A Guide to Personal Spaces: Retreat Rooms, Zen Dens, and Man Caves

It is important for people to have a space where they feel comfortable and inspired. If you are lucky enough to be able to dedicate a room in your home to such a purpose, here are a couple of details to consider.

Ultimately, function is the most important and guiding principle of your personal room. Is it a place to escape the chaos and just relax or somewhere to blow off steam? Do you need a space that allows you to be creative and focused or just a quiet room to get some work done? Whatever it is that you want out of your space, consider how to incorporate those details into your design.

Regardless of the intensions for your space, furniture selection will dictate how you use your room. If you plan on having visitors to your “cave”, centrally located furniture lets them know they are welcome. On the other hand, if this space is just for you, a desk, drafting table or hobby table can personalize the space to suit your needs. Of course, there’s always the possibility that you are limited to the old sofa and chair that didn’t sell at the garage sale.

Lighting can vary depending on your goals for the space. Relaxing den? Try dimmer, amber lighting reminiscent of the sun going down. Personal bar? Neon lights, backlit clocks and bright white bulbs will keep the energy and the beer flowing. Study or office? Lamps can be placed by reading chairs or on desk tops to suit your needs. You may want to consider brighter lighting for a hobby room or workshop.

The sign for your space is similar to a border between two sovereign states. It is an indication that you are about to cross into a new territory with its own rules. While maybe not the most important feature, your sign can set the tone and atmosphere within. It can come in the form of an inspirational quote, a striking image or even a straightforward declaration of rules. What message would your sign convey?

My “cave” would be somewhere I could go to write or read a book. Of course, I can do either of those things anywhere, so this would be a space that “encourages” those activities with minimal distractions. It would require a desk, desk chair (for writing), lounge chair (for reading), bookshelves and maybe a chalk wall to jot down ideas. A napping couch and mini bar would be bonuses, but may prove to be too tempting too often. Lots of natural light and scattered lamps for a softer localized illumination would best suit my personal room.

Here’s what my room might look like. What would yours look like?

Design Trade Show at Music Hall

musichallThere will be a new interior and exterior home design show held at Music Hall November 1-2. DesignBuildCincy will feature over 125 vendors including designers, architects, remodelers, furniture and cabinet makers, fabricators and retailers. The developers of this new trade show are hoping to make this an annual event and wanted to showcase the latest in architecture and all things home design in one of Cincinnati’s most iconic examples of architecture.

Current vendors include Studio Vertu, Karen Heyl Sculpture and Ceramics, Riverside Architectural Millwork, Marta Hewett Gallery and many others.

DesignBuild Cincy is 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Nov. 1-2. Admission is $10 and free for children under 13.

Colors To Avoid and Use in Your Home

Paintbrushes Dripping into Paint Containers

Painting the walls of your home is one of the most economic ways to make a change in home decor. Here are some thoughts about color trends to consider before painting:

Sunny Yellow
A bright, lemon yellow is a fatiguing color to look at when used on all four walls. Since it is such a bright color, the eyes are overstimulated and cause irritation. This color is a high attention getter and should be used sparingly. On a positive note, yellow is considered to be a cheerful color.

Greige = Grey Meets Beige
If you use grey on your walls (which is a growing trend), be sure to avoid beige accessories and instead pull in colors such as greens or pinks. Glass and metal are good in grey rooms as they can add sparkle and help to bounce light around the room.

Cocoa Brown with Tiffany Blue
This color combination has been overused and is considered to be a “tired” look. Instead, consider adding silver or golds to that brown and blue palette.

Trendy Colors
If the color is trendy, it will soon be out of favor. If you like a trendy color, use it sparingly.

What Colors Look Good?
White and pale colors are strong in a light-filled room. Warmer and darker shades improve a room that does not get much light.

How To Select Colors For Your Home

  • Keep in mind the color of the floor. A red wall will look different when next to light oak than darker-stained floors.
  • Select a color that compliments the furnishings or art already in the room.
  • No interesting architecture in the room? Saturated color looks best and adds drama to a not-so-interesting room.

Learn More About Color

  • Go here to learn about the moods of color.
  • Learn about your Color Personality here from a Better Homes and Gardens color test.