Calm & Collected: Creating a Relaxing Zen Den In Your Home

Choosing to create a space inside your home to gather thoughts and relax in will always be a good move. Here is how to carve out a zen den in your home.
Calm & Collected: Creating a Relaxing Zen Den In Your Home

We’re spending more time in our homes than ever before, meaning it’s no surprise that we’re all wanting to carve out a designated area that help us to commit to slowing down, taking a step back from our busy lives, and sitting with it. Even if just for a few minutes.

How to create a zen den in your home

Choosing to create a space inside your home to gather thoughts and relax in will always be a good move. It’s a trend that continues to grow in popularity across the board, and comes in many different shapes and forms. It all depends on how you want to use it–while some want to carve out a space for meditation, others may want to use the space to read or to take time away from the devices that are glued to our hip.

this is a small nook and zen den in a dining room featured on the design files

All of that said, creating a zen den doesn’t need to mean setting aside an entire room in your home that has nothing other than a large window with big plants and a water feature, for you to sit in. Instead, it can be anywhere inside your home. Big or small, a spare room or in the corner of one, in the dining room or your bedroom. Wherever you can find a spot in your home that you can come back to when needed, and where others won’t interrupt you.

1) Choose your designated area

Before carving out the spot for your zen den, think about how you want to use it to help stir the design on the space. For example, if you want to use it for yoga make sure there’s enough room for your matt to be rolled out and for your blocks to side to one side. If you want a small space to take phone calls to speak to family and friends, you may want to be able to fit a chair in there and a small desk. Ultimately, it’s up to you how you want to spend your time there but making sure the interiors and accessories you add to space help to elevate that time out rather than distract you.

Once you’ve chosen the designated area for your zen den, it’s time to make it comfy. The first thing to consider is the floor: a rug. Hard wood or tiles just won’t cut it for a relaxing environment that you’ll want to spend time in. For me, I’d opt for a rug that leans more towards a neutral colour such as the Mala Pile Rug or if you wanted something with a little more character this Heijer Rug is for you.

this is a small zen den with a leather seat and footstool featured on the design files

2) Get particular about lighting

If you’ve been here for a while, you know we love to talk about lighting. Its importance should never be underestimated—it may just be the most important design feature in your home. To get the lighting right is to get the ambiance of a room exactly the way you want it.

For your zen den, it could be worth investing a smart bulb that allow you to set the hue exactly the way you want it. Plus, the ability to add a soft warm light will enhance the calming effect in the space which is exactly what we’re going for. If you can, go for a table or floor lamp to keep the space cosy and intimate–which is difficult to achieve when the central ceiling light is switched on.

3) Go green by adding in nature

There are few things that can make you feel grounded in a home like plants do. Their vibrant colours help to bring a small personal corner to life while at the same time, make you feel at ease with their mood enhancing properties. Rarely is there such as thing as too many plants, even if you struggle to keep them alive–talking from experience here.

It’s becoming more and more possible to find gorgeous little gems in corner shops on busy streets as well as mature plants from online retailers, such as the unapologetically giant palm table and the forever-flamboyant cheese plant. That said, if you’d rather not risk a whittled plant–fair enough–there’s always the option to add faux plants such as the fiddle leaf fig tree or trailing rosemary plant into your zen den for greenery that’s much less high maintenance.

4) Awaken the senses

We want the zen den to feel soothing, now while much of that comes down to how the space looks its as important to think about the other senses–what you hear and the aromas that fill the room. Similarly to lighting, tapping into the senses can do more for a space than we believe. Getting these finer details right will mean you can focus more on what you’re there to do: relax.

There will always be scents that take you back to certain times. One might remind you of white water rafting in the Lakes, another raving on the beaches of Ibiza–sure, great memories but calming and relaxing? Huh, probably not. For this space, it’s better to choose a nice soft fragrance as a base–such as oud, vanilla or lavender–and look for a diffuser in that scent. Alternatively, there’s also the option to choose an electric diffuser and using essential oils as the fragrance. Although, if you’re wanting to spend the time concentrating on your breathing or focusing on yoga, the intensity of an electric diffuser can be a bit much. In these cases, candles or diffusers work a treat.

this is a home office and zen den designed by pernille lind studio

Once you’ve chosen your scent, there’s nothing quite like setting the scene with music. It’s not for me to tell you what music you should listen to–it’s personal and we’d be here all night. The music? That’s on you, but what I can say is that not all listening devices are made equally. Personally, nothing beats vinyl–the sound and feeling of listening to vinyl on a Sony Turntable is different to what you’d get from a speaker.

Now while I’m no expert on turntables, I do know they’re an investment and the higher price tags will often mean better quality. If you’d rather let speakers do the talking–that is, not having to get up and change the vinyl mid-meditation–then a high quality speaker such as Apple’s Home Pod Mini will do the trick.

5) Furnish the space

If you can–and your space allows for it–you could turn up the dial on luxury and add in a chaise lounge with a side table. It may not be the first thing that comes to mind when you’re thinking zen den–which admittedly can be fairly minimal and stripped back from character–but it’s the ultimate glam piece that will have you coming back for more.

The vision? It’s to have music playing in the background while curling up on the chaise or a comfy chair while getting stuck into a captivating book. Nope sorry, you’re not going to get me away from it. It’s these finer details, and more importantly the commitment you have to the purpose of the space that makes the zen den what it will become.

this is a calming spot that could be used as a zen den inside a contemporary inspired home photographed by nicole franzen

Once you’ve got the bigger items sorted, think about the walls and if there’s anything you’d like to have take up the space. Art can play an important role in setting the scene of a space, while also adding your own character to it. Similarly to music, this is on you. Art is subjective–whatever you find helps to center you then I’d say, go for it. If you’re looking for a versatile range of prints, John Lewis has a standout collection that’s worth taking a look through.

6) Say goodbye to clutter

A space for relaxation thrives when there’s less clutter. If space allows for it, add a storage unit to create space to put away any bits and pieces-books, yoga equipment, paints, or your vinyl collection–that you’ll want to keep in your zen den for when you need it. Modular storage units such as Whenby can also be used to create a small partition in a room that might also be used for something else, your bedroom or living room for example.

Photo credits: 1-3. The Design Files 4. Pernille Lind Studio

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