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Home & Garden

How to Turn Your Home into a Wellness Sanctuary

Refresh your living space with each of the five senses in mind.
By Laura Kostelny |
Wellness Sanctuary of Crystals and Peace Setting
Elizabeth Lavin

With a few simple measures, your home can become a touchstone for everyday health and happiness. Here are tips and suggestions to refresh your living space and recharge all five of your senses: sound, sight, taste, touch, and scent. After all, it just makes sense.

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Make Some Noise

A well-balanced sanctuary should help silence the nonsense that comes with the non-stop demands of modern life. Jenn Moulaison, co-founder of Breathe Meditation and Wellness Studio, says you can take a big step in the right direction by trading out the Top 40 for a more soothing playlist.

“Instrumentals are a great way to immediately calm down a space, and nature sounds are great, too,” she says. “There’s a free app called Insight Timer that has hours and hours of different music and sounds that you can choose from.”

Moulaison also has high praise for a good old-fashioned, New Age sound bath. “It elicits a relaxation response—the blood pressure lowers, the heart rate lowers, and the body basically goes into the healing mode,” she enthuses. “It soothes you on a cellular level, and you end up feeling like you have just had a 10-hour massage.”

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Light Up Your Life

The benefits of natural light are undisputed—it ups Vitamin D production, helps improve sleep, and even brightens your mood. So when you’re building a house, it’s important to site it right, says builder Rene Gracia of RDG+B: “Some of our clients want to wake to the morning sun, while others prefer to control how natural light comes into their living spaces.”

For those working with existing homes—some of which may be pretty dark—Jon Sayah of Lights Fantastic Proˆ says that artificial lighting can help create atmospheres that make people more productive, energized, focused, and sleep better. “At our showroom, we help people create different moods,” Sayah says. “We’re doing more of wellness-focused spaces today, and LED provides a lot of opportunity to control color temperature and intensity less expensively.”

Brush with Greatness

Designer Holly Hickey Moore says for her, wellness is all about moderation—except when it comes to color. “We’re drawn to dark spaces because they envelop us and make us feel safe,” she says. “A beautiful dark blue or green will make a room of any size feel cozy and comfortable.” Here, Hickey Moore’s top three picks for high-impact paints:

  • “Negroni” by Backdrop
  • “Cook’s Blue” by Farrow & Ball
  • “Aurora Borealis”  by Benjamin Moore:

“It’s the perfect red. It doesn’t feel as formal as a red with blue undertones.”

“It reminds me of the ocean and white sand, and I love that it has a tinge of purple undertones.”

“It’s a green that looks great on cabinets, walls, and ceilings.”

Add a Touch of Zen

The quickest way to bring wellness and wonder to a space? Crystals! Jenn Moulaison shares a list that rocks.

  • Smokey quartz – Dissipates negative energies
  • Black Tourmaline – Keeps negativity out
  • Clear quartz – Clears energy
  • Rose quartz – Brings love and joy into your space
  • Amethyst – Adds healing energy
  • Citrine – Ushers in abundance

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Snack Smarter

Smoothies are a great way to start the day on a nutritional note. Rather than incorporating sugar-packed fruit juices, registered dietician Morgan Sanderson advises, “I typically stick to 2-percent or non-fat milk or almond milk for my base, and I like to naturally sweeten my smoothies with frozen fruits like bananas and berry blends to give it flavor and nice color.”

Sanderson adds that healthy fats and proteins like Greek yogurt, peanut butter, and soy milk will add flavor and ensure that you’re not starving five minutes after you’ve enjoyed your last sip. The beverage also offers room for a little subterfuge: “Smoothies are also a great way to sneak in veggies (shoutout to my picky eaters!) such as kale and spinach.”

Get It: 1) Nail brush ($12/All Good Things) 2 Body brush ($12/Nicholson-Hardie)  3 & 8) Kiel bath products (from $24/All Good Things) 4) Terracotta pumice ($18/Nicholson-Hardie) 5) Tata Harper sculpting body stone ($70/Credo Beauty) 6) Wooden comb ($13/Nicholson-Hardie) 7) Everyday Oil ($48/All Good Things) 

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Pass the Smell Test

Aromatherapy can go a long way in combatting everyday problems ranging from depression and anxiety to insomnia and physical pain—especially if you enter into the practice with an open mind. “If you’re closed, nothing will work,” says Mary Ellen Dorey, founder of Dorey Aromatherapy. Dorey has spent the past 15 years creating custom blends and offerings from her eponymous line to help improve general well-being. “It takes the body 12 hours to get back to homeostasis after that shot of adrenaline when someone cuts you off on Central,” she says.

Try adding these three products from her line to bring a bit of calm to the chaos:

  • Aromatic Wellness Spray for Sleep
  • Aches Away Balm
  • Mental Focus Inhaler

A soothing blend of lavender, rose, and blue chamomile

A healing mix of sweet marjoram, juniper berry, and a bit of birch in an aloe vera base cream

A combo of rosemary and patchouli

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Finish Strong

As people become more mindful of what they’re putting in their bodies, they’re taking a longer, harder look at how—and where—those foods are prepped. “There’s definitely a heightened awareness,” explains designer Ashley Keating of Poggenpohl. “We want surfaces that are easier to maintain and keep clean and refrigeration that’s inclined toward keeping food fresher longer and won’t contribute to the transfer of different gasses in different foods.”

So even as kitchen trends change, the solutions for curbing germs remain simple: engineered stones and certain woods for countertops (“People are always shocked to learn that wood is naturally antimicrobial,” Keating says); touchless faucets; flat-front cabinets with no grooves (fewer places for unpleasant things to clump and gather); and cabinet interiors made of a non-porous surface that won’t need a shelf liner and are easy to clean.

Plant Some Roots

As a practitioner of therapeutic horticulture, Susan Morgan can’t stress enough how beneficial houseplants can be for the mind, body, and soul. The founder of The Horticultural Link cites studies in which people with plants experience less anxiety. “They feel more creative and at ease and can even collaborate better, just by having green things around,” she says. Dig into Morgan’s short list of recommended houseplants:

Easy-to-grow picks like Raven ZZ plant, Ric Rac Cactus

(Cryptocereus anthonyanus, also called zigzag or fishbone cactus), and desert rose (Adenium obesum) 


Such as jade, panda plant (Kalanchoe tomentosa, readily available and has fuzzy leaves you can pet all day), and zebra plant (Haworthia)

Snake Plant (Sansevieria)

Best for lower light conditions


Try ‘Neon’ and ‘Snow Queen’

*A previous version of this story misidentified its author. This has been corrected.


Laura Kostelny

Laura Kostelny