Amidst the Chaos
In our homes, the ‘spot’ might be a window seat, reading chair, rocker, chaise or swing. These are places where we tend to spend extended periods of time and are where our minds to take a break from the routine of life. If you think back to your childhood, these kinds of spots are often the ones remembered as being significant, and must have had the right concoction of elements: comfort, privacy, light. The larger spaces in our homes are usually the ones that get the most attention when planning a new construction or remodeling project, but it is important to factor these nooks into the plan as they are the most desirable for day-to-day use.
The elements required to create an environment that invites you to settle down vary per individual. Although, in most cases, there are criteria that need to be met: physical comfort in the seating, an optimal sound level, the right view, and light levels just right for the activity at hand. For reading that would mean higher task light levels are required, whereas, for resting or lounging lower foot candles are what is called for.
In many hotels, our homes away from home, floor plans often feature nooks off the main thoroughfare for small groups to meet, quiet conversations to ensue and individual activities to occur. Based on simple observation, these spaces tend to get a lot of use. As humans, we vary from wanting group energy to individual time, and sometimes both at the same time. Those widespread coffee shops (that will remain nameless) are aquariums chock full of live examples showing the various combinations of social needs.
Interior designers of commercial spaces are acknowledging these needs with furnishings and floor plans to support them. In airports, libraries, and higher educational facilities it is not uncommon to sleep chairs, pods or hooded seating, so that occupants can escape within the larger space.
What are the benefits of resting our brains? According to Ferris Jabr (Scientific American, 2013), “Downtime replenishes the brain’s stores of attention and motivation, encourages productivity and creativity, and is essential to both achieve our highest levels of performance and simply form stable memories in everyday life. A wandering mind unsticks us in time so that we can learn from the past and plan for the future. Moments of respite may even be necessary to keep one’s moral compass in working order and maintain a sense of self.”
We can create a calm within the proverbial storm for ourselves. As the pressures of everyday life seem to mount, the importance of considering these questions becomes more critical. This requires merely a little reflection to tap into your inner requirements for such a space and then thoughtful consideration and/or some professional interior design consultation on how to achieve them.