In Dostoevsky's The Idiot the house of Rogojin is decribed as 'like a burial ground' - 'Such a full life as he leads is so overflowing with absorbing interests that he has no need of assistance from his surroundings.'
I think I do need 'assistance from my surroundings' and my home is one of my absorbing interests.
I treat this alcove in our sitting room a bit like the alcove, known as tokonoma in a traditional Japanese house, which is set aside for the display of beautiful objects. I believe the Japanese way is not to have all your treasures out at once but to change the display with the seasons, something I love to do.
I try to have something beautiful on this shelf, and to keep it simple. Flowers always, a card, a candle, a favourite bowl....I change it often. It makes me feel calm and relaxed to look at it.
It feeds my soul.
Google 'tokonoma' and click on the words 'images for tokonoma' (not the pictures) for lots of exquisite examples of these beautiful alcoves....