June 14, 2019

Creating Sanctuary with Design

Where’s your favorite place to hang when you want to release your stress and recharge your spirit? Got a picture in mind? Now, close your eyes and personalize the space by bringing in a few of your favorite things. But not too many. In fact, try a little mental sculpting, shaving off all but the essentials. What remains should be an idyllic atmosphere you’ll want to revisit again and again.

Designing your own sanctuary space can be as simple that. Start with the question “where do you like to hang.” Your answer points you to the elements you need for contentment. It’s a portrait of the colors, textures and objects—maybe even an oddity or two—that speak uniquely to you, in a voice of pure comfort. 

For me, the answer takes a literal turn: I like hanging out in a hammock. So bringing a hammock indoors was essential for my sanctuary space. As a designer, I needed to add my personal touch with a lavish display of beads and fringe, enough so the hammock beckons with an almost decadent appeal. 

Elements that make this space a sanctuary are piles of books, the framed photo of my sweet daughter, crystals, plants (hooray for nature!), inviting pillows, cool and soft colors, and natural organic textures and finishes.

Turns out, I’m not the only one seduced. Hammocks are fun! They say, “Come hang out. Relax.” The hammock is the first place EVERYONE wants to sit when they come to my house! The unexpectedness of finding a hammock indoors makes my visitors pause and take notice—exactly what you want to do in a sanctuary. Pause. Breathe. Feel where you are. Show up. Mission accomplished!

Three things you can bring to a space to create sanctuary:

1. An object from the natural world. A plant, feathers, a shell or driftwood treasure you found on the beach, or a rock gathered on a hike all bring the natural world indoors.

2. An object that sparks a happy memory.  This can take many forms from a photo of someone you love, a special, beloved gift, or a champagne bottle saved from a magical evening. 

3. Something that invites you to relax and refresh. My faves include a soft blanket or throw, fluffy pillows, tempting books (these include the coffee table staples I love to revisit, but also new books I’ve been hoping to read), soft music and candles.

When I first began my sanctuary journey I allowed myself to simply feel each object.  Did it make me smile, bring me a sense of peace, make me experience a contentedness that feels so right.  I didn’t edit them for appropriateness, how they matched or anything else.  What’s surprising is when you open yourself to the what might be, things just seem to gravitate and fit together.  When you open yourself without any preconceived filters, what would you choose?  With what would you surround yourself to feel nurtured, calm, and grounded in your personal sanctuary?  Share your ideas in the comments.  Can’t wait to hear from you.

With gratitude,


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