Barbara Kaplan is an interior designer specializing in holistic living.

Personal space
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Each person’s idea of their “space” is unique and different, and we all want our own space. All too often we don’t take the time to evaluate whether the space we live in suits our needs. Check to see if our needs are met and if not, why not?  Perhaps the room we are using is too large or too small?

Think about all the pieces of furniture you come in contact with each day. Is your body supported when sitting or reclining? Is the chair you normally sit in too large or too small? Is your reach too far at your desk or table where you eat? Do you need to rearrange or redesign your work surface?

Most spaces are shared with more than one person, so it is important to keep yourself in the forefront of your decisions so that your home is a space where you too can live comfortably. People have different needs. The space may have to be designed with flexibility for everyone to function comfortably. When we live with other people, we need to know that we have space in our homes that is exclusively ours.

The big question is: How can you have more personal space that offers what you need? When creating this space, consider items that you love and have personal feelings about. This is not the time to think about what others will think—it’s the time to check how you feel in the space and whether it suits your needs.

Since a personal space is designed for your individual needs think about how you want to express your spirit. Often it is a place of rejuvenation, escape, comfort and healing. It can be indoors or out. It can be a play area, a work area or a place to dream. It is also necessary to pay attention to all of your senses — what you see, what you hear, what you can touch and what you might smell in your personal space.

It has been said that men have always understood the need for a special place. The proverbial man cave, like their hunting cabin, fishing boat or woodworking shop. Men often tell me when decorating their homes, “My wife can do whatever she wants, but I want my recliner!” Others insist on their TV’s and or sound systems be exactly as they want them.

Many women also wish for a place to recline, where they can nap, read a magazine or daydream. For others, when they eat their meals, it is important that they sit in a certain chair or face in a certain direction.

Space is waiting for you to fill it. How you do that is a personal expression of how you like to live and experience your environment. If it doesn’t feel right for you, it is up to you to correct the things that are not working. It is possible to create the space of our dreams without necessarily spending money. It only requires a bit of introspection as to what we require and moving things to accommodate our needs and wants.

No two people feel the same in the same room. It is important that the room you create becomes the sanctuary you need. Spaces are just waiting for us to fill them, so do so with you in mind.

Remember, rooms have no feelings, YOU do!

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