosy feel. Be careful though, there is a fine line between simple and clinical! Be sure to include some subtle colour or tone variations to give your space a bit of personality.

If you follow these principles, your house is sure to be a relaxing place of 'zen' in no time! But, if your house still doesn't feel like a home, perhaps relocation might be in order. A move to the country, or maybe the hills, could be just the ticket you need to help rekindle your inner peace.

Disclaimer: The advice provided in this article is general advice only. It has been prepared without taking into account your objectives, financial situation or needs. Before acting on this advice you should consider the appropriateness of the advice, having regard to your own objectives, financial situation and needs. We encourage you to consult a finance professional before acting on any advice provided in this article or on this website.