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With everything going on in the world—you know, international pandemic and all—we’re all looking for ways to make our lives a little less anxiety-riddled. And, given how much time we’re spending indoors these days, our homes are a great place to start. Aly Morford and Leigh Lincoln of Pure Salt Design Studio have built their company around creating spaces that feel more soothing than an ASMR video whisper-narrated by Morgan Freeman. So, we turned to them for a few simple ways to make our homes a little less “ugh” and a little more “aaaah.” For them, it all comes down to following four C’s.

RELATED: 10 Home Office Organization Ideas That Will Boost Your Productivity

Winery Way Project   Vanessa Lentine
Vanessa Lentine/Pure Salt Interiors

1. Change Your Layout

One of the easiest ways to refresh your home without actually having to buy anything new is switching up the way your furniture is arranged. Now that many people are working from home, Morford and Lincoln recommend creating dedicated work and study hubs, rather than perching your laptop in any quiet corner you can find. That may mean temporarily moving an armchair or console table to the basement, so you can set up a fold-out table in the living room to serve as your workspace or the kids’ “learning space” during weekdays. (As a bonus, being able to fold up that table and tuck it away on Friday night can help you transition into weekend—aka chill-out—mode.)

Even something as simple as moving your sofa or swapping out the art on the walls can breathe new life into a room, breaking up that same-old, same-old feeling you may be getting from sitting at home every day.

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Jessica Alexander/Pure Salt Interiors

2. Control What You Can

“Creating visual calm can help create emotional calm,” Lincoln and Morford explain.

But rather than overhauling an entire room—or the house—think smaller. Grant yourself “little victories.” Maybe this weekend’s goal is to gather the plants you keep forgetting to water and arrange them on a stand so they become more of a focal point (one that never slips your mind again). Maybe it’s styling your coffee table or creating a pretty display in the dining room. Something as easy as peeling the stickers off a bunch of bananas or oranges, washing out a large bowl and arranging them on the table means you have something nice to look at—instead of that pile of papers that normally resides there.

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Jessica Alexander/Pure Salt Interiors

3. Clean Up Clutter

In terms of “little victories,” organizing projects can provide a huge sense of accomplishment. Focus on something—just one thing—you can do in a couple hours or less. All-house projects are lofty and often realistically impossible to finish in a day or even weekend. Here are a few ideas to get you started:

  • Clear your kitchen counters
  • Tidy the pantry
  • Audit your bookshelves
  • Get rid of expired condiments in your fridge
  • Donate old linens crowding your closet
  • Sift through childhood relics in that box in your attic
  • Pare down your shoe collection

Laguna Beach Project   Vanessa Lentine
Vanessa Lentine/Pure Salt Interiors

4. Create a Refuge

There’s a reason meditation rooms have become so popular on Pinterest lately: You need some alone time. But when everyone’s at home 24/7, that can be hard to come by. Even a small nook or corner can become your mini-getaway, the Pure Salt team says. You just have to be intentional about it. Morford and Lincoln suggest adding a floor pillow, candles, books and music to make the space feel more like an escape.

They’re also big on incorporating nature in their designs. If you can go for a walk or forage in your backyard for some branches or spring flowers, you can create a simple arrangement that can liven up the nook. Throw them in a pitcher, and you’ll feel like a regular Ina Garten (who recently ‘grammed that very trick). How easy is that?

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