Budget-Friendly Ways First-Time Home Buyers Can Embrace Tranquility

Yoga room in a Charleston by Beazer Homes townhome at Hadley Township. Sugar Hill, Georgia. Image courtesy of Beazer Homes.

Use flex spaces to create a serene yoga room as a place to unwind. Pictured is an example of such a space from The Charleston townhome floorplan by Beazer Homes at Hadley Township. Sugar Hill, Georgia. Image courtesy of Beazer Homes.

Yoga, meditation, and mindfulness have all become mainstream and self-care is no longer seen as a luxury. Savvy first-time homebuyers are increasingly interested in homes that offer tranquility and provide them with a retreat from the world.

Such indulgences are not only for the affluent. Everyone needs a place to relax and recharge, and what better place to do so than in the privacy of your own home? For first-time homebuyers on a budget, the concept of creating a perfect, tranquil place to relax may seem out of reach, but we're here to tell you it's not. There are plenty of ways to bring mindfulness home no matter what your budget.

There are many ways to create a peaceful environment, a place to reflect, or an in-home retreat. The key factor is making the environment work for you. Everyone responds to stress and de-stresses in different ways. What may work for one person won't work for another. Keeping that in mind, here are some ways first time homebuyers are creating mindful environments in their new homes:

Play with Fire
There is something mesmerizing about fire, whether it's an outdoor fire pit or a simple candle lit on the counter. "Fire softens the edges," explained Dan Zelen, interior and exterior designer of D. Zelen in San Francisco, Calif. "Candlelight is a great way to create a peaceful environment inside or outside and fire pits are wonderful for having in the backyard." As Zelen further explained, fire pits can be found at any store these days, from Target to the local hardware store," which makes them easily accessible to homeowners on any budget.

Even fireplaces are more accessible than ever with designs that range from electric plug-ins to gas fireplaces that are connected right to the home's gas line. Such versatility makes it possible for anyone to add a fire focal point in their home, even if it didn't originally have a fireplace.

Just Add Water
Another very popular way to create a sense of tranquility at home is to add water features. Water appears prominently in just about any spa ad you see, making the element synonymous with relaxation and self-indulgence.

Bringing water features to the home is an undeniable way to lower stress levels and induce peaceful feelings. Like fire options, water options abound in every price range. Small tabletop fountains can be installed indoors or out; many of them even run on solar power, eliminating the need for cables and nearby outlets. Larger installations can be used to create a lush retreat in the backyard while smaller set-ups can provide soothing background noise in any room of the house. We've seen fountains installed as walls in homes and courtyards, too, but even a small reflecting pool tucked away into a corner or a bowl with water and stones can provide a tranquil, meditative spot for first-time homeowners.

Rooms Dedicated to Rejuvenation
Many first-time buyers don't yet have kids or don't plan to have kids. That means there may be more room for their own interests. It's not uncommon to see extra bedrooms or basements turned into private retreats or tranquility rooms. From plush carpeting and eco-friendly bamboo flooring to large windows and skylights or subtly lit alcoves, transform such spaces in your own home to meet your own needs and interests.

"Buyers want the house to feel good and have spaces that are designed around the way the live," says Casey Margenau, a northern Virginia real estate broker who specializes in new construction. For some, this means a home gym or yoga studio. For others, a library or a quiet place for reflection.

The Zen Bath
The bath is a natural place to create a sense of peace and tranquility. More new homes are featuring large baths with walk-in showers and standalone tubs these days. Natural materials such as stone and wood, heated floors, large windows and skylights, dimmable lights, candles, aromatherapy diffusers, and soothing colors all work together to create a spa-like feel in homes at all price ranges.

Brian Hoffman, an executive with Red Seal Homes, a Chicago luxury homebuilder, agrees. "Builders are adding luxury features in showers,” he said. “These fancy features include built-in benches, rain shower heads, jets, separate thermostat/temperature controls and steam options."

Mindfulness is a Choice
Choosing certain features that help you relax or support mindfulness is no different than choosing other features that are important to you, such as an airy kitchen with open storage or an energy efficient smart home. As Realtor Nancy Doyne of New Jersey-based Weichert Realtors explains, "You don't have to give up the things you love. Put together a list of what is important to you in a home." If that includes a Zen retreat, so be it. The important thing is that your home fills you with a sense of peace.
Sarah Kinbar is a freelance writer and editor for leading print and online publications. Formerly editor in chief of Garden Design, she has also written and edited for Cottage Living, Modern magazine and Orlando Arts. You can find her on Google+.

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