Lately, I’ve been interested in learning how to create an indoor zen space in my home. This idea came about as a way to find comfort while grieving.

So this past weekend I worked on a project I want to share with you today.

Finding Comfort While Grieving:

Losing Gracie less than a year after losing Charlie has been very difficult for me emotionally.

I began wondering if there was anything I could do to help me with these emotions.

And I thought of a garden I had in Texas where I had containers of plants in remembrance of loved ones I’d lost.

I read up on the meanings of various herbs and flowers. For instance, rosemary is a sign of love and remembrance, etc.

Then I chose and planted herbs and flowers signifying my feelings.

And it helped. I could sit in a chair outside and be near those containers of plants filled with meaning for me, and I’d feel calmer.

People find comfort after losing loved ones in all kinds of ways.

Here I don’t have a private place outdoors. Not for something as private as I wanted this to be.

Creating An Indoor Zen Space:

So I began to consider creating the same sort of thing indoors where I could be alone and let those feelings of sadness flow. To cry and not worry about anyone seeing my emotions.

I came up with something called a “zen space” after doing some research and perusing Pinterest. It can mean whatever you want it to.

In the dictionary, one of the meanings for zen is a state of calm attentiveness in which one’s actions are guided by intuition rather than by conscious effort.

For me, “zen-like” is probably the proper word, I suppose. And to me, that means relaxation and serenity.

An area with flowing water and soothing music, candles and decorative items

The word “zen” can be used in the traditions of Buddhism. But that is not how I’m framing it.

So please don’t be too concrete with this phrasing I’m using to signify my attempt to find a sense of peace. This has nothing to do with religion.

I know that my emotions are all over the place. And that I need to find a sense of balance. Because grief is like a roller coaster.

Honoring Lost Loved Ones:

For me, this space I’ve created simply means a place to honor my loved ones. A place where I can feel closer to them. In an attempt to deal with grief and ultimately find peace.

That is what I feel I need right now. A place to sit and let my grief flow in a place where I feel comforted and safe.

Just by choosing to create this particular space, you are in essence telling yourself that it will be beneficial to you. And this thought alone will guide you.

Think of it as an affirmation. I have used affirmations in the past to guide myself to a better place.

What Are Affirmations:

Affirmations are designed to encourage an optimistic mindset. Optimism itself is a powerful thing.

Affirmations have been shown to help you with the tendency to be stuck by negative experiences. By thinking about something over and over, I’ve found that it becomes more possible somehow.

It becomes a mindset.

In How To Create An Indoor Zen Space, I chose a wicker chair and galvanized furniture and decor

It helped me to relax and feel more in control of my emotions.

Here are the 5 steps I utilized in creating my zen space:

1. Choosing The Right Place

I wanted this space to be where I spend the most time. So I chose the wall where the patio doors are in my living room.

I thought of what Marie Kondo wrote: “Discard anything that doesn’t spark joy.”

She felt that by decluttering the external elements of your environment, you were at the same time decluttering your internal environment.

2. Deciding What Sparks Joy

Was there anything that would bring me comfort to get through this time of sorrow, I kept asking myself. So I started playing around with ideas.

I exchanged the chair I had in the living room with the wicker chair in my office. Surmising that wicker would be a better material for this space. More earthy and natural.

3. The Water Feature

I had ordered a water feature from Wayfair for my patio. It arrived on Friday and sat in the box until yesterday.

This is the water feature I ordered from Wayfair and decided to use indoors
(The photo of the water feature I ordered on the Wayfair site)

I knew that water would be important in my zen space because of my love of waterfalls and garden ponds.

“Limitless and immortal, the waters are the beginning and end of all things on earth.” – Heinrich Zimmer


Though my initial plan was to use the water feature on my patio, I decided it would provide more comfort for me being indoors.

4. Deciding On The Lighting

I knew I wanted soft light as well as natural light. That is why I chose this space next to the patio doors.

