Find a spare room--empty bedroom, walk-in closet, furnace room or bathroom if need be, and turn it into your serenity room. Darken the walls. Furnish the place with very little--a stand for candles, a small stereo, floor pillows. Heavy shades will enhance the mood. Install a lock on the door. Better yet, make the room off limits to anyone under the age of thirty, or shorter than three feet. Make that four feet. And no pets, either. One suggestion, unless cost is a factor, is an actual contracted remodeling. Look in the Yellow Pages or Online under quiet rooms, in-home theater construction or meditation rooms and peruse all the offerings. There are elaborate window shades, a product called QuietRock that is, drywall fabricated specifically for sound deadening applications. There are indirect, or mood lighting resources, even lighting that enhances the amount and kind of light if you suffer from seasonal affective disorder, in addition to noise pollution. . The same affect in reducing outside noise may be achieved by hanging blankets on the walls, and that may be a novel solution for couples. The wall hangings can be an art project, or a garage sale/antique store/self-spoiling expedition.
Another great photo option is a large triptych photo print. These are large frameless pictures divided into 3 equal sized panels. This tends to soften the effect of the photo and help it blend in better than a single framed photo or painting. And because the large photo is divided into 3 panels it displays more like a collection of art work. You can cover an entire wall with one triptych photograph, making it the focal point of the room or accenting colors already present. Also, they display best without frames. This will save you lots of money and the added headache of finding the right frame and mounting the art work.
How to use your serenity room? Take an hour per week, or day, or whatever time you decide, and go there. Light the candles. Draw the shades. Put on acappella chant, Tim Janis, Enya, or Secret Garden on the stereo. Stretch out together on the pillows, and just listen to each other breathe. Relax. Enjoy. If this isn't part of everyone's mental health regimen yet it soon will be, as people discover the value of this priceless 'sensory deprivation'. The biggest obstacle you'll find in the beginning is allowing yourself the luxury of ignoring all the 'have to's', 'should be's' and general restlessness that causes you to need the room in the first place. But it's noise that's the primary concern.
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