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April 21, 2014

Designing for Peace of Mind

by Suzy


Skyline® Gliding Window Panels

When you delve into the world of natural fabrics and materials, you should instantly think of Zen interior design.  Based on the Buddhist teachings of meditation and enlightenment, Zen designs rely heavily on Asian themes and iconography such as Zen gardens, earthen tones and textures, and minimalism.  But you don’t have to go Asian, to go Zen.

Silhouette window shadings with creams and earth tones helps to create a tranquil space.

Silhouette® window shadings

First, look to nature for your color palette.  Though you can find bright, bold colors in nature, Zen design focuses on calming colors like muted leafy greens and traditional jades, mauve purples, burnt oranges and salmon pinks.  Other neutral options like warm browns and soft greys, sandy beiges and off-white accents are also favorites in this relaxing interior design color scheme.

Secondly, you should be able to move from room-to-room on simple, transitional flooring that does not distract. In fact, keeping wall colors the same from room to room creates the illusion of a grander space. You may want to stylize your rooms with varying accent colors, but the transitional floors and walls are a subconscious means to carry you throughout an expanse. Flooring in Asian-inspired Zen rooms should be made of natural materials, and as traditionalists propose, should be firm beneath your feet.  There are a large variety of bamboo and reclaimed wood flooring options available to even the most budget-conscious consumer.  Even poured, polished concrete or grey slate would provide balance in a Zen room.

Slate and wood flooring - One Kind Designs

Flooring ties into our third Zen design recommendation – watch your lines!  Symmetry and visually striking lines are another aspect we love about this particular trend.  Straight lines are divine, but may seem too harsh and contemporary.  Zen spaces often have cleverly placed curving lines like the contours of the Bonsai tree.

With Zen interiors, the lines in the space are transitional as well.  They draw your eyes through the space, through the furniture, up the walls.  Think of the lines that your flooring, furniture, and accessories create, and visualize a means to make them “flow” like a stream.  There should be a focus on entryways and exits – where the stream comes from and where it is going – and interior “nooks” that not only provide a resting area for your eyes, but your bodies as well.

You may want to think of your furniture as rocks in the stream.  The water flows up to them, then around them, and continues on its path.  Now, taking this visual metaphor, you will see that a lot of living rooms, bedrooms, and sometimes bathrooms in the Zen style have a wide area of “empty” space, and then clusters of furniture!  Everything in your space is part of this imaginary stream, so, play around with furniture positions, and tuck some organic, curving lines of accessories in to mimic the ripples in the water.  What serenity!

Fourth, but one of the most important style rules for creating a space that is stress-free is that you have to get your space clutter free.

Your budget should be spent on gathering simplistic, natural fiber furniture made from cotton, bamboo, or wool, instead of gathering knick-knacks and mantle accessories!  Textiles like linens and wools provide a cozy feel without being too claustrophobic.

Comfortable floor cushions create a Japanese-inspired zen space.

A Zen room is your therapeutic solution, so it is vital to create small spaces for meditation that coincide with this design style.  To do this, minimize the use of electronics, and utilize oversized floor pillows and poof-style cushions for a comfortable space to relax or read.  Remember that flowing stream of lines we discussed above?  Now is your chance to pull in a real water feature, like a small tabletop fountain, to slip your senses into tranquility.

Finally, remove yourself from the feel of a stressful office with low-to-medium lighting  This means absolutely no harsh fluorescents in your natural meditative space!  Balance your home decor with soft natural lighting by dressing your windows in natural bamboo or cotton shades that let enough light in, but soften the sun’s UV rays.

You now have the tools to create a tranquil oasis in your own home.  Bring some of the outdoors inside, and cleanse your body and soul in your new Zen interior!




Suzy is a certified window treatments designer with 40 years of experience in design. She loves working with color and space, and offers custom window treatment and drapery services in the Kansas City and Overland Park areas.

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