Between traffic, social media, and work, there’s probably not one among us who couldn’t use a little extra R&R. And what better place to decompress than in your very own home meditation room or spa? Converting a spare bedroom into a wellness area like this allows you to create a peaceful retreat away from the hubbub of the rest of your home. But to really get the rest you need, it’s best to take an intentional approach toward your design. The tips below will help you transform a spare room in your home into a place of rest, ease, and spiritual nourishment.
Embrace a Minimalist Aesthetic
Of all the things a wellness room may be, it should never be cluttered. Not only does clutter look chaotic, it can also have a negative effect on your well-being and mental health. In a crowded space, your brain attempts to process multiple stimuli at once, fails, and becomes stressed. In fact, some studies have shown a connection between the number of objects in a home and the amount of cortisol—the stress hormone—present in the body. To avoid this issue, keep surfaces clear of knickknacks and excess objects, and opt for furniture with a clean, slim profile, rather than pieces with lots of extra decorations and frills. Don’t go too far in your minimalism, though, because a stark or empty room can also trigger feelings of fear and emptiness. A sense of balance is always best.
Choose the Right Color Palette
Color is tricky, because all of us have our own unique personal associations with different hues. However, in general, reds and oranges stimulate and excite the emotions, so they make a poor choice in a meditation room. Most people find soft blues, greens, and grays to be the most soothing options, but muted pinks, beiges, and lavenders make a nice alternative as well. Consider painting one wall as a decorative accent wall that can be seen immediately as you open the door. This makes a good place for more focused meditation or gratitude practice, and it can be a nice spot for your home altar (more on that below).
Pay Attention to the Lighting in the Room
Of course, other factors can influence your mood, too. If you’re able to get it, a source of natural light can do wonders. The effects of sunlight have been studied extensively, and it’s been universally shown to boost productivity, focus, and happiness, and to help normalize sleep cycles. No window in your room? You may want to consider having one installed. A panoramic window wall or floor-to-ceiling layout bring a nice, natural harmony to the space. If that’s not an option, though, a sunlamp or table lamp with multiple color warmth settings makes a good alternative—try warm yellow or white settings for a peaceful vibe in your room.
Add Some Natural Elements
Exposure to nature through windows also restores fraying nerves and bring a special awareness to your meditation sessions. Researchers have found that spending time gazing at views of nature improves attention and concentration, suggesting that we’re hardwired to feel more peaceful in a natural setting. Here again, a room with wide, open windows will serve you well—particularly if those windows are finished with high-efficiency glazings that will keep you comfortable in the space all year long. If windows aren’t available, be sure to add some potted plants instead. Graceful, draping species like spider plants or golden pothos make an ideal choice, since both are easy to grow indoors. They also improve the air quality by removing harmful pollutants from the air you breathe.
Give Yourself Plenty of Inviting Cushioning
If you want to design a space you can really relax in, you’ll need to make it an amalgam of different soft textures. Curved, cushioned furniture has an effect on our minds. Too many angles in a room can trigger the amygdala in the brain, bringing feelings of fear and anxiety to the surface. Pick out plenty of pillows, bolsters, and meditation cushions—this will help you find a comfortable position for yoga or meditation practices, and it’ll invite a sense of comfort to the space, too.
Bring in Soothing Scents
Scent, much like color, is very personal. Everyone has their own attachments and memories associated with different smells, so it can be difficult to name one that’s universally loved. However, in surveys, vanilla is generally rated as a calming and soothing smell. Other research has shown positive results from lavender, which is believed to improve mood and soothe anxiety. Regardless of your scent preferences, always opt for an essential oil diffuser over commercial candles and perfumes. Many of these commercial products contain artificial ingredients that could be potentially harmful for your health, so it’s best to keep them far away from your meditation space. Find essential oil blends and tips for creating your favorite natural scents in "The Naturally Aromatic Home."
Create a Meditation Corner or Altar
An altar in your wellness area offers a visual reminder to practice gratitude, allowing you to embrace the day’s events with an open, welcoming heart. It’s a spot to meditate or do some deep thinking, or even just to appreciate the peace and quiet. To design your altar space, look for a low table, shelf, or other clear surface that you can position in a prominent spot in the room. Decorate this table with items that you consider personally meaningful or “sacred.” That could mean a memento from a special time in your life, or just an item that makes you happy or brings up feelings of peace and well-being. Your wellness space should be a place that’s uniquely you—so be sure to incorporate elements that really resonate. After all, if you can’t express yourself in your meditation room, where can you do it?
Erin Vaughan is a blogger, gardener and aspiring homeowner. She currently resides in Austin, TX where she writes full time as a heating and cooling expert for Modernize HVAC, with the goal of empowering homeowners with the expert guidance and educational tools they need to take on big home projects with confidence.