My room refresh: no remodeling required

Everyone has a different definition of what “comfort” means to them. For some, it’s a bed full of pillows, for others, it’s a room where everything has its place.

I fall into the latter category. I’ll furiously clean up the mess I created throughout the week with the reward of falling into a freshly made bed. My bedroom had taken on a life of its own. Between the piles of my clean and dirty clothes, the tiny but abundant array of August's books and clothes; buried between his toys were the dog’s toys, throw in the stack of ‘things to do’ alongside my laptop from work, a vanity full of makeup and hair products and it was like a Russian nesting doll of domestic chores waiting to be tackled. Of course, these are all typical things that exist in most bedrooms, but it made me feel cluttered and overwhelmed. They say that people who have ADHD work well in chaos, but often need order in some part of their life to tap into this talent. For me, a clean home allows me to thrive in chaos at work. And since having August, I felt like I had lost that sense of sanctuary in my house. I feel guilty about saying I need that when wanting to provide a space where August feels empowered to play and make a mess. So I decided to select a few places where I could strive for a calm and orderly environments: our room and bathroom.

Once I got over the mom guilt, I realized a reclamation of rudimentary things like this doesn’t have to be complicated no matter how much I convinced myself that it would be. We often equate change with a complete renewal, be it a fresh haircut, coat of paint, or new outfit, but all of that takes time and I didn’t want to make things harder than they had to be. I wanted to work with the space we had and just refresh the things that existed within it, and to do so was as simple as taking what was already there and giving it a new breath of intention and purpose.

I began with tapping into the senses, creating a space around a fully sensory experience to make sure I was considering a holistic feeling of well being for both myself and partner.


The first thing I felt needed an update was the single most important piece of furniture in our lives, our bed. There is no greater release of stress than a cozy bed to come home to, so I began with the sheets. The simplicity of sheets and how they change the way the whole bed feels is pretty fascinating. I had underestimated what a simple upgrade could do to uplift the entire room. I covered the sheets with multi-textured throw pillows that act as an accent to the light black stripe of our duvet. A soft blanket at the end of the bed adds a cozy touch. It’s clean and simple, but not as stark as plain white bedding-- my previous go-to choice. 


We are totally the dog parents that give into our precious pups demands to cuddle by our side at night, no regrets, but couple that with the daily playtime and diaper changes in our room, the mix of smells can often times fall somewhere between stale and doggy daycare. I added the Aura Cacia room diffuser to my bedside because it helped create a soothing and seamless transition of calming scents in our most sacred living space. The safety of not having to light a candle around Winnie and August was reason enough, but the way the diffuser’s aroma feels is what really brings this refresh to life. The alchemy behind how you want to combine your aroma is in your control, the one-hour or four-hour setting on the diffuser is great for those short moments before bed or long cozy Saturdays mornings where snuggles and pjs take precedence. 


Let’s be honest, this is the 21st century and evening noise has really changed from when we were young. Between the bedside buzzing of those late night texts to the newest Netflix show religiously streaming, to that tumultuous tweet tumbling through the social media sphere, there is a lot of technological distraction and I definitely let myself fall into those digital pitfalls often. But it only takes two weeks to create a new pattern, one that allows your brain to rest and find bits of peace in these busy weeks. I start by first turning my phone on airplane mode and using the white noise app to create a constant soothing sound which emanates into the plush environment already enacted by the other areas of my room that are being refreshed.


This might be the most important piece of the refresh for me, because what you put into your brain visually becomes a variant of what you exude on the outside. The way shapes can show you strength and function, or how a color can circulate into the corresponding mood, everything should have a purpose or at least be thought out intentionally, not overdone. These interior decisions range from lamps and furniture to mirrors and art, like the blue piece on the wall by Kate Worum. I decided to use some of my favorite artists to fill the empty spaces on my walls, simple phrases to remind me to choose positivity when the purpose of the work week has left me defeated. I’m not often satisfied by completing day-to-day tasks, but the place where we rest our head should be a little sanctuary shaped by the things that enlighten us and that begins by what we see when we enter it.

The biggest takeaway from our room refresh was realizing — the little things that stress you out can be picked up and sorted. I try to not let a day go by without giving myself a moment to pause and find my center again, which has brought me to practice the art of appreciation — not just for what others do for me, but for what I do to care for myself. To take care of the things that matter most and to bring back the beauty of just being, is less about aesthetics, and more about clearing the mind so we can be closer to the home we’ve created for family, friends, and ourselves.

Kate Arends

I'm a self-confessed tornado; running my own business over the last few years has trained me never to stop moving or growing; keep up at all costs. This mentality changed the moment my son was born. Since then, I've made a conscious effort to slow down, and take a look a the world around me; stop viewing everything as a task on my never ending to-do list. Being more mindful of the little things, a good cup of coffee, fresh linens, and smiles from my son remind me to make room for myself.

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