These pro design tips will help you create a home that's the definition of ~warmth.~

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Brown and orange pillows on white bed in natural bedroom interior with wicker lamp and wooden bedside table with vase
Credit: KatarzynaBialasiewicz/Getty

The weather is cooling, everyone's heading indoors, and if there's one thing you've learned lately, it's the importance of creating a home that speaks to your well-being. "As we move into fall and see the leaves change color, our instinct is to lean into warmth and follow our internal pull toward the sights, sounds, and smells that we associate with comfort," says Rachael Grochowski, the principal architect at RHG Architecture & Design in New Jersey, who specializes in infusing calm into spaces. "We naturally transition from the outdoor social activities of summer and begin nesting inside, where we crave coziness." Here, smart, creative tips to add those happy hits.

1. Give a Fall Vibe

Gather a big bunch of seasonal blooms, and put them in a vase. "I love birch for its color and character, but any branches will be beautiful," says Grochowski. Or cluster florals in rich pinks, burnt orange, burgundy, deep yellow, or red accented with dry leaves, and place them by your bed or on a coffee table or a mantel. "These small touches keep us grounded and connected to the outdoors while we're cozy inside," she says. (Related: The Health Benefits of House Plants — and How to Decorate with Them)

2. Ignite Your Senses

"I love the feeling that candles bring to a room," says Grochowski. "Choose a scent that's comforting to you, and it will spark fond memories and even a physical relaxation response. When you activate the senses, it can make us pause and feel grateful for friends and family who fill our home. That's what brings us the most warmth and happiness." Grochowski's likes Bare Candle, and here's a selection of other especially serene candle scents. (Related: This Candle Company Is Using AR Technology to Make Self-Care More Interactive)

3. Set a Calm Scene

The clutter that accumulates in our homes hurts our mental state, says Jamie Gold, a wellness design consultant and the author of Wellness by Design (Buy It, $14, amazon.com). "Intentional decor can be busy if that's your style. I'm talking about the stuff of everyday life: mail, kids' schoolwork, a partner's dumped gear," she says. Designate an area to stash that, along with electronics and computer cords (when work and school are over), like a big drawer in the entryway or a cabinet. "Putting stressful reminders out of view helps you escape from the pressures of the day and keeps your living space tranquil," says Gold.

And consider your home's soundtrack. "A TV playing in the background, news coming from the computer — these noises make their way into our psyche and prevent us from decompressing," she says. "Unless you're watching a show, keep your home soundtrack positive and uplifting." (Related: The 7 Types of Rest You Need In Your Life)

Wellness by Design: A Room-by-Room Guide to Optimizing Your Home for Health, Fitness, and Happiness
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4. Add Warmth and Texture

Grochowski recommends cozy throws in cashmere, soft wool, cotton, or faux fur. "The sight and feel of a blanket are so inviting — they make family and friends want to cuddle up in them," she says. "They also encourage everyone to slow down, relax, and come into the present moment." Grochowski likes the faux-fur and other throws at Ikea and at SpiritHoods, which gives 10 percent of its profits to saving endangered animals.

5. Create a Nook

Alone time is key, and you'll want a space that is sanity saving and feeds your well-being, especially as our homes have become hives of family activity, work, and study. "Look for a niche that can be that special spot, like a corner by a window with a chair or a big pillow, a lamp for reading, and a ledge for a mug," says Gold. "It can even be a bathtub. Have a basket of fluffy towels, a tray to hold your book, and some great bath oils at the ready."

6. Show Off You

A home that shows no signs of the people who live in it comes across as cold. "But when you add hints of your passions and experiences, you infuse the space with the pleasure you get from these things," says Gold. "It can be as simple as displaying a beloved collection — found shells, old postcards, or anything that delights you. Or hang your kids' art or your own, or inexpensive images discovered in antiques shops when traveling. You can also turn your hobbies into decor. If you love chess, keep a pretty board on your coffee table." (Related: These Gorgeous Yoga Mat Holders Double as Home Décor)

Shape Magazine, October 2021 issue