Creating Your Personal Space

Many homeowners are too caught up with details that they forget to save some space for themselves. Your personal space is where you can unwind and indulge yourself at the end of the day. Here’s how you can make your space truly your own.
Creating Your Personal Space

According to designer Anne-Marie Barton, there are three rooms that Americans pay the most attention too when designing their homes: the bedroom, the kitchen, and the living room. Few of us remember to set aside some personal space, a place where we can indulge in our own interests and drown out the rest of the world. Often, we realize our need for a personal space only when everything else is in place. That’s why most “personal spaces” are actually just spare rooms hastily put together.

But think about it: why put so much money and effort into a room that’s not yours to enjoy? If there’s one room in the house that needs your full attention, it’s your personal space. It’s the only room where you can follow your whim, not taking function or aesthetics into account. It’s easier than it sounds. Here’s a quick guide to help you out.

Size

Most people have to work with whatever space is available. But your personal space doesn’t have to be big; in fact, a large room with all the trimmings can hardly be considered personal. The key is to make the most out of what you have. Think of the bare minimum you want to put in your space—a bed, a table, a bookshelf—and prioritize them. Once they’re all in place, you can start adding your photo albums, CD rack, art supplies, and other small items.

Color

Your first impulse will be to choose your favorite color. This can work, but remember, colors can greatly affect the mood of a room. An all-red room, for example, can be too warm and over the top, while an all-blue room is too stiff and businesslike. Your color might work for small items, but not as a room color. If it’s a little too strong, try getting it in a lighter shade, using it as an accent, or balancing it out with complementary colors.

Lighting

Your choice of lighting depends on what you plan to do in your personal space. Do you do a lot of reading? Then consider setting up a reading corner with an overhead lamp. Are you planning on a home theater? Look for small dimmable lights that you can control from your seat. It’s best to install lots of accent and filler lights than a couple of large overhead ones. Also consider how much natural light is available. If you like to relax in the daytime, a large window with sheer curtains may be sufficient.

Décor

Dress up your personal space with things that reflect your interests. It could be your book collection, your music library, or your book of old stamps from grade school. If you want, you can put everything in a corner and create a sort of shrine. The point is to put a bit of “you” into the room. Don’t buy a piece of décor for its value or status—buy it because you like it. Let your personal tastes shine through.

Storage

Everyone has different interests, but one thing we can all do without is clutter. No one can be comfortable in a room where everything’s scattered on the floor. Make sure there’s a place for everything. Put your storage somewhere accessible so you have no excuse to leave things lying around. If you don’t have much space, look for unused spaces like an empty corner, under your bed, or a wall rack.

Privacy

The name says it all: it’s your personal space. That means you have to keep it to yourself. You can let in the occasional visitor, of course, but when it’s me-time, you want to block out everything else. It helps if the room is located in a low-traffic area such as the basement or attic. You may need soundproofing if you’re installing a surround-sound system or plan on playing loud music.

Comfort

Finally, your personal space should make you feel comfortable. It’s not just throwing in a soft couch or a big, warm bed. It’s how the whole place comes together and the mood it inspires. Your personal space should make you feel relaxed and satisfied the moment you step into it. Don’t know where to start? Try stepping out of the room for a minute, then come back in and feel your way around it. Where would you like to sit? What can you place in that empty corner? Follow your instincts—they’re probably right.