How to escape without leaving home


Spending more time with family or roommates is one of the most amazing things that emerged from hiding during a coronavirus pandemic. It is also one of the most difficult. The truth is, togetherness is amazing as long as you don’t want to be alone. Before the pandemic, I drowned in a street cafe when I needed a break from all the lego-raking, cheetos-crunching and questioning at home. But now that the old hiding places often feel more stressful than soothing, the only option is to fight your own escape module.

“The value of creating a private oasis is mental refreshment,” said Sally Augustin, Ph.D, an environmental psychologist and founder of a design firm. Design with science. “It’s an opportunity to think.” So if you think of escape as a way to give your mind some time to reset, instead of looking for a new physical space, you can find rest without going out – even if it’s just a chair turned, a large pillow on the carpet in the corner or a couple noise canceling headphones.

It’s all a matter of personal preference and generally only a few principles apply. It is also something that can be done at an affordable price. “Everything that inspires joy and everything that doesn’t disturb is essential,” said Nia Lawrence, creative director at Brooklyn-based Essence Communications. “All you need is the smallest corner.”

Here are seven strategies for creating your own oasis, no matter how small your space is.

“The pandemic has forced us to rethink how we use space,” said Malachi Connolly, an architect and owner of a Brooklyn company. Malachi Connolly Design. Imagine restaurants that use aisles as dining areas or schools that create classrooms in courtyards. “The universe has become democratized and interstitial space can become primary space.”

You can also discover these unused places in your house – perhaps in the foyer or even in the laundry room. Leslie Barrett, architect, interior designer and company partner Dirty studio in Los Angeles, she created a nook in her bedroom by improvising a table with a marble top and placing it with a chair between the window and the chest of drawers. “Before that,” she said, “it was just the floor.”

Like the cafe tables in the side street, the home shrine can be built and removed ad hoc. If you have modular furniture, get out of the expected layout, said Barry Reidy, rural interior design manager at Ikea USA The modular sectional sofa can be divided into individual chairs, with the arms in the middle instead of the ends, creating more personal space. The modular dining table can be detached after a meal and moved along the sides of the room to create an escape module for one person, as Mr. Connolly said in his house.

Credit…Leslie Barrett

Room dividers, bookcases or houseplants are some obvious ways to enclose a private space. But just sit in chairs with high back can offer a cocoon-like experience for termination and disconnection. People like to “back” to relax, said Dr. Augustin and noted that this speaks to our innate preference to avoid surprises from behind, whether it is a hungry predator (in prehistoric times), mischievous cats or insidious toddlers.

Mrs. Barrett maintains a rattan peacock chair with a high back and throne in her open living space. Even more important would be the doorman, which has a vaulted top and creates a deeper sense of separation and security. But any large comfortable chair can handle it, especially if you can put your feet up. As John Loecke, co-founder of Madcap Cottage, a design and furniture company in High Point, North Carolina, said, “The chair gives me permission to relax and have 20 minutes of bliss in a shaken world.”

Depending on your situation – perhaps noisy children or a video conferencing partner – headphones can be important for escaping. Even ordinary headphones It will help, but if you want to create a real sense of separation, consider noise canceling headphoneswhich have features that actively dampen noise and in many cases will cover your whole ear. Armed with noise-canceling headphones, a weighted blanket, and a book at the end of a sofa by the window, I can tune in to a football game that the boys watch on television.

Most people pick up allusions to when you don’t have to bother. “But people are different,” said Dr. Augustine, so you may need to set some rules to avoid misunderstandings. Rather than mumbling one-word answers to questions, let your partner, roommate, or children know that when you’re wearing headphones or sitting in a white chair, or whatever you’ve set up, you should leave it for a set amount of time.

Some parents hang a sign or flag signal to your children that they need some time to “do not disturb”. If your children find it difficult to understand, you may want to consider creating a private oasis that would be pleasant for them to appear in yours. Mrs. Lawrence, Essence’s creative director, supported a tent for her daughter in the living room.


If possible, place your escape area near a window. “It gives you visual focusing length across your small space,” Mrs. Barrett said. In other words, you can pretend that your little oasis is bigger than it really is while you relax your eyes and mind.

Seeing the greenery – whether from a window or a plant on a nearby table – can also guide feelings of relaxation and escape, said Paul Harris, Ph.D., a psychologist at Rollins College in Winter Park, Florida, who also holds a graduate degree in design. Really, a a recent study by the American Society for Horticultural Science they found that workers made better mental health gains by deliberately looking at a table of their choice for three minutes whenever they felt stressed. If you don’t have a green thumb, try it succulentswhich are easy to maintain but visually appealing.

“We don’t realize it, but we’re constantly monitoring our environment,” Dr. Augustine. To make our brains feel fresh, “we have to deal with visual complexity,” and that includes clutter. Although the rest of Marie Kondo’s place is clean, useless, commit to freeing the immediate area of ​​your island and field of vision. Keep books or whatever you want on hand nice basket. I found that the removal of the lego from my side of the coffee table and couch dissolved a great deal of anxiety as soon as I finally sat down.

Mr. Loecke from Madcap Cottage recommends decorating your oasis with design elements that mean something to you: “Ask yourself: Is there a place you would like to go? The moment you would like to bring back to life? “

Find some large pillows or lampshades with patterns that remind you of a tropical escape, or a small rug with a texture you like. You can also find great shots for travel photos, magazine covers, children’s artwork, your favorite gift wrap – really anything.

Lighting can also go a long way to setting up your personal space unlike the rest of your home. Whatever you choose table lamp or a table lamp, use light bulbs that emit a pleasant light. Generally speaking, soft diffused light can make the space more pleasant, Mr Reidy said. It will help you define your space and give you control over the lighting settings according to your own preferences, without taking into account the needs of others. That in itself can be refreshing.

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