JUST BREATHE: Take in a long inhale, imagining the essence of simplicity flowing into you — whatever that feels like for you. Allow each inhalation to deepen your commitment to simplifying your physical space, and each exhalation to release your emotional attachment to stuff and to your home’s status quo.
Your bedroom should be a sanctuary of simplicity, offering an empty space for you to pour out the struggles of your day and recharge. When you enter this simple sanctuary, you will feel relief, safety, and a love for every color, image, and object you see. This is your cozy space to nuzzle into when life is being a demanding shrew.
Let’s work together to get your space into the category of “sanctuary” by utilizing some feng shui tips — good air, lighting, clutter-clearing, and color — as well as employing optimal storage solutions, creating “energy nooks,” leaving out stressful items, creating a “flow of energy” furniture arrangement, and learning how to maintain that essence of simplicity. That is the key word in this process — if you stay in the mind-set of simplicity you cannot fail. Live simply.
Search for inspiration in design magazines or online. The idea is not to duplicate the totally gorgeous but usually impractical bedroom the internet dangles in front of you, but to use it as a spark of inspiration for your unique bedroom vision. Let this vision be your guide as you flow through the following sanctuary-making suggestions.
* Clutter-clearing: Keep your life simple and serenity will follow. We have been led to believe that our lives will become richer with more stuff, when in reality life just becomes heavier. Go through your bedroom and donate or throw away any items that do not bring you immense joy or value. Touch each item. If you notice a sense of struggle or indecision come over you when you hold it, honor it for having served you, then let that sucker go. Clearing your bedroom of all unneeded, unused, and unloved items will cleanse your canvas, inviting in fresh loving energy.
* Open-window policy: Purchase and install window guards in all the windows in your bedroom that can open. When the weather is nice, open them up, taking a moment to close your eyes and feel the fresh air moving in and out of your nose.
* Nourishing lighting: Nothing kills the sanctuary vibe of a bedroom like crummy lighting. Turn off the overhead light whenever possible, instead opting for natural light during the day and three lamps, placed at two or three different levels, in the evening.
* Soothing colors: The most soothing colors for bedroom walls are skin tones ranging from light caramel to deep brown, but if you find those hues lean too far into the “snore-zone” (which is kind of the point, right?) select a soft tone of your favorite color. The same color rule applies to bedding and to any other prominent fixture in the room. To add pops of color, hang a few favorite photos or paintings in aesthetically pleasing frames around the room, being sure not to overdo it. Select images with colors that evoke the emotions you would like to fill your bedroom with.
I recommend displaying only a few key items that are meant to be seen and admired often. Everything else should be nestled away in an out-of-sight location. Here are a few storage options:
* Nightstand: Ideally, your nightstand has a pull-out drawer. If not, place an attractive bin here to hold your bedtime desirables (e.g., glasses, book, lotion, etc.).
* Under the bed: The philosophy of feng shui recommends you store nothing under the bed, allowing energy to freely move below it. I understand this concept, but I also have a nest-like (i.e., miniscule) bedroom with minimal storage and need somewhere besides the shelves on my wall to store my underwear. If you also live in a tiny nest, place pull-out drawers specifically designed for under-bed storage below your sleep zone.
* Furniture storage: There are many bed frames, chairs, footstools, and other forms of furniture that double as storage. If you’ll be purchasing new bedroom furniture, select options that allow you to hide stuff inside them.
* Wall storage: If possible, reserve wall storage for books, photos, and other items that can easily appear organized and are pleasant to look at. If you must store other items on wall storage, place them in attractive canvas (or metal, or whatever) bins or baskets that fit on the shelving.
* Bins and baskets: I ordered twenty beige canvas bins from my favorite online mega-store. I use them in my closet, bedroom, kitchen, living room, and garage; I even have one in my car. If in doubt, put your stuff in a pretty bin.
Each nook in your bedroom should exude a special blend of energy that facilitates the main activity experienced in that space. For example, creating a comfortable sleeping nook with plush textures and soft colors will promote a calming energy in that zone. Your creativity nook can be filled with inspirational energy by adding a cozy chair and a display of your favorite books, journals, and stimulating images that galvanize you into exploration and creation.
Here are the primary zones to consider designing in your nest:
* Sleeping: The quickest way to kill the peaceful energy in your sleep nook is to bring a pile of bills into it. Reserve your bed for bonding, sleeping, and sex. Your bed should be your source of liberation from the waking world. Make sure the feel and color of each component of your bed makes you feel good, adorning it with a comfortable mattress and luscious sheets both you and your partner love.
* Feng shui bed guidelines: Your bed is a primary supporter of your energy, and it will nourish your whole being if it’s put together in a way that resonates with you. The optimal “feng shui–approved” headboard is composed of solid wood that will literally and figuratively give your back and head good protection and support. Choose a wood you find beautiful and inviting. Place the headboard against a solid wall, making sure it’s not blocking a window or preventing a door from being fully opened. Balance out bedroom energy by placing matching nightstands and lamps on either side of the bed, and try to avoid items with sharp edges.
* Dressing: If possible, consolidate all of your dressing needs in one area, and organize them in order of use, so your dressing ritual flows. For example, exercise clothing, then undergarments, then tops, then bottoms, then dresses, then pajamas. Store your shoes and accessories near where you usually put them on (i.e., bathroom or hallway closet). There’s no need to strictly follow these organization suggestions, but do use categories and sorting methods that make sense to your lifestyle — and keep it simple.
