The trick to creating a self-care space is to think about the things that make you feel happy and soothed then bring those elements in.
In our chaotic lives, a responsibility-free afternoon is a huge luxury for many. But making space in our lives for focusing on self-care and relaxation activities sometimes requires actually dedicating physical spaces in our homes to pursue peaceful activities. Having a little corner to yourself where you can read a novel, work through a stack of magazines, put on a mud mask or meditate can serve as a reminder to slow down and find time for yourself amid a hectic schedule whenever you see it.
The trick to creating a self-care space is to think about the things that make you feel happy and soothed then bring those elements in. Is it a warm blanket, a table stacked with books, a gallery wall of favourite photos, fresh flowers and cosy slippers? Once you hone in on what you need to feel relaxed and at peace, the ‘rest’ will follow.
This reading nook is the perfect place for just that. The soft chaise lounge is an open invitation for imagination and daydreaming in and of itself, but it’s the casual vibe created through its surrounding and colour palette that make it a spot you want to sink into.
You might not even notice it, but your body and your mind both have reactions to seeing colours. Brighter colours stimulate the brain and energise you and can even make you feel a little anxious. This blend of delicate greys, taupes and a deep dusty blue does just the opposite. Blue, in particular, is a hue that many look to when decorating their homes and studies have shown that there is no better colour to calm a busy mind. Despite its high-charged name, the gridiron grey blue shade of Resene Atomic seen on the floor and several of this room’s accents is hugely grounding. Warm taupe like Resene Perfect Quarter Taupe, was used for the rounded wall design, and Resene Oilskin, seen on the left wall and tray, work well as a base for highlighting the other colours. To some, grey can be seen as dull, boring or cold but the right shades of grey such as Resene Half Athens Grey (used as the main wall background colour) and Resene Quarter Delta (seen on the floor) can actually be very calming and relaxing. They’re the perfect neutrals, which means they work well with pretty much any colour or palette and can seamlessly blend into the rest of your décor outside of your self-care corner.
Creating both tactile and visual texture is also very important for your reading nook. Choose fabrics and finishes that are both pleasant to the touch and beautiful to look at to add to the physical and emotional cosiness of the space. The wavy timber ‘headboard’ has been finished in Resene Colorwood Riverstone, a warmed neutral stain that allows the beauty of the wood’s natural grain to show through. Bringing reminders of nature into the home like this can create a ‘biophilic’ response that soothes. For generations humans have loved the natural and organic appeal of elements that make them feel calm, at peace and welcomed into a space.
As a playful nod to the organic, curved shapes of the headboard, wall and floor designs, testpots in Resene Quarter Perfect Taupe, Resene Atomic, Resene Oilskin and Resene Quarter Delta have been used to create DIY artwork that echo their forms. A few small accessories have also been painted, such as the stone and tray in Resene Oilskin, the stool top and shelf in Resene Quarter Perfect Taupe and the bud vase in Resene Atomic to keep the eye moving about the space – without interrupting it with anything too jarring.
Project by Kate Alexander. Images by Bryce Carleton. 2021
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