The Mom Cave: Designing a Space of Your Own

It starts with your husband’s “man cave” or paneled library.

Then there are nurseries to decorate and playrooms to stock.

Somewhere along the way, you forgot to reserve space for yourself…and the kitchen planning desk (aka, family landfill) doesn’t count.

“As women, we respect the need for everyone in our families to have their own special place, but somewhere along the way, we skip the most important person: ourselves,” explains Karyn Musick, president of Divas N’ Design. “It’s time to get the space you deserve and carve out your own Mom Cave.”

Why You Need Your Own Space

For those of you who need convincing:

  • When you consistently put everyone’s needs before your own, your spouse and kids start believing your needs come last.
  • You have to remember that you are an individual and need to keep your own interests and passions alive, reminds designer Susan Ferris. By setting aside your own space in which to be creative, to allow for quiet and focus, you won’t be distracted by homework and household bills.
  • By designating a place for uninterrupted time, you are not only allowing yourself the gift of respite but giving those around you the best version of yourself. (And if you need to hang a “do not disturb” sign, do it.)
  • Just like your husband, you need a place where you can celebrate who you are, display treasures from your past, and honor the achievements you’ve made before and after children. “It’s so important for our kids to see that we had a life before them and will continue to have a life when they’re grown,” adds Musick.
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Finding space

Why are you reserving a bedroom for guests that come twice a year, but won’t hold a room for yourself? “We are driven by convention when it comes to home design,” explains Musick. “Your home needs to evolve to the way you live, and so do your ideas about how to use your space.”

You can start by assessing the space you really use. Consider:

  • Dining rooms
  • Guest bedrooms
  • Porches
  • Walk-in pantries
  • Master bedroom

Transform your dining room into a home office or craft space, or find a nook under the stairs. For one client, Musick placed a writing desk in the condo living room with a view of the park outside and not her children’s toys. For another mom, they designed a quiet space for reading and relaxation on a little-used back porch.

Ferris will often set up space in the master bedroom. “Bedrooms are intended for sleep and rejuvenation, and have a door that can be closed.” It can be as simple as finding a comfortable chair and place to raise your feet. She recommends filling a large basket with  your favorite things, such as a blanket ,a soothing candle or scented lotion, drawing pad or journal, and your book.

If you have ample kitchen cabinet space, transform a walk-in pantry into a small retreat. Take over the living room you never use or swap the bed for a pull-out couch in the guest room. Even if you have to purge or repurpose, chances are you can find a space just for you.

Make it your own

Musick asks clients to start by listing their goals for the space, whether it’s a quiet place to work from home, paint or write, meditate and do yoga, or just put up your feet.

Don’t be afraid to pull out pictures of rooms that inspire you, furniture you love, and even simple accessories that remind you of your single days. Think about the colors that make you feel good. And because this room should be considered a jewel box space, don’t be constrained by the paint palette in the rest of your home.

Dig out photos from college and childhood treasures. If you never got outgrew the ’70s, decorate with tie-dye and lava lamps, or transform a basement bedroom to a zen oasis for yoga and meditation. One of Ferris’ clients, also a mother of all boys, wanted a girly pink walk-in closet with a crystal chandelier.

“Everything in this room should be about you and what you love,” concludes Ferris. “Chances are you’ve made plenty of accommodations for everyone else in your family, now it’s time for them to give into yours.”

For more great Mom Cave ideas and inspiration, take a look at Kristina’s Pinterest page.