Call it what you want – man cave, she shed, meditation hub – but every home will benefit from a room or area designated for maximum calm.
We were so struck by this zenned-out room by Los Angeles-based interior designer Lucie Ayres of 22 Interiors, created for an anesthesiologist’s West Hollywood home, that we’re pulling together a guide to bootstrap your own calm cave, fueled by advice from the designer herself.
Now, if the thought of putting together a designated space starts to stress you out, fear not: Ayers’ first piece of advice is to keep it extremely simple.
“Do your best to pick no more than five things for your calm space,” she explains. “And those five things should have a variety of textures – things that will stimulate your senses and force you to be present.”
One thing you can easily count out? Any sort of technology. “Electronics have allowed us to be very productive but incredibly stimulated,” Ayres says. “And I’ve found that soothing interior design can provide a refuge from all the noise of the modern world.” But only if you nix the wires (and the wireless too).
Now repeat after us: Breathe in, breathe out. Let’s get started.
“A hammock is so wonderful – and is something you can put up and take down very easily. Which means you can also bring it with you to the park!” Ayres says .
Hammock by the Glad Hours, $180, thegladhours.com
Not the hammock type? Ayres gets it.
“The best alternative is a really wonderful throw blanket – a heavyweight linen cotton or a faux fur,” she explains. “A great blanket should make you feel like you’re being hugged. And there’s nothing more calming than a hug.”
Monte Y Agua blanket by Dana Haim, $90, danahaim.com
Dress up – and cushion up – even the most boring chair with a seat pillow in comforting, durable wool felt.
Graf Lantz Zabuton seat pillow, padded merino wool felt in heather blue, $75, graf-lantz.com
Ayres turned a photograph by artist Lane Coder into a mural for this space, but you can create a similarly tranquil scene with wallpaper (yes, temporary versions are available; renters crave calm too).
Clouds temporary wallpaper by Rebecca Atwood, Chasing Paper, $40 per panel, chasingpaper.com
Wouldn’t it be great if your getaway had an ocean view? A close second: an ocean view through the eyes, and lens, of an artist. A large-scale poster is just what the doctor ordered. As photographer and shop owner Kelly Lynn Jones puts it: “There is nothing more peaceful than the ocean’s horizon line.”
California Collection Print 2 by Jones, 36-inch square poster, $40, littlepaperplanes.com
A place for everything
But not too much in this place. Your warm drink and notepad deserve a nice landing spot, and by incorporating a handmade walnut plywood piece, you’re making room for a thoughtful, grounded addition. And a pair means you can have a matching table in another room to keep the vibe going through the rest of the home.
Douglas end tables by Pete Deeble, $700 for the pair, etsy.com
Chamomile, lavender, or maybe you’re the type soothed by a latte. A hot drink is stimulating to the smell and taste, so why not drink it from a mug that calls to mind even more tranquil memories?
Palm Springs mug by Sisters of Los Angeles, $15, sistersoflosangeles.com
Keep it clean
Unless you’re the type who finds cleaning particularly calming, we recommend employing some assistance in keeping your space as tidy as possible. So the exception to our tech-free rule is a robotic floor cleaner to take on your floor and rug. Use your phone to schedule cleanings while you’re not there, and walk into a freshly spruced space each time. It’s how the Jetsons would do a Zen space.
Deebot M88 robotic vacuum cleaner and mop by Ecovacs $450, amazon.com