Creating a Zen Space with Bethany Holmes
Spiritual interior designer Bethany Holmes knows a thing or two about creating a beautiful space with calming energy. She shares with us her simple do’s and don’ts for creating a relaxing bedroom. (Good news: you can do a lot of them on your own!) Bring on the zen!
You are a spiritual interior designer. Can you explain what that means for those who may not know?
Yes, of course! Let me ask you– have you ever walked into a space and something felt off? Perhaps it felt lifeless, cold or even “empty” regardless of the furniture that filled the space. Now, in contrast, have you ever walked into a room that felt warm, safe, and calm? You may have even felt like you wanted to move right in. Perhaps it made you feel like you could relax there and take a nap, or maybe it made you feel inspired and productive.
What you are feeling is the ENERGY the space is encompassing. The energy of our spaces have a profound effect on our well-being– physically, mentally, emotionally and spiritually. For me, Spiritual Interior Design is the philosophy of creating spaces that are energetically elevated and aligned with your true self. This generates an environment for prosperity to flourish in all areas of your life.
In addition to being a designer, you are a certified Holistic Health & Wellness Coach. How has this knowledge informed your designs? Do you feel the two work synchronously to create the optimal space, lifestyle, and wellbeing for your clients?
Absolutely. Everything is energy and therefore it has a profound effect on all areas of our lives. Not only do I look at a room energetically and see where we can up-level with material objects to create a certain ascetic that FEELS good, I also take into consideration the health of the environment of the space meaning: air quality, sunlight, clean water, etc. These are all elements that promote a high vibrational space and improve well-being.
As a designer, what do you feel are the key elements to creating a relaxing space? How do you feel the design of a room can affect our mood, stress level, and ability to sleep peacefully?
Having a space that is de-cluttered and one where everything has a home, I believe, is very important for creating a high energy environment. When we have clutter, papers piled up, clothes thrown all over, cabinets packed with junk, etc. we unconsciously feel the energy of all those items. That can feel overwhelming, chaotic, out of control, etc. When we have a space that is free of clutter, where everything has a space, there is more room to create, to live, to enjoy and feel relaxed.
When discussing sleep there are a few things I recommend. First, having electronics out of the bedroom can be largely beneficial. There are multiple studies showing the effects of the EMFs they emit and its disruption to our sleep. Second, having a clean, de-cluttered space is very important, again, so you are not absorbing the negative energy of the “stuff.” Lastly, adding elements to the space that make you FEEL good– crystals, non-toxic candles, a salt lamp, certain bedding and a pillow spray are just a few touches you can add to enhance the space and environment.
You incorporate the principles of feng shui into your designs, among other things. What do you feel are the most important principles to consider when designing a bedroom?
When it comes to feng shui principles and the bedroom, there are a few things I like to consider when designing a space. First, having the bed in “commanding position” is important. This means your bed should be located so that you can see the door to your bedroom when lying in bed. You don’t want to be directly in line with the door however, so having the bed diagonal is typically the best option. In NYC spaces this can get tricky, but we always make it work!
Another thing to consider is having enough space to walk comfortably around the bed, meaning never place either side of your bed against the wall. Even in a small space if the bed is just a foot off the wall, it creates a better flow of energy. Having end tables on both sides is also important for energy flow.
Lastly, mirrors in the bedroom are a no-no for me. If you need one for some reason, making sure it is in inline with the bed is the most important thing to consider. There are so many others to consider, but those are my first priorities when looking at a space from a feng shui lens.
What design elements do you think should always be included in a bedroom? Any easy tips and tricks you can share with us to improve the energy in our own bedrooms?
I love this question! First, I recommend cleansing your space daily with sound or smudging it with sage. When doing this, make sure all windows and doors are open to allow the energy to leave. This will help improve the energy daily! As far as design, having the bed in a commanding position as mentioned above in a great place to start. Filling the space with neutral, soothing, muted colors creates a calm energy. Having NOTHING under the bed is important as well. I say this because in NYC, it is very common to utilize under bed storage, which I do not recommend for energy flow. Adding in elements such as a salt lamp, non-toxic candles, and plants can really add uplifting elements to improve energy.
Dune Sage Candle
Cleban & Daughters
Pine Meadow Smudge Stick
RAPID FIRE ROUND:
Do you have a bedtime ritual?
I do! I do my skincare routine, rub essential oils on my wrists and bottoms of my feet, turn on a meditation and melt into my bed.
What do you wear to bed?
An oversized t-shirt. That is what I am the most comfortable in.
What is on your bedside table?
An amethyst crystal, a couple essential oils and a diffuser and a crystal jewelry box. That is all.
Do you have any recurring dreams?
I did when I was younger. I had a specific one that recurred for years! Recently I have not.
Are you reading or watching anything good at the moment?
Currently I am re-reading “Becoming Supernatural.” It is such a powerful book. I highly recommend it! I am currently watching “MAID” on Netflix– it is heavy but I have been enjoying it. I like shows that make you FEEL all the feels. Succession also just started back up and I am very happy about that!
Which scent makes you think of bedtime?
Vetiver. I use it every night. I love it.
What are some nighttime items you cannot live without?
My essential oils and a meditation.
What is your guilty pleasure?!
Reality TV – loyal to Bravo.
How do you engage in self-care?
I wake up everyday and ask myself “what do I need to feel my best?” Sometimes the things that are going to make me feel my best are not what I truly WANT to do. Meditation, bundling up and going for a walk first thing to get sunshine, journaling, saying no to someone. etc. But after, I feel so much better. So really it is taking the time to understand what is best for me mentally and physically, and then making sure I am honoring that throughout the day.
What do you consider the single most important thing for a good night’s sleep?
A clear conscious and consistent sleep schedule. I have found when my body gets into a rhythm and I stick to those specific hours, give or take 30 min, that is when I have the best sound sleep. Also if something is weighing on my mind, I handle it before the end of the day. There is no reason to let it fester and grow larger.
Did you have a bedtime routine growing up?
I do not believe so. When I was really young, I always remember arguing with my mom that I did not want to go to bed. I was a bit of a night owl.
What was your favourite childhood bedtime story?
“The Monster at the End of This Book” Looking back, it is so silly, but it was a book that was at my grandmother’s house and she would read it to me over and over when I would stay there. It brings me all good memories.
What is your skincare and beauty routine like? Do you have any holy grail products?
It is pretty simple! I get facials quarterly and I use a face wash, serum and moisturizer daily. I tend to try out different brands often, so I am not loyal to anything at the moment.
How would you choose to spend one hour of free time?
Taking a walk outside, preferably by water or in nature.
If you could choose a song to wake up to every morning, what would it be?
Ohh this is a tough one. I have so many songs I listen to in the AM when I am doing my morning routine. Currently, “Music sounds better with you” by Neil Frances is my feel good jam.