My obsession with decor began when I was a little girl growing up in my parent’s house and helping my mom re-arrange furniture every other weekend.

At the time, I wasn’t very fond of the activity; but the more I did it, the better of an eye I developed for it. Soon it was no longer just “help me move this”; it was “what do you think about it here?” and “what other colors should I include?” 

Perhaps this was my mom’s version of “bonding” (LOL), but to this day, I’m grateful for her shenanigans. I guess I have to give credit where credit is due because now that I’m living semi-on my own, my bedroom has become my sanctuary.

I currently live in Brooklyn, New York with three other roommates. Each of us have our own room, and share the living room and kitchen. My roommate-cousin T and I share a bathroom, while my other two roommates K and S share the upper-level bathroom. We’re respectful of one another in how we share these spaces, and are completely understanding of when and how we enjoy our alone time.

With that being said, my bedroom operates not only as my sleeping space, but where I brainstorm for work and personal projects. It’s where I read, listen to music, and admire and maintain my body. The current blend of purposes that my room serves is directly linked to the shelter-in-place guidelines that were set almost a year ago. 

And I must say that, I’ve made the most of it.

In my 14 x 10 haven, I have my dresser, clothing rack, mirror, nightstand, bed, hamper, towel rack, a chair, a rug, space for beauty products, two plants, and a few of my favorite books.

My dresser is about four feet wide so it can fit on two of the walls in my room really well. On top of it, I keep my jewelry, morning/night face-wash routine, nail polish, and makeup. They’re my favorite products and they’re packaged beautiful, so I like to show them off (that Fenty Lavender hits every time). 

I plan on getting some art for the wall space above it; considering it’s only about three feet tall. For now, it’s sort of like my altar. It’s one of my favorite spaces because it was inspired by the top of my mother’s dresser that she had when I was a kid—it’s where she kept her beauty products and jewelry too.

(Image: Tweet by “her name is cyn”  that reads, “The top of our mother’s dressers were altars, too” credit: @cynfinite)

The dresser has three drawers, which isn’t a whole lot of space, but it houses my undergarments, shirts, and pants that don’t require hanging. My clothing rack, on the other hand, is running over for sure, and I’ll need to tidy it before taking a photo for y’all. It was actually left over from another roommates who moved out previously, which worked in my favor considering our rooms don’t have closets. It holds my coats, jackets, jeans, pants, skirts, tops and sweaters.

Particularly during this pancake breakfast (which I’m eating while writing this piece) I’ve come to truly appreciate how calming and restorative it can be to just sit in my room and read or watch a film (whether that’s in bed or in my chair). Creating vibes through decor and positioning has brought me so much joy— even with my bedroom being relatively small. 

In working from home, I’ve definitely worked more hours than expected. Many of us have developed whole new schedules that are much different than our usual expectations. Not having to travel to and from work has resulted in longer work days, and thus more need for self care.


On the top of my sidebar, I keep a few of my favorite self care items: candles and magazines. I love to read, although I don’t get to do it much outside of work, and I’m very visual. So having these on deck, along with a candle to burn, makes me feel at ease. 

While I’m big on scents, I think it’s the actual lighting of the candle and the dancing flame that provides me with relief. It also adds a bit more warmth to the area. I like to keep candles with jars that are within my favorite color scheme, which is purple, peach, teal, and neutrals.

From the time that I was a young girl, these colors have calmed me and made me feel special. Color schemes are so important when you’re considering how to decorate your space. You may want to keep these colors close to you too, like I do on my nightstand. Decide which items you need close by, and whether they can be decorative too and create another mini altar space for yourself. 

Width and height definitely matter here, especially in relation to your bed. This is also another item that was left over from one of the previous roommates; I bought it from her knowing it would fit into at leas tone of the corners in my room properly. My bed is about two feet off the ground, a daybed/twin size with gold brushed bars on the right side, and at the foot and head of the bed.

Draped over it are a super plush, neutral-colored reading blanket that lays at the foot of the bed over my great-grandmother’s comforter. Having this piece from her means so much to me. She passed away when I was a toddler, but I still remember so many of the moments I shared with her. The comforter is a deep purple, and crushed velvet and super warm in both temperature and aesthetic. My sheets are jersey, which are also soft to the touch. I realized how much a texter person I was while decorating my room. And even with my chair being leather and stoic, I still wanted it to be warm and soft.

I even added texture to one of my window sills where a few of my beauty products, one of my plants, and my vitamins sit. With a couple feet of neutral drawer liner, I added warmth to my window sills (which would be stark white otherwise). On my second window sill, I have my books, which are pretty colorful when stacked. I also have an assortment of pens and markers for my notebooks and my calendar board. It’s important to me to love every corner of my room, and that every space is being used but not necessarily overwhelmed. 

My walls are white (except for a few ash spots that my candle added to my wall). And along the wall where my bed is located, I have framed photos  of some of my favorite artists along with my calendar board and photos of some of my closest friends. 

While my calendar board is usually pretty packed, seeing the faces of women I admire always makes me fee that much more capable of taking on the day and working towards my goals. I also have images from friends whose art I’ve purchased and that was gifted to me; I cherish these pieces very much too. And then I have a sort of family wall with pictures of my parents, cousins, grandparents, and Celia Cruz– who has been  a relative in my head for several years now.

I think a lot of what I try to incorporate into my room is what I’ve grown up seeing–which is warm colors. The pops of color are my own touch, and are a way for me to balance my own path with that of my family/ancestors. I never thought it was that deep for me with aesthetics, but I guess when I take a closer look, that’s my aesthetic overall: a blend of old and new that pays homage to old school eras, while also celebrating how I’ve found myself in the new.

Quarantine has taught me how much I value my identity, especially when anxiety and depression have made me re-evaluate how I feel about myself after sheltering in place for so long. Some days I’m ready for whatever, and feel bright eyed and bushy-tailed. But other days I just want to be held. 

But the beauty of it is that every time, no matter how I’m feeling, I can come to my room and experience some sort of comfort. It’s a wonderful feeling and I know that I’m blessed to have a roof over my head–so why not make my space my own? If you’re in the mood for some change, jot down what’s been catching your eye online or maybe even a style that you’ve always admired. See how you can apply that to your space within your budget. Take your time — because it seems we’ll continues to have plenty of that– and really allow your essence to unfold in your room(s).

Share your photos with us and your stories of how and why you made your room your sanctuary.
 We could all use a little more peace, and we’re more than capable of creating it for ourselves.

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