How to design a biophilic meditation room

in Biophilic Design

Whether we talk about meditation room, yoga room or quiet-time room, we’re referring to a space dedicated to self care, that closes the door to the hurricane of thoughts that crowd our brains every day.

In the times we’re currently living, we all have many more thoughts, questions and uncertainties than usual. So it’s even more important to plan for proper quiet time. And – now more than ever – it has to be done at home.

Overall, the objective of a meditation room is somehow similar to the one of a relaxing corner. But it goes one step further.
If a relaxing corner is to unwind informally, a meditation room is to actively take care of mental balance.

Airy meditation room with many pendant lights made of natural fibres.<span class="sr-only"> (opened in a new window/tab)</span>
Credit: Kostas Chatzigiannis Architecture (opened in a new window/tab) - Photo by Joshua Tintner

Meditation room: an essential for future living?

Our world moves fast, leaving little to no time for calm.
Yet we all need some time to slow down in order to preserve our wellbeing and mental health. And this need is coming up stronger and stronger in recent years.

More people decide to turn a spare room in their home into a meditation room, silence is rising as an interior design trend and meditation rooms are also becoming increasingly popular in the workspace.

More in general, people are – more than ever before – on the lookout for slowing down activities: from meditation, to social media detox, art therapy and journaling.
And even looking at the latest Pinterest trend report, many of the activities that are gaining popularity (self discovery journal prompts +147% , social media detox +314% , art therapy activities +444%) are connected with quiet time.

Total white meditation room with a few plants and plenty of natural light.<span class="sr-only"> (opened in a new window/tab)</span>
Credit: Good Vibes Northcote (opened in a new window/tab)

Meditation rooms & biophilic design

A meditation room shares some key features with what biophilic design calls refuge. Indeed, it needs to be:

  • Comfortable
  • Soothing
  • Shielded from the rest of the space

 
So let’s see how to translate these three features in the design of a meditation room!

Meditation space on a room with a fully glazed wall and a view onto nature.<span class="sr-only"> (opened in a new window/tab)</span>
Credit: The Organic Company (opened in a new window/tab)

Comfortable

To make a meditation room comfortable, there are a few elements to think about:

  • Temperature
    Not too cold, not too hot, the temperature in a meditation room (as well as in the rest of the home really) needs to feel just right.
    Proper heating and air conditioning are obviously important. But don’t forget that rugs, curtains and the selection of cooling/warming colours and materials can help a lot in making a room feel warmer or cooler!
     
  • Air quality
    Good air quality and proper ventilation are also essential for the entire home, meditation room included. Opening the windows regularly and adding greenery are two easy – yet effective – ways to improve indoor air quality.
     
  • Lighting
    A big window is a great starting point for the design of a meditation room as it floods the space with natural light. The outdoor view should also be curated, highlighting a beautiful existing view or creating one that’s worth staring at during quiet time.
    For what concerns artificial lighting, intensity and colour are the two key features. Essentially, light should be dimmable and adjustable in colour to make it warmer or cooler according to the time of day. In short, the lighting system should follow the standards of Human Centric Lighting.
Meditation room with a full-height window looking into a patio rich in greenery.<span class="sr-only"> (opened in a new window/tab)</span>
Credit: Conservatorium Hotel (opened in a new window/tab)

Soothing

Since it is a space for grounding, it’s paramount for a meditation room to feel soothing. Here are some elements to think about:

  • Clutter free
    Both consciously and unconsciously, clutter is very distracting and disturbing to our mind. So it needs to go.
    How empty the space will be is also a matter of personal preferences. But for sure every finish and object in a meditation room needs to communicate calm.
     
  • Neutral colours
    A calming colour palette has a neutral base. Beige, taupe, greys and white are all good hues to start with. In fact, all other colours can also be used, provided that they’re in subtle shades.
Total white meditation room with a tree-shaped portion of the wall covered with real bark.<span class="sr-only"> (opened in a new window/tab)</span>
Credit: Bamford (via Instagram) (opened in a new window/tab)

 

  • Tactile features
    One of the pillars of biophilic design is making a space engaging beyond aesthetics and touch is one of the most grounding senses we have.
    Therefore, natural textures and materials are particularly indicated to add tactile richness in a room that’s meant to restore mental balance. A green wall is also a great option as it will add greenery while creating a focal point in the room.
Meditation room with a green wall feature, stone walls and little pebbles on the ground.<span class="sr-only"> (opened in a new window/tab)</span>
Credit: Andriy Maheha (via Behance) (opened in a new window/tab)

 

  • Water feature
    Water has an incredibly grounding effect on our brain. Therefore, a meditation room is actually ideal to implement a water feature indoors!
     
  • Relaxing sounds
    Considering that time will be spent in silence in a meditation room, sounds are of primary importance. If total silence is not for you (or if there is some kind of background noise to cover) the best options are Spa music or tracks that reproduce natural sounds. However, speakers should be either hidden or beautiful, so as to contribute to the calming vibe of the space.
Big meditation room with huge windows and textures window treatment.<span class="sr-only"> (opened in a new window/tab)</span>
Credit: Amanyangyun resorts (opened in a new window/tab)

Shielded from the rest of the space

Clearing the hustle and bustle of thoughts from the mind requires concentration.
So – just as a working space – a meditation room also needs to be separated from the rest of the home.
Ideally in a dedicated room, a meditation space can also be created in a corner of a calm room. In this case, a curtain or room divider will be enough of a separation.

Meditation space with felt poufs that resemble rocks and wood branches a room divider.<span class="sr-only"> (opened in a new window/tab)</span>
Credit: original source unknown. Please contact me if you're the owner of this photo.

How to set up a quiet-time corner without moving from home

If designing a meditation room is a full interior design project, setting up a quiet-time corner can be an easier task.
And – given the times we’re living – we would all benefit from some more quiet time in our days. So here’s a quick checklist to create one in your own home!

  1. Choose a tranquil space
    Namely, a space where you can be alone. There’s no one-fits-all rule here as it all depend on when you’re going to practice your quiet-time and how you and the people that live with you use the space.
    For instance, if you live alone, virtually any space can become a quiet-time space. If instead you live with other people but your quiet time is going to be early in the morning before everyone else wakes up, the middle of the living room can be just fine! Also – if the weather allows – don't forget that a balcony is also a great location!
     
  2. Make it comfortable and soothing
    Whether it’s clearing out clutter, selecting a relaxing track, moving around few plants or escaping on the balcony, try to create an inviting and calming space where you really feel good. Read through the article again and try to tick as many boxes as possible on the "comfortable" and "soothing" areas!
     
  3. Schedule your quiet-time
    Last but certainly not least, plan your quiet-time and respect it diligently as if it were a job appointment!
Meditation space on a room with a huge green wall and plenty of plants around.<span class="sr-only"> (opened in a new window/tab)</span>
Credit: MNDFL (via Instagram) (opened in a new window/tab)
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