Home Touch by Mary G. Pepitone


Move over "man cave" -- and make room for momma! The "mom cave" is catching on as the place in the home for the lady of the house. This space is one where a woman can put her feet up, or work on projects in solitude, surrounded by her own sense of style, says Kristie Barnett, a Nashville-based interior designer and blogger known as The Decorologist.

"A mom cave is meant to be a restorative place, not like the man cave, which is usually a social center that is tricked out with a big screen TV and electronics," Barnett says. "A mom cave can be a sewing center, a wrapping station, a place to write, scrapbook, craft, host a book club or just sit and read. Or all of the above."

Women can spelunk through their light and airy mom cave into self-exploration and creativity, says Barnett. "The man cave generally embodies all things we think of as masculine with dark, rugged decor and overstuffed leather furniture, gaming table, bar and media center," she says. "The mom cave, on the other hand, is filled with light and things that make her happy. It is meant to be a place of peace and privacy."

Before caving in to create a mom cave, you must first have a plan in place, otherwise there is the potential for the space to become a catch-all, says Barnett. A mom cave doesn't have to be large to be functional, but you need to find a space -- preferably a room with a door -- to claim as your own.

The space for a mom cave can range from a walk-in closet to a spare bedroom. You can also claim a space in the attic or basement, but it should feel light and bright. "If you don't have access to a window or natural light, have light fixtures -- such as a chandelier -- that sparkle and illuminate the space," Barnett says. "Also, mirrors reflect existing light and make a space feel larger."

A shared space -- such as a master bedroom -- can also be the place to fulfill your mom cave dreams. Partition off privacy by using a room screen or a two-sided bookshelf, which can also double as decorative storage.

A psychologist by training, Barnett believes the color of a room not only sets the mood in a space, but is also meant to resonate with its inhabitants. "The colors used in a mom cave are very personal, and don't have to match the decor of the rest of the home," she says. "It's OK to use pinks and purples in the female's quarters: Prettify the space, so it actually becomes a respite."

Barnett's personal mom cave is an extra bedroom with white walls featuring light green and pink accents throughout. "Choose a piece that serves as inspiration for the entire space," she says. "It can be a rug, artwork or object that speaks to you, then take color cues from that item to pull the room together."

After deciding upon a color palette, the mom cave dweller must then determine how the room will be used. Every mom should make a list of activities and interests to pursue and map out where furniture items will go.

"No two mom caves are the same because they are so personal. Ideally, you want at least one comfy chair to sit and read, with a table or desk on which to do paperwork," Barnett says. "If a mom cave is going to be used for sewing, you need to find a place to put the machine. If it's going to be used as a wrapping station or scrapbooking place, you need to have a work surface and place to store the supplies."

Channeling the inner artist in your mom cave's inner sanctum means having the proper work surfaces to maximize productivity. But that doesn't necessarily mean buying brand new furniture.

Instead, scour flea markets, garage sales or your own home to find solidly constructed pieces that can be repainted and repurposed. Usually, the smaller scale of older furniture works better in a modest mom cave.

"You can add shelving to an old television armoire, repaint it and have a great storage piece for not a lot of money," Barnett says. "Also, have a place for everything, so that everything can go back in its place when you're finished with it. You want your mom cave to remain a productive place, not become cluttered chaos."

Barnett likes to store items in pretty containers that have been labeled with their specific contents. She also likes to be able to move furniture around to keep the space fresh to create a Zen-like zone in which she can retreat.

"A mom cave is much more than a multipurpose room: It's a space that is meant to feed the very soul of the one person who is often the heart of a family," Barnett says. "But maybe the most important part of a mom cave -- whether it's real or implied -- is the 'Do Not Disturb' sign posted outside the door."

Mom-tastic cave dwelling:


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