The Fine Art of Privacy: How to Create Time and Space for Yourself

Instead of extending your space, learn to deepen it by adding or even subtracting a few elements.

| November/December 2004

In a stressful, noisy world, we want our homes to be places of peace that enclose and protect us—we want them to be private. Yet the balance between solitude and sociability is different for each of us. Can we build that balance into our homes, especially if we live with others? Of course we can. We just have to translate the elusive concept of privacy into the concrete dimensions of space and time.

Begin with an inventory of your days. A week’s cycle should reveal the rhythms of your life, the ebb and flow of time alone and with others. Where are the rhythms smooth and natural to your temperament? Where are they out of sync? This inventory should hold up a true mirror. It’s your best tool for redressing imbalances in the energy flow between yourself and the ripples of life around you.


Morning is a critical time for many of us when our bodies, minds, and spirits require solitude and quiet. Review your morning routine:

• Does the room you sleep in welcome you to the new day? Have you chosen the best room for awakening—sunny and east- or south-facing if you like lots of light, west- or north-facing if you’re a “burrower?”

• How well have you arranged your morning space? Is your wardrobe organized for ease of dressing? Is your bathroom convenient to your bedroom or dressing room?

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