Making Room For Prayer In Your Home
Why do we devote so much thought and energy to doing up our home? Because it is more than just a place we go back to. At its best, it is a sanctuary, in which we seek solace from the highs and lows of the world.
Our prayer room is even more - like a sanctuary on a private beach, if you will. For many of us, it is where we connect with our faith and our notion of the divine. Little wonder then, that we should want it to look and feel just right!
Whether you’re a prayer newbie or someone who has held prayer practices dear for years, there’s always a way you can a create a space for it in your home. A prayer room can be as ornate or minimalist as you want it to be and could even change with your evolving understanding of faith. The key is to create a space that you can connect to. Let’s explore how!
1. Set the scene
Mark your Private Space. If you’d like to keep your prayer space private, consider a decorative cabinet. Ornate doors can mark it out as special and allow you to keep it closed when required. Several homes have built-in wall shelves that can be transformed into a prayer space just by adding a couple of doors.
Flaunt an Open Design. If you’d like to break away from the traditional prayer cabinet set-up, you could try a space with an open layout. Wall and floor design is key to making this space stand apart from the rest of the room. One way of doing this is to use an elevated platform and distinct wall tiles. You could even use wooden paneling and light sconces for a warm finish. Choosing a space by a window would flush the space with warm, natural light (a skylight can do the same).
Opt for an Outdoor Retreat. Use natural material such as decorative rocks or wood to set up a sheltered space on an open balcony or in a garden. Surround this space with bonsais that blossom beautifully throughout the year, so there’s always an offering at the altar. For a larger garden, consider growing temple trees or any others that are regarded as spiritual. Remember that birds consider anything outdoors to be fair game, so protect your retreat adequately.
Be creative under constraint. Pooja room designs in apartments require some creative alternatives, as you may not be able to afford dedicated floor space. A floating shelf with a drawer for prayer accompaniments such as candles, matches and holy books can be affixed to the wall (for inspiration, check out our floating prayer cabinet). A small open or closed bookcase, a low bedside table or even a TV cabinet could be repurposed as a prayer cabinet.
Adorn the Door. A key aspect of pooja room design is how you decorate the doors, since this can help you evoke the right mood. You could choose between intricate wooden carvings, glass paintings, spiritual motifs, lattice detailing and jharokha doors, besides others.
Un-level. Prayer spaces are generally small, and therefore, to decorate without causing a clutter, arrange as few things on the floor as possible. Suspend diyas or bells from the ceiling and create different levels in the room, with the deities placed at the highest level, their offerings just below and so on.
Make it Yours. Besides placing the essentials in their specific spaces, you could include details to make the space personal to you. A decorative hook for your rosary beads, perhaps, or framed artwork that encapsulates your beliefs. It could even be a holy book that’s been in the family for years or a special prayer mat.
Store away. To keep your prayer room de-cluttered, identify all the accessories you need to store within reach and earmark specific spots for them. This could be on floating shelves along the walls or in a large decorative chest that can hold everything. A small chest of drawers also fits the storage bill.
Settle down. For festivals or prayer group gatherings, a soft carpet makes sitting for long hours more comfortable. This is easy to lay out and can accommodate a large group. For a solo session of meditation or prayer too, a mat with a woolen or silken cover would be just the thing!
Stay Safe. An open flame, indoors or outdoors, can cause havoc, to put it mildly. Covering candles and diyas with a glass shade controls and preserves the flame. Switching to string LED lights is a safe alternative. Keeping a fire extinguisher in an easily accessible, yet discreet spot near the entryway is a precaution that could pay off.
Inner peace is a tall order, but creating a prayer space can help you inch closer towards it! Do you have any ideas you've considered for your prayer space? We’d love to hear them out! Leave a comment below!