We are often so busy filling our homes with stuff and finding places to put it all that we barely consider the need for spaces where there is none. Most of us sit in front of screens with access to just about everything in the world for at least a part of our day, so it is becoming increasingly important for us to find spaces in our homes where we can sit and read a (real) book, stare into empty space, out the window or at a blank wall in a calming colour.
Even those of us who find yoga, meditation or watching Danish crime drama to be too much of an effort in the name of relaxation do need to switch off, so a space in the home to do just that can pay dividends. It need not be large, but it should be somewhere that you can enjoy in peace and where you won’t be disturbed. Be inventive and look around you. It can be the corner of a room. You just need to rearrange the furniture and put an armchair, yoga mat or comfy rug in it. It can have you facing a wall, a window or back into the room, but it does need to be free of work, files from the office, discarded running machines and screens.
The first thing to do is to remove any clutter in the area you want to relax in. You can use this as an excuse to de-clutter the room or the house in general. There are many books that can help you get started on this, although a few strong bin liners, a box for the charity shop and the promise of a bottle of wine or beer at the end can be great motivation. If you have good storage then so much the better. If you don’t then do be prepared to be brutal or hide things in the loft.
Once your space is clear then think about ambience. This means checking on the colour scheme, the temperature and the light. You don’t want a space that is either too hot or too cold at various times of the day. You will also want to consider whether you want to look out at the sky or would like privacy from neighbours whose homes overlook yours. Light colours are usually conducive to relaxation, with pinks, sky blues and light green all being calming tones. Neutral or natural, earthy colours work as well. Avoid post box red, busy wallpapers or making do with the box room that still has the children’s old Bob the Builder wallpaper.
You can add to a relaxing atmosphere by making sure that you have candles, incense sticks or tea lights to hand. Many people find that these enhance a relaxing atmosphere, but do make sure you choose something that is not too strong. You don’t want your relaxation to be interrupted by sneezing or allergies. If you are religious or spiritual then you may find that religious figurines or icons aid your relaxation or contemplation.
Lastly, make sure that you have a way to maintain your peaceful relaxation once you have begun. This may mean warning your spouse or housemates in advance, or it could mean purchasing a ‘Do Not Disturb’ sign for the door. Locks on the door can be useful, but people trying to get in will still be a distraction if it is not clear that you are having some you time.