There is nothing quite like having a sacred, personal zen room at home where you can retreat if life gets a little overwhelming–or just as a spot to spend time each day claiming some inner peace.
When carving out a zen space in your home, the idea is to create a peaceful respite from the stress of day-to-day life. Whether you're setting up a meditation corner for one or a dedicated zen room the whole family can use together, here's what you need to create an oasis of calm and serenity.
Prepping Your Zen Space
No matter where in your home you want your new zen space to be, the first step is to clear out all clutter.
It’s been scientifically proven that our stress levels are heightened by chaotic, cluttered environments. Our parasympathetic nervous systems read them almost as war zones, triggering low-grade fight-or-flight responses. While I recommend tackling the issue of clutter in every room of your home to experience a greater overall sense of peace, it’s imperative that your zen/meditation space is tidy and uncluttered.
Once that’s accomplished, it’s time to bring in items that transform the space into a true zen room. The key is to bring all five senses into the experience.
When it comes to sound, we want to create quiet in the space but also add sounds that soothe and calm us.
Of course, there’s nothing quite as peaceful as the sound of trickling water. A small water feature is a great addition to any at-home zen space. A good alternative is to bring in a sound machine that includes the sounds of gentle streams, softly crashing ocean waves, and even a little light birdsong.
Another option is to bring in a sound system and create a relaxing playlist in whatever musical genre you like best. I don’t recommend relying on your phone or laptop for playing music in your zen space since those are more than likely to distract you from life’s demands. The idea is to create a sanctuary where you get away from stress–not bring it into the sanctuary with you!
Another great sound addition is a singing bowl. They are beautiful to look at and you can use them
in your zen practice to create sounds at frequencies
that actually lower stress levels.
The sense of touch includes what you touch with your fingertips and anything that comes into contact with your body. That includes temperate control and seating.
Be sure to include a few cozy blankets and warm the floor with soft rugs (with rug pads for extra cushioning). In warm weather, you can bring a fan into your zen space if needed.
If you have room, it’s nice to include multiple seating options, especially if several people will be using the space at one time. I love swinging chairs for these types of spaces because they create a floating feeling. A small, cozy sofa or chaise is a nice addition for reading. Soft meditation pillows are great for sitting on the floor, and if you plan to practice a little light, restorative yoga in your space, don’t forget yoga mats.
Ideally, this room should have plenty of access to natural light. I love windows high up on the wall that brings in the sunshine and give you a view of the sky while maintaining privacy. You'll want to create flexible layered lighting with a combination of overhead lighting and either a floor or table lamp. You get bonus points if they are on dimmer switches so you have full control at all times of the day.
I love incorporating beautiful plants (real or artificial). They provide texture and nature in the space. You can add a grouping of plants in containers of varying heights, or create a plant wall like I recently did for a client.
If you don’t have a green thumb and you’re not a fan of artificial plants, fresh flowers are a great alternative. Head to a farmer’s market and support a local business while beautifying your space.
I also love to bring items into these spaces that hold a spiritual, cultural, or emotional meaning
for a deeply personal touch. Statues, crystals, soothing photographs or art, and any books you
may want to read while you’re in the space are perfect for this.
The key here is to address the sense of smell without overpowering it. Aromatherapy oils and diffusers are wonderful, spa-like options for this. There are beautiful ceramic warmers that look like sculptures. Some plug in or use a fan to diffuse the scent throughout the room.
Scented candles or incense sticks can be wonderful if they aren’t too strong. Make sure they’re placed safely away from anything flammable and that they can’t be knocked over easily.
One great option is to use a candle lamp that releases the scent without having to light the candle at all.
Whatever you opt to bring to address your sense of taste when you’re in your zen space, be sure you have a small table or another surface within reach of every seat to set a cup, glass, or dish on. That way, no one will risk kicking them over on the floor. Creating a zen space at home doesn't have to be difficult. The items can be as simple or as luxurious as you like as long as they address all the senses and create an oasis of calm and comfort. Crafting your own personal haven will not only provide you with much-needed peace but also help foster strong bonds when you enjoy the space together with your loved ones.
It sounds like heaven on earth, doesn’t it?! Whether you live in New York, New Jersey, Connecticut, or anywhere else in the world, I can help you bring that little bit of heaven to your home with in-person or remote design services. Just reach out to me here!