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The way of Zen is one of adjusting awareness. You might’ve thought it’s all about staring at a wall and emptying your mind, but there’s more to it than that. The goal is to become a detached observer of your thoughts. No judgement, no analysis; just a general awareness. Our lives are faster and more elaborate than ever before. The traffic in our minds is staggering and often unbearable and sometimes we just need to escape.


Some of us like to go the park, some find solace in front of the TV. Others just take a walk to cool off. Whatever the case, we all have that comfort that soothes our souls in times of intensity and distress. Sometimes you just can’t go to the park, and at other times sitting in front of the TV just doesn’t cut it. What do you do in times like these? Well that’s what a Zen sanctuary’s for, and you’re about to find out just how to design one, the Zen way. 


Less is More


Minimalism is the way to go. Your space shouldn’t be clogged; have only what is required and nothing more. It’s hard to relax or even focus when in you’re in a place full of stuff. Hoarders aren’t the most productive people are they? Tiny homes are a great example of using less space and maximizing utility with every element in the house.


Nothing should be exaggerated. Form and function shouldn’t be communicated too loudly; ornaments and other beautifications are of no need. Extravagance can be suffocating and chaotic and it would defeat the whole purpose of the space.


Don’t Panic, go Organic


Your design should be as natural as possible. Try to incorporate the environment as much as you can. Plants, water features, natural airflow, whatever you can use to achieve a natural feel, take it with both hands. Being a part of nature is the most liberating thing and by invoking this impression you conjure comfortability.


50 Shades of Zen


The balance between darkness and light should be of interest to you. It’s hard to feel refreshed and rejuvenated in a dark space. Light is involved in the regulation of our moods so it’s important to ensure that the space gets enough of it. 


Artificial light is a big no-no and any hopeless romantic will tell you that candles are great for setting a relaxed mood. Mirrors and other reflective surfaces like water are great for spreading light. Position your mirrors or water fixtures well and you can have light ricocheting all around the space.


Swimming against the Tide


Serendipity is very much welcomed in Zen and this principle can be instilled within your design. Using handmade items and deviating from ordinary layouts are some of the things you can do to spice up your space a bit.


As you go about designing your sanctuary and as you put the finishing touches to it, put as much effort into diverging from the established standards. It is after all your personal space so it should echo how unique you are. 


Meditation Translated


Your design should exude relaxation. Everything meditation seeks to achieve; that should be represented in the way you lay it all out. The circle, for example, is a great shape to work with because its smooth, it has no points and therefore keeps itself out of the way and it doesn’t solicit analysis as much.


If you’ve got it, don’t Flaunt it


Mystery is a gift of life. If everything were obvious, life wouldn’t be as precious. Leave some things to the imagination. Don’t reveal everything at once. 


Try and incorporate things like wood bead curtains to separate your Zen space from the rest of the house. It’s a much softer barrier and comes in a variety of colors and designs from greige to soft pink and mint green. 


Spot on


Now we pick a spot. The location of your little haven should be carefully thought out. You need to be surrounded by organic matter and perceive the beauty of nature all around you. 


Also, make sure the decorations you’re using are made from natural materials and are good for the environment. Plastic chairs aren’t exactly an ideal addition to your refuge. You should also consider the noise levels that your sanctuary is exposed to and get some form of noise cancelling wall covering to help you shut out the world. 


Mind over Matter


Keep it original, you don’t want your mind to associate this space with something else. As you go about designing with a focused awareness, maintain a general awareness of what the space means to you. The end result of this DIY project will give you a lifetime of relief, but so should the very process. Have fun, go crazy with it and keep in mind the purpose of this space. Don’t just sit there, design away!


Want to learn about tiny homes? Check out our website and begin your journey to designing your own self-sustaining sanctuary.