There is also a built-in LED light attached to the water feature.

Soft lighting is important to my frame of mind.

5. Promoting Calmness With Plants

Plants purify the air; thus purifying the space.

I brought the ponytail palm in from outdoors. It is so pretty with its long wavy leaves. The shape of these leaves is even calming to me because they remind me of waves in the ocean.

It just so happened that the water feature I ordered from Wayfair had a space to add plants. So I was very glad I chose this one.

Do You Need A Space Like This In Your Life:

I did a lot of reading before I began to create my space.

The entire point of creating a zen-like space is to enable relaxation. To provide clarity and promote serenity.

What’s important in this space is that it is comforting. Like a warm blanket that you wrap around yourself.

I usually say to people who’ve experienced a great loss: “Be good to yourself.”

But how exactly do you do that? How can you be good to yourself in a time of mourning and sadness?

For one thing, by creating comforting spaces.

Bring nature inside to enjoy. Let water be your music.

And every time you visit this zen-like space, you will be promoting a sense of calmness and tranquility.

My boho cupboard with inlaid galvanized strips. A ponytail palm plant in a galvanized bucket. My CD player for soothing music.

Possible Elements For A Zen Space:

  • water feature
  • candles
  • purifying plants
  • natural light
  • serene color palette
  • meditative music

The plants I used were ones I already had.

Plants I Used With My Water Feature:

  • Pineapple sage
  • Spider plant
  • Lemon balm
  • Golden pennies
  • Prayer plant
  • Peperomia

First I cleaned all the dirt off the plants till the roots were bare. Then I burrowed them down in the plant medium provided with the water feature.

I made sure that all of the plants were non-toxic to pets. Ivy doesn’t bother my house plants. But it seemed important to me just the same.

I wanted the entire space to be non-toxic by nature. For there to be nothing toxic whatsoever in this environment.

I'm enjoying this water feature and listening to the water flow in my living room

The water feature is the perfect sound I need right now. I feel myself relax just sitting in the living room.

I’m so enjoying this comforting space I’ve created for myself.

“Serenity is the tranquil balance of heart and mind.” — Harold W. Becker

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26 Comments

  1. Sounds wonderful and inviting for everyday living. What a lovely idea! Hope it brings you the peace you need.

  2. I think creating a comforting place for contemplation and meditation is such a good idea. Your space makes me think about how I might do that in my home. My sister died in February and I am spending a lot of time with overwhelming paperwork and other stressful activities, and all of that and running back and forth doesn’t touch dealing with the grief. Even for those who aren’t grieving, a calming place would help them with the little things we face everyday and be ready when they do need comfort as bigger things come along.

  3. Seems the effect water has on allowing one to fully relax, etc might have some healing helps too, with physical problems. I hope so for you, especially, Brenda!! I like the idea of having a plant in memory of someone. I cannot have indoor plants and the neighbor cats are determined to spray the outdoor ones my kids left here for us…so I hope they survive. Maybe I need to find some small plants that cats do not like to surround the arrangement with…

  4. Brenda, this post is so inspiring, as a way for any and all of us to practice self care. I can feel the peacefulness of the space you created right through the computer screen! It makes me think about creating such an indoor space in my own home. The water feature is so pretty. I have one outdoors, but this would make a lovely one for indoors. Wishing you peace and serenity as you sit in your “zen” space.

  5. What an inspired idea, Brenda! I think the water fountain is especially wonderful. It occurs to me that I might like one in my bedroom to help me fall asleep and calm my mind. And the fact that you can have plants in the fountain is especially nice. You’ve done a beautiful job putting the space together and I know it is going to help you and those of us that copy your idea. Thanks so much for sharing it and may it bring you peace and healing as I know it will.

  6. Brenda, this looks and sounds so peaceful. I believe that we all need to do whatever it takes to make ourselves feel better for however long we need it. Take your time, relax, rest, remember your sweet Gracie, Charlie and Abi and whatever else you would like to have a little respite from. Take care, Elizabeth

  7. I’ve had spots like this periodically and yes, they did have a calming effect. Thanks for sharing your spot and how you created it.

