Creating Zen Space
7 Ways to Design for Calm
Today’s home, more than ever, should be a place to relax and retreat from the world. Whether you’re looking to bring more soothing elements to your entire home or creating your own designated Zen space, these tips will help you design for a positive state of mind. Start with the five elements of Zen—earth, fire, water, wood and metal—that work together to balance the energy in your environment.
Bring earth to a space with natural stone tile, pebbles or terrariums with plants. A simple tabletop Zen garden made with sand and stones is a perfect accent piece.
Many find the sound of moving water to be quite relaxing. Establish water in a fountain, a fish bowl or even a beautiful piece of art depicting water.
For fire, look no further than the warmth of a fireplace, if you have one. If you want to keep the element present when lighting a fire might not be seasonally appropriate, nest a collection of candles in the fireplace for a beautiful glow that won’t raise the temperature. No fireplace? No problem! A few simple candles are all you need to keep the fire alive in your Zen space.
Wood is easy to incorporate with wood flooring and furniture. The natural, textured and raw versions of wood will make your space feel grounded and calm, giving it visual appeal to boot.
Metal is most commonly found in furniture pieces, but look for it as well in accessories, like picture frames, decorative bowls, sculptures and other art pieces. Metal can be polished and shiny or rough, natural, even rusted for a shabby chic look.
6. Aim for balance and flow
Use symmetry strategically to balance a large element (such as a sofa) with smaller, matching elements (end tables) on each side. Balance your space to complement its functional flow: it should always be easy to enter, exit and make your way around.
Has a noisy television become the focal point of the room? Think about hiding it behind cabinet doors. Does a blocky coffee table make it difficult to get to the sofa? Find a round one that makes an easier pathway. These small things can greatly affect how you interact with and feel about your space.
7. Reduce stress by preventing clutter
Items that you use for work or other activities, when left out, can distract from a room’s Zen feel, reminding you of to-dos and causing unwanted stress. In planning your space, think about incorporating some additional storage, places for bins, baskets or hidden trash receptacles. Keep surfaces clear with only a few subtle decorations that instill a sense of calm, like a stone sculpture or a plant. This gives your space a sense of order and harmony, and makes more room for your peace of mind.