Personal Sanctuaries in Small Spaces

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Let's talk about personal sanctuaries. How are we doing with your decor resolutions? Have you been experimenting with color? Avoiding matchy-matchy sets? Paying attention to quality versus quantity? Just like our diets we're allowed a cheat from time to time. Within reason. I won't let you buy the entire Winnie the Pooh aisle at Kid's R Us but I will let you slide if you happen to purchase crib bumpers to match the coverlet.

Anyway, over the past week there has been a great deal of discussion related to the ManCave. Ladies, you know the room that I speak of. It's that one space that you've let your husbands/boyfriends/*fill in the blank* turn into their Tim the Toolman Taylor-esque environment. I'm guessing there is at least one jersey mounted to the wall. It is my opinion that most of the discussion of recent is simply because it is, well it was, football season, culminating in the event of the year-- The Super Bowl. What man doesn't want a space to watch the Super Bowl in peace? Usually with munchies. And beer. And friends. Gross generalization? Sometimes.

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This really had me pondering the decor resolutions that I posted in January. So much so that I realized that I'd forgotten one very important resolution. A resolution that can strengthen a marriage. A resolution that can keep a girlfriend from wanting to strangle her boyfriend with a Wii controller. A resolution so powerful that it can actually be a building block in the relationship with your children. All ears? Good.

 A Personal Space. A place to call your own. Secluded real estate to do as you wish.

"But Brandon", you ask "I live in a tiny studio or a bitty condo with barely enough room for me and him and the dog.'? Throw a baby into the mix (especially for the new parents!) and you might resort to hiding in kitchen cabinets just to get a little privacy. So just how do you get that little moment of bliss in what could be a space the size of a postage stamp? 

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Utilize a Closet. Some of you have been blessed with an overabundance of closet space (This probably isn't you New Yorker). Fit it with shelving, a desk (scrapbookers in the house?!) or build an upholstered bench spanning side to side. Include plenty of storage, proper lighting, and of course, pillows. Climb in, claim a corner, and settle in with a great book.

Don't have extra closet space? Repurpose an armoire instead. Just think of it as a moveable closet. A word of advice, if you're fitting an armoire with a bench, bulk up the supports under the unit to insure that you don't fall flat the first time you climb in.

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Wheels. Confused? Mount a bookcase on wheels and use it to divide your living space. Move it back when you're done hanging in your sanctuary. It won't do much for noise control, but visual barriers are all important for creating a sense of seclusion and privacy.

The same goes for screens. Freestanding multi-panel numbers or ceiling mounted draperies. Not only can this be extremely inexpensive (think IKEA drapery panels mounted from airline cable spanning your room) but can also aid in creating a space which multi-tasks. One large space can become two smaller spaces simply by moving a screen.

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A bonus? If you have a balcony or patio, convert this into an additional room. Hide the BBQ and provide comfortable seating for one. A water feature perhaps? Plenty of greenery. Remember, this 'room' comes with a built in door. But please, do not lock yourself out. This is particularly important if you live higher than the first floor.

I know you're dying to convert your closet and I'm not one to stand in the way of progress. But before you go, tell me, how have you managed to carve a personal sanctuary out of your limited real estate? 

Images via: Apartment Therapy, Painters of Louisville, Happy Design Ideas

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