Turn Your Home Into a Sanctuary

(With These Five Things)

Sometimes a week away from home is all you need to realize how much you appreciate home.

And in my case, even when staying in a beautiful, comfortable house and without leaving San Francisco, this is still true.

If you watch my Instagram Stories (shameless plug,) by now you know I spend a lot of time in my second SF home (and watching a certain puppy dog, who I’m so attached to I have started calling her mine — much to the confusion of my friends.) I spent a week and a half there recently, bathed in sunlight and basking in the glory of their view of the city and the bay. Still, there is no place like home (even when you’ve been in a house so beautiful that coming home seems like a bit of a life downgrade!)

Still, there is no place like home (even when you’ve been in a house so beautiful that coming home seems like a bit of a life downgrade!)

Why is that? What is it about our own space and our own things that is so significant to our well-being? As I sat in my space after some time away, I took the time to look around at the small things that add meaning and a sense of peace and belonging in my little apartment bedroom.

Here is a photo of mine:


wellness :: turn your home into a sanctuary space


Without realizing it, I’ve built a space that feels so much like my little sanctuary — a positive, dare I say sacred space, filled with good energy and a calming sense of peace — so much so that I hardly want to spend time in the other rooms of my apartment.

We have all felt how our outer world can both impact and reflect our inner world. Travelers know this best of all. We all need a designated place to retreat, an oasis of calm where the pressures of the world melt away. To step into my room is to transform my mood in a way that’s better than an instant ‘sigh.’ Here’s what I’ve found contributes most to that feeling:



1. Essential Oil Diffuser

This is the one item that has (surprisingly) made the biggest difference in how I feel about my space. From eucalyptus to ylang-ylang to lemongrass and all the pretty essences in between, it’s a trick I actually picked up from staying in luxury hotels. Now I wonder why it took me so long to get one!

If it also seems silly to you at first, I suggest you try it before you make up your mind. It is amazing how much scent can subtly affect state of mind.

I love this brand and this natural wood-looking one is my diffuser of choice.

My favorite oils: 1 // 2 // 3 // 4 // 5

2. Plants and Rocks

A few years ago, “bringing nature in” was not something on my radar nor something I would have considered. Aside from the fact that sometimes I’m not home enough to water them (slash I don’t really want the commitment and responsibility of keeping something alive lol) I’m not really a “plant person.”


But now that I have added plants and rocks into my space…they’re not going anywhere!

There is something almost intangible but innately comforting (and dare I say, natural?) about having a few plants and rocks that you find beautiful to grace your space. (Related: have you tried “forest bathing?”)

how to turn your home into a sanctuary space
IKEA is my go-to for starter houseplants. They have beautiful plants in all different sizes that are both easy to maintain and not expensive to invest in (in case you travel a lot and are worried about them dying on you…ahem.) Succulents are another popular choice (and for good reason, they’re cute!) and I found this list of houseplants that are easy to care for to be a great resource.

As for bits of Earth…geodes and crystals can’t and won’t hurt. Whether or not you believe in the woo-woo properties they can have, you can’t deny they’re the prettiest rocks. Get yours at a local crystal shop (if your town is hippie like that) or online. I prefer to pick them out in person or find them in nature.

These baby palms (pictured above) are my favorite so far. And if that’s too much of a commitment for you, Ikea literally has plants that are cheaper than a single rose (so no reason not to give it a try!) Are the plant and rock skeptics convinced?


3. Himalayan Salt Lamp

The latest piece to join the party, I just recently received a salt lamp as a gift. And though I’ll admit I had my eye on it for a bit before now, again I was skeptical about how much of a difference it would make in my space. (Are you sensing a trend?)

The claims are many — from cleaner air to reducing airborne infection to boosting mood. But for me what it really comes down to is…does its presence make you a little bit happier?

I plugged this puppy in and instantly felt calmer. I love the soft glow it emits. It’s almost like a candle but slightly more soothing. And if it clears the air too? Added bonus.

4. Candles

I never used to be a candle person. Now they’re one of my favorite ways to signal the start of a ritual — it’s time to write, it’s time to relax, it’s time to be thoughtful.

A few of my favorites include Diptyque (splurge – this one is my favorite,) Voluspa or Jo Malone (medium,) and any soy candle that you like the smell of at your local discount store (budget – I have been known to get mine at Home Goods.) World Market also has some great candles centered around cities or countries. There are lots cleverly marketed as the scent of a particular U.S. state. (And you know I had to have that amber candle from Jaipur.)

make your home more inviting


5. Books (or your equivalent)

Don’t underestimate the beauty and power of having words on pages and titles on the shelf that are meaningful to you.  Delight yourself by surrounding yourself with the small books of poetry or big books of photographs that make you happy just by looking at them (and then, also read them!)

If books aren’t your thing, perhaps it’s music and records, or personal jewelry, or enjoy framed photos. Think of what visually either calms you or brings you joy.


+ All my tiny little good luck charms/good mojo/good memories things.

From my own art to framed words that inspire, to small statues and plush pillows, blankets, and fabrics from my travels…to the Cuban cigar or French wine boxes I use to decorate, or even the box of old love letters and cards from friends that I keep in case of a rainy day. You can’t put a value on the tiny things that bring a sense of love and serenity to your life just by being there.

brass bells from kerala - ganesha and saraswati


More Tips for Creating Your Sanctuary Space

  • Make an effort to bring in nature.
  • Pay attention to (natural) lighting.
  • Consider what feeling objects contribute to a sense of restoration, relaxation, and self-care for you.
  • Surround yourself with the small things that bring you joy. Clear out the things that do not (the biggest way for you to shift energy in your space is to declutter.)
  • Work to engage all of your senses.
  • Consider the three ‘c’s: color, calm, clutter.

dog is optional.

Your mission, should you choose to accept it: curl up in your hideaway with a good book, a cup of tea (or a glass of wine, who are we kidding.) Surround yourself with some soft fabrics, light a candle, turn on your salt lamp and/or diffuser. Breathe the clean, fresh, and slightly scented air. Turn off the lights. Tune in. Feel the magic of having so many good things that you love all around you. Turn your home into your sanctuary.

*This is my personal version of a sanctuary — insert your own favorite items/home self-care practices as required.

Just like everything else in life…it’s not that we need newer/bigger/better. It’s often simply that we need to take the time to block out the expectations of others and explore what we can create with intention — for ourselves, true to ourselves.

Read more:

// The Art of Hygge, the Magic of Self-Care //

// The Delicate Balance of Home and Travel //


















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  1. Great tips. I could definitely do a bit more with my space. I love the idea of intentionally adding a little more calm to my home.

  2. Brittany B

    Lovely post! And love how you’ve transformed your room into a mini sanctuary, filled with all the special pieces of your travels near and far … (and of course the crystals and salt lamp 🙂 —my personal favorites and go-to’s)! Xx

    • Anne Lowrey

      Thank you – you know I wouldn’t have either of the last two without you!! My moon sister 😉 xo

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