Tips for Creating a Zen Workspace with an Eco-friendly Twist

If you suffer from visual OCD like I do, an inspiring workspace is a must.  Since moving to Calgary 4+ years ago, I had yet to make my home my own – so to speak.  Which is ironic considering before I moved here, I was the Home & Design Editor for Ottawa Life Magazine, booked to speak for several Home Shows and featured several Home and Design segments as the Co-Host for Daytime Ottawa, and Host of Ottawa Experts.

So what happened? Good question.  After completing hundreds of continuing education hours in Sustainable Design principles, and although I truly enjoy interior decorating, and firmly believe in the necessity of an inspiring work space, I just wasn’t feeling it.

Instead, my current hobbies include Aromatherapy training and working with essential oils to create various natural beauty products while I complete my 200 hour Yoga Teacher training.  However, every time I would enter the powder room or walk past my home office, I would literally cringe.  The site of both neglected spaces served as a constant reminder of just how much I needed to revamp each room.

As with anything, our taste and interests evolve over time, so I am actually happy that I have (inadvertantly) waited to redo each space. In doing so, I have incorporated several zen elements of design, including healing crystals, natural soy based candles infused with essential oils, and Himalayan salt lamps.

Primarily furnished with several IKEA pieces, and accented with Amazon accessories, I am quite happy with the transformation.  If you are considering a zen space with an eco-friendly twist for your decorating project, here are my top 5 recommendations:

  1. If you are painting, select a Zero-VOC (volatile organic compound) paint.  Keeping in mind that as you add pigments for colour, the VOC level can be altered. To ensure toxin levels are kept to a minimum, you may wish to use Benjamin Moore’s Natura zero VOC collection or the Aura Waterbourne interior paint.
  2. In an effort to reduce the products manufactured from fossil fuel derivatives, select rapidly renewable materials such as bamboo or hemp.
  3. Rather than purchasing brand new items, see what second hand items you can find at your neighbourhood thrift store or online. Kijiji and Facebook certainly have no shortage of people off-loading nearly new furnishings at a fraction of the cost.
  4. Incorporate natural fibers over synthetics, and use 100% beeswax or soy candles that specify that they use 100% naturally derived essential oils, or further explain the “fragrance” to be natural and nontoxic.
  5. Finally, along with balancing electromagnetic radiation, Himalayan salt lamps are said to have several health benefits including cleansing, deodorizing and purifying the air thus reducing allergens.


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