We understand: If you’re new to meditating, starting can be a real task, even with all the incredible apps out there aiming to make the process as streamlined as possible. However, if you’re really ready to get serious about making this a daily habit, your best bet is to create a meditation space you’ll turn to every single day.
“Setting a consistent space to meditate will help you be less distracted, because you will become accustomed to the sounds, scents, and other environmental factors that can sometimes draw your attention away. This way, it will be easier to stay present in the moment,” explains Khajak Keledjian, founder of the app Inscape, which provides daily guided meditations based on the mood you want to achieve post practice—be it calmness, energy, or sleepiness. “Having a dedicated space is a physical reminder of the intention you’ve set to create time for yourself, so you can recharge yourself and others around you.”
But don’t worry: Creating a meditation nook doesn’t mean you have to make over your entire home—just peep the colorful one in this sunny Austin apartment (pictured right). Ahead, read on for expert-approved tips for creating the ultimate space for mindfulness.
Tucking yourself away from your daily stressors will really help when you start meditating, because there’ll be fewer distractions in your new spot. It’s also important to use a space where you feel comfortable, as you’ll be more likely to let your guard down and relax.
“When you set aside this space, think about your favorite spot in your home—where you feel safe, cocooned away—maybe it’s a little nook,” says Keledjian. “If there’s a spot you’re already drawn to, that’s a great place to meditate.”
Play With Cushions
When you meditate, you want to be as comfortable as you possibly can—which starts with the cushions you use. “Meditation cushions are designed to help alleviate pressure on certain parts of the body, as it’s challenging to stay present if your leg is tingling or your back is uncomfortable,” explains Keledjian. Invest in a sturdy set, and “do your best to keep your spine straight.”
Make Use of Aromatherapy
At Inscape, essential oils are used to invoke certain moods and make the process much easier—so why not add some to your space as well?
“Aromatherapy is a simple way to destress, and scent can amplify your experience,” says Keledjian. “There are unique blends that have various benefits, and even the habit of pausing to smell the aroma and breathe it in will help to slow down and destress. Candles, oil diffusers, and incense are also effective.”
Not sure which oils to start with? Take some ideas from Keledjian: “Our signature blend at the Inscape studio includes frankincense, which is known to bring feelings of inspiration and acceptance. The blend also includes vetiver, which is grounding and calming, and cardamom, which is expansive and heartwarming. Cedarwood is also known to help focus inward, and sandalwood is known to help with emotional awareness.”
Try the Outdoors
Maybe you’re more of a nature person, or have a huge backyard you’d like to make use of. Why not settle up shop outdoors, and use that as your meditation space? (We’re really inspired by this bohemian alcove.)
If the sounds outside start getting too noisy for you, try creating your own little niche within that area: “If you’re meditating with an app, noise-canceling headphones are a great way to tune out external noise. I’ve covered my eyes with my hoodie to feel cocooned and do some breathwork with my headphones on,” says Keledjian.
While many people feel most blissed out in an all-white or gray color scheme, if you love bright hues, there’s no reason to abandon that just because you’re trying to create a special zen zone at home. Making your meditation corner vibrant with a combination of your favorite style of art and comfortable floor pillows is an amazing way to ensure you feel inspired by the space. Rolling out a yoga mat is a good way to see that you have enough square-footage to spread out if you feel so inclined, and if you want to squeeze in a quick flow, you’ll be ready to go.
Keep it Simple
If space is a concern, it’s still totally possible to incorporate a mindfulness-specific area in your home with just a couple basic pieces. Sticking a small textured rug in front of a window, along with some cushions for a more comfortable practice, is actually all you need to separate the space from the rest of your house or apartment. Keep the color palette consistent with your other decor, and it will fit right in. You might even find yourself using the area for other activities, like reading, journaling, or just hanging out.
In any mindful space, plants are your friend. Whether you go for easy-to-take-care-of succulents or leafier plants that require more upkeep, they’re guaranteed to add a fresh vibe to your little area. If you’re trying to keep things compact, built-in shelving is an ideal way to display lots of little green things without encroaching on valuable real estate.
While most people sit cross-legged to meditate, if a hammock is more your style, go for it. The most crucial thing is that the area is quiet and calm, and it’s all about knowing what works best for you to bring focus to your practice. Natural light is an incredible way to boost the energy of any room, so create your meditation space around it.
Elevate as Needed
Not everyone loves sitting on the floor, and that’s totally okay. A bench with a little padding works just as well. Honing in on a neutral color palette will make the environment cohesive and relaxed—perfect for letting go of everyday stress and anxiety.
Mix it Up
While the serene look is the most common choice for meditation nook decorating, a more bohemian approach with mixed patterns and textiles can establish a warm, inviting atmosphere that will get you feeling excited to have a few special moments to yourself every day.
Create a Fireside Haven
If you’re lucky enough to have a fireplace in your home, consider making it the focal point for your meditation practice. Sitting in front of a warm, inviting fire is incredibly peaceful, which is just what you need when you’re trying to make mindfulness a habit. Many people use an altar or centerpiece of some kind when they meditate, and a fireplace or mantel works the same way.
Keep it Casual
If you’re new to meditation and don’t want to commit to something permanent, know that with a few regular pillows, you can turn any corner or nook into your quiet safe space. Spruce it up with flowers and other decorative items to give it an intentional feel while you test out the idea of something more long-lasting.
An open bench allows you to store everything you need for your sessions underneath. Stash pillows and any other props away while you’re not using them, and display favorite mementos, inspirational objects, and art on top. This kind of setup doubles as decor, so as long as it goes along with the rest your space’s look, you’ll hardly notice it’s there when you’re not using it.
This post was originally published February 3, 2017. It has been updated with new information.
See more wellness guides:
Learn to love your inbox again—sign up for Domino’s daily email.