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Carving out a Dedicated Space for Meditation and Yoga

Find a spot that makes you feel grounded and peaceful

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Balance natural and organic elements, paired with soft lighting, for the ultimate sense of warmth and Zen.

Noelle Interiors
Balance natural and organic elements, paired with soft lighting, for the ultimate sense of warmth and Zen.
Noelle Interiors

Each week, Mansion Global tackles a topic with an elite group of designers from around the world who work on luxury properties. This week, we explored how to carve out a meditation or yoga space in your apartment.

Whether you’re looking for a simple space to feel more peaceful in your everyday life or a more clear-cut area for deep meditation and yoga, carving out a space in your home where you can retreat and unwind doesn’t have to be difficult. 

“As someone who practices meditation daily, I find the most important factors are making sure the space feels open, quiet and filled with natural light,” said Daun Curry, founder and creative director at Daun Curry Design Studio in New York City. “Incorporating soft, natural textures and materials is always helpful, and if possible, away from your work or entertainment spaces.”

With no set rules in place for crafting a personalized space that grounds you, key things to consider are comfort and functionality. “Just as yoga and meditation teach, it is most important to trust your intuition and let it guide you to a space that feels grounded and authentic to you,” Ms. Curry said. 

These pro design tips will help get you going in the right direction when setting up a meditation and yoga zone at home.

More: Designing a Well-Curated Loft

Be Flexible With Your Space

“In an apartment setting, think about making your meditation space have double or even triple duty. Maybe it is a comfortable swivel chair that you can relax and meditate in, but also easily rotates to watch the sunrise with your morning coffee or orientate toward the couch for conversation with the family after dinner or cuddle with the baby and a book before bedtime. It is all about feeling. 

“When designing a New York City condo for a client who practices yoga daily, we planned a designated area using smart storage solutions that allowed her to easily access her yoga equipment, practice her meditation and fold them away with ease when she was done. This way you get all the benefits of daily practice without cluttering up your living space. 

“If you have an outdoor area, whether it’s a small balcony or large patio, use that space to work out or meditate, when weather permits. Fresh air paired with the fragrance of plants and trees and sounds of nature can’t get any better when you’re looking to unwind.”

An outdoor area with a connection to nature is perfect for meditating or practicing yoga, when weather permits.

Interiors by Popov

New York-based designer Anna Popov of PNW-based firm, Interiors by Popov

Keep Decor Simple

“If your common decor vibe is to keep things bold and vivid, this is a perfect occasion to tone it down and keep things neutral and relaxed. Take note of the elements or items that do not give you a feeling of comfort and calm to establish a boundary of what should not be in your meditation/yoga space.

“Art should be subtle, if any, and lighting temperatures should be warm to invoke calmness. Light neutral tones can make the space feel soothing and having only the essentials around make it easier to meditate. 

“Refreshing the materials and textures is a great way to keep it appealing. If at one point you tried cotton and it didn’t quite get you to Nirvana, maybe try bamboo next time. The best part is, you’ve already crafted a cozy space to meditate about it.”

—Katherine Bedwell and Olivier Montfort, interior designers at Oppenheim Architecture in Miami 

More: Square Peg, Round Room: Designing an Irregular-Shaped Living Space

Foster a Sense of Connection

“You don’t need a large space for a meditation practice, but you’ll want to ensure it’s free from the to-do lists and chaos of life. Choose a space that affords some privacy and peace so that every time you inhabit this space—whether it be the corner of a room, nook or even a closet— it will support your ability to slow down, get quiet with your thoughts, and simply breathe.

“The next step is to create ambiance. The space should feel like a warm hug, setting a peaceful and quiet tone and promoting your ability to focus and sit in the present. 

“Scientific studies have shown that colors can influence our mood, and vibrant tones can be overstimulating. So, steering clear of bold colors is a good place to start. Instead, consider blues, greens, light purples and soft pinks, as these have been shown to have soothing effects. 

More: Incorporating Antique Rugs Into Your Design Scheme

“Once the space is set, it’s time to engage the other senses. Light your favorite incense or turn on an essential oil diffuser to awaken your sense of smell. Incorporate soft textures that are soothing to the touch when choosing a seat or floor cushion. A proper meditation seat will provide comfort and support your posture and prevent any napping that may inevitably occur if you lie down. If sitting in silence isn’t your thing, remember that you can incorporate soft music, chanting, or natural sounds to heighten your connection or shift the energy in the room.

“Lastly, set up an altar. It is the perfect way to personalize your meditation space, providing a place to display personal and symbolic objects of importance, like shells, crystals, stones, feathers and meaningful tokens—any items that hold spiritual significance for you. An altar can be a small table, a chest or simply a windowsill, but the objects you choose to display should lift your spirits and promote your sense of connection.”

Light your favorite incense or turn on an essential oil diffuser to engage the senses and awaken your sense of smell.

Joshua Smith Inc.

Joshua Smith, founder of Joshua Smith Inc. in New York City

Invoke Nature Where Possible

“Creating a Zen environment is the ultimate goal in any meditation or yoga space and is achieved with the right balance of natural and organic elements, paired with soft lighting. 

“In a space that does not have ample light, consider creating a living wall with luscious plants and installing a water feature to add depth and an infusion of nature. Elements like wood paneling also create a sense of warmth that sparks joy when entering the room.”

—Noelle Isbell, principal designer at Noelle Interiors in California

More: How to Create the Ideal Kitchen Island

Eliminate Distractions

“Remove unwanted clutter, visual chaos and items that cause you to be distracted from yourself. If it bothers you, remove it. If it gives you pleasure, give it centerstage. Know what you like and enhance it.

“Getting bored of spaces can reveal that we are looking for something external to distract us so that we expect the external surroundings to entertain us or provide stimuli. Your surroundings should be designed with the intention of pleasing the real you, your passion and pleasures, replete with things, textures, and memories you love and that make you happy to view each day.  One rarely gets bored with the things we love around us.”

Candles, aromatic diffusers, incense and plants invoke nature and invite the outside in.

Lisa Kahn Designs

Lisa Kahn, founder of Florida-based firm Finding Sanctuary by Lisa Kahn Designs

Don’t Overthink It

“Don’t put too much pressure on yourself to have the perfect meditation space, that’s actually counter to the philosophies of meditation. Just start and you can make small adjustments, if needed, as you go. 

“A white wall can be nice in a meditation space, as can light woods and minimal detailing. Some rugs or soft flooring can help to muffle sound and create a quieter space for reflection. Be mindful of music or any kind of sounds that can stir up your mind during your practice.

“Meditation is the practice of noticing emotions such as boredom and letting them go, so if you find yourself getting bored, that’s okay. If possible, adjust the lighting if you find yourself getting distracted. Try turning your cushion 90 degrees and face a different wall. Small changes in your environment can make a difference, so consider the minute details of your routine and modify along the way.”

When creating a meditation or yoga area, start small and make necessary adjustments along the way.

Wing Ho

—Victoria Sass, principal and design director at Prospect Refuge Studio in Minneapolis

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