  8. This is beautiful, but I’ve always felt that all of your rooms held zen like quality of calming serenity.
    Have you tried cds with sounds of crashing waves or rainstorms? They help me sleep when I ask Alexa to “play rain.” Just close your eyes and drift away…..

  9. This is lovely, Brenda. My “zen” space is one of our spare bedrooms…the room that used to be Phil’s room. It has a twin bed in it, so it can serve as a guest room if need be, but I used that bed for relaxing and reading and sometimes napping. My small desk is in there, which looks out into our backyard, and is very calming. I have tons of plants in there, a bookcase full of non-fiction books, a comfy chair, my yoga mat and some other exercise stuff (I do yoga and meditation in this room), a diffuser for essential oils, and lots of plants.

  10. I love your zen place Brenda!
    It’s perfect for you!
    My zen place is my den where there’s more sunlight than any other room.
    Actually it’s my daughter’s and grands space too when they come over and want some quiet time. They all love that room and it’s their fav spot in my house! Lol

  11. I used to like to cross stitch, but the squares and holes are much smaller than they used to be!! I know this, because I’m currently working on a small Christmas ornament, and it’s taking me a long time to finish. I love the space you created! Warm, cozy, relaxing. Someplace to just breath. In my house, I have a sunroom that has 2 chairs, a table with a lamp, and lots of pretty plants! AND… my exercise equipment, which kind of kills the joy, but I literally have NO Other place to put it! In fact, I had plants on the equipment for the longest time, until recently, when my sister and my son shamed me for not using it, lol. So I cleared them off, and tell myself at least I have a pretty room to work out in, lol. I also have a small reading area in my bedroom to relax and enjoy a good book. As long as I don’t get lazy and plop all my clean laundry on it when I bring it to my room to “put away.” I heard somewhere, “Don’t put it down. Put it away.” That little mantra really helps me get motivated to do just that. I’ve been staying on top of a lot of chores, because I keep telling myself that. Plus I have a shirt that says, “Just Do It.” You know, like the Nike commercial. So I’ve been trying to make some relaxing spaces in my house and keeping on top of the tidying up, to make me feel happier in my house spaces. It’s a work in progress, but it’s important to do. We all need it for out mental health. I have a small water fountain and a lantern with a fake candle. I think you’ve inspired me to add them into my sunroom, to create a little more zen.

    1. Do whatever brings you joy and comfort. We have to learn to be good to ourselves and not wait for others to do nice things for us.

  12. I love this idea and I’m going to attempt to copy it if it’s okay with you?
    I haven’t lost anyone lately but I’m going to confess I miss my husband terribly and he’s been gone 16 years.
    I’m 1 of those people that keeps everything to myself and will smile and act like all is well.
    I deeply appreciate that list of plants that are safe for our kitties,my house panther is a chewer of all things green,even fake plants and Bella and I would be heartsick if something happened to him.You enjoy your day and your Zen space.

    1. Of course it’s okay! That’s why I wrote it. So you all could maybe create a space for yourself. I admit I feel so much better with the soothing sound of that water going 24/7. And one thing I hadn’t thought of until I turned it on yesterday: It helps to muffle the noise from upstairs! Everyone deserves a place of love and light and comfort.

  13. I’m thrilled for you that you’ve created a space in your home that helps you ‘be good to yourself’. I’ve learned the importance of self-care and being good to yourself is a huge part of self-care.
    I’m in the process of creating a spot in my bedroom where I can sit and hopefully start enjoying what I miss so much in my life – reading! Months ago I created a small space in my living room where I while away the hours enjoying my love of things related to handwork.

    All part of self care!!!

    Enjoy your day, Brenda!

      1. Ironically, Brenda, I think about you quite a bit when I’m doing my handwork projects. I know you miss it so much.

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