About six months ago I posted an apartment tour (because I, like many others, use my internet time for the obsessive stalking of others) and mentioned my interior tips for getting the most out of and designing for a studio space. I’m not an interior designer – although I’ve been compared to Grace from Will & Grace – but I have found a few tricks for getting the most out of my apartment. But you can go here to read that

Over the past few weeks, there’s been some pretty big changes in my life, be they emotional, mental, spiritual, etc. I won’t divulge into those because that’s not why you came here – but it in turn lead to me slowly redecorating my entire apartment. Did I set out to redecorate my entire apartment? No. Did I wake up one day about two weeks ago and realize that I had? Yes.

I’ve been sharing some of these decor updates on Instagram and a lot of people were commenting A) that my apartment looks incredibly ~zen~ B) that it kind of looks like a temple and C) were asking where I got a lot of my new pieces. So – for every one on the internet and partially my own self-satisfaction, here’s a peek into my “zen palace”, as it’s been aptly named, and tips for making your apartment feel more relaxing.

1. Lighting, lighting, lighting. 

Lighting is everything to interior design. Just like location is to real estate. I’m happy to entertain (I use that word very loosely) at my apartment because it does have a cozy, welcoming atmosphere to it. It started about eight months ago when my overhead light when out and I never replaced the light bulb. My apartment is pretty much always lit with warm lamp light, a salt lamp, candles, and some hanging lanterns.

This creates a much warmer atmosphere that puts you at ease without realizing it. Bonus points: you always look good. Overhead lighting is harsh.

This is my favorite place in my apartment. The tan chair (great name, right?). I got these lanterns on Amazon, $25 for the pack of six, and hung them from command hooks with fishing wire. The fishing wire creates an illusion of floating lanterns!
The wall tapestry is from India; although I picked it up at Allyu Spa in Chicago, it wasn’t one of the things I brought back with me from India.
The black lamp on my nightstand is really the only light that I ever have on. It’s pretty bright, but because it comes from a nightstand-level (not an overhead light) it’s less harsh.

2. Create a comfortable atmosphere with blankets and throws. 

If there is a blank surface in my apartment, I covered it with a different texture – whether it is fur blankets, a fur rug, a Turkish rug, some Indian bedding… you name it. Now, it’s important to know that my entire design aesthetic is not minimal. If yours leans toward the more minimal, you might want to get a cohesive theme when it comes to decorating your space. I went for more of a chaotic-matching. Everything matches, but nothing is the same.

Having an abundance of textures and blankets in my decorating has helped make the place seem cozy. You could sit down and always be within arms reach of a blanket. I’ve finally achieved #apartmentgoals.

I always wanted a four-poster canopy, but a bed frame would have made my space look smaller. I hung mosquito netting for the same affect that wouldn’t make my apartment feel half the size.
The rug is a Turkish rug that matches (but is entirely different from) the pattern on the bedding and the tapestries on the wall. I threw a sheepskin rug (a lovely gift from one of my closest friends) on the ottoman.
The bedding is from India, which I complimented by throwing several fur pillows and blankets on top. The #WinterfellBed lives on.

3. Create a space that is used just for relaxation, and then channel those elements throughout the rest of the space. 

Figure out what a relaxing space means to you. For me, it was a corner for meditation. For you, it could be a reading nook, a place to paint your nails, practice quantum physics… whatever makes you feel relaxed. I have a table in one corner that’s dedicated to this and that’s the only thing that that part of the apartment is used for.

Now, my spirit animal, patronus, totem animal, etc., is the elephant. I love elephants and they’re highly symbolic in several major cultures and religions. There are some in my meditation corner, but I’ve also hung one near my bed and in a few other places of the apartment. It connects the one space dedicated solely for relaxation to the rest of the apartment – creating an entirely relaxing atmosphere in my home.

Of course, this is how I accidentally stumbled into creating the ~zen palace.~ I slowly just incorporated things I like and things that spoke to me, and luckily, it all started matching. If you have any other tips for design, be sure to leave them below!

I have one corner dedicated to meditation. Things making an appearance: scented oils, salt lamps, succulents, and dried flowers. (to name a few)
This is a solid bronze elephant that I got in India (and then had to carry through the airport. Not my smartest moment) that I’ve hung near my bed. The lanyard is from a temple in Goa.
One more shot of the epic tan chair. This is where I spend most of my time, if not in the kitchen or meditating! #AllOfTheLights