* Creativity: This is the space where you play in your mind, exploring worlds created by others with words, cleaning out your brain with your pen and journal, or letting your spirit wander while looking out the window. I recommend you keep this space for your tush only. Set up this space next to a source of natural light, and include a special chair and storage area that allows you to stash your inspirational materials.
* Intimate stimulus: This nook is more of a collection of items and images that inspire an energy of intimacy than an actual space where you have sex. Store scented candles, lingerie, “special” books, or other sensual items in this area so you have a go-to source of sex-spiration.
* Baby: By intentionally creating a baby zone in each room, you’ll prevent the entire home from becoming Baby’s domain. Whether you plan on cosleeping or having Babe sleep in her own room from the start, it’s still nice to have a safe and cozy spot to place her in your room when it’s time for nap, bath, or potty time...for Mommy. You’ll also want access to diapering products stat. All you need to create a makeshift changing station is a contoured changing pad or mat and a diaper caddy with the essentials — wipes, baby booty cream, a few changes of clothes, and a baby distracter. Oh, and diapers.
* Electronics: I recommend limiting electronics in the bedroom. But hey, movies in bed on a rainy day are pretty amazing, so place an aesthetically pleasing screen or barrier in front of your television when it’s not in use and bring your phone or computer into the bedroom only when it’s desperately needed — like when you’re in bed nursing and you need to text your partner to ask them to bring you a batch of sweet potato fries and a Popsicle. Emergencies happen.
For the sake of your serenity (and mental health) just say no to the following “visual to-dos” in the bedroom:
* Anything related to work
* Exercise equipment: You do not need to be thinking about reps when you’re trying to get to REM. If your only storage option for exercise equipment is your bedroom, cover it with a shoji screen when it’s not in use.
* Cleaning supplies: No. Just no.
* An actual to-do list.
* “Maybe?” clutter: If you’re still holding on to a few “maybe” items, get rid of them.
Pretend you opened your bedroom door and water flowed into it. Would the water stagnate in a certain area, or would it be able to move freely? Stagnant energy, often caused by ill-placed furniture, can make your room feel heavy. To avoid this, ensure no piece of furniture is bursting the bubble of another piece of furniture, or preventing a door or drawer from fully opening — everyone needs their own space.
When organizing furniture, make sure the most appealing piece of furniture is the focal point when you enter. If the sight of your bed or your “snuggle chair” fills you with a sense of serenity, place it in a prominent location.
* Make your bed! This is the easiest way to refresh the calm vibes in your bedroom.
* Daily five-minute put-away: Take five minutes (or less) to put away items in your bedroom that have taken a temporary vacation from their assigned homes. You’ll end your day with an organized space, saving you from the stress of waking up to visual “put-me-aways!”
* Don’t forget to donate: Place an out-of-sight donation bag or box in your bedroom or closet. When you see an item that is no longer useful or has ceased to make you happy, put it in your donation bin. When the bin is full, take it to your chosen recipient of no-longer-needed goods. Don’t look through the bin before you donate it — no second- guessing your initial decision! Your gut instinct is rarely wrong.
* Three-month throw-away: Every few months, give your bedroom some TLC via purging. Purging can mean throwing yuck stuff in the trash, putting cool but unneeded belongings in the donation pile, and scrapping organizing systems that are no longer working, replacing them with simple systems that suit your ever-evolving needs. Purging only once a year is the fuse that can lead to a panic attack.
Once you’ve kissed your bedroom with simplicity, soak in the results of your exerted energy. Sit in that chair or lie on that yummy-smelling bedding and feel the fresh and calm vibes in the space. Ask yourself, “How does this space make me feel?” If anything seems off, trust your instincts and change it.
Copyright ©2017 by Bailey Gaddis. All rights reserved.
Reprinted with permission from New World Library
Feng Shui Mommy: Creating Balance and Harmony for Blissful Pregnancy, Childbirth, and Motherhood
by Bailey Gaddis.
Feng Shui Mommy thelps the expecting mother build her own unique, epic journey to motherhood. It’s about supporting her while she shores up her mind-body-spirit alignment so she can best handle the cosmic kick in the uterus and juicy kiss on the soul that pregnancy is. Bailey Gaddis guides women through the experience, providing specific suggestions for mind, body, and spirit for each trimester (including the “fourth,” after birth), leading to birth preparation designed for each mother and baby, and culminating in strong mother-child bonding. She includes detailed and practical information about prenatal exercise and nutrition, birth preferences and birthing positions, breath work, breastfeeding, and much more. Her advice allows mothers to welcome delight and curiosity into the journey while taking each phase with purpose and calm — and even a sense of fun. This comprehensive guide makes challenge and change joyful, allowing new life to be as incomparably wonder-filled as it is meant to be.
Bailey Gaddis, C.Ht., HBCE, is a childbirth preparation educator, birth doula, and hypnotherapist who works with mothers-to-be, new mothers, and their support teams. She is also a regular contributor to media outlets including Disney’s Babble, Working Mother, Pregnancy & Newborn, Huffington Post, Cosmopolitan, Redbook, and Woman’s Day. In addition to her childbirth-prep work, she volunteers for families in need of postpartum support. Visit her website at BaileyGaddis.com